In elementary OS, as with Ubuntu and Mac OS X, the close button is on the left.

Can I change this to have the close button on the right?


5 Answers 5


Here is another approach without installing any additional software. Open a terminal session and run one of the following commands:

Default Button Style

gsettings set org.pantheon.desktop.gala.appearance button-layout close:maximize

Max and Close buttons switched

gsettings set org.pantheon.desktop.gala.appearance button-layout maximize:close

Windows Button Style

gsettings set org.pantheon.desktop.gala.appearance button-layout :minimize,maximize,close

Mac OS X Button Style

gsettings set org.pantheon.desktop.gala.appearance button-layout close,minimize,maximize

You have to logout and login or restart to make the changes take effect.

  • Nice answer! Very thorough and the example images are a great visual help.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:27
  • Did you restart or logoff afterwards?
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 21:47
  • When I try this solution on Mac OS High Siera I get: "No such schema ?org.pantheon.desktop.gala.appearance?" Did I miss something? Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 14:37

Yes you can. First you need to install dconf-editor with:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Once it is installed, open it and search for the entry:


There you'll see the dafault setting:


you can switch those as:


to have the close button to the right. You probably need to restart or log off and back in for the changes to take effect.

  • 1
    That's odd, you should be able to install it without having to add anything else: howtoelementaryos.org/…
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 17:10
  • 2
    Aha, my universe source is disabled.
    – user3
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 17:14
  • For me this doesn't work for windows with Headerbars. Only for Titelbar windows. Is there a second setting?
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 18:47

You could also install elementary-tweaks

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks

Open switchboard->Tweaks and change the window buttons there.

  • 3
    It's not recommended to use elementary tweaks as it is no longer maintained and has been known to break systems. It's also unsecure to add arbitrary PPAs and not necessary for this task. Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 17:51
  • It didn't break mine
    – Suici Doga
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 13:48
  • @DanielForé I think you mean the older tweaks
    – Suici Doga
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 5:50

Alternatively you can use elementary tweaks (not officially supported but easier to use).

Add Ken Hartley's ppa:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:justsomedood/justsomeelementary

Don't forget to update

sudo apt-get update

Finally install elementary-tweaks

sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks

Access elementary tweaks through System Settings (You will have to restart it if you had it open during installation).

In the General > Appearance tab, the option Window Controls should allow you to change the close button to the right.


I just installed elementary OS to give it a try. From time to time, I always want to check if there is a real practical alternative (free) to Windows. Every time I've failed. Ubuntu = wrong GUI for my taste, Zorin = good, but utterly useless since has the wi-fi problem - keeps dropping, spent a day to fix it with no use. Now eOS.

All I want to do is to change minimize, maximize, close buttons to the right - windows style, since I do not intend to re-learn muscle memory. I have failed. I am using a Loki (Ubuntu 16.04 LTS xenial). I've tried:

  • gsettings set org.pantheon.desktop.gala.appearance button-layout :minimize,maximize,close in the console, logged out, restarted etc
  • dconf-editor, then went to org > pantheon > desktop > gala > appearance, then changed to :minimize,maximize,close. logged out, restarted etc
  • I did not used any tweakers for this, since everybody are complaining they are system breakers and lack any support.

Can anyone tell me if there is a workaround for this or I'll trow this distro (again) into the abyss?

later: found this. It's a Won't fix for systems based on > Ubuntu 14. There's your answer. Well, goodbye to this distro. Again.

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