Application Docks are quite popular on Linux. As a result, there are dozens of different dock programs that users install, to mimic macOS, etc. Out of all of the different dock tools on the platform, Plank stands out the most. The reason? It’s easy to customize, easy to set up, doesn’t use a lot of system resources, has support for widgets, and is reliable.
For as good as the Plank dock is, it’s seriously lacking in the theme department. By default, the dock comes with a whopping 2 themes! If your mission is to turn your drab Linux desktop into something else entirely, this has to change. In an effort to help Linux users along with their journey to making their Plank setup more beautiful, we’ve collected a list of the best Plank dock themes to download!
Google’s Material design is all the rage these days. For this reason, the Paperterial Plank theme exists. It’s a slick, Google-inspired plank theme that tries it’s best to bring material design to the dock. Do check this theme out if you’re a material fan looking to complete your “flat” GTK setup.
Note: Considering Paperterial is a Material-design theme, it’s a good idea to install the Papirus icon theme alongside it to complete the look.
Shade is another theme in Ken Harkey’s fancy Plank dock theme pack. Unlike the Paperterial one, it doesn’t have any Google design influence. However, Shade stands on its own with a Mac-like, Dark aesthetic.
The Shade theme also has a light “Anti-Shade” variant. Like Shade, Anti-Shade is very Mac-like and sleek. Anti-Shade is available here.
Though the “glass” look of the past is dying down, Float embraces it by showing off Plank in a new, see-through, Windows 7-like way. If you miss having a transparent panel, download this theme right now!
We can’t really make a list of Linux dock themes without talking about Apple. Meet Mojave, the new Plank dock theme that takes heavy design inspiration from the new macOS look.
Mojave works best with a complete MacOS icon theme like La Capitaine, and etc. Learn more about the theme here!
5. Foggy Dock
Foggy Dock is an original, transparent theme for Plank. It doesn’t appear to have any special design influences, though if you’re a fan of macOS, it’ll fit quite well on any Mac-like Linux desktop setup.
Want to download Foggy Dock? Grab it from Gnome-look!
Frost is a dark Plank theme, for those not interested in “Mac-like” or “Material” themes and are just looking for a good looking setup for Plank.
The theme is very simple and looks quite nice. Download it from Gnome-look today!
The Dax theme is a completely original, transparent dock theme for Plank. It’s flat, but it doesn’t borrow from Google or any of the current design trends. Overall, if you’re in need of a solid, transparent theme, Dax is a good choice.
Install Plank Themes
Plank dock themes are not installed on Linux like a traditional GTK or QT theme. They’re a totally separate thing. To install any of these themes, you’ll need to manually set them up.
The first step in the Plank theme setup process is to create a new directory. Please understand that this folder may already exist on your Linux PC. The best way to test it is to run the following command in a terminal window.
Running the CD command should change the terminal from it’s working directory to the Plank theme folder. If your terminal window doesn’t move to this folder, you do not have a theme folder and should continue on with creating a new folder in the terminal.
To make the new Plank theme folder, use the mkdir command in a terminal. Be sure to use the p switch to keep the permissions the same as the Plank sub-folder.
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/plank/themes
Using the CD command, move your terminal to the Downloads directory. From there, you’ll need to extract the theme’s archive folder.
Keep in mind, some Plank themes come in Zip format, while others are Tar archives.
To extract Zip format themes, do:
For Tar format theme archives, these commands are necessary.
tar -zxvf name-of-plank-archive.tar.gz
Got a Plank theme in XZ format? While it’s true that these archive files are Tar, they won’t extract with the TarGZ command. Instead, you’ll need to do a different version of the tar command.
cd ~/Downloads tar -xvf name-of-plank-archive.tar.xz
Moving Theme Files
You’ve run the commands to extract the Plank theme files out of the archive file. Now it’s time to install the actual theme. To do this, return to the terminal and move the root theme folder into the Plank theme area we made earlier.
Note: keep in mind that some themes you extract may have sub-folders. Be sure that you move the actual theme folder and not a folder that contains the theme folder.
cd ~/Downloads mv name-of-plank-theme-folder ~/.local/share/plank/themes
Installing the actual Plank theme on your Linux system is an important step, but just installing it isn’t good enough. You’ll still need to enable the theme.
To enable the theme, right-click on a blank space in the dock. Be very careful, and try not to click on a launcher, or this won’t work. After you’ve successfully right-clicked on a blank space in the dock, you’ll have access to the hidden right-click menu. In the menu, click “Preferences”.
Note: can’t access the right-click menu? Press Alt + F2 and run the plank –preferences command instead.
In the Preferences area, look for the Theme drop-down menu. Using the menu, select and apply your newly installed Plank theme!