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[STICKY]Getting, Installing Themes for those with Low Vision


Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:03:47 pm

I thought if it might help others if I shared my experience. I have low vision and with that, the standard Zorin 9 theme for Window & GTK+ (Adwaita) had a scrollbar that was too narrow to really see well. There are a few other built in themes but they were no better for the most part. The themes Ambiance and Radiance have the background color around the scrollbar almost the same as the scrollbar and so it ends up being very hard to see. The only standard theme that had a real visible scrollbar was High Contrast, but that theme is plain vanilla black and white.

I should note that you can change the size of the scrollbar and color, using the app GNOME Color Chooser (under the Specific tab) and that will work on Firefox and GTK-2.0 but won't work in Gedit or the File Manager (Files) or anything that uses GTK-3.0.

The best bet was to try other themes. You can install Tweak Tool (Gnome Tweak Tool) and under Appearance, change between themes. It looks for themes in the folder /usr/share/themes New themes can be found in websites like gnome-look. You want to find themes with both GTK-2.0 and GTK-3.0. Gnome-look has the themes categorized, and most, but not all in the GTK-3.0 category do. When you download a theme from there, you should extract the folder with the themes and inspect whether the theme has both GTK-2.0 and GTK-3.0 folders to make sure.

To try out a downloaded theme, you need to move it to the /usr/share/themes folder from the Download folder (or whatever folder you used). The problem is you need root access to do that. If you open up a terminal CNTL-ALT T you can gain root access by typing sudo -i and then entering your password. You can then type nautilus, to bring up the file manager with root access. You can then cut and move the folder(s) with your downloaded themes to Computer /usr/share/themes. After that you can use Tweak Tool to see that the themes are listed and you can select them to try them out. The browser, the text editor and the file manager were the programs I brought up to see how the themes looked.

One other thing, Tweak Tool expects that a theme folder will have GTK-2.0 and GTK-3.0 sub-folders. If they don't, they won't be listed under GTK+ themes. There were a couple themes I downloaded to try that had those folders as sub-folders of sub-folders and so they didn't list until I fixed that.

After trying out a number of themes, these were ones that I found were colorful and had a scrollbar that was easily visible (good color and width), even with my low vision. All of these themes are under the GTK-3.0 category at the Gnome-look website:

Product GTK
Windows Classic GTK3

The Windows Classic was designed to look like the old Windows 98/ME and coming from Windows, made me feel right at home :)

In any case, if anyone else with low vision has trouble seeing the scrollbar well with the default theme (or Radiance and Ambiance themes), hopefully this will help you get a theme that will work for you :)


Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:45:20 pm

Hi zaster379 - Great post - have made it a [STICKY] to bring to top of Howtos! :D 120 blue jewels to you sir! :D


Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:40:05 am

Thanks for the tip. I just finished a full install after looking at Linux Mint and Zorin. I picked Zorin because the desktop was easier for me to manage.