How to Change Desktop Wallpaper in Ubuntu

The Appearance section of System Settings.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Although it is not entirely different from the Windows or Mac OS X user interface, the Ubuntu user interface can be intimidating to new users. Changing the desktop wallpaper in Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn is not a difficult task if you know where you find the settings. You can select one of the native wallpapers or use your own custom wallpaper. Furthermore, you can use a gradient as wallpaper. If you have two monitors, you can span the wallpaper across both of them.

Step 1

The System Settings icon in the Launcher.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Click the "System Settings" icon in the Launcher to display the System Settings window.

Step 2

The Appearance icon in System Settings.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Click "Appearance" in the Personal section to view all settings related to the look of the desktop.

Step 3

List of native wallpapers in Ubuntu.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Select a different wallpaper from the Wallpapers list on the Look tab if you want to use one of the native wallpapers.

Step 4

The Pictures Folder in the Appearance section of System Settings.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Select "Pictures Folder" instead of Wallpapers to use a custom wallpaper and then click the "+" button.

Step 5

The Browse For More Pictures window.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Select the image from the Pictures folder and click "Open" to use it. You can select a different folder from the left pane if you stored the wallpaper elsewhere on the hard drive. You can use any JPG, PNG or GIF image as wallpaper.

Step 6

The Colors and Gradients section and available gradients.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Canonical Ltd

Select "Colors and Gradients" instead of "Pictures Folder" to use a gradient, and then select one of the available gradients from the list. Change the gradient colors by clicking each of the colors and picking different colors from the list.

Tip

To change the Ubuntu theme, select a different theme from the "Theme" drop-down box.

To increase the size of the icons in the Launcher, drag the "Launcher icon size" slider to the right; to decrease the size, drag the slider to the left.

To set up panoramic wallpapers stretching across two monitors, select "Pictures Folder" and then select a wallpaper large enough to fit both screens. Select "Span" instead of "Zoom" from the drop-down box below the wallpaper name.

Various third-party wallpaper choosers or switchers, such as Wallch or Variety, automatically cycle through a preset list of wallpapers. Furthermore, Wallch can use a live website as wallpaper.

Only custom wallpapers can span across multiple monitors; native wallpapers don't have the Span option.

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