How to Install Ubuntu Themes (With Examples)

This tutorial will guide you through installing new Desktop Themes in Ubuntu Linux – and switching between those themes.

At one point in time this was a bit more straightforward. It’s a little more complicated now, but mostly due to the sheer number of ways that you can install a theme in Ubuntu. We’ll cover a few of the most common methods using some of the most popular themes.

Table of Contents

1. Install Gnome Tweaks
2. Install New Themes in Ubuntu
   – the Pop!_gtk Theme
   – the Qogir Theme
   – the Arc Theme
3. Additional Ubuntu Theme Resources

Install Gnome Tweaks

Switching between installed themes is always done the same way, and it requires you to download and install the Gnome Tweaks tool. To do so, open a Terminal and enter the command:

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

an Ubuntu Terminal with the command to install gnome tweaks

Once Gnome Tweaks has been installed you can close the Terminal. Click the Show Applications button (the one in the bottom left corner of the screen) and then search for tweaks. Click the app icon to open Gnome Tweaks.

an arrow pointing to the Gnome Tweaks app

Select Appearance from the list of options in the left column. From here you can change the theme that Ubuntu is using. Ubuntu doesn’t ship with very many themes, but it does include Adwaita (in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and above) and it’s quite popular (it’s the default theme for Fedora Desktop). Click the menu next to Applications – which is probably set to Yaru, the default theme for Ubuntu.

Gnome Tweaks app with the Appearances panel open

Select Adwaita from the list.

a menu list with an arrow pointing at Adwaita

After a brief moment the Adwaita theme will be applied and the style of your applications in Ubuntu will change.

the Adwaita theme for Ubuntu Linux
The Adwaita GTK Theme in Ubuntu (click to enlarge)

Switch the Icons to Adwaita as well to apply even more changes.

Install New Themes in Ubuntu

Now that you know how to switch between themes, let’s install a few.

First we’ll need to find some themes to download and try out. OMGUbuntu! has a list of 11 of the best looking GTK themes so let’s install a few of those.

Install the Pop!_gtk Theme for Ubuntu

  1. Pop!_gtk is usually mentioned when the subject of Ubuntu themes comes up so let’s give it a try. This theme is installed via a Terminal, so open one up and run the following commands:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:system76/pop
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install pop-theme

  2. an Ubuntu Terminal with text from installing a theme

  3. Once all of the files and their prerequisites have been downloaded and installed, close out of the Terminal window. Launch the Gnome Tweaks app again.
  4. an arrow pointing to the Gnome Tweaks app

  5. Select the Appearance item from the column on the left side of the window and then choose Pop from the Applications menu (and the Cursor, Icons and Sound menus if you want to go “full Pop” :)
  6. Gnome Tweaks app with the Appearance panel showing the Pop theme loaded

  7. Now choose Fonts from the column on the left side of the window and change the them to the Pop recommended ones, which are:
  8. Window Titles: Fira Sans SemiBold (10)
    Interface: Fira Sans Book (10)
    Documents: Roboto Slab Regular (11)
    Monospace: Fira Mono Regular (11)

    the Gnome Tweaks app with the Fonts panel displayed

  9. The Pop developer suggestions you restart your shell to make sure all of the changes are applied – so click Alt + F2 on your keyboard, then r and hit enter.
  10. the Pop!_gtk theme in Ubuntu Linux
    The Pop!_gtk Theme in Ubuntu (click to enlarge)

Install the Qogir Theme for Ubuntu

  1. Qogir is installed a bit differently. Start by downloading the zip file from the Qogir github page file and then extract its contents to your Downloads folder. Open a Terminal and navigate to the newly created Qogir-theme-master folder and run the install script by entering the following command:
  2. ./

    an Ubuntu Terminal with an command

  3. This will copy all of the required files to the /home/your_username/.themes/ folder. Launch the Gnome Tweaks app again, select the Appearance tab and this time and choose Qogir from the Applications menu.
  4. the Qogir theme in Ubuntu Linux
    The Qogir Theme in Ubuntu (click to enlarge)

Install the Arc Theme for Ubuntu

  1. Some themes can be installed from directly within the Ubuntu Software app, and there’s even a way to link to them from the web. Open the page 11 Best GTK Themes for Ubuntu (2020 Edition) and scroll down to the Arc section (it’s #6 in the list). Click the Install the Arc GTK Theme from Ubuntu Software button.
  2. an arrow pointing to an Install button

  3. You’ll be prompted to choose an application to open these types of links in. Click the Choose Application button.
  4. an arrow pointing to a button titled Choose Application

  5. Select Ubuntu Software from the list of app and then click the Open Link button.
  6. an arrow pointing to an Open Link button

  7. This will launch the Ubuntu Software app on your computer and load the Arc theme installation page. Click the Install button.
  8. the Software app with an arrow pointing to an Install button

  9. Once the installation has completed, open Gnome Tweaks again and enable the Arc theme inside of the Appearance panel.
  10. the Arc theme in Ubuntu Linux
    The Arc Theme in Ubuntu (click to enlarge)

Additional Ubuntu Theme Resources

My personal favorite Ubuntu/GTK/Gnome theme is WhiteSur. What can I say I’m a sucker for the macOS interface. WhiteSur still gets regular updates in 2021 and has a lot of customization options. In the screenshot below you’ll see the WhiteSur theme and WhiteSur icons with the WhiteSur wallpaper and Firefox and Dash to Dock have both been tweaked.

the WhiteSur theme in Ubuntu Linux
The WhiteSur Theme in Ubuntu (click to enlarge)

You may notice a number of themes have a different dock. Of course you should check with the theme documentation to see which one they recommend, but you’ll find a lot of the time it’s Dash to Dock – which happens to be my favorite and the one I use no matter which theme I’ve got loaded.

Dash to Dock in Linux
Dash Dock in Ubuntu (click to enlarge)

Gnome Look is the unofficial home to Gnome interface tweaks and eye-candy. They have themes, icons, wallpapers – all neatly organized with ratings and plenty of screenshots.

You can also use the Gnome Tweaks app to change your lock and login screen backgrounds.

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