Ubuntu: How to make desktop icons less fat on Gnome 3.16?


I am contemplating putting these icons on a diet too, however before I start on their diet plan, I am going to try whatever you guys have on offer... So the problem at hand is that although I have now fixed this: How to make Nautilus icons in Gnome 3.16 less fat?

I am still unable to do the same for the desktop while not in Nautilus so icons look like this:

enter image description here

So that is really my question, without putting these icons on a diet, how do I shrink them down to normal size like they were in Gnome 3.14 and like I achieved in my other question?

OS Information:

No LSB modules are available.  Distributor ID: Ubuntu  Description:    Ubuntu 15.04  Release:    15.04  Codename:   vivid  


The icon size settings for the desktop are the same as for the icon size in Nautilus for Icon View Defaults.

enter image description here

For smaller or bigger sizes, use the next steps

  1. Right Click the desktop icon
  2. Select Resize Icon…
  3. Left Click the resize handlers at the edges of the wire frame
  4. Resize the icon

You can restore the original size with

  1. Right Click the desktop icon
  2. Select Restore Icon's Original Size

If that doesn't work though, you really should think about changing their diet... ;-)


In nautilus click on an icon then with CTRL mouse scroll you can resize the icon size. The desktop icons will resize too.


Going below 48px requires changing the Nautilus source code and recompiling. (Yes, they hard-coded icons sizes.)


  1. Install the following dependencies:

    sudo apt install libgd-dev autotools-dev libexif-dev libexempi-dev libselinux1-dev libtracker-sparql-1.0-dev libext-dev libxml2-dev libgnome-desktop-3-dev  

    Each one installs a bunch of other stuff, so hopefully I've given you the correct parent package name. I apologize for not recalling with 100% accuracy exactly what I installed, but this looks fairly correct to me immediately after my install. (Notify me if I'm inaccurate anywhere.)

  2. Download from the Nautilus snapshots website the version of Nautilus that you are currently using. To find that out, run "nautilus --version" from the terminal. After downloading the archive, unzip it to whatever directory you want to work from.

  3. From within the unzipped package, open the file "nautilus-icon-info.h". Within the first several lines you will see various sizes designated for the particular scroll-setting options. For instance, within the file for version 3.20.4 the icon sizes start on line 36. Change each of those levels to whatever you want to use so that you can make the icons much smaller (or larger).

  4. After editing and saving the file, it's time to configure, compile, and install. Run the following commands from the terminal from within the base directory of the version of nautilus that you have downloaded and unzipped. Make sure that you are within the base of the folder structure of the nautilus directories!

    ./configure    make    sudo make install  

    This can be run altogether with the command ./configure && make && make install.

    If the ./configure command fails it's because you are missing some other dependencies. I apologize if my list of dependencies above was incomplete. Google (or whatever search engine you want) to find what package it is that you need. You can use Synaptic to search for what you need if you're unsure even after Googling.

  5. Once installed, I suggest a reboot just to make sure that every single thing is reloaded properly. You can now tweak your icon sizes as you wish.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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