5 Best GNOME Shell Extensions for Your Linux Desktop

5 Best GNOME Shell Extensions for Your Linux Desktop

Not satisfied with the default GNOME functionality? Here are 5 of the best GNOME Shell extensions to make your Linux desktop shine.

By default, GNOME Shell has a set of features that are determined by the developers. However, with the addition of GNOME Shell extensions, it’s possible to go beyond the default feature set.

Related: How to Install GNOME Shell Extensions Easily and Quickly

As the name suggests, GNOME Shell extensions extend the functionality of GNOME Shell desktop. They allow you to customize the default GNOME Shell interface and its parts, such as window management and application launching. You can think of extensions as browser add-ons that perform a specific task.

Related: 10 Best And Most Popular Icon Themes For Linux

Here’s our list of the 5 best GNOME Shell extensions. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Dash to Dock

Dash to Dock is an enhanced dock for the GNOME Shell. This extension moves the Dash out of the overview transforming it in a dock for an easier launching of applications and a faster switching between windows and workspaces without leaving the desktop view. In other words, instead of having to first open the Dash, favorite application launchers you have added to the Dash are always at the ready.

Furthermore, Dash to Dock supports autohide and intellihide modes as well as a fixed mode. In addition, the latest version of Dash to Dock (v70) introducing support for GNOME Shell 40.

Dash to Dock: Best GNOME Extension

2. Tray Icons: Reloaded

By default, GNOME Shell does not show apps with tray icons at its top panel system tray. This may greatly reduce your productivity. Tray Icons Reloaded is a GNOME Shell extension which bring back Tray Icons to top panel, with additional features.

One of the best GNOME extensions - Tray Icons Reloaded

3. Desktop Icons NG (DING)

The ability to plaster our desktop background with an amount of files and folders is part and parcel of using a computer for many of us. It is a feature that most major operating systems have in common. Unfortunately, the GNOME desktop folks decided to go in another direction.

Understandably, disabling desktop icons in the GNOME Shell 3.28 desktop environment created some backlash within the community from users. Fortunately it’s fixable.

Desktop Icons NG is an extension that brings your desktop icons back into the GNOME Shell. It is a fork of the original Desktop Icons extension, with several enhancements.

GNOME Shell Desktop Icons

4. Sound Input & Output Device Chooser

On Linux, users have to manually switch the audio output, which is sometimes tedious. Until then the audio just keeps playing from the same device. For new Linux users who have never had to manually do this on their earlier OS, this can really create confusion.

Sound Input & Output Device Chooser is a simple selector to enabled selection of sound source. Now when you connect an audio device to your PC you should be able to select it directly from the GNOME system menu.

Sound Input & Output Device Chooser

5. Hide Top Bar

You feel that GNOME’s top bar is always in the way and would prefer your apps to take up the whole screen.

Hide Top Bar extension helps to hide GNOME’s top bar when it gets into your way. It’s very useful for Linux laptop or netbook with small screen size.

In the extension’s preferences, different behaviors can be specified: unhiding on mouse-over or on pressing a keyboard shortcut, or when no window requires the space.

Bottom Line

As you can see, the GNOME developers have created an incredibly easy method for adding different features to the desktop. Some of these features help customize the look and feel of GNOME, while others help the user to be more productive.

We hope these cool extensions help you to rediscover your passion for the GNOME desktop. So, what is your favorite GNOME extension? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Da tempo uso extension Shell con Ubuntu 21.04 precedente 20.04, su un notebook HP quadri core che con Windows 10 era praticamente imballato…… Perché configurato alla nascita con Windows 8.1…. Uso anche un desktop Windows10, ma l’uso frequente del notebook HP con Shell extension è diventato ormai preferibile piacevole a discapito di Windows 10.

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