Human Compact Themes (for Ubuntu 8.10)


This is a new release of the compact theme, based on the original Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) theme. It was created by Jan Suhr almost a month ago, based on my little howto.

I have now two versions of the theme: one with normal icon sizes, and one with the smaller 16×16 icons for even more compactness. Here is a comparison animation of the standard Human theme vs. the compact theme:

You can download the themes here:

Download and Installation

  1. Save the theme to your computer.
  2. Open the gnome’s appearence dialog with System > Preferences > Appearance.
  3. Drag and drop the downloaded file into the Theme tab of the appearance dialog. If you get an error message “Can’t move directory over directory”, you have already installed a theme with the same name. To be able to reinstall it, remove the directory ~/.themes/Human Compact or ~/.themes/Human Compact Small Icons.
  4. Choose “Apply new theme” in the popup dialog.

Most changes will occur immediately, but for e.g. the icon sizes it is best to log out and log in again. When you change the theme, you can get the Human Compact theme back by clicking on Customize, and then selecting Human Compact.

Any question, praise or flames? please post them!

Install for root (e.g. Synaptic)

Some readers asked how to get this to work for applications that run as root (e.g. synaptic), so here it is: simply copy the copy the theme file into the root’s home directory, like this (exchange username with your own name):

sudo cp /home/username/.themes/Human Compact/gtk-2.0/gtkrc /root/.gtkrc-2.0

Afterwards synaptic uses the human compact theme.

Older Themes

Here is some information about the original compact themes I have created:

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  • Ed

    Works great – thanks! Much better on my notebook :)

  • Max

    Thanks… Finally found a solution to that way-too-big-stuff-theme problem.

  • Mark

    Thanks a lot, this is extremely useful on my netbook. I really wish this will be part of Ubuntu 9.04.

  • fladd

    Is it also possible to get the panel size lower than 24 pixels (I am talking about the above one, the bottom one works)?

  • Andrea Ratto

    Good work, but it needs some polishing.

    1. The package contains backup files.

    2. There are a couple of warnings (here from oowriter):
    (soffice:18702): Gtk-WARNING **: GtkSpinButton: setting an adjustment with non-zero page size is deprecated
    Gtk-Message: (for origin information, set GTK_DEBUG): failed to retrieve property `GtkOptionMenu::indicator-size’ of type `GtkRequisition’ from rc file value “0″ of type `glong’
    Gtk-Message: (for origin information, set GTK_DEBUG): failed to retrieve property `GtkOptionMenu::indicator-spacing’ of type `GtkBorder’ from rc file value “0″ of type `glong’
    3. The firefox URL bar could be made look a little better.

    4. The window border can be made a couple of pixels narrower, and probably the panel too.

    I hope to see some more improvements and the inclusion of this theme in the standard ubuntu install or at least in the netbook remix project.

  • Tim Robertson

    You can get rid of the button icons by adding gtk-button-images=0 to the top of the gtkrc-2.0 file. Just thought I’d let you know. Great theme, I’m using it now on my Dell mini 9.

  • me

    better add the folder to /usr/share/themes

  • M. Junker

    Big THX for your great work.
    Nice and functionell for netbooks.

  • jsteph

    Hello I have problem to install it on jaunty? any solution?

  • Martin Ankerl

    Hi, sorry I have not switched to jaunty yet so I have not tried it yet.

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  • Johannes Eva

    Works perfectly under Ubuntu 9.04 “Jauty”
    Martin, thanks a lot for this compact theme!

  • adrian

    This is great! Any plans for compactifying the “New Wave” theme that will ship with Jaunty?

    By the way, this theme works fine with Jaunty, except for a few instances of “highlight_ratio” and “lightborder_ratio” can be replaced by “highlight_shade” and “lightborder_shade”, and the option “style” on line 117 can be safely commented out to prevent some warnings.


  • Martin Ankerl

    Thanks, adrian! I will make a new version when Jaunty is released.

  • Johannes

    Hello Martin!
    I linked your Compact Theme on my new Ubuntu Jaunty guide. I hope it is ok. I’ll update the link when the new version comes out!
    All the best,

  • Martin Ankerl

    Hi Johannes, thanks for linking, of course thats ok!

  • Pepe

    Hi there!

    Great theme, at all. It goes with me, since I bought my Medion Akoya Mini E1210, and installed 8.04.

    Now, with 9.04 recently fresh installed, is again with me.

    I encourage somebody to make more compact themes!

    Netbooks forever! ;-P

    Rgds and thanks for the great job!

  • maathieu

    It also works on ubuntu 9.04: tested here all right :-).

  • Chris

    Hi Martin,
    I just noticed some warnings when I’m opening gedit from commandline on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty. I installed the theme for root as described above. Here the warnings:

    chris@netbook:~$ sudo gedit /etc/default/acpi-support
    /root/.gtkrc-2.0:100: Murrine configuration option “highlight_ratio” will be deprecated in future releases. Please use “highlight_shade” instead.
    /root/.gtkrc-2.0:101: Murrine configuration option “lightborder_ratio” will be deprecated in future releases. Please use “lightborder_shade” instead.
    /root/.gtkrc-2.0:116: Murrine configuration option “style” is not supported and will be ignored.
    /root/.gtkrc-2.0:156: Murrine configuration option “highlight_ratio” will be deprecated in future releases. Please use “highlight_shade” instead.
    /root/.gtkrc-2.0:229: Murrine configuration option “highlight_ratio” will be deprecated in future releases. Please use “highlight_shade” instead.


  • z(u_U)egg

    Thank you very much for the great job! Finally my Eclipse looks good! (tested in 9.04)

    Thanks again, Zuegg.

  • Elias


    Nice theme! And I’m waiting the new release, hope it will be released soon. :-)

  • maathieu

    Looking forward for the update for Ubuntu 9.04 :-)

  • Sarah Kho

    Your theme looks very good in my laptop but now I am moving to Ubuntu 9.10.
    Can you please create a compact theme for Ubuntu 9.10?
    Thank you

  • Johannes

    Looking forward to see a 9.10 update. Would be great :-)

  • Smitlik

    Lot of thanks, I was for 3 years looking for something like this!

    What about promoting to include this theme choice to Ubuntu on ?

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  • Jesper

    Just wanted to drop by and say that I’ve been using this on some of my lower resolution pc’s for a while now and that I absolutely love it!

    So yea, thanks a bunch for taking the time out and making these compact themes :)

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  • filip007

    Any tips or download for Ubuntu 9.10 Human default theme, Ubuntu 10.04 they don’t use Human theme any more.

  • filip007
  • Hendronicus

    I’m using this on Gutsy and it works just fine.