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Customizing your desktop is the best way to improve the look of your desktop and improve performance. I always like to customize the appearance of my desktop and perform tweaks to help me boost productivity.

To customize your desktop, the GNOME Tweak Tool is the best customization tweak you will ever get. GNOME users must be well familiar with this tool, which is popularly known as Tweaks.

The customizations listed below are performed on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa, running the GNOME desktop environment.

You can install the Gnome Tweak tool from the Software Center. Just open Software Center and search on Gnome Tweak

Click on the tool and install the tool.

You can also install the Tweak Tool via Terminal.

Open the Ubuntu Terminal.

You can do this by navigating the applications menu or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.

Step 2. Update your system with the command below:

sudo apt update

Now you can proceed to install the Gnome Tweak Tool. Execute the command below on the Terminal.

sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Now we will use this tool to customize Gnome.

1. Change Theme

The appearance of my desktop is very important to me. I keep changing themes regularly, which not only gives my desktop a fresh look, but it also gives me a feeling of freshness and motivation.

You can select a theme for your Applications, Cursor, and Icons from the themes that are available by default, or you can also download various themes.

2. Change Desktop/Lock Screen Background

This option in the GNOME Tweaks Tool allows you to change the background of the desktop and lock screens. Here, you may choose from the available default images, or you can use wallpapers you have downloaded yourself.

You can adjust the scaling of the image according to your screen size.

3. Animations

Under the General tab in GNOME Tweaks, you may disable animations to improve the performance of your desktop. Here, you may also choose whether to suspend the session when the laptop lid is closed.

There is another option, called Over-Amplification, that can be used to increase the volume over 100% on your system.

4. Extensions

Extensions are the best thing about the GNOME shell. With the help of extensions, you can completely revamp the look and functioning of the GNOME shell. You can find new extensions here.

If you are using Firefox or Chrome Browser you can add the gnome browser extension for Google Chrome, or Firefox add-on for Gnome to your browser so you can add extensions to your system via your browser on the extensions site.

Under the Extensions tab in GNOME Tweak Tool, you can enable/disable extensions and tweak the extension settings.

5. Fonts

Bored of the default fonts on your desktop? You can download new fonts and apply them to your system using the GNOME Tweaks Tool. As indicated by the screenshot below, you can change the font for the interface text, document text, monospace text, and legacy window titles.

You can also tweak hinting, intialiasing, and scaling factors under the Fonts tab using GNOME Tweaks.

6. Tweak Keyboard & Touchpad

Here, you can tweak the keyboard settings and configure additional layout options. But the option I find most useful here is that you can automatically disable the touchpad on your laptop when you are typing something.

This becomes useful especially when you are typing fast and your palm touches touch pad accidentally, and the cursor moves to some other random location, slowing down your process and increasing error frequency.

7. Set Startup Applications

Here, you can select any application to start automatically as soon as your system starts. If you use some application regularly, then this might be a useful Tweak tool customization for your desktop.

8. Tweak Top Panel

You may perform various Tweaks Using the Top Bar option in the GNOME Tweaks Tool, as you can see in the screenshot below. For example, you may enable or disable the activities overview hot corner and battery percentage.

You may also tweak the settings for the clock and calendar on the top bar, and show the weekday and seconds with the clock.

9. Windows Titlebars

Using this option in the Tweak Tool, you can manage the settings for the application window. Here, you may choose whether to maximize or minimize options that appear in the titlebar. You may also swap the position of these options between top-right corner and top-left corner of the application window.

Here, you may also set what a double-click, middle-click, and secondary-click will do to the application window.

10. Workspaces

You can manage workspace behaviour using GNOME Tweak Tool. There are two options to choose from: dynamic workspaces, which are automatically created and removed as per user need; and static workspaces, in which the number of workspace is fixed.

You can also configure where the workspaces are displayed, whether on the primary display, or on span displays.

11. Add & Enable OpenWeather Extension

If you add this extension to your desktop, then you can keep track of weather conditions at your location, or at any other location around the world, right from your desktop.


12. Install & Enable DropDown Terminal

If you need to regularly use the Terminal in your work, then you might have to quickly switch between windows. With the DropDown Terminal, you can directly access the Terminal with a single keyboard click. When you no longer require the Terminal, then you may click the same button and the Terminal will disappear.

This button is the button, which should be just above the Tab button on your keyboard. Download the DropDown Terminal extension using following link and enable it using the Extensions tab in the GNOME Tweak Tool.


13. Enable Desktop Icons

By default, desktop icons are disabled on GNOME. You can enable these icons using the Extensions tab in the GNOME Tweak Tool.

14. Add Workspaces to Dock Extension

Adding this extension to your desktop will add extra features to your desktop. With this extension, you can thumbnail all currently running activity overviews into a small dock for quick access.

15. Add Various Extensions to Customize Desktop

Add other extensions to your desktop so go exploring for new extensions here.

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