In my previous post I’ve shared my notes on how to set up Debian 9 with Xfce. By default, Xfce looks a bit outdated to me and it can be tweaked to look a lot nicer. When I saw the Xfce desktops on I knew something had to be done.

This post contains my notes on how I set up my Xfce desktop on Debian. I guess it’s a good start if you want to customise yours.

The end result

To give you an idea what we’re aiming for:

After: customised desktop

Before - default Xfce desktop:

Before: default Xfce desktop

Customising the desktop theme

Install the Arc theme (source):

sudo apt install arc-theme

Install the Papirus icons (source):

sudo apt install dirmngr

sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/papirus-ppa.list << EOF
deb xenial main

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver E58A9D36647CAE7F
sudo apt update
sudo apt install papirus-icon-theme

Now that the themes are installed, let’s set them up:

  • Settings > Appearance - Arc-Dark
  • Settings > Appearance > Fonts - DejaVu Sans Book 10, Enable anti-aliasing, Hinting: None, Sub-pixel order: None, Custom DPI: unchecked
  • Settings > Window Manager - Arc-Dark
  • Settings > Appearance > Icons - Papirus Dark
  • Settings > Desktop - “Applications” panel icon: view-grid-symbolic

Customising the Terminal

Open Terminal. Go to Edit > Preferences. Edit these settings:

  • Appearance - Check: Use system font
  • General - Disable “Scroll on output”
  • Terminal colors - Background color #2F343F, Cursor color #AAAAAA, Tab activity color #FF5555

Customising the login screen a.k.a. greeter

Install LightDM GTK+ Greeter Settings

sudo apt install lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings

Go to Applications > LightDM GTK+ Greeter Settings.

And use the following settings:

  • Theme: Arc-Dark
  • Icons: Papirus-Dark
  • Font: DejaVu Sans Book 10

Customising the keyboard

I’m using an Apple keyboard without Fn key, which makes some of the system shortcuts inaccessible (the ones that use the F1-F12 keys).

To use F1-F12 keys instead of media keys (source):

echo 2 | sudo tee /sys/module/hid_apple/parameters/fnmode

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • Settings > Keyboard > xfce4-appfinder > edit > CMD+SPACE
  • Settings > Keyboard > add > command: exo-open –launch TerminalEmulator > CTRL+ALT+T
  • Settings > Keyboard > add > command: xfce4-screenshooter -w > CMD+SHIFT+4