This guide is for beginners who want to know how to install Gnome Shell themes under Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal). We will also explain how to install icon themes in Gnome 3.6 or above. This guide is about only gnome shell themes not GTK3 themes which are totally different.

1. Installing Gnome Shell & Gnome Tweak Tool

If you haven't already installed Gnome Shell on Ubuntu 12.10, then do with this command (currently v3.6.1):

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

To be able to manage gnome shell themes, icons, and extensions under Ubuntu, you need to install Gnome Tweak Tool. Here is the command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

Log out the current session and select "GNOME" from the session menu, then log back in to enable Gnome Shell:

2. Installing The User Theme Extension

To be able to install themes in Gnome Shell 3.6, we need to enable the User Theme extension. To do this, open this link and activate the extension:

Another pop-up window will show up, click Install:

Press now ALT + F2 and execute " " without quotes to reset Gnoms Shell. To make sure the user theme is well installed, open Gnome Tweak Tool and select the "Shell Extension" tab. In the right side of the window, see if the user theme is well enabled or not:

3. Installing Gnome Shell Themes and Icons

   1. Manual Installation of Themes and Icons

To install a theme manually for a single user, create a hidden folder named .themes in your home directory with this command:

mkdir -p ~/.themes

To access it via Nautilus, run this command:

nautilus ~/.themes

In this folder you can place all your gnome shell themes downloaded from the internet. You can find here many Gnome Shell 3.6 themes you can use on Ubuntu 12.10. For icon themes, create a hidden folder named .icons in your home directory with this command:

mkdir -p ~/.icons

Then access it with this command:

nautilus  ~/.icons

And place all your icon themes there.

   2. Automatic Installation of Themes and Icons

Automatic Installation of themes and icons is done via PPA. Installing a theme via PPA will place the theme folder in this location:


For icons, the PPA will install the icon theme in this folder:


3. Enabling Gnome Shell Themes And Icons

We will take as an example the Chrysalis12-04 gnome shell theme which can be downloaded from here. Extract the archive file and place the theme folder in the .themes folder located in your home directory (press CTRL+H to show hidden files or folders under Nautilus):

Open now Gnome Tweak Tool and select the Theme tab. In the "Shell theme" option, enable the theme we have just installed (Chrysalis12-04):

For changing system icons, place the icon theme folder in the ~/.icons folder, then enable it with Gnome Tweak Tool in Theme > Icon Theme. I hope you have found this tutorial useful.