How to Create Custom Wallpaper Slideshow in Ubuntu

If you are using the Gnome desktop and have played with the wallpaper (Appearance) settings, you will discover that there is an inbuilt slideshow feature that you can use to change the wallpaper at regular interval. While this is a useful feature, it is rather limited since it can only rotate among the default wallpapers and not your custom collection of wallpapers. For those who wish to create your own slideshow and don’t want to have a third-party wallpaper changing app running in the background, here’s how you can do it in Ubuntu.

By editing the xml template in the “/usr/share/backgrounds/contest” directory, you can create a slideshow with your own wallpapers. However, this is a tedious and troublesome task, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of wallpapers in your collection. A faster way is to use crebs.


There is a PPA for crebs, but it is only available for Ubuntu Natty and below.

In Ubuntu Natty,

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:crebs/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install crebs

For Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10, the PPA will still work, but you will need to add it manually to the sources.list.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the following two lines to the end of the file

deb natty main 
deb-src natty main

Save (Ctrl + O) and exit (Ctrl + X) the file. Next, in your terminal,

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys EF0A4C44
 sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install crebs

Creating custom slideshow

Run the crebs (Create Background Slideshow) app.

Click the “+” button to add wallpapers. You can select multiple wallpapers.


Rearrange (using the < and > buttons) the wallpapers to the order you want them to display.

Once you are done with the images, you can click on the Slideshow tab to configure the length of the slideshow.


Lastly, enter a name for your slideshow and click the “Tick” button to save.

Activating the slideshow

Even after you have saved the file, it won’t appear in the Appearance section. We have to configure the setting manually.

In your terminal, type

GSETTINGS_BACKEND=dconf gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri "file://$HOME/.crebs/my-wonderful-slideshow.xml"

Replace “my-wonderful-slideshow” with the name of the slideshow that you have saved earlier.


1. The custom slideshow xml file is saved in the /home/username/.crebs folder.

2. An alternative is to use third-party wallpaper changing app, like Wallch etc.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox