How to Get the Flat UI Look on Your Ubuntu Desktop

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iOS is the latest Operating System to have jumped on the flat UI bandwagon. This trend, supposedly started by Microsoft with the Metro UI, is slowly overtaking the world. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or your desktop operating system, everyone's going flat. The days of shiny and skeuomorphic design are over and new minimalistic UI elements that involve less gradients and more contrast have arrived. What makes the "flat look" stand apart is the fact that it is minimalistic and goes really easy on the eyes. The elements of the interface that need the attention get the attention they deserve with the high contrast buttons.

Apple pulled off the revamp very well and so did Twitter by getting rid of "shiny objects" and sticking to minimalism. If you're a Linux user, you might have noticed that your Ubuntu setup doesn't really live up to the flat trends. While some elements of Nautilus have moved in that direction, it isn't really the "look" you're looking for. Thankfully, in the Linux world, there's an answer to your every prayer.

This quick and easy tutorial will show you how to give your Ubuntu desktop the flat UI look:

Step 1: Install the Numix Theme

Type in or paste the following commands to install the Numix PPA on your desktop. Open the terminal by pressing the combo Ctrl + Alt + T to enter these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install numix-gtk-theme numix-icon-theme-circle unity-tweak-tool

Step 2: Apply the Theme

The above command will install Numix theme along with the icon set on your desktop. It will also install Unity Tweak tool, which is required to apply the theme. Now that the installation is complete, open up Unity Tweak Tool by searching for it in the Dash.

Once the app opens, go to Appearance → Theme

Here, change the theme to Numix and save the settings.

Now in the same window go to the tab that says “Icons”. Change the icons to Numix Circle and save the settings. Et, voila! This completes the "flat look" you were looking for.

Step 3: Go One Step Further

Now that you've applied the theme, your desktop will completely conform to the "flat look". However, if you want to tweak it even further, feel free to add stuff from the following resources:

To get more of the Numix touch for your desktop add the scrollbars as a userstyle in Chrome. Furthermore, if you are a conky user, you can apply the following conky themes to match with your new look: 

Step 4: Get a New Wallpaper

Finally, to make things even more perfect, you can download wallpapers from sites like and to complete the look.

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.