Change scrollbar width, arrows, static in Gnome theme Adwaita

Desktop Gnome
Theme Adwaita (not dark)

I’d like to change the appearance of all scrollbars

  1. Double the current width
  2. Display arrow buttons
  3. Make it static, don’t hide

To /usr/share/themes/Adwaita/gtk-2.0/gtkrc I added:

style "my_tweaks" {
  GtkScrollbar::stepper-size                 = 16
  GtkScrollbar::has-backward-stepper         = 1
  GtkScrollbar::has-forward-stepper          = 1

  # this property does not exist in main.rc
  GtkScrollbar::slider-width         = 32

  GtkRange::slider-width      = 32
  GtkScale::slider_width        = 32
class "GtkWidget" style "my_tweaks"

But nothing changed

does not apply to GTK3 apps, which most GTK apps in recent distro versions are. I suggest to investigate use of ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css and ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini to produce your desirable customizations. My gtk.css includes the following:

-GtkScrollbar-has-backward-stepper: 1;
-GtkScrollbar-has-forward-stepper: 1;
-GtkScrollbar-has-secondary-backward-stepper: 1;

scrollbar trough {
    min-width: 12px;
    min-height: 16px;

scrollbar slider {
     min-width: 12px;
     min-height: 16px;

Those steppers are up and down arrows at the ends of scrollbars. I don’t use Gnome, so can’t provide more specific suggestions.

Thanks for your suggestion, which I tried, but to no avail.

First line in sudo nano /usr/share/themes/Adwaita/gtk-3.0/gtk.css reads
/* Adwaita is the default theme of GTK+ 3, this file is not used */

Users and admins shouldn’t be touching /usr/share/ content with text editors. /etc/gtk-3.0/ and ~/.config/gtk-3.0/ are appropriate places. Conflicts between them and /usr/share/ are resolved against /usr/share/, while valid content in them that isn’t addressed in /usr/share/ is nevertheless supposed to be applied.

As user mrmazda indicates, make the changes in your home directory…

I use the following in ~/.config/gtk-2.0/ for gtk.css to set scrollbar width;

cat ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css

scrollbar, scrollbar button, scrollbar slider {
   min-width: 12px;
   min-height: 12px;

It’s working

Finally I got you all - I was in the wrong directory.

Went to my /home/(username)
Told Nautilus to show hidden files
Entered .config/gtk-3.0/
Created file gtk.css

Reboot et voila

Thank you so much everybody


this worked for me for browser and interface. But not for example if I open a .pdf with a reader like okular.
Do you know how to get the same for all applications?


I don’t know, but I’ve not seen any exceptions other than LibreOffice, or many moons ago when last tried, WINE. Okular I don’t use. I use Kpdf or SeaMonkey.