How to create a desktop wallpaper slideshow in elementary OS

One of the features that is missing in elementary OS is the slideshow of the desktop wallpapers. It has been a while this feature existed in Windows and Mac OS X, and hopefully it comes soon in the elementary OS too, but we don’t need to wait until then to enjoy this feature as there is a free utility that can do it for us plus much more powerful features you ever wanted. I recommend ‘Variety’ that is smooth and has tons of features. This tutorial is tested to be 100% working on elementary OS freya and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

desktop wallpaper slideshow elementary os

Create automatic desktop slideshow using Variety

Step 1: Install Variety using the apt-get command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peterlevi/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install variety variety-slideshow

Install Variety using apt-get command in Terminal
Install Variety using apt-get command in Terminal

Step 2: Configure Variety

After installation is complete, launch the ‘Variety’ from ‘Applications’. Note that there will be two entries related to Variety including Variety and Variety Slideshow. Launch Variety.

In the ‘General’ tab of the Variety interface, make sure the boxes ‘Start Variety when the computer starts’ is checked.

Variety Settings
Variety Settings

Enter time interval of the wallpaper slideshow. Default is set to 5 minutes which I think is good to go. Optionally, you can check ‘Change wallpaper on start’ if you want it that way.

By default settings, Variety takes the wallpapers from the /usr/share/backgrounds folder where elementary OS saves the built-in wallpapers. Click ‘Add’ and select any folder of images you have to set them as slideshow for desktop background.

Bonus Features: Variety also comes with several interesting image sources like ‘Bing photo of the day’, ‘Random wallpapers from’, ‘flickr’ etc. You can select the item and Variety immediately shows the wallpapers thumbnails preview near the plank. You can also set a time interval for Variety to download a wallpaper automatically from the online sources you checked.

Special Effects: It can also apply special effects to the images like Grayscale, Blur, Oil painting, Pencil Sketch, Pixellate, etc for a unique looking desktop. Additionally, you can add a elegant looking clock on to your desktop and random wise quotes automatically!

Date, Quote display on desktop
Date, Quote display on desktop

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here