One of great things about Linux desktops is ability to customize window title buttons layout - according to your taste or regular job specifics. If you are using Cinnamon, this instruction is for you - but majority of things are same for GNOME 3, GNOME Flashback, Cinnamon and MATE - as they are using similar window managers, derived from metacity - default window manager in GNOME 2.

Editing muffin buttons layout in dconf-editor

Desktop environments and window managers

Here are the desktops and default window managers:

DE Default WM
GNOME 2 metacity
MATE marco (metacity fork)
GNOME 3 mutter = metacity + clutter
GNOME 3 Flashback mutter
Cinnamon muffin (mutter fork)

Setting up

Buttons layout and some other WM options are stored in the dconf keys. For Cinnamon’s muffin, we should change value of the key org.cinnamon.desktop.wm.preferences.button-layout or the key org.cinnamon.muffin.button-layout to override value of the first key.

Some other desktops:

  • - for GNOME 3
  • org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences.button-layout - said to work in GNOME Flashback / Classic

Here are list of button names:

  • stick - toggle “show on all workspaces”
  • above - toggle “always on top”
  • menu - window menu
  • shade - toggle “roll / minimize to header”
  • spacer - space between buttons
  • close, maximize, minimize* - as they sounds

Note what standard Cinnamon window settings do not have ability to add some buttons, like above, shade (present since 2.4) and also spacer - so we should use dconf-editor for GUI or gsettings set command in the terminal to get things done.

Editing muffin buttons layout in Cinnamon windows settings


Value of button-layout key is a comma-separated list of button names, like close:shade,minimize. Colon (:) is used to distinguish left and right side.

Format of gsettings command:

gsettings set <key> button-layout <value>

Move all 3 default buttons to the left:

gsettings set org.cinnamon.muffin button-layout 'close,maximize,minimize:'

3 default buttons

My current layout:

gsettings set org.cinnamon.muffin button-layout 'close,above:shade,minimize'

My current buttons layout

Theme issues

  • Some buttons could miss icons - it’s very common issue. By example, Adwaita theme have no icon for above button.

  • I also encounter problem with spacer button in both Cinnamon 2.0 and GNOME 3.8 with Adwaita theme - space is visible only if window is shaded (minimized to header). In normal state, spacer is not visible.


Let me know, if I’ve messed up with something! I would also want to know about which button layouts you are using and what theme or WM issues you have encountered.

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