An Easy How to Guide on Customizing Unity in Ubuntu 11.04

9:30 PM

*For stability and ease of installation/use issues, I am leaving out instructions on how to utilize widgets within Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty.


I have noticed a lot of complaints on the internet that Unity is not customizable. This is wrong. Unity is quite customizable if you just know how to customize it, and while it is not quite as customizable as some other desktop managers, it is customizable enough to create a very pleasing effect on the eye. This article will tell you how to customize Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty.


You will need the following from the repositories in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty's Software Center:

  • Compiz Config Settings Manager

  • Ubuntu Tweak


Changing the Appearance

  1. Go to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty's application menu and type in Appearance. Press Enter.

  2. From here you can change the theme, fonts, and background. Choose the theme you want and then click on Customize.

  3. From here you can change the controls, colors (if the theme you chose allows it), window border, icons, and pointer.Select the items you want then click Close.

  4. Click on Backgrounds. From here you can change your background color and image. Choose the ones you want and then click on Fonts.

  5. Change to the fonts you want to use, then click Close.


Tweaking the Login Screen & Compiz

  1. 1. Open up CompizConfig Settings Manager by typing Tweak in the Application Menu and pressing Enter.

  2. 2. Click on Login Settings. The window that comes up will be greyed out.

  3. 3. Scroll down to the bottom of the greyed out area and click on Unlock. A password screen will come up. Type in your password and press Enter.

  4. Now you can select the icon and wallpaper you want to use with your login screen.

  5. Now click on Compiz Settings. From here you can change various Compiz settings, like snapping windows, wobbly windows, and transparent menus.

  6. Close out of Ubuntu Tweak.


CompizConfig Settings Manager

If you would like more special desktop effects, type Compiz in the Applications Menu and press Enter. I would like to point out a couple of things you can do in CompizConfig Settings Manager:

  1. Click on the Ubuntu Unity plugin icon on the main screen.

  2. From here you can modify the behavior of the Unity Menu bar and make the status/task bar more transparent.

Other than that, just have fun playing with Compiz! It lets you do all sorts of things with your desktop. :)


I hope this guide has been useful in helping you get a grip on the different things you can do to customize Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty. I know it is probably overwhelming at first but just change a few things at a time if you feel you need to lessen the work a bit. I also hope that this tutorial has taught you that there is a lot that can be customized in Unity despite people's complaints. It may not be fully customizable yet but that's because it's still a young project.


Now I'm going to leave you with a picture of my favorite customized desktop. You can save your theme customizations by clicking Save As in the Themes menu under Appearance.



You Might Also Like