Customize your Titlebar

Getting a little bored with your titlebar? We all are at some point. While many know that you can change the look of the titlebar with a few clicks, few know that the individual buttons can be rearranged.

Woah now, you can change the order of the buttons? Yes, with a little help from GConf.

To start, open up GConf Editor (follow the link above to see how) and navigate to /apps/metacity/general. On the right pane, find the key button_layout.


The screenshot above describes the available options pretty well. The best way to find out what works is to simply try some:




This setting is also recognized by Compiz, so even if you have effects enabled you can still edit the titlebar the same way.

If you don't like your customizations, right-click button_layout and select Unset to have them reset to the default.

Avatar for jacob Jacob Peddicord -

Jacob is a web developer, student, and programmer from Ohio. He is a staff member at the Ubuntu Forums and is most likely a fanboy of the distribution. He loves to write in code and words, play video games, and rant about topics most would have abandoned long ago. Jacob uses GNOME and is never seen running stable software, much to the demise of his laptop.

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Discussion: Customize your Titlebar

  1. Josh (guest)

    # Posted on 08 February 2008 at 04:08 PM

    What are the full button names supported by the setting as of now?

    I know:


    Where is the documentation of what you can put in there?

  2. Jacob (guest)

    # Posted on 08 February 2008 at 04:38 PM


    Full documentation is slim to none, but the major keys are close, menu, maximize, and minimize. Other values, like shade and sticky, might work on only Metacity or only Compiz, so I left them out.

  3. # Posted on 09 February 2008 at 06:52 PM

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  4. # Posted on 11 February 2008 at 11:03 AM

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  5. # Posted on 12 February 2008 at 01:25 PM

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  6. # Posted on 17 February 2008 at 12:19 PM

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  7. # Posted on 28 March 2008 at 01:44 AM

    [...] Hit the link below for more guidance on using gconf-editor and tweaking the window settings. Customize your Titlebar [...]

  8. xTEMPLARx (guest)

    # Posted on 15 March 2010 at 08:17 PM

    Thanks much for the quick article. I needed this. I would have gone insane with the buttons on the left... lol

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