How To Install Themes And Icons In Elementary OS Freya

How to install new themes in Elementary OS Freya

Continuing my journey with Elementary OS Freya, today, I’ll show you how to install themes in Elementary OS Freya.

Elementary OS is already known for its looks. And the default Elementary OS themes is quite beautiful itself. But this doesn’t mean that you are just limited to the default Elementary OS theme. Themes and icon themes give a complete makeover to the looks of the system. If you are an experienced user, you probably already know how to do it. For the beginners, it would be helpful to know how to install new themes and icons in Elementary OS Freya.

Install themes and icons in Elementary OS Freya

Similar to the way you install themes in Ubuntu, you have two ways to install themes in Elementary OS Freya as well.

  1. Install the new theme via PPA
  2. Download the theme and extract it to ~/.icons directory for icon themes and to ~/.themes directory for themes

If ~/.icons and ~/.themes directories do not exist, you can create them by using the following commands in terminal:

mkdir ~/.icons
mkdir ~/.themes

To see how to install the themes or icon themes via PPA, we will use awesome Numix icon themes as example.

Install Numix theme in Elementary OS Freya

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:numix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install numix-icon-theme-circle

Now when we have seen how to install the themes, it’s time to see how to change the themes.

Change themes in Elementary OS Freya

To change the themes or icons, we need to install Elementary Tweaks in Elementary OS Freya. It’s not that only Elementary OS has to use a dedicated tweak app for installing a theme. Ubuntu Unity has Unity Tweak Tool, GNOME has Gnome Tweak Tool, Mate has Mate Tweak Tool. To install Elementary Tweaks, use the following commands in terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks

Once Elementary Tweak has been installed, go to Applications->System Settings:

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System Settings Elementary OS Freya

In the System Settings, you should see a new option Tweaks now. Click on it.

Using Elementary Tweaks

Under Appearance, you will see the option to change the themes and icons. When you click on it, it’ll show you all the theme or icons available.

change themes in Elementary OS Freya

Changes will be reflected immediately. No need for a reboot. Unlike changing themes in GNOME Shell, changing themes in Elementary OS is pretty simple. And here is screenshot of my Elementary OS Freya desktop with Numix icon themes.

Numix theme in Elementary OS Freya


So, that concludes our quick tutorial on installing themes in Elementary OS Freya. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, if you have any.

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Ashtag Gaming

When I type sudo apt-get install numix-icon-theme-circle

It says
E: Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock - open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)

E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/), is another process using it?

May be you were installing another software at same time.

OK... but I can't unzip theme to the /themes folder, because "I have no access to do so"


the directory should be ~/.themes and not /themes

~ signifies Home directory while as "/" means root. And do note the dot before the directory name.

Thank you! I did it!