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June 1, 2012

Customizing Linux Mint: Window and GTK+ Themes

In addition to Cinnamon themes, Linux Mint also allows you to change its Window and GTK+ theme. Much like installing a Cinnamon theme, it is simple and easy to do. Although there are a few tweaks you may have to do to get your desired theme to be universal across multiple accounts (especially the root account).


Firstly, head over to Gnome-Look and take a look under the "GTK 3.x" section. If you are using a relatively new Linux distribution, chances are you are using GTK 3.x. Once you have downloaded a theme, uncompress it and open up your home directory.

To install a Window/GTK+ theme:
  • Open your home directory and navigate into the ".themes" folder. If there isn't one, then create it. (Your files may be hidden, hit Ctrl+H to unhide hidden files)
  • Copy your extracted theme folder into the ".themes" folder
  • Now open up Cinnamon Settings then to the Themes section
  • In the Other Settings tab, you should see "Window Theme" and "GTK+ theme"
  • Select your downloaded theme in the two drop down boxes
  • You're done! (If your theme doesn't apply properly, just reload the window manager by doing a Alt+F2 and r)
Although the theme applies successfully, you may have noticed that when you run applications as root, you lose your current theme. The result is an ugly, bland, Windows 98 type user interface. To fix this abnormality simple follow these steps to extend your current theme into 'root' territory.

Open up Terminal and enter the following commands:
  • sudo ln -s ~/.themes /root/.themes
  • sudo ln -s ~/.icons /root/.icons
  • sudo ln -s ~/.fonts /root/.fonts
After that, you may have to restart your computer for changes to take affect. You can also try logging out and in again but I personally have not tried it.

So there you have it, a simple way of changing your Linux Mint's Window and GTK+ theme. Next time I will be talking about how to change your system's icon theme. Until then, happy customizing!