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How To Install The Plano GTK Theme On Linux

Installing the Plano GTK theme isn’t difficult, as users will not need to manually build the theme into something installable. Still, to use this theme correctly under Linux you’ll need to meet certain requirements. For starters, Plano mainly targets the Gnome Shell and XFCE4 desktops, so you need to be running them. In addition, you’ll need to install several different dependencies on your PC or the theme will not render correctly.

In this article, we’ll simplify the process and explain how to install and enable the Plano GTK theme on Gnome Shell and XFCE4. Additionally, we’ll touch on how to use Plano on other desktops (non-Xfce/Gnome ones).

Install Via Git

Using Git to install this theme is the suggested method. To get started, open up a terminal and install the Git package, along with the required dependencies that Plano needs to run correctly.


sudo apt install gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf git


sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf git


sudo dnf install gtk-murrine-engine gtk2-engines git


sudo zypper install gtk-murrine-engine gtk2-engines git

With all dependencies taken care of, the installation can start. First, gain a root shell in the terminal by logging into root with su. If your Linux distribution (probably Ubuntu) disables su, you can get around this by using sudo -s instead.


Now that the terminal is root, we’ll be able to interact with the file system with no problems. Using the CD command, move the root terminal to the correct theme directory.

cd /usr/share/themes/

Using the Git tool, download the latest source code for the Plano theme.

git clone https://github.com/lassekongo83/plano-theme.git

Git should automatically create the proper Plano folder directly in /usr/share/themes/.  Use the CD tool to move into the Plano folder.

cd plano-theme

Run ls to verify all the files are there. If it doesn’t match the Github page, re-do the process again. When you’ve confirmed everything is there, delete the README.md file using rm.

rm README.md

Update The Theme via Git

Installing the Plano theme via Git clone, rather than downloading the Master.zip file and going through the pain of extracting it has perks. Mainly, the ability to automatically download updates without a fuss. To update the Plano theme at any time, go to the terminal and gain root with su or sudo -s. Then use CD to move the terminal to the correct folder.


cd /usr/share/themes/plano-theme/

Use pull to force an update. Understand that git pull only downloads code if there are changes.

git pull

If Plano is up to date, nothing will happen. To keep track of changes and determine if an update is needed, check the Plano commit page every once in a while.

Installing Via Ubuntu PPA

Ubuntu users looking to use Plano without having to fuss with Git are in luck! Thanks to Noobslab, a Plano PPA is available for installation. To add it, open up a terminal window and enter the following command.

Note: it appears the Noobslab theme PPA doesn’t have Ubuntu 18.04 support just yet. Best to follow the source instructions instead, if you use this release.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/themes

After adding the Noobslab PPA, it’s important to refresh Ubuntu’s software sources. If you don’t, the theme will not install correctly.

sudo apt update

At this point, if update says there are any software updates available, install them with the upgrade tool.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Now that everything is up to date, it’s safe to install the Plano theme.

sudo apt install plano-theme

Want to uninstall Plano? Try apt remove.

sudo apt remove plano-theme

Installing Via Arch Linux User Repository

Installing Plano from the AUR is easy and it starts by getting the latest version of the Git tool from the Pacman package manager.

sudo pacman -S git

With Git installed, it’s now possible to use it to download the latest version of the Plano GTK theme.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/gtk-theme-plano-git.git

From here, use the CD command to change the terminal’s operating directory to the newly created gtk-theme-plano-git folder.

cd gtk-theme-plano-git

Inside the folder, run the makepkg command to generate a new package. Be sure to look out for dependency errors. Understand that if any fail to install automatically, you’ll be responsible for doing this manually. Dependency files are located under “Dependencies” on the Plano AUR page.

makepkg -si

Using Plano With Other Desktops

Though the developer specifically states that this theme is made for “Gnome Shell and XFCE4” it should work with all modern desktops that support GTK (or can read XFCE4 theme files). This means the Plano theme should show up as a useable theme for Cinnamon, Mate, Gnome Shell, Budgie, Unity 7 and even LXDE. It is worth noting that there is also an included Openbox theme, so Openbox WM fans will be able to check it out as well.

Not sure how to apply this theme to your desktop environment? Check out our in-depth customization guides for all of the major GTK+ Linux desktop environments below.

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