How to Install GNOME Themes – Application Themes, Cursor Themes, Icon Themes, and Shell Themes

Hello everyone! Today I will be showing you how to install new GNOME themes.

Starting Off

The difference between shell themes, application themes, icon themes, and cursor themes is that application themes change the appearance of windows, shell themes change things like the notifications and the top panel, icon themes change application icons and folder icons, while cursor themes change how the cursor looks.

To install GNOME themes, you must install Gnome Tweaks. You can get it through the Ubuntu Software Center, or by installing it with the command line by using your package manager.

I’m using Ubuntu, which is a Debian distribution, so I’d run:

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

You also have to make sure gnome-shell-extensions is installed, too. To be sure, run:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

Once those are installed, open Gnome Tweaks.

Click on Extensions, and enable User Themes.

Getting Shell Themes and Application Themes

Getting an application theme is very similar to getting a shell theme. In fact, application themes usually come with a matching shell theme.

To get an application or shell theme, choose the directory you’d like to put your themes in. You can either put them in ~/.themes or /usr/share/themes. I like to put mine in ~/.themes.

Tip: To be able to see the folder in your file manager, press ctrl + h to view all hidden files.

You can search for themes online. I like to use a website called

When you find a theme you like, click the Download dropdown and choose your theme.

In this image, I’m downloading my favorite theme, Ant.

After extracting the theme folder to ~/.themes or /usr/share/themes, open GNOME Tweaks > Appearance. You might have to quit and reopen GNOME Tweaks.

You can now change your application theme by clicking on the dropdown menu.

To make the GNOME Shell match your application theme, change your shell theme to the same theme as your application theme.

If you see a warning sign next to shell themes, you haven’t installed gnome-shell-extensions.

Just run:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

For me, I had to quit and reopen GNOME Tweaks for the changes to take effect.

Tip: If your theme doesn’t take effect right away, press Alt+F2 (or FN+Alt+F2 if the first shortcut doesn’t work) and enter “r” into the box that shows up.

Installing an Icon Theme

Installing an Icon Theme is similar to installing an application theme, except that you have to extract the file to ~/.icons or /usr/share/icons.

Once you download your theme, extract it to your icons folder. When you open GNOME Tweaks, your newly installed icon theme should show up in the dropdown menu.

In the image above, I am using an icon theme called Sweet, because it looks really nice with the Ant theme I’m using.

Installing CUrsor Themes

To install a cursor theme, you can put the cursor theme in your ~/.icons folder, or /usr/share/icons.

After you install your cursor, it should appear in the cursor section.


If you add cool combinations of themes for your computer, you can get a really nice and unique look.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to put them in the comments section below.


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