Object Hierarchy:

Gtk.IconTheme Gtk.IconTheme Gtk.IconTheme GLib.Object GLib.Object GLib.Object->Gtk.IconTheme


[ CCode ( type_id = "gtk_icon_theme_get_type ()" ) ]
public class IconTheme : Object

IconTheme provides a facility for looking up icons by name and size.

The main reason for using a name rather than simply providing a filename is to allow different icons to be used depending on what “icon theme” is selected by the user. The operation of icon themes on Linux and Unix follows the Icon Theme Specification There is a fallback icon theme, named `hicolor`, where applications should install their icons, but additional icon themes can be installed as operating system vendors and users choose.

Named icons are similar to the deprecated Stock Items, and the distinction between the two may be a bit confusing. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Stock images usually are used in conjunction with Stock Items, such as gtk_stock_ok or gtk_stock_open. Named icons are easier to set up and therefore are more useful for new icons that an application wants to add, such as application icons or window icons.
  • Stock images can only be loaded at the symbolic sizes defined by the IconSize enumeration, or by custom sizes defined by register, while named icons are more flexible and any pixel size can be specified.
  • Because stock images are closely tied to stock items, and thus to actions in the user interface, stock images may come in multiple variants for different widget states or writing directions.

A good rule of thumb is that if there is a stock image for what you want to use, use it, otherwise use a named icon. It turns out that internally stock images are generally defined in terms of one or more named icons. (An example of the more than one case is icons that depend on writing direction; gtk_stock_go_forward uses the two themed icons “gtk-stock-go-forward-ltr” and “gtk-stock-go-forward-rtl”.)

In many cases, named themes are used indirectly, via Image or stock items, rather than directly, but looking up icons directly is also simple. The IconTheme object acts as a database of all the icons in the current theme. You can create new IconTheme objects, but it’s much more efficient to use the standard icon theme for the Screen so that the icon information is shared with other people looking up icons.

GError *error = NULL;
GtkIconTheme *icon_theme;
GdkPixbuf *pixbuf;

icon_theme = gtk_icon_theme_get_default ();
pixbuf = gtk_icon_theme_load_icon (icon_theme,
"my-icon-name", // icon name
48, // icon size
0, // flags
if (!pixbuf)
g_warning ("Couldn’t load icon: %s", error->message);
g_error_free (error);
// Use the pixbuf
g_object_unref (pixbuf);

Example: IconTheme:

public class Application : Gtk.Window {
public Application () {
// Prepare Gtk.Window:
this.title = "My Gtk.IconTheme";
this.window_position = Gtk.WindowPosition.CENTER;
this.destroy.connect (Gtk.main_quit);

// Add a button
Gtk.Button button = new Gtk.Button ();
this.add (button);

// Get the icon:
Gtk.IconTheme icon_theme = Gtk.IconTheme.get_default ();
try {
Gdk.Pixbuf icon = icon_theme.load_icon ("go-home", 48, 0);
button.image = new Gtk.Image.from_pixbuf (icon);
} catch (Error e) {
warning (e.message);

public static int main (string[] args) {
Gtk.init (ref args);

Application app = new Application ();
app.show_all ();
Gtk.main ();
return 0;

valac --pkg gtk+-3.0 Gtk.IconTheme.vala

Namespace: Gtk
Package: gtk+-3.0


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