I would like to use the refresh icon in my application. Rather than creating my own icon I would like to use the refresh icon used in Files, in a way that the icon will be updated when the user uses a different theme.

I found the refresh icon in this path "/usr/share/icons/HighContrast/16x16/actions/view-refresh.png".

However, instead of using the hardcoded path in the code I would like to use a reference path or alias to the above icon which will show the default refresh icon based on the theme in use. In case the image cannot be located I can default to a hard coded image which will be kept in my application default icon location.

Appreciate any sample vala code or pointers to implement the above.

Thanks, Sid.

1 Answer 1


You just load the icon using the name. Gtk will select the one appropriate for the current theme. In your case, you would use something like:

var icon = Gtk.Image.from_icon_name("view-refresh", Gtk.IconSize.SMALL_TOOLBAR);

See valadoc for more information.

  • 1
    Many thanks for the swift response and spot on with your suggestion as well. I went with the Button Image as I thought it gives the clickable action better than just a image itself. This is what I used: Button ports_refresh_button = new Button.from_icon_name ("view-refresh", IconSize.SMALL_TOOLBAR); .Thanks for putting me on the right track. Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 9:59
  • As an afterthought I kind of like the refresh icon in the header bar in Pantheon Files (right end) better than the stock view-refresh one. What would be the name to get the Pantheon Files reload icon. <br> Another icon comes if I mention "reload" instead of "view-refresh" - is that better supported ? Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 10:51
  • 1
    I believe the one used in Files is view-refresh-symbolic. Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 12:07
  • Many thanks for your suggestion about "view-refresh-symbolic" - spot on again ! Is there any method or documentation on these icons or is it just your knowledge and exploration ? Many thanks again! Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 18:18
  • 1
    Most of my knowledge is through exploration of /usr/share/icons. I did find the icon theme specification, which is somewhat helpful. Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 19:06

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