How to install new LibreOffice icons themes

Updated: January 4, 2019

In general, the LibreOffice interface has not changed much throughout its history. But there's one noticeable visual element that has changed in recent version of the suite - and that's the use of new UI icons. Not only that, you actually have the ability to change them. Old icons, new icons, Tango, Sifr, Oxygen, take your pick.

But then, what happens if you want to use yet another set of icons that is not listed in the options? Is that even possible? Intrigued, I set about hunting for nice and appealing icon packs for LibreOffice. And of course, I decided to write this tutorial, to actually show you how to setup and use custom icons for this program. After me.

Teaser

Change icons

First, if you're stuck on step one, this is how you do it. Tools > Options > View. Here, you can select an icon theme from a drop down list, change icon size, and a few other visual tweaks. The changes do not require a program restart. There are some rather cool and interesting options, including monochrome icons. Some of these will be available by default, and others through the repos.

Icons, change

Elementary icons

New icons & installation

If you do want to use completely custom and random icons, then you do need to do a little bit of search first. There aren't that many choices, nor compatible options with the newer versions of LibreOffice. But then you might have better luck searching than me. I did find Sifr - available also through repos, Papirus - I use it a lot in various distros, so it could complement the system icon theme nicely, and an unofficial Office 2013 theme. Not a bad start.

The icon themes comes in two flavors - ZIP archives and actual LibreOffice extensions (oxt files). In this guide, I'll show you how to set up both. The extensions are more trivial, but you also don't really have any control over what comes packaged inside them, so to speak.

Extensions

This can be done through the LibreOffice interface. Click add, select the downloaded extension. Restart the program. Go into Tools > Options, and then under View, change to the newly downloaded theme. I did this with the Office 2013 theme, and it worked just fine.

Add extension

Office 2013 theme in use

Via command line

The ZIP archives can be manually installed. You simply need to copy the archives to:

/usr/share/libreoffice/share/config/

Your LibreOffice installation may also be located in a non-standard path and/or use additional directories to load its configuration, in which case, you will need to copy the archives there, or to keep things tidy, create symbolic links. This is what the Papirus icon theme script does. For instance, an additional location for the themes:

/usr/lib64/libreoffice/share/config/

And then, we do the change via the Options menu, and Bob's your uncle:

Papirus installed

Papirus in use

Conclusion

LibreOffice icons aren't something you spend a lot of time thinking or focusing on, but in Linux, where you have a lot of freedom choosing icon themes for the desktop, having a nice common set for both applications and the system sounds like a Zen-balancing act. LibreOffice does have decent variety on its own, but you can extend it with third-party icon themes. This guide shows two different ways how to accomplish that. The actual artistic choice is entirely up to you.

And there's a side story here, too. I believe one of the most underused features of LibreOffice is its extensions facility. For some reason, there isn't that much traction, unlike the browser space. But it's still nice to see that LibreOffice does have a modular nature, and that means there's a lot of potential hidden in its seemingly static and somewhat archaic interface. Anyway, I hope you like this. Take care.

Cheers.

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