How to Install & Change Themes in Ubuntu 22.04 [Beginner’s Guide]

Last updated: May 17, 2022 — 10 Comments

Ubuntu 22.04 desktop looks really good today, but it’s always better to have choices! And, here is the beginner’s guide shows how to install themes and change the desktop panel, icons, app windows appearance.

Change Themes in Ubuntu 22.04

Ubuntu defaults to Yaru theme in light and dark mode, along with 10 different accent colors. There are a few others pre-installed in the system, and we usually use “Gnome Tweaks” to choose among them.

1.) Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run the command below to install ‘Gnome Tweaks’:

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

2.) Then, either press Windows/Super on keyboard or click “Activities” on top bar, and then search for and launch the configuration tool.

3.) By navigating to “Appearance” tab, you’ll see the options to change the themes for mouse cursor, icons, shell, sound, and legacy applications.

Since GNOME (Ubuntu’s default desktop environment) is preventing custom themes for GTK4 applications via libadwaita, the GTK theme option in Gnome Tweaks becomes “Legacy Applications“. Ubuntu 22.04 ships few GTK4 apps and avoids libadwaita, so the option works good so far.

Enable Shell theme selection box:

The Shell theme selection box that apply appearance of desktop panel, context menu and notifications, is grayed out by default. To enable it, you have to install “User Themes” extension.

Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run the command below to install extension manager app:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-manager

Next, click on the “Activities” on top bar, search for and open the tool:

Finally, install “User Themes” extension from the ‘Browser’ tab in Extension manager application:

After that, re-open Gnome Tweaks. It should allows to change “Shell” theme now in Appearance tab.

How to Install Themes in Ubuntu 22.04

There are many other themes available on the web, such as Some of them has installation script but some not.

1. To manually install a theme in Ubuntu & most other Linux, firstly open user home folder from the dock:

Firstly open user home folder

2. Press Ctrl+H on keyboard when file manager opens to view/hide hidden folders, and create the .themes and .icons folders if they are not exist:

  • .themes – use for GTK app themes and shell/desktop themes.
  • .icons – use for icon set.

3. Next, put your downloaded GTK themes and Gnome Shell themes into “.themes” folder. And, put icon themes into “.icons” folder.

A theme folder usually contents a few sub-folders as well as a ‘index.theme’ file. By putting it into the right location, Gnome Tweak will find it automatically and display as choice in selection box.

To install themes for all system user use, put these folders into “/usr/share/themes” and/or “/usr/share/icons“, though you need sudo user privilege to do the copy & paste things.


I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please comment to let me know if the tutorial is outdated! And, notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via Buy me a coffee:

10 responses to How to Install & Change Themes in Ubuntu 22.04 [Beginner’s Guide]

  1. Great tutorial bro.

  2. WHY does this theme stuff keep getting harder and harder. I found Mac4Lin_v1.0_RC1.tar.gz a theme I have been using for YEARS. Upgrade to Ubuntu Studio 22.04 replaced that theme with their defaults. I do not know how to get it back. CRAP

  3. trying my best on linux lite, which is based on ubuntu, but no joy, seems linux is getting harder to use, which is a shame. thanks for the tutorial, will keep trying.

  4. Unfortunately I do not have any of these options in either extension tool.

  5. This was just what I was looking for and it worked a treat
    I went into appearance and selected “Mojave Light” for the Applications and the Shell Options and my desktop changed in front of my eyes!

  6. Thanx for telling how to do this. I just finished creating a series of themes, trying to cover most desktop environments and a couple of window managers. I’ve got the latest Ubuntu on my flash drive right now and tried to test them, but couldn’t figure it out.

    This is because I personally prefer something lighter and am not all that familiar with GNOME (version 3 drove me away LOL), as I’m running Debian Stable with Xfce on my desktop box and with Openbox on my laptop.

  7. Why in hell is it supposed to be THAT hard? HOW are we supposed to switch from Windows to Linux and not be able to do SIMPLE things without IT certification?

    • There is a Linux distribution built on Ubuntu 22.04 that has everything 100% customizable from the welcome menu… Linux Mint.

      Linux Mint is a more user friendly version of Ubuntu, but is lags behind since the desktop environment is Cinnamon instead of the more advanced Gnome. This said, if you are coming from Windows, you’ll want Mint.

  8. Agree totally with the comments saying that ubuntu is getting harder to use. Personally I think it has been gradually devolving since version12.04.

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