Table of Contents


The Appearance preference tool lets you configure various aspects of how your desktop looks.


GTK+ Theme Style

This tab controls the visual appearance of the toolkit (Gtk+) controls, such as buttons and menus. You can switch between themes by selecting them in the list. The colored rectangles to the left of the style names give a preview of the color combinations found in each style for things like window backgrounds, fonts and menu item highlights.

To install new themes, download a package from your distribution or from theme sites like When you download a theme tarball from a website, you can install it by dragging the file from the file manager and dropping it in the list of styles.


Icon Theme

This tab controls the visual appearance of icons which are shown in e.g. the panel, on the desktop, in the file manager and menus. Samples of several common icons are displayed next to the icon name so you can get a preview of how they will look and compare them to the same icons in other themes. You can choose a new icon theme by selecting it in the list.

As with Styles, you can install new icon themes simply by dropping an icon tarball onto the list. You can also install new themes using your distribution's package manager.

Icon Cache

GTK+ has a utility to pack all the icon theme icons into a single cache file. This single file can be memory-mapped so as to avoid a lot of disk seek overhead when loading icons. The file is shared between multiple applications, so the overall memory consumption is reduced as well.

For this to work, each icon theme directory containing an index.theme file, should also have an icon-theme.cache. Distributions will most likely generate this when installing a theme package, but for a custom theme, you'll have to create it yourself.

To generate a cache file for an icon-theme, run the following command in a terminal emulator:

gtk-update-icon-cache /path/to/theme/directory/

More information can be found in the gtk-update-icon-cache reference manual.


Font Settings

Default Font

The font selector shows the name of the current default font and its point size. To change the font, click the font selector button. The font picker dialog opens. Select the font Family, Style, and Size from the lists. The preview area shows your current choice. Click OK to accept and apply the changes.


xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Xft/Lcdfilter -n -t string -s lcddefaultlcdnonelcddefaultlcdlightlcdlegacyxrdb -query


In case you want to override the DPI (dots per inch) value calculated by the X-server, you can select the checkbox and use the spin box to specify the resolution to use when your screen renders fonts. Most of the time it is not necessary to modify the calculated DPI, but in some cases a high DPI results in sharper fonts.


Other Theme Settings

Toolbar Style

Choose one of the four options to specify what to display on the toolbars in your GTK-compliant applications. The example below shows Text under icons.

When using this feature, you will not be warned if you try to assign a shortcut which is currently in use by another menu item. If you do assign a pre-existing or default shortcut to another menu item, it will be removed from the previous item.

There is no way to globally restore the default keyboard shortcuts for an application if you have accidentally reassigned them. However, if you discover your mistake and know where the shortcut originally belonged, you can just reassign using this same procedure to the default location.

Event Sounds