9 Best Graphical Skins for Ubuntu in 2022

In Ubuntu, the Unity shell is quite nice, but it is extremely difficult to modify it – there are not many settings, and some of the shortcomings suggest using alternatives. Fortunately, this distribution has a good set of interesting and unique desktop environments, which will be discussed in today’s article.

KDE Plasma

KDE Plasma is a graphical skin for Ubuntu

KDE is one of the most feature-rich Ubuntu desktop skins that can be easily modified. It has many themes, third-party extensions and widgets called plasmoids.

Along with the skin, you get the Amarok audio player, the handy KGet file downloader and the nice Konqueror browser. There is also a messenger that allows you to synchronize your Android smartphone with your desktop.


  • there is a built-in Spectacle screen capture tool;
  • programs can be launched from the menu through the launcher or using shortcuts;
  • convenient switching between desktops and spaces;
  • quick launch of programs, search for files and folders, as well as a number of additional tasks using the KRunner program.

Command to install:

sudo apt install kubuntu-desktop

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Gnome Shell

Gnome Shell is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

A good graphical Gnome Shell is not a copy of macOS, but only features that allow you to achieve such a result.

In addition to the desktop, Gnome includes a set of useful programs and utilities. These include graphical administration tools, networking applications, a terminal emulator, a simple text editor, multimedia players, and a file manager.


  • “Action” view mode, which allows you to see all open windows on one screen;
  • convenient notification system on the desktop;
  • several simultaneously open desktops;
  • it is allowed to install additional extensions, thanks to which you can change the appearance and functionality of the shell;
  • the “Applications” tab is available, where all installed programs are displayed with the possibility of sorting by categories;
  • the “Dock” function allows you to pin selected programs to a special panel, launch them and switch between them.

Command to install:

sudo apt install ubuntu-gnome-desktop


Cinnamon is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

Cinnamon is another graphical shell for Ubuntu based on the GNOME desktop environment. It is designed to provide the most convenient and familiar GNOME 2 interface, but with the use of new technologies. The interface to some extent repeats the features of Windows, which helps to quickly master the environment when switching from a popular OS.


  • panels and elements can be moved in any order;
  • window manager Muffin;
  • file manager Nemo;
  • a suite of X-Apps applications, including an editor, a graphic file viewer, a photo manager, and much more;
  • support for plugins to expand functionality;
  • Workspaces – multiple workspaces.

Installation commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon

sudo apt update

sudo apt install cinnamon blueberry


    Xfce is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

Xfce is a minimalist graphic environment that can run on almost any hardware. She is not very picky, looks quite nice. The Thunar file manager comes with the shell, with a user-friendly interface and a built-in bulk file renaming tool.

Xfce perfectly interacts with software written for other interfaces – KDE, GNOME, Unity and others. In addition to the standard components, this Ubuntu desktop includes additional programs prefixed with xfce.


  • flexible settings of the appearance of the working environment;
  • window manager Xfwm;
  • display of messages;
  • xfce4-session session manager;
  • power manager – timer shutdown, battery status alerts, and more.

Command to install:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop


KDE is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

Another undemanding to resources and quite functional shell for Ubuntu. It borrowed a lot of elements from KDE, works on a modular principle, where each component is independent of each other and can work independently.

Openbox is used as a window manager. The set also includes several utilities with the prefix LX. These are system settings, application loader, panel, session manager, audio player, terminal and much more.


  • simple, intuitive management;
  • window manager Openbox;
  • functional file manager PCManFM;
  • use of environment components independently of each other;
  • the ability to customize the interface with the LXAppearance utility.

Team for installation:

sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop


Pantheon is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

The Pantheon GUI was created based on GNOME specifically for the Elementary OS. Its features were adopted from the entire well-known operating system macOS – this was reported more than once by the developers themselves.

Although Pantheon did not manage to completely copy macOS, its functionality does not lose from this, and the interface looks minimalistic. By the way, it is very easy to figure it out.


  • Slingshot launcher for launching programs;
  • convenient Plank dock panel for quick access to elements;
  • upper panel Wingpanel;
  • monitoring the operation of components and restarting in case of failures;
  • selection of environment modules for use in the system.

Teams for installation:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementary-os/daily

sudo apt update

sudo apt install elementary-desktop


Budgie is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

Another environment based on Gnome is Budgie. It was developed by the Solus distribution team, which focused on creating the most beautiful interface. This Ubuntu graphical skin is used by default in the Ubuntu Budgie edition.

Budgie’s key feature is the handy Raven panel on the right side of the screen that controls the player, notifications, calendar and system settings. Easy to master, but cannot boast of a large number of settings.


  • integration with the GNOME stack;
  • window manager Budgie Window Manager;
  • Raven control center – a side panel that opens access to settings;
  • support for pop-up messages;
  • window of quick launch of programs;
  • forming a list of selected applications.

Installation commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:budgie-remix/ppa

sudo apt update

sudo apt install budgie-desktop


MATE is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

MATE is a light, pleasant-looking and reliable shell for connoisseurs of comfort, based on GNOME and preserving the traditions of GNOME 2. It is characterized by stability, convenience, flexibility of configuration and well-developed functionality.

MATE is extremely undemanding in terms of memory and processor power, so it can be used even on very old computers. At the same time, the system with such a shell has a stylish appearance.


  • convenient navigation; quick access to elements;
  • animations and smooth transitions;
  • window manager Marco;
  • Caja file manager;
  • MATE Terminal provides the ability to use multiple terminals in one window using tabs.

Team for installation:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-desktop

Deepin DE

Deepin DE is a graphical shell for Ubuntu

The last graphical shell for Ubuntu in our selection is Deepin DE. It uses its own custom-designed desktop environment, integrated with applications such as Deepin Video, Deepin Music and others. Its key feature is the sidebar settings like in Windows 8, only much more convenient.


  • the ability to switch modes;
  • external side menu with system settings;
  • window manager Gala;
  • Deepin Store program center;
  • file manager Nautilus;
  • integration of the environment with Deepin programs.

Teams for installation:

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb  trusty main non-free universe" >> /etc/apt/sources.list'

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb-src  trusty main non-free universe" >> /etc/apt/sources.list'

wget /project/deepin-keyring.gpg

gpg --import deepin-keyring.gpg

sudo gpg --export --armor 209088E7 | sudo apt-key add -

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install dde-meta-core python-deepin-gsettings deepin-music-player deepin-software-center deepin-movie deepin-game-center


Linux provides users with a large arsenal of all kinds of graphical shells. You can choose for yourself what you need – a pleasant interface, many features or all this in one set. If the iron is weak, it’s also not a question – install Xfce or KDE. In general, each user will find something to their taste.

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