GNOME Tweaks Hero

With GNOME being one of the most popular Linux desktop environments, it is to be expected that people would want to be able to make changes to how it behaves.

And while GNOME developers try to avoid showing many advanced settings by default, they still provide an app that lets you customize your desktop environment. This app is called GNOME Tweaks (formerly known as GNOME Tweak Tool), and it is not just a tool for changing various GNOME defaults but is also the central hub for customizing the desktop environment.

GNOME defaults

The first set of functionality that GNOME Tweaks provides is the ability to change various default settings.

The Desktop section of the app provides a more convenient user interface for changing wallpapers (which lets you just navigate the file system, instead of having to put your image files in one specific folder). Along with that, it also provides the ability to enable showing icons on the desktop – a feature that, while enabled in Ubuntu 17.10 by default, is typically disabled in a standard GNOME installation.

The Keyboard & Mouse section includes various advanced tweaks for the input methods (such as Emacs shortcuts and mouse acceleration profile customization), along with options for changing the Activities overview shortcut, a mouse cursor finder feature, the ability to disable middle-click paste and to change how the trackpad on laptops behaves while the user is typing.

The Windows section allows you to make changes to how windows behave when hovered over with the mouse pointer, and includes options for customizing title bars for applications, including showing and hiding minimize and maximize buttons and changing their placement.

Themes

Paper GTK theme

Image credit: WebUpd8

GNOME Tweaks also provides an interface for changing your theme. The Themes section will list every theme that is currently installed on your system. The process for installing new themes will be different depending on your Linux distribution. Most websites will provide instructions for multiple distributions, however. For example, the Google Material Design-inspired Paper theme provides installation instructions for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and even Arch Linux.

GNOME Light Theme vs Dark Theme

If you're not interested in changing your theme, you can always flip the Dark Theme switch and, provided your current theme supports it (which the default GNOME Adwaita theme does), enjoy a fresh new look for your desktop.

GNOME Extensions

The most interesting feature of GNOME Tweaks, though, is that it adds extensions support to the GNOME Shell.

GNOME Shell extensions allow you to change how your desktop works in various intricate ways, letting you transform the default GNOME desktop into something completely unrecognizable and add features such as a dock (in fact, the Ubuntu Dock is a GNOME Shell extension), or even a Windows-style taskbar.

The easiest way to install GNOME Shell extensions is to use the official website, which houses many extensions. To do that, you will need to install an extension for your web browser, and a special connector application for GNOME. The installation process is described in detail on the GNOME website, and will be slightly different depending on your browser and Linux distribution.

What do you think? Are you going to try to change your GNOME experience? Let us know in the comments below?