General Question

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

How do you replace or modify an application's icon in Ubuntu Linux, running GTK2 and Gnome?

Asked by RedMosquitoMM (531 points ) February 5th, 2010

I’m using the default Humanity theme in 9.10 and my only complaint is with the Abiword icon – so I don’t want to switch to another icon theme altogether. Is there a way to modify just that application or modify Humanity to use a different svg or png icon?

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9 Answers

Vincentt's avatar

I thought the icon would have to be in /usr/share/icons/Humanity/apps/ or something like that, but apparently it isn’t. However, there is an Abiword icon in /usr/share/pixmaps, so you should be able to replace that with one of your own choice, but I think you could also drop yours in /usr/share/icons/Humanity/apps (and then in the folder for the correct sizes).

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

Just putting the svg in the Humanity folder doesn’t cut it because Humanity is the default system theme, and isn’t stored the same way as post-install user-added themes. In other words, any theme that gets updated via PPA or Synaptic seems pretty challenging to get at and modify. I’ll try the pixmaps route but any and all info is helpful. Thanks!

(btw, you seem to be my go-to Linux info source)

Vincentt's avatar

As far as I can see it, installing from a package results in the same thing (for these purposes) as just dropping a theme folder in /usr/share/icons (though you might normally drop it in ~/.icons), so I’m not quite sure how that would be a problem. You might need to run gtk-update-icon-cache though.

(And yeah, I guess there aren’t that many Linuxers on Fluther…)

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

I checked Humanity in usr/share/icons and it didn’t have any icons for the major applications in apps, just a few icons for images embedded in programs. In other words it looks like things are missing compared to looking at, say, Elementary Icon Theme’s folder in the same location.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Can’t you just create a launcher for Abiword yourself and add an icon you define yourself?

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

I’ll try that. Though I’m not sure if that will propagate the user-defined icon to Docky (which is the fundamental reason I care about changing the icon in the first place, Docky’s large icons make the default look fuzzy).

the100thmonkey's avatar

I’m pretty dure you can change the docky icon anyway – any dock application worth its salt will let you change it to an SVG or hi-res ONG.

Vincentt's avatar

Docky is using SVG when available, but you can’t manually change the icon, it uses the system icons.

That Humanity doesn’t have an icon for Abiword doesn’t need to be a problem though – if an icon’s not present, the icon from another theme (Tango, I presume) will be used. I suppose if not that, the icon from /usr/share/pixmaps will be used. So by default an application’s icon is used, but if the theme provides an alternative one it is overridden.

RedMosquitoMM's avatar

I played around and using the Menu Editor allows you to change the icon for programs. After a restart those changes propagate to Docky. Changing the icon on a desktop link doesn’t seem to work so well.

So options, to recap:
1. Manually modify an icon within the icon theme.
– this can be a huge pain or near impossible for novices because of the hidden file structure and permissions
– this also forces you to use svg, which requires you to know how to design them, convert pngs, etc. Again, not fun for a novice.

2. Modify the menu entry’s icon.
– this changes the icon system wide but is easy to undo.
– this is a simple fix that works with pngs as well as svgs.
– CON: It’s not really modifying the theme, so you’d have to do this multiple times if you have multiple computers/with every reinstall.

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