If you don't like the size of icons displayed in Gnome Shell, which I think are over large, you can resize them by editing the gnome-shell.css file. In this guide we will show you how to resize Gnome Shell icons under Ubuntu 11.10, but this is also applicable on other Gnome 3 distributions.

Getting Started

1. Open the terminal and create first a backup copy of the gnome-shell.css file with this command:

sudo cp /usr/share/gnome-shell/theme/gnome-shell.css /usr/share/gnome-shell/theme/gnome-shell.css.bak

2. Now edit this file with this command:

sudo gedit /usr/share/gnome-shell/theme/gnome-shell.css

3. Under Apps:

/* Apps */
.icon-grid {
    spacing: 36px;
    -shell-grid-item-size: 118px;

.icon-grid .overview-icon {
    icon-size: 96px;

Change spacing, shell-grid-item-size, and icon-size values to whatever you like, then save your file and exit. Log out and log back in; then open Gnome Shell to see the difference.

After making changes, here is how Gnome Shell icons look before and after:

That's it!

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