Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, November 1, 2019 at 14:46

If you dislike dark theme, here's how you can have bright theme for Ubuntu Desktop. We can use XONE Catalina Shell Theme in mix with Yaru Light GTK Theme. I hope this can make your desktop look brighter and clearer for you. This includes some drawbacks, but I also includes some secrets below. Enjoy!

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Final Result

Your desktop would look like below examples with this light theme mix:

 (Bright titlebar)

 (Bright system tray)
(Bright tooltip and left panel)

(Bright clock and calendar widget)

(Bright drop-down menu)


GNOME Shell Theme: XONE Catalina: XO-Graphite

GTK Theme: Yaru Light
Download: (preinstalled)

GNOME Tweak Tool

Install it with command line:
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-tweaks 


  • First, change the Application Theme to Yaru Light.
  • Second, install Shell Theme XONE XO Graphite.
  • Third, enable XO-Graphite on Shell Theme selector. 

Some Drawbacks

  • The overview mode is still dark, I could not find any easy configuration to make it properly light. 
  • When edited to white or light color, the overview mode shows light text also, rendering the icons confusing for user.
  • I could not find config to make text black on the overview mode.

Some Secrets

  • Actually, you can edit manually a Shell theme, including its text size and colors, but a configuration may be extremely long (Theme above is approximately more than 3000 lines of code). 
  • The file name you can edit is gnome-shell.css in the folder ~/.local/share/themes/$THEME_NAME/.
  • Every change you made to the theme file can be applied to desktop by pressing Alt+F2 then type r and then press Enter. 
  • There is an unofficial documentation about the codes you can edit here
As I said, I could not find precisely the code for changing text color on overview but I believe you might know it. I am happy if you share it on the comments.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.