Archives For November 30, 1999

This simple tutorial shows how to turn your photos as desktop slideshow by manually creating XML file in Ubuntu 20.04 and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

If you’re just looking for an automatic wallpaper changing software, here are four other choices.

In Ubuntu with the default GNOME desktop, user may turn photos into wallpaper slideshow by creating a XML file, then select it at any time in the Background settings.

XML slideshows in Background settings are displayed with a small clock emblem in the lower-right corner of the preview. (See the red rectangle area in the picture)

NOTE: In Ubuntu 22.04, changing wallpaper or slideshow only applies in current color scheme. Switching to Light or Dark mode, also changes the wallpaper setting.

Step 1: Create & Edit XML file for slideshow:

First of all, you have to create a XML and write the rules for which photos to display as slideshow, how long they will be displayed, and the transition orders.

1. Create XML file

You can create the XML files in anywhere of your user folder. Though it recommends for software developers to put them in ‘~/.local/share/backgrounds‘ folder.

Here I created a sub-folder called ‘slideshows‘ under my Pictures folder. Then, create an empty document and re-name it as .xml file.

Create a XML file

2. Edit XML write the rules:

After created the file, open it with your favorite text editor and write something look like:

<?xml version="1.0" ?>

The file content is easy to read. It starts with <?xml version=”1.0″ ?>, then follows with a <background></background> node.

With in <background> node, you can add as many <static></static> and <transition></transition> nodes as you can depends on number of wallpaper files.

While the <static> node contains display time (in seconds) and path to the picture file, the <transition> contains transition time and from to file paths.

The XML slideshow file (pic is edited for easy reading)

TIP: You may drag and drop your photo files into Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) or web browser’s URL bar to get the file path quickly!

Step 2: Make the XML slideshow visible in Background settings

After created a XML file, you have to create another one to make it visible in system settings utility.

1. First, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open a terminal window. When it opens, run command to create the local background properties directory:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/gnome-background-properties

Then open that directory in file manager by running command:

nautilus ~/.local/share/gnome-background-properties

Create and open background properties folder

2. When the folder opens, create empty file and rename it to a .xml file with whatever filename as you want.

Create another XML in background properties folder

3. Finally open the new created XML file and paste following lines:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE wallpapers SYSTEM "gnome-wp-list.dtd">
    <name>Ji's slideshow</name>

Here type whatever name within <name></name> node, and set the full path to the previous created XML with <filename></filename> node.

Apply the previous created XML slideshow

After saving the file, open or re-open ‘Background’ settings, you should see the new created background slideshow.


In short, you can create a XML file in anywhere of user folder, write the rules to specify which photos to display, how long they will persist, and the transition order. Then, create another XML file in background properties directory to make the slideshow visible in ‘Background’ settings dialog.

In theory, the XML should work on all GNOME based Linux, e.g., Fedora Workstation, though I only tested it in Ubuntu 20.04 and Ubuntu 22.04.

gnome shell

Want to create desktop wallpaper slideshow in Ubuntu 20.04 so it changes background wallpaper automatically with your photo images and given time interval?

This quick tip is going to show you how to easily setup a custom desktop slideshow without installing anything, though there are a few applications can do the job (e.g., wallch which is available in software center).

1. First open the pre-installed shotwell photo manager from system application menu.

2. Then import your photo images via menu File > Import From Folder.

3. Then you can easily set a custom desktop slideshow via:

  • choose a selection of (Ctrl+click or Shift+click) or all photos (Ctrl+A).
  • go to menu File > Set as Desktop Slideshow

4. In next pop-up, set time interval, and click OK.

The desktop slideshow starts immediately and also automatically in next boot, until you change background wallpaper via System Settings > Background.

Looking for how to create desktop slideshow in Ubuntu 18.04? Here I’ll show you some best wallpaper changing software for Ubuntu Linux.

1. Shotwell

For just the basic automatic wallpaper changing feature, you don’t need to install any software.

Just launch the pre-installed Shotwell photo manager, choose the pictures you need (you may need to import them first), then go to Files -> Set as Desktop Slideshow.

Finally set the time interval in next dialog and done!

2. Wallch

Wallch was my favorite wallpaper changing software though it’s not under active development. Besides changing local wallpapers, Wallch also features:

  • Display live earth as desktop background.
  • Download and display picture of the day (wikipedia).
  • Wallpaper clocks
  • Live website as desktop background.

Wallch can be easily installed in Ubuntu Software:

3. Variety

Variety is an open-source wallpaper changer that use local images or automatically download wallpapers from Unsplash and other online sources, allows you to rotate them on a regular interval, and provides easy ways to separate the great images from the junk. Variety can also display wise and funny quotations or a nice digital clock on the desktop.

Variety can be easily installed in Ubuntu Software. For the latest release, go to Variety website.

4. Wallpaper Downloader

This is a wallpaper downloading software that automatically downloads pictures from Devianart, Bing daily wallpaper,, etc., with given keywords, resolution, time interval. And of course, it provides ability to change wallpaper every x minute.

Wallpaper Downloader can be installed easily in Ubuntu Software.

These are the applications that I’ve ever used to create desktop slideshows in Ubuntu desktop.

If you know any other great wallpaper changing software, feel free to tell me in the comment.

Pictoric is a simple utility for Ubuntu Unity to create a desktop slideshow out of the directory of your choice that contains either .jpg/.jpeg or .png files for a given time interval that you choose. Your desktop slideshow will then be initiated and saved to be ready to go for subsequent logins.

pictoric desktop slideshow ubuntu

Just simple and efficient! To install it in Ubuntu, download and double-click to install the DEB via pop-up Ubuntu Software Center.

Download Pictoric in Launchpad

You can also install this app from the PPA. Press Ctrl+Alt+T to open terminal, then run below commands one by one:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:glacier-apps/pictoric
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pictoric

Once installed, you can open it from Unity Dash or in System Settings window.