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I like macOS design. It's simple, clean, with beautiful colours, effect and animations. In the Linux world, I like Gnome because its design approach is very close to Mac. I want to configure Gnome in my own way, but there is not much about design in the settings.

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    I switched to KDE plasma, because it is more customisable. I wanted to customise behaviour, and visual feedback (how it looks with respect to usability). – ctrl-alt-delor Apr 10 '20 at 15:59
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Customization of Gnome can be easily done by Gnome extensions. With this concept, you can find extensions on the Gnome Extensions website and install them to your system. One extension usually handles one specific thing. Each extension is usually maintained by one or a few community developers, and if there is any problem, you should contact them directly.

For this to work, it is necessary to have installed gnome-shell-extensions package in your system (It's usually provided by your package manager), and GNOME Shell integration extension enabled in your internet browser.

One another thing you probably want to have installed is gnome-tweaks, which allows you to customize a little more things than you can in gnome-control-center, and you can manage your Gnome extensions there.


GTK themes and icon themes

Before we start tinkering with Gnome extensions, it's worth mentioning, that huge part of the Gnome design is done by themes and icons. A lot of them is available via the package managers, and those that aren't, usually have installation instructions on their official websites. You can switch these themes in the gnome-tweaks in the Appearance tab.

If you want Qt apps to follow your GTK theme, you are probably looking for Kvantum Manager.


Design extensions

Below is the list of Gnome extensions, which mainly focus to let you improve your design in various ways.

Dash to dock extension forces Gnome's dash, which is only visible in Activities, to be visible on desktop as well. It's also highly customisable. You can set background, size, position, style, behaviour, and so on...

Dynamic Panel Transparency in combination with Hide top bar allows you to customize Gnome's top panel, set its transparency, foreground and background colours, text shadows and auto-hiding.

Blyr sets blur effect to wallpaper when you enter Activities. You can customize its intensity and brightness.

Transparent Window Moving makes windows semi-transparent when you grab them with your cursors. Animation time and opacity are customisable.

User Themes allows you to set specific GTK theme in your Gnome shell (changes look of top panel, activities, calendar, and so on...). You can switch these themes in the gnome-tweaks in the Appearance tab.


Functionality extensions

These extensions will add new functions to your Gnome or improve old ones.

AlternateTab will change the behaviour of your Alt-Tab switcher and disable grouping by applications. It is more intuitive for some people.

Arc Menu adds a cool global menu to your Gnome. It is highly customizable and a must-have for users switching from KDE or Cinnamon.

GSConnect allows you to integrate your mobile phone into Gnome. It will synchronize your notifications, battery status, it will inform you about incoming phone calls and automatically decrease system volume.

KStatusNotifierItem/AppIndicator Support adds tray icons. You can customize their spacing with Status Area Horizontal Spacing extension.

Multi Monitors Add-On shows Gnome's overview and top panel on all connected screens. Currently may cause overview bug described here.

Night Light Slider. If you use Gnome's integrated function for blue light elimination, this extension allows you to set its intensity from the top-right menu.

No Topleft Hot Corner. If you accidentally trigger Activities menu by moving your cursor to the top-left corner, this will disable it.

NoAnnoyance automatically show new windows instead of notifying they are ready.


Once you install your extensions, you can find them and customize them in the gnome-tweaks in the Extensions tab.

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