Linux Mint 17 – Increase the Panel Icon Spacing/Gap

I recently decided to give up Microsoft and Windows.  After browsing a multitude of Linux distros, I settled on Linux Mint 17.  I like the style of Cinnamon and it works well for me as a Software Developer.

One issue I had recently was that the panel icons (similar to Quick Launch in Windows) have almost no gap between them at all in the default Cinnamon theme.

Example of crowded icon panel in Cinnamon:


How to change this?  As with most Linux problems, sifting through the endless babbling and misunderstanding on forums is painful, but once found, the solution is generally simple.

The panel spacing is in the cinnamon.css file.  Use tab completion to help with that “space” in the middle of “Linux Mint”.

/usr/share/themes/Linux Mint/cinnamon

Screenshot from 2014-11-06 11:21:25

Edit cinnamon.css and then search for “.panel-launcher”.  I like nano:

sudo nano cinnamon.css

Press CTRL-W (opens search in Nano, similar to “/” in Vi)

.panel-launcher    … then press <Enter>

Add/Modify:  padding: 3px;

Screenshot from 2014-11-06 11:26:35

Press CTRL-X, “y” to save modified buffer, then <Enter> (saves file).

To Restart Cinnamon:   ALT-F2, Enter “r” and press <Enter>.



  10 comments for “Linux Mint 17 – Increase the Panel Icon Spacing/Gap

  1. Neil Simmonds
    October 21, 2015 at 1:28 AM

    I don’t know why nobodies commented before, but I have to say, thank you so much for this. I’ve also recently made the jump to Linux (Gaming always kept me on Windows before but Wine has improved a lot) and this was one think that was bugging me. My panels look so much better now.

    • RevisionX
      October 24, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      Glad I could help out – I’m still running Mint, still love it.

      • brindle
        January 29, 2016 at 2:11 PM

        And a big thanks from me too. Also loving Mint Cinnamon – just perfect for me

  2. March 3, 2016 at 7:22 PM

    Edit cinnamon.css and then search for “.panel-launcher”. I like nano:
    sudo nano cinnamon.css

    My question is, how can I edit cinnamon.css before I search for “.panel-launcher”. I get “Panel Launcher not found” when I press CTRL W and then Enter. I’m not familiar with the terminal too much and there seems to be assumptions of which I do not understand. I’ve tried this about 4 times, and all I have now is another file called Don’t know how that got in there or how to get rid of it.

    • RevisionX
      March 3, 2016 at 8:48 PM

      Hi –

      Here’s a one line command that you can copy/paste into a terminal window.
      Highlight the command, right click and select “Copy”.
      Open a terminal window and either click down on your mouse-wheel, or right-click and select ‘Paste.’

      sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/”Linux Mint”/cinnamon/cinnamon.css

      That will launch a graphical text editor where you can search for panel-launcher and edit as you might in Windows/Mac.

      Hope that helps…

      Here’s a beginner’s guide to Nano if you want to hack around/practice:

      By the way, the .save file can be deleted – it’s basically an “auto-backup” created by nano once you begin to edit a file.

      • March 3, 2016 at 10:40 PM

        Thanks for the quick response. The terminal command did not work at first try. I had to remove the quotation marks from Linux Mint prior to entering it in the terminal. That was so easy to do and less complicated for me, that is for sure. Will have to file this response for future use. Thanks again. Now, I will attempt to delete both of the .save files from the cinnamon.css folder.

  3. Brant
    March 27, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    Thank you very much. This was a minor irritation—but one that was always in one’s face!
    I had posted a question on the Linux Mint forums in 2014 and never had a useful response, although on reflection I realize my title was badly chosen:
    “I would like to enlarge the icons in the program toolbar” certainly could have been better put.
    I entered the gist of RevisionX’s solution on that thread, and marked it solved.

    • RevisionX
      March 27, 2016 at 12:06 PM

      You’re very welcome!

  4. January 22, 2019 at 5:26 AM

    Glad that I found your site! I changed from Windows to Linux last summer and have never regretted it. Can I ask you one question, please? I searched for “increase gap between icons” and was drawn to your page. But unfortunately it is all about spacing between panel icons. What I would like to do is increase the space between non-panel folder icons (e.g. when viewing “Documents”, “Music”, “Pictures”, etc. in folder view). Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

    • RevisionX
      January 22, 2019 at 3:50 PM

      Hi. If you open one of the folders you suggest above and right-click (in white-space) and select “Arrange Items”, what do you see? I can only guess you may have this set to “Compact Layout.” If you uncheck that box, it will adjust all the icons proportionally within the window, and you can then use the slider in the bottom right to scale all of the icons simultaneously. When I do this I can scale up to 2 folders wide at 1080p with a massive gap between. Hope that helps!

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