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How to add docklets to Plank dock on Linux

So, you use the Plank dock on Linux, and you love it, but you’re unsure about how to use the docklet system. In this guide, we’ll talk about adding different docklets and plugins to the Plank dock.

Install Plank

Before we can get into enabling docklets on Plank dock, it’s a good idea to go over how to get the app working. Mainly because very few mainstream Linux distributions have the Plank dock pre-installed out of the box.

Plank is by far the most used dock on Linux due to its ease of use and simplicity. As a result, most distributions have it in their package repositories, and it is very straightforward to install. To get it working on your system, open up a terminal window with Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line instructions that match the Linux OS you use.

Ubuntu

The Plank Dock is available to all Ubuntu Linux users via the “Universe” software repository. To install, activate the “Universe” repo, and run the apt install command to get it working!

sudo add-apt-repository universe

Run the update command to finish setting up Universe.

sudo apt update

Finally, install Plank.

sudo apt install plank

Elementary OS

As it turns out, Elementary OS comes with Plank as the default dock in their desktop environment. So, no installation is required. Just skip to the next step in this guide to get docklets working!

Debian

Plank is ready for installation to Debian Linux users (9, 10, and Sid) in the “Debian Main” software repository. Get it working on your Debian Linux system with the apt-get install command below.

sudo apt-get install plank

Want new features? Be sure to upgrade from Debian 9 to 10 before installation. Or, try out Backports.

Arch Linux

Plank is in the “Community” software repository for Arch users. To get it installed, open /etc/pacman.conf, and enable the “Community” software repository. Once the repo is enabled, you’ll be able to get Plank with the following Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S plank

Alternatively, Plank is also in the AUR.

Fedora

Plank is ready for installation in the “Fedora i386 and Fedora x86_64” software repositories. To install, go to the terminal and run the dnf install command below.

sudo dnf install plank plank-docklets -y

OpenSUSE

Every version of OpenSUSE Linux has Plank in its software sources. If you’d like to install it, run the zypper command below into a terminal window. Please note, you must have “OpenSUSE Oss All” enabled in your repo settings.

sudo zypper install plank

Generic Linux

Most distributions, even obscure ones, carry Plank. However, if you are unable to install it on your favorite distribution, grab the source code, and compile it. Alternatively, consider running one of the distributions covered in the installation instructions, as they support Plank.

Set up Plank

Now that Plank is installed, you’ll need to set it up to automatically launch at login. The quickest way to do this is to open up a terminal window and add the Plank shortcut file into the “autostart” folder.

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart

cp /usr/share/applications/plank.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

With the shortcut file in the “autostart” folder on your Linux PC, you’ll need to update the permissions of the file, so that it will launch correctly at startup.

sudo chmod +x ~/.config/autostart/plank.desktop

Test that the shortcut launches by rebooting your Linux PC. If it works correctly, Plank should show up after the restart. If not, delete the shortcut and try again.

rm ~/.config/autostart/plank.desktop

Enabling docklets

Enabling docklets in the Plank dock, you’ll need to open up the settings area. To do this, right-click on the dock panel with the mouse and select the “settings” option in the right-click menu. Alternatively, launch a terminal window with Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard and write in the command below to instantly gain access to dock settings.

plank --preferences

Once the Plank settings window is open, you’ll see three separate tabs. These tabs are “Appearance,” “Behaviour,” and “Docklets.” Select the “Docklets” one with the mouse to access the list of docklets.

Look through the list of pre-installed Plank docklets. Once you’ve found one you’d like to add to the dock, double-click on it and it should load. Repeat this process for each Plank docklet you’d like to add to the dock. When done, close the preferences window.

Removing docklets

Need to remove a docklet you’ve added to the Plank dock? Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Reveal the dock with your mouse on the desktop.

Step 2: Find the docklet added to your Plank dock and right-click on it with the mouse to reveal its options.

Step 3: Drag the docklet off of the dock to disable it. Repeat this for as many docklets you have enabled on the Plank dock.

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