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Customize your GNOME 3 desktop looks

Customize your GNOME 3 desktop to look fabulous

Hello everybody! In this article, I am going to show to many ways ways to customize your GNOME 3 desktop. You are able to modify any Linux operating system desktop looks with Gnome 3 desktop environment. How ever in this tutorial I will be using Debian 9 Strecth. This doesn’t mean that you have to be using the exact same distribution, but some modifications in commands may have to be made for our customizations to work, or certain files may be in a different location. But you can use these instructions almost on any Linux distribution.

Getting started

  • The softwares you will need.
  • Gnome Tweak Tool
  • Terminal
  • Somekind of text editor, gedit is built in in GNOME.
  • File manager, you could use terminal also if you know how to

Everything else but the tweak tool is probably already on your machine, on Debian 9, also the tweak tool is already included.
If you’re not on Debian, or don’t have the tweak tool installed you can install it with the following command. Run it as root or sudo. See: Configure sudo on Debian
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

1. Customizing appearance or changing the whole GTK+ theme

Appearance image

To customize the appearance, open up Tweak tool and click on “appearance”. There you will be able to change GTK theme, icons and cursor looks or shell theme.
To install new GTK themes, you may find nice themes from this site.
When you have found a great GTK theme, you can either use the one click “OCS-install” button on site, or download theme extract it, and place to /usr/share/themes. You need to be root to modify this folder, run your file manager as root by typing sudo nautilus on terminal.

2. Customizing desktop, fonts and other little things

You can find a lot of other customization option from the Tweak tool. I am not going to explain them all because the Tweak tool is pretty much everything done by click. But as examples, you can modify

  • Fonts from window titles, interface, documents and monospace
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Some power options
  • Top Bar
  • Typing
  • Window behaviours
  • Workspaces

3. GNOME 3 Extensions

You can find a lot of useful extensions on this site.
Open the site with Firefox to make the one click install option work. Allow the “GNOME Shell integration” extension when you get there.
All of these extensions do not work because they are not updated. Search the ones that you think you need and try them personally.
I have installed and tested these extensions and found them useful.

  • Dash to dock, you can make yourself almost any kind of dock or panel. Access it’s settings from the Tweak tool -> Extensions -> Dash to dock. On the feature image, the application bar on bottom has been made with dash to dock.
  • Freon, shows temperatures of your CPU, Disks and the fan speed.
  • CPU Power manager, shows the current CPU frequency, and you can change to different modes.
  • Refresh WIFI connections, you can update the list of WIFI connections when choosing a new one.

4. Customize terminal

Customize terminal

Open up terminal and click edit -> Profile preferences to change your terminal colors, default size, fonts and other nice stuff.
If you like to add opacity to your terminal, you may find a Shell Extension to do that.

5. Changing the boot animation

Install plymouth and some themes for it along with all depencies.
sudo apt-get install plymouth plymouth-drm plymouth-themes

Modify grub to use splash
sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
Change the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet" to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
If you have only Linux installed to your computer, and don’t need other Grub menu items than start the operating system you can also set GRUB_TIMEOUT=5 to GRUB_TIMEOUT=0 if you don’t want to waste 5 seconds of your life looking at grub menu or press enter to hurt your finger by pressing enter.

Then you need to update grub. Run the following command to do that.
sudo update-grub2

Display all available themes with next command.
sudo /usr/sbin/plymouth-set-default-theme --list
And then set the theme you would like to use.
sudo /usr/sbin/plymouth-set-default-theme YOUR_THEME_NAME_HERE
Update the changes you just made.
sudo update-initramfs -u

If you get an error, it means you might not have the correct firmware for your graphic card. You can try this to fix the error.
sudo apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree
And then just try to make the update command again.

Now reboot your machine and test it!

Final words

Thanks for reading my post, hopefully you’ve found it useful, you have just learned a bunch of ways to customize GNOME 3. Please feel free to comment below to ask me something or just say your opinion!:) Also remember to follow me on Social Medias, you can find links on the right top corner of this site.

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