Steam Skin Manager NG

logo 4.0.4 and above

What is Steam Skin Manager

Steam Skin Manager is a tool for changing Steam (Valve's gaming platform client) appearance.

It allows you to manage bundled or custom themes, apply/revert them and add use Steam client with native window borders.

Steam Skin Manager is currently available in English and Czech.

What is it good for

Steam Skin Manager makes managing Steam skins easy. It configures Steam Client for you as well as it allows you to use a 3rd party modification to run Steam with system-native window decorations.

How does it look

Steam Skin Manager

Steam client visual alteration

SSM themes

Bundled skins

Here is a list of all skins that comes with Steam Skin Manager. All themes have two variants containing and excluding window buttons.

  • Ubuntu Ambiance theme
  • Ubuntu Radiance theme
  • Light (white and grey) theme
  • Blue (dark blue) theme

Installation instructions

If you wish to avoid manual work, just use the PPA mentioned below in the Downloads section.

After downloading Steam Skin Manager, extract the downloaded archive and place the extracted folder at a desired place.

Once you've finished the above steps, go to the Steam Skin Manager directory, doubleclick or otherwise execute the binary "steamskinamanger.{32,64}" to run Steam Skin Manager.

To make it easier, you can also create a desktop file for your application menu or dash from Steam Skin Manager's application menu or from command line interface, for more info see section Command-line options below.

Command-line options

    • --help (-h), will show this screen
    • --timestamp (-t), will tell you when was the last time you launched this tool
    • --verson (-v), will display installed SSM version
    • --apply-theme FOLDER_PATH, will config Steam to use theme from a defined folder
    • --revert-theme, will revert Steam to use the default Steam theme
    • --generate-launcher, this will create a local .desktop launcher for SSM.
    • --run-with-decorations, will launch Steam with system window borders
    • --run, will launch Steam without system window borders
    • --no-gui, will launch Steam Skin Manager with no gui

Additional notes

If you wish to use SteamSkinManager also to run Steam with or without decorations, run steamskinamanger with some of the parameters above, like this:
cd SteamSkinManager-DIRECTORY-LOCATION ; ./steamskinmanager --run-with-decorations --no-gui

Please note, the latest Steam Skin Manager does not come with a launcher. To run Steam e.g. with system decorations, you'll have to use the above command or create your own launcher.

As of Steam Skin Manager NG 4.0.1 and above, the tool comes with the ability to create a desktop launcher.
Just launch Steam Skin Manager throught the extracted executable and then select File > Generate .desktop launcher from within the in-app menu. You should then be able to find Steam Skin Manager in the system menu or shell dash.

Please note that in order to keep the launcher functional you'll have to leave the Steam Skin Manager folder at it's original place. If you move it, just regenerate .desktop launcher.


Download the latest version of Steam Skin Manager


Download older versions

Possibly more equiped but older Qt based version


Prehistoric Bash & Zenity based version


Getting sources


Steam theming standard

Steam Skin Manager is trying to create a standard for packaging themes/skins. If you are a developer investigating the ways of presenting your theme(s) to the wider community, you may wish to simplify the installation process e.g. by making your own installer or using this tool.

There are 2 ways getting your skin working with Steam Skin Manager

  • Prepare your skin so users can just extract the whole theme folder and point to it in the Steam Skin Manager custom file chooser dialog.
  • Make a package or an installer that puts your theme to the "/usr/share/steam/skins" directory. * (recommended)

* So called "Bundled skins", but with the New-Generation not truly bundled, must obey the following rules to be functional:

  1. Your folder's name placed in the directory is the Skin's name, that appears to the user.
  2. There should be two folders inside your directory, "no-buttons" and "with-buttons".
    "no-buttons" is the directory without window buttons (this modification is prepared for using native window border) whilst the other folder contains window buttons - maximize,minimize,close - and can be used on it's own with Steam. If you don't intend to create both versions you can omit both folders, however, if you wish to create "no-buttons" version only, you'll have to put the content to the folder of the same name so that Steam Skin Manager can recognize your skin correctly.
  3. Description is an optional file, only one per both theme variants, placed in the root directory of your theme. It must be called "description.txt" and can take advantage of some basic html tags, like - bold,italic,underline,link -. It is recommended to keep the description file shorter rather than long.
  4. Preview is another optional file and if used it must be called "preview.png". There is again only one file for both variants, located in the root directory of your theme. This should be a screenshot of Steam window with the applied theme. Images are resized to 512x314px when previewed.

Thank you

Alin Andrei

for supporting this project, writing about it (2012-2013, 2014) on a popular Linux blog Web Upd8 and for packaging and maintaining a PPA.

Joey-Elijah Sneddon

for writing about Steam Skin Manager on a popular Linux blog OMG! Ubuntu!.

Maxime Gauduin (Alucryd)

for making Arch packages,

Daniel Scharrer

for the Steam workaround so that we can all enjoy Steam using native window decorations.

Christian Dannie Storgaard

for helping me make Ambiance theme when this project was still only a theme with no utility.Steam using native window decorations.

And of course I very much thank you all for downloading, using and enjoying this tool as well as the bundled themes.

To contact me, please use Google+ or my mail - the info can be found in the footer at the bottom of this page.

Version changelog

List of changes

  • v4.2.2 (23.July.2014)
    * Support for smaller screens, previous versions could not fit those.
    * French support, thanks to D. Colin.
  • v4.2.1 (2.Jun.2014)
    * Basic skin modifications, bug fixes
    * Initial support for languages → Steam Skin Manager currently available in English and Czech
    * GUI tweeks
    * Fixed Manual Editor "revert" function
    * Locales fix (crashed when bad locales were set)
  • v4.1.4 (28.May.2014)
    * Compatibility with Steam installations outside the default directory
    * Added support for Steam Skin Manager being run without the need to cd to the extracted directory
  • v4.1.3_fixedThanksTo_AlinAndrei (28.May.2014)
    * Skin installation problem with new Steam installations fixed - broken link, missing skin folder
    * Steam Skin Manager's timestamp saving fixed on new installations where the directory is missing
    Thank you very much for your feedback Alin Andrei!
  • v4.1.2 (28.May.2014)
    * SegFault bug fix ... occured when no skin was selected | Corrected thanks to Alin Andrei's feedback, thank you.
    * Minor tweak to a Light skin
    * Help > Dev section corrected
  • v4.1.1 (27.May.2014) Important release, bringing vital bug fixes and 32bit support.
    * Once more the Help section was redesigned, falling back only to grey colors
    * Multithreaded Steam Launching
    * Multithreaded tip downloading - no longer lags on poor connections
    * Modified interface to contain more information about the selected skin
    * Two new skins in both variants - Light and Blue
  • v4.0.5 (21.May.2014)
    * More bullet-proof support for skins - Even custom skins can now have two variants
    * Completely redesigned help section
    * Inner code changes - selected skin has now its own class and has been mostly separated from the main window class
    * Source code stripped from lib binary, replaced only with it's source → modified make file
  • v4.0.4-1 (20.May.2014)
    fixed backward compatibility layer.
  • v4.0.4 (21.May.2014)
    * new logo icon
    * added backward compatibility with themes located in "/usr/share/steam/skins" - feature of Steam Skin Manager 3.x and lower
    * modified help pages to fit Steam Skin Manager NG
    * minor code and ui modifications
  • v4.0.3 (20.May.2014)
    New helpscreen, fixed --version visual bug, minor cleanups of things left from the previous Steam Skin Manager 3.x.
  • v4.0.2 (19.May.2014)
    Fixed custom theme bug, added the ability to create a .desktop file (menu launcher).
  • v4.0.0 (18.May.2014)
    Steam Skin Manager v4 NG preview
    If you want to try Steam Skin Manager 4 New Generation, you can do it now simply by downloading this archive. Extract it, end execute steamskinmanager e.g. by doubleclicking on it. If it doesn't work, check, if the binary is executable and if all files in the bin directory are executable as well. Enjoy.

Steam Skin Manager v4 NG in development

I am finally able to announce that work on Steam Skin Manager has been resumed. While Previous versions of Steam Skin Manager were based upon Qt, quite some time ago I decided to make a switch to GTK (C++ Gtkmm). To make it real, I had to larn some new stuff, as dealing with GTK is a bit more difficult. I am trying to retain all the functionality of the old SSM v3, but I am still having some difficulties, therefore I can't tell you when it will be ready, just that it is comming rather sooner than later - final release may be still more than a month away. (4.Nov.2013)

Development suspended, possibly terminated
Due to the lack of experience, difficulties I encountered while developing SSM and the lack of time, I was forced to suspend this project indefinitely. This tool should be still fully working for quite some time. When Canonical will release Ubuntu with Mir and Unity Next, I wish to update (possibly rewrite) the app - but it is just a long-term plan and it is possible I won't be able to fulfill it.
If you need support or if you find anything not working with this tool, please do not hesitate to ask me. I no longer use it, but I wish it to stay working.
PS: I am very sorry for this, but it was no longer fun as I couldn't think of any new usable feature - also, the sourcecode it terrible, in fact my first C++ program (looks more like C written by someone who just seen a computer for the first time in his life), so if I am ever going to return to this project, it should be rewritten. (March+.2013)

Another heavier code cleanups, minor bug fixes and improvements. (14.Feb.2013)
Added "detailed info" tab, containing basic system information and user-related steam info. (10.Feb.2013)
Added monochromatic system-tray icons to use with Ambiance/Radiance themes. (4.Feb.2013)
Thanks to WantsANexus7 and Oweoqi for creating them
and of course to WebUpd8 for the tip :)
Code optimisations and cleanups. Bundled skin description added. Help browser url bar added. Interface polishes and other minor fixes. (30.Jan.2013)
Image containing sidebar removed - had no real purpose and was not welcomed by users. Help browser improved with added action buttons. (29.Jan.2013)
Added ability to edit registry.vdf file manually, visual fixes applied and help section expanded. (28.Jan.2013)
Fixes installation problem with skins containing spaces in their name. Improves help a brings some minor fixes. (28.Jan.2013)
Fixes the ability of runnung Steam directly using the manager. A few improvements included. (27.Jan.2013)
Steam Skin Manager window is now resizable. Some tweaks were applied. (27.Jan.2013)
New release of Steam Skin Manager based on Qt with improved user and visual experience. Let's call it Beta, but should work. (27.Jan.2013)

Zenity based SSM period
[ ... ]
Some internal work was done but not published (26.Jan.2013)
There was a bug in the code causing errors when applying custom themes - fixed. Also an error message was displayed in the terminal, just warning about a wrong line in the code but not affecting anything. (25.Jan.2013)
Latest update to Steam changed scrollbar appearance - fixed. Also new icons and minor code edits were applied. (25.Jan.2013)
Minor bug-fix release: html popup window fix. (13.Jan.2013)
Steam Skin Manager bug fix - installer was broken in some cases, when trying to install a bundled skin. (29.Dec.2012)
Steam Skin Manager behaviour fixes. Some features were hidden behind 2 dialogues, they are now placed into the begining. (28.Dec.2012)
Scrollbar fixes (as much as possible), minor skin appearance fixes, Radiance background fix. (26.Dec.2012)
Ambiance and Radiance friends dialogue colour fix, chat window fix and tabs gradient removal. (23.Dec.2012)
Ambiance and Radiance window-button fix in friends dialogue (22.Dec.2012)
Fixed skin linking from the default directory - the tool names it correctly now. Also, some skin fixes were applied. (22.Dec.2012)
Steam Skin Manager has changed the way it aproaches skins. It can now list all skins available in a certain directory so additional skins can be added to the package. Some other fixes were also applied including debian-package consistency and folder organisation. (20.Dec.2012)
Steam can now be launched with native window borders. An alternative launcher was created to allow users running Steam with those changes applied. To give the best possible experience, alternative Ambiance and Radiance skins without window buttons were created, since they are replaced with the native border. (19.Dec.2012)
Adds automatic skin selection if Ambiance or Radiance theme is in use (in Gnome). (18.Dec.2012)
Notifies user if the installation or uninstallation was successfull or if an error occured. (18.Dec.2012)
Initial version of the Steam Skin Manager - originally based on ubuntu-skin-installer. (17.Dec.2012)

Premanager period (8.Nov.2012 - 17.Dec.2012)