Introducing Aptik Theme Manager

Tony George
4 min readAug 4, 2018

This is a theme manager application for browsing GTK and Icon themes installed on the system. It also has a download section that features some of the best GTK and Icon themes available on Linux.

I created this application almost a year ago, but I was not getting time to package and release it. I finally finished it last weekend, and I’m releasing it now as a donation add-on for Aptik.

This application can be used on all Linux distributions. GTK themes will work fine as long as you are running a recent version of GTK3 (v3.22 or later). It has been tested on Ubuntu 18.04 and Manjaro Linux.

All themes can be installed or removed with a single click. The tool doesn’t add any repositories to the system, and doesn’t install any packages. It downloads themes from GitHub and Launchpad repositories. GTK themes are built from source if possible, else pre-compiled packages will be downloaded from repos. Downloaded themes are unpacked to current user’s local theme directory (~/.themes and ~/.icons). Themes can be removed using the Remove button, or by deleting the theme folder.

Donation Add-On

This tool is being released as a donation add-on for Aptik. Users who donate to the Aptik project, or contribute in other ways, will receive this application as a complimentary gift.

If you have contributed to the project in the past, you don’t need to donate again. Simply send me an email if you are interested in the tool.

If you have not donated before, you can make a donation for $10 or more via PayPal to receive it by email. Your contributions will help keep the project alive and support future development.

Donate with PayPal

Patrons on can download it from the announcement post.

This tool requires the latest version of Aptik to function. You can download Aptik from GitHub download page, or install it from my PPA.

Theme Sources

Themes featured in this tool are created by third party developers, and are freely available from the author’s website. Some of the themes may already be available in your system repositories, and you can install them from your package manager or software center. This tool simply acts as a “theme store” and makes it easier to discover and install the themes.

Broken Themes

Most themes target GTK v3.22. This is the GTK version installed in Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic). If you are using an older version of GTK then some themes may be broken and will not look good on your system. Consider upgrading to a newer release of your Linux distribution if your GTK version is less than 3.22.

Broken themes (not compatible with your GTK version) are marked as “Broken” so that you can avoid using them. These are hidden by default. You can use the switch at the bottom to show broken themes.

Broken Ambiance Theme on Ubuntu 18.04

Theme Previews

The tool will automatically generate previews for themes installed on your system. GTK theme preview shows a window with common controls.

Preview for Yaru GTK Theme

Icon theme preview displays common icons.

Preview for Faenza icon theme

The “light” and “dark” variants of an icon theme differ in the status icons that are displayed in system panel (last row in preview). Most icon themes provide both light and dark variants. The dark variant is meant to be used with dark GTK themes.

Icon Theme Dependencies

Icon themes usually depend on other icon themes that are used as fallback to provide icons that the theme itself doesn’t provide. Dependencies will be displayed for installed themes in the list. It gives an indication of what themes are safe to remove/uninstall. Never remove base themes for the current icon theme, or you will end up with missing icons.

Install Progress

If you have a slow internet connection, you need to be patient while the theme is downloaded and installed. The installation is done using a shell script in the background. It doesn’t show progress while installing. You will get a message after the theme is installed successfully. On a fast internet connection it only takes a few seconds to install each theme.

I’ll be adding more themes in the future when I get some time. Let me know if you have recommendations on which themes to add.