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As you probably know, when you open System > Preferences > Appearance, the only way to preview the themes you have installed is to click on them, thereby applying the selected theme. While that’s not such a big deal, it does take a few seconds to redraw everything on the screen, and on less powerful machines this can be quite a drag.

But there are a couple of small apps around that can show you a preview within a single window. They are tiny downloads and easily installed, so if you plan on playing around with themes a fair bit, you should give them a go.

GTK+ Change Theme

To install via Terminal: sudo apt-get install gtk-chtheme

How to Run: Applications > System Tools > Gtk-ChTheme

Official blurb: ‘Gtk Theme Switch’ based utility that aims to make themes previews and selections as slick as possible. Themes installed on the system are presented for selection and previewed on the fly.

As you can see, everything you need is in the one small window. Simply click on a theme name to see everything in that window change. When you find one you’d like to change to, click Apply.

GTK Theme Switch

To install via Terminal: sudo apt-get install gtk-theme-switch

How to Run: gtk-theme-switch2 in the terminal

Official blurb: Utilities to easily switch GTK+ themes that can be run from the console, and has an optional GUI dock and theme preview. It can install themes downloaded from gtk.themes.org as well straight from the tarball.

Just select a theme and click Preview to see a small sample of it open in its own window; you will need to close each preview manually, as it does not reuse the current window. When you find one you’d like to change to, click Apply.

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Whenever you freshly install an OS – be it Ubuntu or Windows – your previous collection of fonts can’t be expected to just suddenly appear there. But it’s really quick and simple to get them back, and you won’t even need to reboot before you can start using them.

All you will be doing is copying files from a source folder to a destination folder, which is just a basic bit of file management. First, locate your original fonts folder on your Windows partition, which should be C:\Windows\Fonts\. Next, you will need to create a hidden folder in your home folder on your Ubuntu partition, which you can do by entering the following command into a terminal:

mkdir ~/.fonts

If you’re wondering why a folder had to be created, especially since the system has fonts installed (so they have to be residing somewhere already), the short answer is just to make things easier for you. Fonts that come with the system, and a few that get installed by programs, are found in /usr/share/fonts – which, being a protected system folder, means you’ll need to ask for permission before you can do anything with it (like copy files into it).

The new .fonts folder, while being hidden (denoted by it starting with a period), is owned by you, so you can drag files in and out without being told you don’t have the appropriate permissions for that task. And of course Ubuntu will immediately recognise that you have a fonts folder of your own, and incorporate those with the ones already installed.

Once you have a folder window open for both source and destination, simply select your fonts and drag them from your Windows partition to the new fonts folder, and copies will be placed there. At this point, you can either choose to be selective, dragging over only those you will actually use from the collection that has accumulated over the years, or just select them all with Ctrl+A.

If you’re not sure about certain fonts, as filenames are shown, not font names, you can double-click those for a preview, then click the Install Font button at the bottom right.

Once you’re finished, the fonts are ready to use. If you had a word processor or similar open while doing this, the fonts won’t be recognised yet, so simply close and reopen it, and you’ll see all your fonts there. Note that this will also work with Windows programs running under Wine, meaning next time you run Adobe Photoshop or what have you, all the fonts accessible in Ubuntu will be available to it.

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If you’d like to do all this the easiest way – via the terminal – a command like the following will do the trick:

mkdir ~/.fonts && cp -rT /media/Windows/Windows/Fonts/ ~/.fonts

You will probably need to change the path of the source, depending on where it is mounted (in this example, it assumes your Windows partition is mounted as /media/Windows). Also, if there are spaces in the path (like if the mount point is /media/Windows XP), you will need to enclose that path in single quotes, and make note of any case issues (if C:\Windows is actually C:\WINDOWS, you will need to put it as such). Here is a revised command taking all those into consideration:

mkdir ~/.fonts && cp -rT '/media/Windows XP/WINDOWS/Fonts/' ~/.fonts

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How to Show Hidden Files & Folders

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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