How can the grip icon be changed on the mate-panel?

Hi, I'm looking to change this icon, but can't figure out how:

It doesn't seem to be influenced by which icon theme I choose. The only way I've gotten it to change is by selecting a different theme for the buttons/controls through the Appearances. Selecting a Matcha theme will result in the icon changing to a small, thin outline of a rectangle instead of the several dots. The Zukiture theme will cause it to vanish entirely, but so will the labels for windows in the panel.

I don't mind creating an icon to replace it, myself. I just need to know where and how to install it. Does anybody have any ideas?

Thanks for any help you can provide! :slight_smile:

I actually contributed that years ago when the transition from gtk2 to gtk 3 happened with mate actually and it was never meant to be permanent. it's a simple SVG graphic with an obvious name in the desktop theme's .../gtk-3.0/assets/ folder

replace or modify that as you like :wink:

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Thank you! Let me just clarify, by "desktop theme" you mean the theme responsible for buttons, scrollbars, toolbars, etc.? I ask because when checking the theme I'm using for that folder, I find that it isn't there. I'm using the Arc-Dark-solid theme. In the gtk-3.0 folder, there is just: gtk.css, gtk.gresource, and thumbnail.png -- Am I looking in the wrong place? There is a gtk-2.0 folder that has an assets folder inside of it. But, when I altered the graphic in there that looked like the grip, it didn't change the one shown on the panel. Thank you again! :slight_smile:

This element of the panel is controlled by the gtk.css file of the theme you're using, it's not an icon.

The easiest approach (in order to not edit/change any system files) would be to create a new CSS rule in the file ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css (if the file does not exist, create it)

MatePanelAppletFrameDBus {
    color: #ffffff;

and replace the white color (#ffffff) in the above example with a color that fits better to your theme (you can use a color picker to find the Hex color code).

If you want to make this element disappear completely, use this CSS rule in the ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css file:

MatePanelAppletFrameDBus {
    background: none;

In order to see any changes in your panel, you need to logout/login.

Bare in mind that these changes will overwrite the appearance of this element regardless of the theme you're using. In case you change to a different theme you might want to adjust the color so that it fits to the new theme.

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Thank you so much! Since you told me what to look for, I actually went to the Matcha theme's gtk.css, which had a nice grip for the panel. (I preferred the Arc themes, but the grip was as pictured in my first post, for that one and it didn't suit the rest of my desktop's style.) After copying the text from there and pasting it in my own ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css I logged out and back in and the grip is now styled just like the Matcha theme, though I'm using Arc.

Thank you also for mentioning that this will supersede the chosen theme. That's really helpful if I want to use a different grip in the future. :slight_smile:

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that's a good workaround but it is an SVG file, all the CSS file does is dictate what colour and visibility level it should be, the cascade level for Arc Theme is drawing resources from Menta/Black Menta. It's been renamed to panel grip since but this is the original:

If the file isn't there in Arc Theme, you can quite easily create your own version and add the file to override the default one showing on your screenshot. Copy the theme folder to your home directory, make the changes, alter the name in the theme file and save it all in a compressed archive. Then import the new theme to MATE.

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I tried your suggestion Mike and it worked, but only for certain themes like Menta and BlackMATE.
The icon is called panel-grid.svg and can be found in the /theme_name/gtk-3.0/assets/ directory.
If you edit it, using Gimp for example, you can change its colors, exactly what was requested in the first post.

For some reason this didn't work for Matcha and Arc Theme, so there must be something I'm missing in that regard. :thinking:

they over ride the colour in the CSS files somewhere. I don't know exactly where though and I'm not running MATE to be able to do much more digging at present. The source is on

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Something about this isn't quite right. When I changed the code in the gtk.css it didn't make any reference to the Matcha theme or files. Yet, it still overrode the panel grip successfully. My knowledge of CSS isn't extensive, but it does seem as if the theme actually draws the lines. It's clearly not referencing a file:

PanelToplevel.horizontal MatePanelAppletFrameDBus {
  background-image: linear-gradient(to right, transparent 2px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 2px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 3px, transparent 3px, transparent 4px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 4px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 5px, transparent 5px, transparent 7px);
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-size: 7px 14px;

PanelToplevel.horizontal MatePanelAppletFrameDBus:dir(ltr) {
  background-position: left center;

PanelToplevel.horizontal MatePanelAppletFrameDBus:dir(rtl) {
  background-position: right center;

PanelToplevel.vertical MatePanelAppletFrameDBus {
  background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, transparent 2px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 2px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 3px, transparent 3px, transparent 4px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 4px, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.1) 5px, transparent 5px, transparent 7px);
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-size: 14px 7px;
  background-position: center top;

(The above was from the Matcha-azul theme. All credit to the theme's creator, vinceliuice on

The .css resources in the BlackMATE folder do have what appears to be a .css drawing like the Matcha theme above. But, that is commented out with a note that it won't work with >= gtk+-3.20. The code then specifies that: assets/panel-grid.svg be used. I had tried changing this image directly, but it didn't make any difference. I commented out the Matcha code from my own ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css file, then logged out and back in and it has returned to the three cubes as originally pictured. I'm not sure how it's supplying itself with that image or where it comes from, but editing that particular copy of it doesn't seem to make any difference.

Side note: Here's an image of the result of adding the code above to my own gtk.css file, then selecting the Arc-Darker-solid theme (so future users don't have to try it themselves just to see how it will work out):

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I really can't believe how much of an over-complicated mess it's all become in the last 4 years :man_facepalming:

I'm not surprised. I've written some software, myself. It becomes complicated and messy so easily (especially the larger projects). When I was in school, they stressed organizing things at the start, but they did a poor job of teaching us how to maintain it. Having teachers or bosses that pushed for "progress" (which they defined as 'new features' rather than fixing old code) just compounded the issue. This is why I find myself behaving like a software nomad, jumping from one app to the next, just to find the most elegant, efficient one. But, it never stays the same for long! :sweat_smile:

I'm grateful for help from you and @bill_t -- I'm new to Manjaro, this is my first time using an Arch derivative, and it's nice to have such a great exchange, the first time posting in the forums. :smile:

Thank you both!

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