Jean-Philippe Fleury

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Clearlooks-Phenix: GTK3 port of the Clearlooks theme

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The Clearlooks-Phenix project (formerly known as Clearwaita) aims at creating a GTK3 port of Clearlooks, the default theme for Gnome 2. Style is also included for GTK2, Unity and for Metacity, Openbox and Xfwm4 window managers.

Here are screenshots (if applicable, click to download the original image):

Screenshot of a Gnome 3 desktop (fallback mode) with the Clearlooks-Phenix theme

Screenshot of gedit 3 with the Clearlooks-Phenix theme

Screenshot of GTK+ Widget Factory with the Clearlooks-Phenix theme


  • Requirements for Clearlooks-Phenix 1: packages gtk2-engines (if GTK2 applications are used) and gnome-themes-standard.

  • Requirements for Clearlooks-Phenix 2: packages gtk2-engines (if GTK2 applications are used), gnome-themes-standard and gtk3-engines-unico.

  • Requirements for Clearlooks-Phenix 3: package gtk2-engines (if GTK2 applications are used).


Regardless of the installation method chosen, the theme must be selected once the installation is complete:

  • On Gnome: with gnome-tweak-tool, by setting Theme > Window theme and Theme > GTK+ theme, or in a terminal:

    dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/wm/preferences/theme \'Clearlooks-Phenix\'
    dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/interface/gtk-theme \'Clearlooks-Phenix\'
  • On Xfce: by going to Settings > Appearence > Style in the main menu for the GTK theme, and to Settings > Window Manager > Style for the Xfwm4 theme, or in a terminal:

    xfconf-query -s Clearlooks-Phenix -c xfwm4 -p /general/theme
    xfconf-query -s Clearlooks-Phenix -c xsettings -p /Net/ThemeName


Manual installation ensures you get the latest version of the theme. See below for other installation methods.

  • Download the appropriate version according to your situation:

    To find your GTK version:

    • You can check in your package manager the version of the package libgtk-3-0.

    • If you use Ubuntu, here's a correspondence between its versions and those of GTK (for a default installation of Ubuntu):

      • Ubuntu 11.10: GTK 3.2
      • Ubuntu 12.04: GTK 3.4
      • Ubuntu 12.10: GTK 3.6
  • Extract the archive.

  • Rename the extracted folder to Clearlooks-Phenix.

  • Copy the folder Clearlooks-Phenix in one of the following two locations:

    • ~/.themes/ for the current user;

    • /usr/share/themes/ for all users, including style for programs ran with root privileges (e.g. Synaptic).

Arch Linux

An AUR package is maintained by eworm.


The package clearlooks-phenix-theme can be installed on Debian unstable.


See the following package:


The package clearlooks-phenix-theme can be installed on Ubuntu 12.10 and newer.



The wallpaper used for the Gnome 3 desktop screenshot is available in the folder wallpapers.


The icon theme used for the same screenshot is Mist, installed with the package gnome-themes, under LGPL. However, this package is no longer available with last Ubuntu versions. Here's an easy way to install Mist:

  • Download the archive of the Mist icon theme.

  • Extract the archive.

  • Copy the folder Mist in one of the following two locations:

    • ~/.icons/ for the current user;

    • /usr/share/icons/ for all users.

  • Then, choose Mist:

    • on Gnome: with gnome-tweak-tool by setting Theme > Icon theme;

    • on Xfce: by going to Settings > Appearence > Icons in the main menu.

Also, color schemes were made by DDZ to fit with Clearlooks-Phenix.

Desktop managed by Nautilus

By default, the font color on a desktop managed by Nautilus is black. To set it to white, open the file gtk-3.0/applications.css with a text editor, find the code relative to Nautilus:

 * Nautilus *


and uncomment it, as follows:

 * Nautilus *


To get a custom color, change the color directly in the file gtk-3.0/applications.css.

Color variants

From Clearlooks-Phenix 2, it's very easy to create color variants of the GTK3 theme. Only a few color declarations must be changed in the file gtk-3.0/gtk-variant.css.

About button borders, they come from SVG files. Inkscape can be used to modify them. For more details, see the screencast Utiliser Inkscape pour modifier la couleur de la bordure d'un bouton. A Bash script is also shipped with Clearlooks-Phenix to assist the modification of SVG and PNG files. To use it, copy the file doc/, paste it in the root folder of your development theme (same emplacement as the file index.theme) and rename it Then, change variables in the first section of the file according to the color variant desired and run the script in a terminal (bash The package imagemagick is required.

Window buttons layout

If after installing or updating Ubuntu, the window buttons are on the left side, but you want them to the right, run the following command in a terminal:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string ":minimize,maximize,close"


Last version: 3.0.16 (2013-09-07)

Git is used for revision control. Repository can be browsed online or cloned.


Author: Jean-Philippe Fleury (
Copyright © 2011-2013 Jean-Philippe Fleury

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

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