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Gnome Tweak Tool

If you've been following the Gnome Shell development, you probably know that it doesn't provide a GUI tool to tweak some basic settings like changing the GTK, Gnome Shell theme or icon theme, re-enable the minimize and maximize buttons, and so on.

For this reason, John Stowers has created "Gnome Tweak Tool", a 'power user' application you can use to tweak Gnome 3. But I think this tool will become very popular for any Gnome 3 user and not just power users considering how useful it already is. Read on!


  • enable disable menu and button icons
  • change GTK and icon theme
  • define the titlebar double click, middle click and right click actions
  • tweak the fonts: change the default font for document, desktop and so on, change the hinting, antialiasing and text scaling factor
  • Gnome Shell tweaks: show date in clock, re-enable the minimize and maximize (or just minimize) window buttons
  • Install and switch Gnome Shell theme (this option requires you install a Gnome Shell extension called "User Theme")
  • change action for laptop lid close on battery and AC
  • allow file manager to handle desktop and draw the desktop


Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tool

While the application is still very new, as you can see it already can handle most stuff the old Gnome 2.3x used to allow and even more. For instance, the option to display icons in menus and buttons was removed in Gnome 2.28 (I'm not sure if that's when this change was introduced, but it was definetly not there in 2.28) but you can easily enable this using Gnome Tweak Tool.

Another much requested feature was an easy way to change the Gnome Shell theme - this is different then the GTK theme because the GTK theme only changes the application look but doesn't affect Gnome Shell (workspace switcher, Dash, top panel). Thanks to the 'User Theme' Gnome Shell extension and Gnome Tweak Tool, you'll no longer have to manually replace system files to apply a new Gnome Shell theme. Unfortunately because I've tested Gnome Tweak Tool on a Live CD, I couldn't install the 'User Theme' extension so I was unable to test this feature (and while I've compiled the latest Gnome Shell in Ubuntu today, unfortunately a bug in GS 3.0.0 prevents the extensions from working).

In the future, the application might also allow easily enabling / disabling Gnome Shell extensions but we'll cover that in a future post.


Gnome Tweak Tool doesn't come with Gnome 3, but is available @ git.gnome.org. If you've installed GNOME 3 via the semi-official GNOME3 Ubuntu 11.04 PPA, you can install GNOME Tweak Tool using the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

GNOME Tweak Tool is also available in the Fedora 15 official repositories - install it using the command below:
su -c 'yum install gnome-tweak-tool'

What do you think?

Thanks to John Stowers for the tip!