Material Design Inspired Paper Theme For Ubuntu

Paper is a material design inspired modern desktop theme suit. Designed by Sam Hewitt, the paper theme provides clear desktop GUI experience with flat icons accompanied by light shadows. The menu lists, options, etc resembles the design that we have seen in vanilla android Lollipop and Marshmallow. Paper theme desktop suit currently works on Ubuntu and its derivatives.

Paper theme is supported by most of the popular desktop environment like unity, GTK 2.X, GTK 3.X, Pantheon, Budgie, etc. To tweak your ubuntu desktop environment to Paper theme, you need to install the theme pack, icon pack, and unity tweak tool. The theme is supported by Ubuntu 12.04 and higher versions. The theme is in active development, it means in case you find any bug/issue you can raise bug ticket on GitHub and get it fixed by the developer. (Link: to site:

How To Install Paper Theme In Ubuntu

To install this neatly designed theme,
Open terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and type in the following commands –
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:snwh/pulp
sudo apt-get update
Install gtk theme
sudo apt-get install paper-gtk-theme
Install paper icons
sudo apt-get install paper-icon-theme
Next, to apply changes to the theme you need to have desktop tweaking tool. Unity tweak tool is one such tool to change theme and icon pack.

To install unity tweak tool open terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and type in following commands –
sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool
​[Optional] To add to the beauty of the theme you can also install the docky.
Docky is a full-fledged dock application that makes opening common applications and managing windows easier and quicker. Type in the following command to install docky –

sudo apt-get install docky

​Setting up a theme

  1. Open Unity tweak tool from the search bar.
  2. Under theAppearance section (third row), select Theme.
    1. Select Paper from the list.
    2. Now select icons tab. Select Paper from list.
    3. Next under cursor section select Paper from list.

     Following are screenshots for the help –

Now you are all set! Theme review:
Following are the screenshots of the theme –

Menus are like lists in Google Material themes( in Lollipop/ Marshmallow) –

Here is what we feel about the theme.

  1. As of the current status, the theme has one known common issue of highlighted text. While renaming a folder, the highlighted text is white which matches with background and hence is not visible

Note: the issue is already open on Github development branch and will be fixed soon.

  1. The window control buttons ( close, maximize and minimize)has no highlighting color. It would have been good if the highlight color was present.
  2. If you love clean and flat design it is a good choice for the desktop environment. The base colors are cold so beneficial for the long term desktop users.


Paper theme is a stable desktop environment and a good to go alternative to the default Ubuntu desktop. The icons are well designed, the theme is intuitive and lightweight ( in terms of ram consumption). Overall it can be rated 8/10 needing some minor improvements. If you liked this article, share with your friends. Comment down in the section below for any suggestions or issues regarding installations and customization.