Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tweaking Gnome

I gave Gnome themes a whirl, but ultimately decided that I like the default Gnome 3 desktop. Except for one thing: all windows are grey. The active window is grey with black text as the title, and inactive windows are a slightly different shade of grey with dark grey text as the title.

That's great and everything, but I do miss the blue title bars from Gnome 2.

Fortunately, there's a very straightforward way to change the title bars, or tweak other settings in Gnome: the appropriately-named Gnome Tweak Tool. If you don't have it already, it's easy enough to install via the usual method, or search for it as gnome-tweak-tool. It will show up in your Applications menu as "Tweak Advanced Settings".

Here's what is included in Gnome Tweak Tool:

  • Install and switch gnome-shell themes
  • Switch gtk/icon/cursor themes
  • Switch window manager themes
  • Change
    • The user-interface and titlebar fonts
    • Icons in menus and buttons
    • Behavior on laptop lid close
    • Shell font size
    • File manager desktop icons
    • Titlebar click action
    • Shell clock to show date
    • Font hinting and antialiasing

I was most interested in changing the window manager theme, so I clicked on "Windows". The default window theme is Adwaita, where everything is shades of grey. After a little experimenting, I decided on the "Glossy" theme, which gives me a nice blue title bar:

And that's it! I'm very happy to have blue title bars again, that seems to be all I needed as a visual reminder for which is my "active" window. Completely swapping out the Gnome theme is great, but I guess I only needed minor tweaks to what I already had.


  1. Could you continue this into a sort of series about tweaking GNOME 3? That would be a HUGE boon for the community, methinks.
    a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

  2. I agree with PV (and as it happens I also use Linux Mint).
    I'm planning to switch to Fedora 16 for a few weeks once it hits RC status, because I actually liked Gnome 3 and want to see what changes/improvements 3.2 brings.

  3. Sure, I could do more posts on tweaking Gnome.

    I'm also expecting to do a preview on the next Fedora when the Beta comes out. (I use Fedora, and like seeing what's next, so I'm going to be looking at it anyway.)


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