⌚ March 28, 2014
The Dolphin file manager is probably one of the best file managers available given its features and bountiful customization options. Though designed with the K Desktop Environment (KDE) in mind, Dolphin can be installed and used in other desktop environments, such as Cinnamon, GNOME, and Xfce4.
However, when installed in another environment, Dolphin’s icons will default to the KDE Oxygen icon set and not match the system icons. This makes Dolphin appear incongruous, so is there a way to change Dolphin’s icons so they match the system’s icons?
For example, we can go from this:
Dolphin icons are managed separately, so they require System Settings, the central configuration center for KDE, in order to change them. Install System Settings:
sudo apt-get install systemsettings
To run it, open a terminal and enter systemsettings. Root privileges should not be necessary.
The main screen appears.
Under Common Appearance and Behavior, choose Application Appearance (usually with a double-click in non-KDE environments). In the following window, select Icons. A list of available icons from /usr/share/icons will appear.
Note that the icons must be present in /usr/share/icons, and all icon files and directories must have the 755 permission in order to appear. If not, they cannot be selected. Differing permissions might occur when copying icons from another directory. To change permissions, do so recursively.
sudo chmod 755 -R /usr/share/icons/<icon_directory>
Replace <icon_directory> with the specific directory name.
After changing permissions, close and reopen System Settings to register the changes. The icons should now appear, but if not, then check that the icon directory is not within a subdirectory and make sure that the icons are organized in the expected format. For comparison, check how the icons are organized and grouped within other, working icon directories.
Select an icon set from the list, and click Apply. Close and reopen Dolphin for the changes to take effect completely.
The new Dolphin icon settings are saved, so there is no need to open systemsettings again unless to change the icons to something else. Different users may have their own icons for Dolphin just as they can have their own system icons for their session customizations.
Notice that the folder icons in Dolphin appear alike by using the same default folder icon. Thunar, for example, might show different icons for various folders, such as Downloads and Videos, but not Dolphin.
System Settings (systemsettings) does not convert special folder icons, so right-click the plain folder icons and choose new icons for them one at a time…or leave them be.
When changing icon themes, keep in mind that icons must be changed in two separate places: once for the system using the main system settings, and again for Dolphin using the KDE System Settings. Changing one does not automatically change the other unless inside KDE. This might require extra effort, but the results will make Dolphin feel welcome in a non-KDE desktop.