Customizing Zorin OS
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Customize Your Zorin OS With This Gorgeous Dark Theme

Zorin OS is a beautiful distro and heavily customized out of the box. But we can do some tweaks, and customize Zorin OS even further with this Skeuos GTK Theme.

Zorin OS is a Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. It’s a beautiful and easy-to-use operating system. Zorin OS is heavily customized to help Windows and Mac users to switch to Linux. It uses GNOME 3 and XFCE desktop environments as default.

Zorin OS 16 Pro has both desktop environments where the Core version uses GNOME 3 and the Lite version uses XFCE. In this tutorial, I will be customizing Zorin OS 16 Core with the Skeuos GTK theme. You can do this customization on any GNOME desktop. As long as you have GNOME Shell 3.36 or above.

Zorin OS 16 Core is a customized version of GNOME. But we have some headroom here to customize it even further. We will not only use the Skeuos GTK theme here but also use some extensions, icon packs, font, and cursors to make our desktop environment clean and functional.

Prerequisites

Before we step forward, we need the tools below.

  • GNOME Tweaks
  • GNOME Shell Integration Browser Extension

Install GNOME Tweaks

GNOME-Tweaks-Logo

GNOME desktop does not offer much customization out of the box. We need some third-party tools to customize it. This is where GNOME Tweaks comes in handy. GNOME Tweaks allows customizing the GNOME Shell, Application theme, Cursor, Icons, Sound, Window Titlebars, Windows behavior, Workspaces, and many more.

You can also change the Fonts and manage GNOME extensions within the app. GNOME Tweaks is the heart of GNOME customizations.

GNOME Tweaks is part of the Universe repository in Ubuntu. As Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu, you need to enable the Universe repository. To enable the Universe repository, open the Software Center, click on the three vertical dots, and click on Software & Updates.

Check if the Community-maintained free and open-source software (universe) is active. If not, check the box and close.

Now you can install GNOME Tweaks from the Software Center or the terminal. To install from Software Center, open the Software app and search for GNOME Tweaks. Click on tweaks and install it.

You can also use the command line to install it. Open the terminal and type the command below.

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Install GNOME Shell Integration

GNOME Shell Integration is a browser extension to install various GNOME extensions from extensions.gnome.org. This site provides various extensions to customize the GNOME desktop. To install the browser extension, you need to go to the website. There you will see a message on top to install the extension.

Gnome Extensions Homepage

Click on the “Click here to install browser extension” link. If you use Firefox, it will ask you to Continue to Installation to add the extension. If you use Chrome, clicking the link will open up the Chrome Web Store. There you can install the extension to Chrome.

Installing Gnome Browser Extension Firefox

Zorin OS Customization With Skeuos GTK Theme

The Skeuos GTK is a top-rated GTK theme developed by DяA/daniruiz. This theme has 13 color variants and each color variant has a light and dark mode. Today I am going to use the dark mode of the blue variant for this Zorin OS customization. This color looks great and nicely blends with the cursor and icons.

First, we need to download the theme from this link. Go to the Files tab and download the “01-Skeuos-Blue_*.tar.xz” file.

Installing Skeuos GTK Theme- Step 1

Extract the file and find the “Skeuos-Blue-Dark” folder. Copy it and paste it into the “.themes” folder on your Home directory. If this folder is not available, create it. This is a hidden folder, so you need to enable “Show Hidden Files” from the Files menu.

Installing Skeuos GTK Theme- Step 2

Now run GNOME Tweaks. Go to Appearance and select Applications theme to “Skeuos-Blue-Dark“. This will change the default theme for all the applications.

Installing Skeuos GTK Theme- Step 3

Zorin OS 16 Core comes with the User Theme GNOME extension pre-installed. So we don’t need to install it. Zorin OS has issues with third-party shell themes. They don’t work well in the Zorin session so we stick to Zorin’s default shell theme. Now change the Shell theme to “ZorinGray-Dark“.

Installing Skeuos GTK Theme- Step 4

Installing Flat Remix Icon Pack

Now we are going to install the Flat-Remix icon pack also developed by DяA/daniruiz. It has 12 color variants and each has both light and dark modes. In this particular customization, we will be using the blue dark mode.

First, go to this link and download the “01-Flat-Remix-Blue_*.tar.xz” package.

Installing Flat Remix Icon Pack - Step 1

Extract the package and find the “Flat-Remix-Blue-Dark” folder. Copy it and paste it into the “.icons” folder on your Home directory. If this folder is not available, create it. This is a hidden folder, so you need to enable “Show Hidden Files” from the Files menu.

Installing Flat Remix Icon Pack - Step 2

Now run GNOME Tweaks. Go to Appearance and select Icons theme to “Flat-Remix-Blue-Dark“. This will change the icon pack of your system.

Installing Flat Remix Icon Pack - Step 3

Installing Oreo Cursors

As you can see, I am using the blue color scheme for customizing Zorin OS throughout this whole process. I have decided to go with a cursor pack that has a blue color variant. So my pick here is the Oreo Cursors pack. You can choose any cursor pack you want as it is a completely personal preference. In my case, it stands out pretty well.

First, you need to go to this link and download the “oreo_blue_cursors.tar.gz” package.

Installing Oreo Cursor - Step 1

Extract the package and copy it to the “.icons” folder on your Home directory that we have created earlier.

Installing Oreo Cursor - Step 2

Open GNOME Tweaks and change the Cursor pack to “oreo_blue_cursors“.

Installing Oreo Cursor - Step 3

This will change the default cursor of your system.

Installing Font

This part is optional. But you can use this font if you want. I will be using Microsoft’s proprietary font named Segoe UI. I will not encourage you to use this font, but if you want to, use it at your own risk.

To install the font, we need to download the font from this link and extract the zip package.

Extract The Font Package

open up the font file. Install it by clicking the Install button.

Installing The Font

Now, run GNOME Tweaks. Go to Fonts and change these fonts to Segoe UI.

Changing The Fonts

Search for “Segoe“, select “Segoe UI Regular“, and set the font size to 10.

Search The Font And Select Font Size

These three fonts change the default font systemwide.

Font Selection Complete

Customizing Zorin OS Taskbar

I am going to change the Zorin Taskbar to give it a modern look. By default, Zorin OS 16 gives you four types of different layouts and none of them are matching the aesthetics of this customization. So, we need to change it to accomplish our goal.

First, we need to configure the Zorin Taskbar. Right-click on the taskbar and select Taskbar Settings.

On the Style tab, change the Panel Size to 40px. Turn off Panel Intellihide and Override panel theme background opacity if turned on.

Customizing The Zorin Taskbar - Step 1

Go to the Position tab and set everything as shown in this picture. You can change the order by clicking the up and down buttons and toggling the Visible button will change the visibility of that control.

Customizing The Zorin Taskbar - Step 2

The Behavior and Action tab will remain unchanged.

Installing Some GNOME Extensions

We are at the final stage of customizing Zorin OS. Now, I am going to install some GNOME extensions to make the Zorin Taskbar more functional and give the desktop a wow factor. I will be using three extensions for this purpose.

  • ArcMenu
  • Compiz alike magic lamp effect
  • Internet Speed Monitor

Zorin has many built-in extensions that we need to take care of. But for now, let’s go install these three extensions.

Go to extensions.gnome.org website and search for “ArcMenu“.

Click on “ArcMenu“. Now toggle the On/Off button at to top right. It will ask you to install the extension. Click the Install button to install the extension.

Installing ArcMenu

Now, go back to the homepage and search for “Magic Lamp“.

Click on “Compiz alike magic lamp effect“, toggle the On/Off button and install the extension.

Installing Compiz alike magic lamp effect

Finally, go back to the homepage and search for “Internet Speed Monitor“. Toggle the On/Off button and install the extension.

Installing Internet Speed Monitor

Configuring The Extensions

Open the Zorin Start Menu and search for “Extensions“.

Open the app and you will see every GNOME extension installed on the system.

Gnome Extension List

Turn off the following extensions.

  • X11 Gestures (If you are on a laptop don’t turn it off)
  • Zorin Menu
  • Zorin Printers (If you use a printer keep it turned on)

Turning off the Zorin Menu will disable Zorin’s default Start Menu or Application Menu. We will be using ArcMenu instead.

Now, go back to the top of the extension list. Click the gear icon of ArcMenu to open up the ArcMenu Settings. Configure the ArcMenu as shown in the following images. As we have disabled the Center Box in the Zorin Taskbar settings, the ArcMenu button is not visible in the taskbar. We will be using Custom Hotkey to access ArcMenu.

Configuring ArcMenu - Step 1

Choose ArcMenu layout. Go to Modern Menu Layouts and select tognee.

Configuring ArcMenu - Step 2

Now enter into tognee settings under Current Menu Layout. Set Default Screen to All Programs and Searchbar Location to Top.

Configuring ArcMenu - Step 3

Now go back to the main page and select Customize Menu. Setup the menu as shown in these images. Hit apply after changing the values on each page.

Configuring ArcMenu - Step 4

Configuring ArcMenu - Step 5

Configuring ArcMenu - Step 6

Our Arcmenu is ready to use. Now close the ArcMenu Settings and go back to the Extension list.

Click the gear icon of Internet Speed Monitor to open up the Settings. Turn off “Show the extension on the left side“. Close the window and turn off and on the extension to see the change.

Configuring Internet Speed Monitor

Final Verdict

The whole customization process is best suitable for 1080p displays. If you have a lower or higher resolution display, then you may need to change certain things according to your needs. You may need to change the Zorin Panel size, Zorin Taskbar Icon size, font sizes, ArcMenu size, and fractional scaling if you have a super high-resolution display. But if you are on a 1080p display then you are good to go.

If you like this customization, don’t forget to share this with your close one. Maybe sharing this on social media will be great. It will help me get motivated to write Linux blogs. If you have any questions or you are facing issues while customizing Zorin OS, feel free to ask me in the comment section. I will surely try to help you out. Until then, have a great day.

Published by MUHAMMAD SAFAYAT

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A general user who loves to play with Linux. He is a lazy person and spends most of his time watching Youtube videos. But He is passionate about Linux and FOSS (Free and Open-source Software). He tries different Linux distributions and open-source software to give his opinion and also share knowledge.

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