Customize Unity Desktop in Ubuntu

By | October 17, 2014
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unity logo

Unity is a part of The Ayatana Project to improve the user experience with Ubuntu. It is basically a graphical shell for GNOME desktop environment developed by Canonical Ltd. for its Ubuntu operating system. Unlike the previous desktop environments like GNOME, KDE , etc. , Unity is not a collection of applications but is designed to use existing programs.

Now let us Customize Unity Desktop in Ubuntu:

Grouping apps with Launch Folders

If you have many applications taking up the space in Unity side launcher, you can group them together by making use of Launch Folders application. This application allows you to group web apps, links, shell script, etc. in folders which can then be directly integrated in Unity launcher.

Open the Terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and type the following commands :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:asukhovatkin/unity-launcher-folders sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install unity-launcher-folders

install laucnh folder

Enter the password when prompted to and continue. You can also view this video from the developers to understand it’s features and functioning in a more better way.

Add Shutdown , Restart and other power options to Dash

Sometimes it may happen due to various technical reasons that you may not be able to use the session icon to log out, shutdown, etc. In such a case you can create shortcuts for the same in the Ubuntu’s unity dash.

Open the Terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and type the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install power-commands

add power options Now open the dash to see the icons.

Resize the Unity Launcher

If you work on smaller screen, you might require to decrease the size of the icons to use up the space more effectively. Alternatively, you can also enlarge the launcher for large or multiple screens. Click the System Settings icon.

system settings Then select Appearance icon. appearance Select the “Look” tab. look tab Drag the marker on the bottom right corner of the screen and you can see the changes taking effect immediately.


Note: The default size of launcher is 48, in case you wish to revert back.

default size


changed size

Hide Unity Launcher

You can use this cool trick if you rarely use the side launcher, or if it is taking up too much space.

Click the System Settings icon.system settings Then select Appearance icon.


Select the “Behavior” tab.

Hidden Launcher Turn ON the ON/OFF switch. Now under reveal location , you can select “Left Side” if you wish to move the mouse to left side to reveal the launcher, or select the “Top left corner” if you wish to reveal it in the top left corner. You can also adjust the reveal sensitivity if you like.

Unity tweak tool

You can also make various customization on Unity by installing this application. Open the terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and type the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freyja-dev/unity-tweak-tool-daily sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Once installed you can easily make various changes to the Unity Launcher.

unity tweak tool dash

unity tweak tool open

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