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How to install the Arc icon theme on Linux

Arc icons is an icon theme for the Linux desktop, intended to be installed alongside the Arc GTK theme. It’s a beautiful, modern icon theme that takes inspiration from Moka, Papirus, and others. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get it working on your system.

Downloading Arc icons

The Arc icon theme is available for Linux users to download via the Gnome Look theme website. To get your hands on the icon theme, click on this link to go to the site.

Once on the Gnome Look website, find the “Files” tab, and click on it. Selecting “Files” will show you download options for the Arc icon theme. Find “Arc-ICONS_1.5.8.zip” and click on the blue button next to it to download it to your computer.

When the download is complete, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, move on to the next section of the guide.

Extracting Arc icons

The Arc icon theme comes compressed inside of a “ZIP” archive. This “ZIP” archive can only be extracted with the “Unzip” tool. So, before we go over how to decompress this archive file, we must go over how to install Unzip. Follow the command-line installation instructions outlined below that correspond with your Linux OS.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install unzip

Debian

sudo apt-get install unzip

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S unzip

Fedora

sudo dnf install unzip

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install unzip

Generic Linux

The Unzip utility is available on nearly any Linux distribution on the market today, as it is a very popular command-line utility. If you need to get the Unzip tool working on your Linux OS, and it wasn’t covered in this guide, do the following.

First, open up a terminal and search the package manager for “unzip.” Then, once you’ve found “unzip,” use the command-line to install it the way you’d typically install software to your computer.

Extracting

Now that the Unzip tool is installed, use the CD command to move your terminal session into the ~/Downloads directory where the Arc icon ZIP archive is.

cd ~/Downloads

Once inside of the ~/Downloads directory, use the unzip command to fully extract the contents of the ZIP archive.

unzip Arc-ICONS_1.5.8.zip

Running the unzip command will create a new directory called Arc-ICONS. You can view the contents of it with the ls command.

ls Arc-ICONS

After taking a look inside of the Arc-ICONS folder, move on to the next section of the guide.

Installing Arc icons

Installing icon themes on a Linux system is usually done in the /usr/share/icons/ directory, as most icon themes are intended to be accessed by every user on the system. That said, it is also possible to set up icon themes on Linux in a user’s home folder so that only one user has access to the theme.

In this guide, we will go over how to install the Arc icon theme as both a single-user, as well as system-wide so that all users on the system have access to it.

Single-user

Installing icons as a single user requires creating a new folder. This folder is known as ~/.icons, and it is hidden in the user’s home directory (~). To create this new folder, open up a terminal window and use the mkdir command below.

mkdir -p ~/.icons

Once the new ~/.icons directory is created, it is time to install the Arc icon theme. Using the CD command, move the terminal into the “Downloads” directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Now that you’re inside of the ~/Downloads directory, use the mv command to place the Arc icon folder inside of ~/.icons.

mv Arc-ICONS ~/.icons/

System-wide

Installing icon themes as system-wide so that every single user has access to the icons is done by modifying the root file system. As a result, you must elevate the terminal session to root. Using the sudo -s command, change your terminal window to root.

sudo -s

With the terminal window elevated to root, use the CD command to move from the directory the terminal started in, to the ~/Downloads folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Inside of the ~/Downloads folder use the mv command to move the Arc-ICONS directory to your system’s icon directory (/usr/share/icons/).

mv mv Arc-ICONS/ /usr/share/icons/

Enabling Arc icons

The Arc icon theme is installed on your Linux PC. Sadly, just installing it will not make it your default icon theme. Instead, you must tinker with your desktop environment and change it to “Arc icons.”

To change your default icon theme to the newly installed Arc icon theme, do the following. First, open up “System Settings.” Then, look for the “Appearance” settings and click on it. After that, find the “icons” section, and switch the default icon theme to Arc.

Alternatively, if you’re having issues changing the default icon theme on your Linux PC, check out the links in the list below! They go over how to change the default icons on all mainstream Linux desktop environments!

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