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Article is also relevant for Linux Mint 18.1.

A wallpaper is a a great way to embellish your desktop. It is not so surprising that many people use programs and/or websites to find new wallpapers to brighten their day.

My personal choice as wallpaper provider and changer is variety from Peter Levi.

Installing could not be simpler. Copy/paste these lines in a terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peterlevi/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install variety variety-slideshow

Tip 0 scroll over the icon of variety

Get the next wallpaper or previous wallpaper when you scroll over the icon of variety.

Tip 1 Location of the wallpapers on your system

Any application has folders in which it operates. Variety will be working within the following directory.


The hidden folder .local is another directory you should keep in mind when looking for the working directories of applications.

Let us find out

  • where the variety folder is
  • where are the downloaded images
  • where are the favorite images
  • where are the most important scripts
  • where are the config files (might want to copy them to another system)

Tip 2 No nudity

This was one of the most requested features. The latest version supports this now.

There is a checkbox to enable safe-mode now for working situations. NSFW is Not Suitable For Work. Only in version 0.6.2 and higher.




Tip 3 Go to the source and save it there as favorite

When you start variety, you will see an icon in the bottom right panel. We are exploring the options we get when we press the variety icon.

I really like the option to go to the source website and to be able to login and save the pictures there as favorite.

Desktoppr is another favorite website as provider of new and interesting wallpapers. Desktoppr will link your dropbox account with the website so that you have your wallpapers always with you.

In the movie we will give an example with wallhaven, which is another great supplier for wallpapers.


Tip 4 how to set a custom icon for variety

I thank Peter for making this option available. There are so many icon themes out there and if you want to have a desktop that is uniform in colouring or design you need sometimes to be able to change the icons. Not all applications provide this service out-of-the-box.

The location of the variety toolbar icons is



There are three variants present

  • Grey
  • Light
  • Dark

But you can as easily make them any colour you want as explained in the following tutorial.

Tip 5 change the colour of the variety icon

The variety indicator might not be suitable in colour in your icon theme or your theme. Change it yourself with inkscape.


Tip 6 make a custom keyboard shortcut to trash the wallpaper or make it your favorite

If you do not like a wallpaper that is presented to you by variety, you go to the variety icon in the bottom right panel, click on it and delete to trash. But I do like a keyboard shortcut.

I wondered if there was a shortcut so I asked Peter and promptly I got a reply.

After following the tutorial you will be able to do the following things with a keyboard shortcut. You can use other combinations of keys.

  • Trash the wallpaper – ALT + T
  • Next wallpaper – ALT + N
  • Previous wallpaper – ALT + P
  • Favorite wallpaper – ALT + F

You will be able to make more shortcuts if you want. Type this line in the terminal to see all options of variety.

variety --help


Tip 7 Saving these shortcuts to be uploaded on another computer

When changing computers I was pressing ALT +T to trash my current wallpaper and nothing happened… My custom keyboard shortcuts were on my other computer. I was in no hurry to make the shortcuts by hand again and went looking for a way to be able to save them on one computer and upload them on an other.

There is a way to save settings of one desktop and upload the settings on an other desktop.



Tip 8 Setting images to 100% of your screen resolution

You can also select that all wallpapers should be at least

  • 50 %
  • 80 %
  • 100 %

of the screen resolution. If you get often images that are small and then become blurred (ugly) because they are zoomed or stretched, you can set they should be in width and height at least 80% of your current screen resolution. Hope we will get more choices in the future.



Tip 9 Syncing favorite images between desktops

If you make an account on you will be able to sync your favorite desktop wallpapers between computers. In my case I installed over 40 distro’s in the month July and August of 2016. On each distro I found it my duty to install variety. All wallpapers I marked as favorite were also downloaded on my work computer.




Tip 10 Effects

Variety has an option to change your incoming wallpapers on-the-fly with some interesting filters. I like the grayscale filter. Do try it out with Sardi Mono icons.


Tip 11 Desktoppr and Variety play well together

Variety uses desktoppr as source for the wallpapers. Make an account, link it to your dropbox account and include the dropbox folder from desktoppr as source.


Do I miss some interesting tips or pointers. Let me know via google+.