Many of the best Linux desktop icons and themes reviews conclude with a broad opinion which leaves you, the reader, hanging. This blog post is different and I will get to the point right away.

If you have an eye for graphics and esthetics then I assume that you want a look that inspires. My recommendation is not for everyone. I understand that but still, I know when I see something amazing and now let’s get on with the article.

The best XFCE icon theme in 2020

Back in 2009, I bought the then new iMac which had an impressive 27″ screen and a beautiful UI. As an artist, I get inspired by impressive looks which is why I continue to spend time looking for that perfection. Without further ado, here is the most impressive icon theme I have ever seen.

Icon theme name: korla
Icon theme link: https://www.xfce-look.org/p/1256209/

How ot install the korla XFCE icon theme

If you happen to be new to Linux theming then here are the steps to switch your current XFCE theme. If not then scroll down for the theme(s) links.

  1. Download the korla icon theme
    There is a “Download” button in the right upper corner
  2. Go to your Downloads directory and unzip the file
    Suggestion: Keep the original zip if you have other computers
  3. After unzipping, you have 4 folders inside the korla_1-2-5 directory
    They are: korla, korla-light, korla-light-panel and korla-pgrey
  4. Right-click on korla and select copy from the pop-up

Every XFCE icon theme installs the same way and here is how it’s done.
With having the korla directory in your RAM buffer (you just copied it), navigate Thunar (your file browser) to this location by following these steps.

  • With Thunar open, click File System
  • Then click the usr dir
  • From within that, click share
  • Right after share opens, type the letters ic
    This will find and highlight the icons folder for you
  • Open the icons directory
  • Inside it, right click and select Thunar Root
  • A new (ugly) window opens so that you can perform the last step
  • Right-click and select Paste

To switch icons, open the settings manager. If you haven’t used Settings Manager before then just search for it in your start menu and open it. The second icon in the top row is Appearance. Click it.

image of XFCE Settings Manager

As soon as you clicked on the Appearance icon, the Icons tap opened and from there, you can select Korla. With Thunar is still open, you can instantly see the new icons. The same is true if you use a dock which will reflect the change as well.

Let’s make XFCE even better looking by changing the theme. Much of the process is the same.

The best XFCE theme is OS Catalina Gtk night

I prefer the dark look or dark mode as it’s referred to more commonly. Again, open the link below to get the theme you want to install. I’ll provide two links in case you want to experiment with the light theme as well.

Regular theme link: https://www.gnome-look.org/p/1316421/
The regular light theme is more iMac-like but I use the dark one because it goes better with my wallpaper. If you prefer the dark mode one, then download it from this link.
Catalina Gtk dark: https://www.gnome-look.org/p/1319454/

Just like before, the zip file(s) you just downloaded need to be extracted and the folder(s) copied to /usr/share/themes
Because the theme directory is protected, you need to right-click and select Thunar Root to become superuser for a moment and finish copying the directories. After that, close the root browser window.
To make one of them the default new theme, go to Settings Manager (main menu) and click the Appearance icon just like you did before. Scroll down to find Os-Catalina-gtk and Os-Catalina-Gtk-night and select ether one.

That’s it. As soon as you made that selection, you have changed your default theme. From this point on, your Linux desktop will use this theme and icons until you change them.

Hint! For an even better look, find a suitable wallpaper that complements the new look.

How to change back to the original theme

Looks are in the eye of the beholder. To me, Os Catalina Gtk dark brings back memories of my iMac which I still have but no longer use because it’s over 10 years old. If you are not impressed with that theme, then simply open your Settings Manager > Appearance > Styles and pick any other theme. If you’d rather find something else then go back to www.gnome-look.org and search for more themes and icons. I don’t mind. 😉

How to uninstall and delete an XFCE theme or icon set

I never keep anything that I don’t use, not even software. When I install Linux, I remove when I don’t use. This means that wallpapers, icon sets and excess themes get axed.
Here’s how to do it.
If a theme, icon set or wallpaper came with your distro, then use your package manager to uninstall it. Just be careful and read the warning messages if there are any.

If you added icon sets and theme manually as described above then reverse the process to delete the directory by going to /usr/share/icons or /usr/share/themes and delete. Remember that you can only delete as super user so open those directories as Thunar Root and be careful.
DO NOT REMOVE ANYTHING THAT YOU DIDN’T COPY PASTE YOURSELF!

I hope that this article helps someone with tweaking their XFCE desktop. If you found a better theme then share your discovery by commenting below. If many people use a particular them then the creator of the theme will feel inspired and motivated to keep her or his work up to date.

If you can, create and account and leave a comment for the author. Imagine if you put in 100s of hours to make beautiful icons and no one cares. I have used many themes over the last 20 years but never came across one that was so polished than the Os Catalina Gtk dark by zayronXIO

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