4 useful extensions to make GNOME Desktop easier to use

If you’ve ever used the GNOME shell on your Linux system, you’ve probably noticed that there are some ways that don’t make sense right away. The workspaces are arranged vertically and there is no dock, panel or desk icon for easy access to your applications. This is where GNOME Shell extensions come in. Let’s take a look at a few Gnome extensions that make desktop use easier.

What are extensions?

GNOME shell extensions are small pieces of code that add functionality and functionality to GNOME Shell. Since they are part of the system, there is still a potential for system instability, but the GNOME project carefully reviews all the code submitted for extensions and does its best to avoid problems and provide bug tracking for all problems filed. They can do all kinds of things, like adding desktop icons, creating a macOS-like dock, and allowing you to control your Android phone from your desktop.

Gnome extensions shell integrations

To install the GNOME Shell extensions, you must install the GNOME Shell Integrations extension in Chromium or Firefox. Once installed, you can literally just flip a switch on the GNOME shell extensions website and the extension will install and turn on in a matter of moments.

1. Dash to Dock (or Panel)

If you’ve used Windows or macOS before, you’ve probably gotten used to the paradigm of a dock or taskbar with your most used applications visible most of the time on your desktop. The GNOME shell has nothing like this by default. The overview is a great way to see your entire system at a glance, but it is sometimes useful to have applications that are easy to access. It’s there that Dash to dock (or Sign) Between.

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Gnome Extensions Dash To DockGnome Extensions Dash To Dock
Dash to Dock in action. It would be better for a Mac user.

Either of these extensions will take the normally visible GNOME dash from the overview and make it constantly visible on your desktop, either as a Windows-style panel or as a macOS-style dock. They also come with a button to quickly access your apps drawer, making them extremely useful for accessing apps that aren’t on your panel or docking station.

Gnome extensions dashboard to the panelGnome extensions dashboard to the panel
Dash to Panel in action. Note that he removes the top bar to place it at the bottom right. It’s better for a Windows user.

2. Horizontal workspaces

As a longtime Mac user, it was hard to get used to the vertical GNOME stock workspaces. If you have trouble with this in the same way as I do, I would recommend the Horizontal workspaces extension. This will allow you to use a more common virtual office layout and keep things the way you like them.

Note: you can still bypass workspaces using the default keyboard shortcuts.

3. Work spaces to anchor

the Workspaces to anchor the extension works well with horizontal workspaces because it lets you create the same workspace selector that GNOME has by default and place it where you want it. Do you like your panel or your docking station at the top of the screen? Place your Workspace dock at the bottom. It is modular and can meet a wide variety of wants and needs.

A tip is that under “Behavior”, I like to disable “Intellihide”. Otherwise, the platform is always visible without an open window and the pressure reveals it when the windows are open. Without Intellihide, it becomes like the default GNOME workspace selector.

Gnome extensions completedGnome extensions completed
Dash to Panel, horizontal workspaces and workspaces to dock all work together.

4. Extended gestures

the Extended gestures The extension allows you to add a few extra gestures to GNOME that can give it unmatched usability on a Linux laptop.

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Gnome Extensions Extended gesturesGnome Extensions Extended gestures
My personal settings for extended gestures. This makes it easier to navigate Linux on a laptop.

This will be especially important for anyone coming from a Mac. Because macOS is so in tune with the incredible trackpads that Apple produces, they have created a system that allows you to maneuver much of the desktop environment with just the touchpad and make it very natural.

GNOME on Wayland has a single gesture of the default touchpad: a swipe with four fingers to change the workspace, from top to bottom or from left to right. Personally, I have three fingers left and right like “Previous” and “Next” in a web browser, “Up” like “Toggle overview” and “Down” like “Show application drawer” .

This, along with the default four-finger gesture in Wayland, makes me feel like I’m using a system designed for the modern user on a laptop or a user with a trackpad attached to their desk. It would be a great way to use an Apple Magic Trackpad on Linux, as it would allow you to work with one of the best trackpads in the world and use it for more than just clicking and scrolling.

Now that you’ve taken your Linux laptop to the next level with GNOME shell extensions, be sure to learn how to be notified of your extension updates, learn about some of the best laptops for Linux, and fix your touchpad. which does not work under Linux.

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