8 Simple Tips To Customize Your Ubuntu Desktop Like A Pro

Ubuntu is a popular operating system known for its open-source nature, attractive user interface, and a wide array of customization options. Whether you’re a Linux enthusiast or just getting started with Ubuntu, customizing your desktop can be a great way to get the most out of the OS. Windows Operating System has very limited customization options whereas Linux brings customization to the next level.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 8 Ubuntu customizations to make it truly yours.

Options To Customize Ubuntu Desktop

Ubuntu Logo

Gnome is the default Ubuntu desktop environment. If you download the default Ubuntu 22.04 LTS or any previous version like Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, you will find Gnome as the default desktop environment. You can use these methods to customize Gnome on any Linux distribution.

From changing up the wallpaper to adding panel launchers, there are plenty of options available for those looking to personalize their Ubuntu experience. I’ll start by discussing how to change your background and move on to more advanced topics like installing custom themes and icons.

I’ll also go over creating app launchers and setting hotkeys for quick access to frequently used applications. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information needed to create an Ubuntu system that’s uniquely yours. So let’s get started!

Change The Wallpaper With Shotwell

Shotwell Logo

Changing the wallpaper is a great way to add a personal touch to your computer. With Shotwell, you can easily choose from a variety of beautiful photographs or images that can be used as your new desktop background.

You can also make adjustments to the photo, such as cropping, resizing, and adding text or other elements. Once you’ve chosen an image and made any desired adjustments, you can save it as your new desktop wallpaper. You can also choose multiple wallpapers and set a timer to change the wallpaper.

This process is simple and only takes a few minutes to complete. With Shotwell, you can quickly configure the look of your computer with beautiful background images that reflect your style and personality.

You can install Shotwell using the following command in the terminal.

sudo apt install shotwell

Gnome Shell Extensions

Gnome Logo

Gnome Shell Extensions are an amazing way to optimize Ubuntu to suit your needs. With these extensions, you can change the look and feel of your desktop, add new features and functionality, and extend the capabilities of existing applications.

You can choose from hundreds of extensions, from themes and icons to window management tools and productivity utilities. These extensions can help you to easily create a tailored Ubuntu experience that is truly yours.

Plus, since most Gnome shell extensions are open-source and free to use, they provide an easy way of customization for free. Whether you’re looking for new functionality or just want to make your workflow more efficient, Gnome shell extensions help you to get the most out of your Ubuntu experience.

You can find many extensions on the extensions.gnome.org website. You can install these Extensions on any Linux Distribution running Gnome DE including Ubuntu. The following extensions are my top pick. These will give extra features and desktop effects.


Extensions Description
User Themes Change the shell theme.
Removable Drive Menu Safely remove external drives from the taskbar.
AppIndicator and KStatusNotifierItem Support System tray support for various apps.
Clipboard Indicator Show the clipboard in the taskbar.
Sound Input & Output Device Chooser Change the sound input and output device from the panel.
OpenWeather Display weather information for any location on Earth in the panel.
Caffeine Disable the screensaver and auto-suspend.
Lock Keys Numlock and Capslock status on the panel.
Compiz alike magic lamp effect Wobbly effect on windows.
ArcMenu Application menu with various options.
Dash to Dock A dock for the Gnome shell. Add more options to the Ubuntu dock.
Dash to Panel Combine the dock and the panel into one.
Dash to Plank GNOME Shell integration for Plank.
Improved Workspace Indicator Shows both current and in-use workspaces.
Net Speed Simplified Shows network upload and download speeds in the top bar.
Blur My Shell Adds blur effect in the GNOME Shell.
Burn my windows Adds different window effects.
Vitals Monitor your system resource in the top bar.

Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweaks is an incredibly powerful tool for personalizing the Gnome desktop environment. With it, you can customize every aspect of your Ubuntu. You can change the look and feel of the desktop to the functionality and features of the applications.

It provides a simple interface for changing settings such as window management, fonts, themes, top bar, extensions, and more. Additionally, users can install additional Gnome extensions like menus and docks to improve their user experience further.

The flexibility and power of Gnome Tweaks make it an essential application for anyone looking to personalize their Ubuntu.

You can install Gnome Tweaks using the following command. Open the terminal, and copy and paste the following command.

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Change the Desktop Theme

Themes are a great way to personalize Ubuntu. You can easily find and install themes from websites like Gnome-look.org. Themes are collections of artwork that will change the look of your desktop and windows, giving you more control over how your system looks and feels.

You can apply various light themes and dark themes that can change the default appearance of the Ubuntu desktop.

I have written an article: Top 10 Best GTK Themes For Linux You Should Try. Here you will find 10 of the most beautiful GTK themes for Linux. I have tested these themes and they are amazing.

Once installed, you can apply these themes to give Ubuntu a complete makeover, or just tweak a few elements to get the perfect look for you. With so many options available, it’s easy to find the perfect theme for any taste.

You can download amazing themes from the Gnome Look website.

To change the default theme, open Gnome Tweaks.

Go to Appearance and change the Applications theme. If you want to change the Shell theme, you need the User Themes Gnome extension installed.

Gnome Tewak Tool Appearance Tab Applications and Shell Theme

New Icons and Fonts To Customize The Desktop Environment

Icons and Fonts can give your Ubuntu a new look. Icons can add a personalized touch to the desktop, with custom graphics and designs that match your style. Fonts also provide a way to set the mood of the desktop – from modern, sleek typefaces to more classic, traditional styles.

With new desktop icons and fonts, you can create an atmosphere that is both visually pleasing and practical. Both items are easy to find online, or you can even create your own if you feel creative.

You can download amazing icon packs from the Gnome Look website.

To change the icon pack, open Gnome Tweaks.

Go to Appearance and change the Icons.

Gnome Tewak Tool Appearance Tab Icons Theme

You can change the system fonts in Gnome Tweaks. Open Gnome Tweaks and go to the Fonts tab to change system fonts.

Gnome Tweak Tool Fonts Tab

New Cursor Theme

Cursor themes can really change the look and feel of a desktop. You can change your cursor’s shape, size, and color and give your Ubuntu a new look. You can make your computer stand out from the rest with just a few clicks. You can find hundreds of different cursor themes online that are free to download.

Cursor themes help you personalize your desktop experience while also making it easier to navigate through Windows and applications. Whether you choose a classic design or a more modern colorful one, customizing your Ubuntu desktop with a unique cursor theme will give it the perfect finishing touch.

You can download amazing cursor icon packs from the Gnome Look website.

To change the cursor pack, open Gnome Tweaks.

Go to Appearance and change the Cursor.

Gnome Tewak Tool Appearance Tab Cursor Theme

Custom Docks

A Dock can optimize the user experience on a Linux system. It provides a graphical interface for easy access to all the applications, tools, and settings you need. It also helps keep everything organized and saves space by allowing you to quickly switch between different programs.

Additionally, docks allow users to personalize their desktop environment with unique themes and designs that can be changed. With docks, Linux users can easily access their favorite applications in a single click while freeing up valuable space on their desktops or laptops.

There are many different docks available for Linux. But I prefer these three down below.

Cairo Dock

Cairo Dock Logo

Cairo Dock is an open-source dock application for Linux. It provides a modern, attractive, and highly customizable environment for managing applications, files, and other resources. It includes several applets such as a weather report, calendar, system monitoring, clock, and more.

Its ability to integrate with popular desktop environments like KDE or GNOME makes it a great choice for customizing your desktop. It also features an extensive library of themes and plugins that you can use to further customize its look and feel.

sudo apt install cairo-dock

Latte Dock

Latte Dock Logo

Latte Dock is a unique and powerful open-source application for Linux. It provides an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that allows users to quickly access their most commonly used applications and files. With the help of Latte Dock, users can efficiently organize their workspace, saving time when looking for specific items.

Moreover, thanks to its customizability options, users are free to adjust the size and look of icons, dock position as well as many other settings according to their preferences. Furthermore, Latte Dock supports multiple monitors and features several plugins for enhanced functionality. As a result, it’s become one of the most popular docks in Linux.

sudo apt install latte-dock


Plank Dock Logo

Plank is an open-source application for Linux. It provides a simple and intuitive way to access your applications, files, and folders quickly and easily. Plank is also highly customizable with themes, icons, font sizes, and more. It supports multiple monitors and works well with many desktop environments such as Gnome, Unity, XFCE, Cinnamon, etc.

With its sleek design and smooth animations, Plank makes it easy to find what you are looking for. You can even drag and drop items onto the dock for easy access.

sudo apt install plank

Custom Shortcuts

Custom shortcuts are a great way to speed up your workflow and save time. They can be used for any program or application, allowing you to quickly navigate through menus, open files, and access settings. With custom shortcuts, you can create unique keyboard combinations that will be easy to remember and execute.

You can also customize the keystroke combination to fit your needs or preferences. For example, if you need to open a specific window frequently, you can create a shortcut that will open the window with one keystroke. Custom shortcuts can also be used to launch programs quickly.

By setting up custom shortcuts, you can easily switch between applications or tasks without having to search around for the right menu option or command. Custom shortcuts are an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to make their work more efficient and productive.

To set up Custom Shortcuts, open the Settings app, click on the Keyboard tab, scroll down and find Keyboard Shortcuts.

Ubuntu Custom Shortcuts Settings


Customization is one of the biggest features of Linux that other operating systems lack. I have discussed the Top 8 Ways To Customize Ubuntu. But these are not the only ways for Linux. You can do whatever you want in Linux.

As Gnome is the most popular Linux Desktop Environment and Ubuntu uses it by default, I used it to demonstrate. You can also customize the Cinnamon desktop, KDE Plasma desktop, LXQT desktop, Pantheon desktop, Budgie desktop, and Xfce desktop environments in the same ways with some exceptions.

I hope you have learned how to customize Ubuntu/Gnome desktop. You can refresh your desktop to look and feel the way you want at any time. If you have any questions or facing any issues, don’t forget to ask me in the comment section below. I will be very happy to guide you. Have a great day!

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