How to Customize Ubuntu With the Unity Tweak Tool

Personalize your Linux desktop environment

Unity—a now-obsolete desktop environment for Ubuntu—served as the default DE for Ubuntu for several years. It was retired in 2016 in favor of GNOME 3. Because Unity originally supported low-power netbooks, it was by design not open to significant customization. However, the Unity Tweak Tool supports a variety of special configurations that allow for some non-stock edits to Unity's look-and-feel.

Unity has been deprecated. We retain this article for its historical value only, for people running very old versions of Ubuntu. We recommend upgrading your distribution to a modern version, if you can, to obtain important security and functionality upgrades.

Install the Unity Tweak Tool

To install the Unity Tweak Tool open the Ubuntu Software Center by clicking the suitcase icon on the launcher and search for Unity Tweak.

Click the Install button in the top right corner and enter your password when it is requested.

Install Unity Tweak screenshot

To open the Tweak Tool, open the Dash and search for "Tweak." Click the icon when it appears.

The Unity Tweak Tool User Interface

The Tweak Tool has a series of icons split into the categories:

  • Unity
  • Window Manager
  • Appearance
  • System

The Unity category tweaks the launcher, the search tool, the top panel, the switcher, web applications, and a few miscellaneous items to do with Unity.

The Window Manager category governs the general Window Manager, Workspace Settings, Window Spread, Window Snapping, ​Hot Corners, and other miscellaneous Window Manager items.

The Appearance category modifies the theme, icons, cursors, fonts, and window controls.

The System category tweaks the desktop icons, security, and scrolling.

Unity Tweak Tool Interface screenshot