How to Change File, Folder, or Application Icons in Gnome Linux


If you are using Ubuntu, AlamLinux, CentOS, RedHat, Rocky Linux or any other Linux with GNOME, here are the steps to change icon of folder, apps or files using Gnome GUI.

Well, if you don’t like the default icon for files and folders in Gnome, you can use the Tweak Tool to change the default theme icons. However, many times we just want to change the icon of a particular item, say a folder that we want to identify distinct from the rest of those in the system. In such a case, we can manually assign any icon available on the system or one that we have downloaded from the Internet in SVG or PNG format.

So, let’s see how to do this??

Steps to Use Custom Icon on Gnome Desktop

The tutorial steps shown here also apply to other Linux systems that don’t use Gnome, such as Linux Mint.

1. Download Icon

If you already have the icon you want to use, to jump this step. However, for those who don’t have one, open a browser and download the icon in png or SVG format that they want to use. For example, here we want to change Gnome Desktop folder icon with Windows 10 folder icon. Therefore, we downloaded the one from internet.

2. Open GNOME File Manager

Next, open your system file manager and navigate to the folder or file you want to modify. For example, I want to change the “Office” folder icon. Therefore, using the file manager GUI, we will navigate to this folder.

3. Open file or folder properties

Once you are on the icon of the folder or file you want to edit, right-click on it and select “Properties” option available in the context menu.

4. Change folder or file icon

On the Properties panel, you will also see the current icon assigned to your file or folder. And to change this we must click on the same which will open a file requester more.

how to change folder icon in gnome

5. Select your new icon

Now navigate to the folder where you already have an icon in SVG or PNG, well Gnome also supports XPM format, select the icon and click on the Open button. To note: If you downloaded the icon from the browser, it will be in the Downloads folder by default.

Go to the icon to apply on Gnome

Step 6: Gnome folder or file icon change successfully

Once your newly added icon will start appearing on your left side of the Properties panel close it by pressing the X button.

Close file or folder properties

Finally, you can see in the screenshot, we have a Windows folder icon on our Gnome panel for a desktop folder.

This way we can change the icons on Gnome running on any Linux distribution. If you don’t want to change each icon manually, you can opt for some Gnome themes available online and apply them easily – use the Tweaks Tool.

Other tutorials:

How to Install Gnome GUI on Almalinux and Rocky 8
How to Install Snap & Snap-store on Debian 11 Bullseye Linux
Install Gnome Desktop on Linux Mint 20.2
How to Install Gnome Tweaks Tool on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS


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