The Best GTK Themes

It’s super-duper easy to try the new Adwaita theme in Ubuntu 19.04, and in this post we show you how.

Heck, you don’t even have to install the new Adwaita theme in Ubuntu 19.04 because it is included out-of-the-box, ready to roll, in the ‘Disco Dingo’.

So if Yaru isn’t quite your thing, and you’re on the hunt for an alternative, why not give the lean, clean, upstream GNOME theme a spin?

All you need is a working mouse (or touchpad) and a spare minute and you too can do a GTK switcharoo…

Try the New Adwaita Theme

adwaita refresh mockup
The new Adwaita theme is a top-to-toe refresh

Adwaita is the default theme of the GNOME Shell desktop. It is designed and tailored specifically for use with it (and some distributions, like Fedora, use them together).

It’s not new, having been around since the inception of GNOME 3 – but I’d recommend you forget any past dalliances with it.

“The new Adwaita theme benefits from a slate of conscious and considered design changes”

An improved version of the Adwaita GTK and icon theme was among new features in GNOME 3.32, released last month.

The entire theme benefits from a slate of conscious and considered design tweaks (just don’t say it looks a bit ‘macOS’-y), ranging from more consistent gradients and shadowing to rounder widget elements and more logical button colours.

Is it still a overly “padded” in places? Absolutely, but the spacing doesn’t stand seem to “stand out” as much as it used to (not for my eyes, anyway).

The stock look for many Linux distributions, including the increasingly popular Fedora, Adwaita is a solid, highly functional alternative to the Ubuntu Yaru theme.

new gnome gtk adwaita theme before and after screenshot
Top: old Adwaita; Bottom: New Adwaita

Adwaita Dark Also Available

If you’re a fan of dark themes on Linux you can also enable the Adwaita Dark theme variant. This will turn your Ubuntu desktop from bright and airy to dark and scary!

How to Switch GTK Theme in Ubuntu

Scratching your head trying to work out how to change GTK and icon theme in Ubuntu? If so, you’re not alone: it’s simply not obvious.

To switch GTK theme you’ll need to install the (frankly essential) ‘GNOME Tweaks’ tool, which is available to install using the Ubuntu Software app first.

If you followed our list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 19.04 you should have the app installed.

Either launch Ubuntu Software and search for the app by name, or, if you’re feeling lazy, hit the following button to open the relevant page in the app:

Install ‘GNOME Tweaks’ in Ubuntu 19.04

Click “Install” and enter your user-password when/if prompted. When the GNOME Tweaks tool is fully installed you can go ahead and launch it via the Applications grid.

GNOME tweaks
Change GTK & Icon Theme Using GNOME Tweaks

In GNOME Tweaks > Appearance click the drop-down menu next to “Applications” under the “Themes” sub-heading.

Select “Adwaita” (or “Adwaita Dark”) from the list of GTK themes.

The desktop theme will instantly change from Yaru to Adwaita, so you’ll be able to see if you like how it looks.

And try the Adwaita icon theme, too!

Since you’re sampling upstream as intended I also recommend giving the new GNOME icon set a spin alongside the improved GNOME GTK theme.

To choose a different icon set for your desktop you can use the GNOME Tweaks app again.

Go to GNOME Tweaks > Appearance, click the drop-down menu next to “Icons” and select “Adwaita” from the list.

You may notice a couple of icons (the Music folder, for instance) don’t switch to their shiny new Adwaita equivalents. So, for a fuller Adwaita experience on Ubuntu 19.04, install the following package (thanks Shiba in the comments):

sudo apt install adwaita-icon-theme-full

Remember: you can undo any of the theme changes above by repeating the listed steps and choosing the “Yaru” themes instead of “Adwaita”.

Let me know what you think of the improved Adwaita in the comments!

How To Themes adwaita Eye Candy GNOME 3.32 GTK Themes ubuntu 19.04