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How To Make Gnome Shell Windows-like Using Dash To Panel

Love Gnome Shell but wish you could mix it’s modern design with something more Windows-like? If so, you may want to check out Dash to Panel. It’s a Gnome Shell modification that cam make Gnome Shell Windows-like by adding a full-featured panel inside of your Gnome Shell session.

Install Dash To Panel

Dash to Panel is a Gnome Extension, so in order for it to be used on Gnome Shell, you’ll need to install it. To get this extension, be sure to install the official Gnome Shell browser integration app. Don’t know how? Follow our guide here to get started.

To install the Dash to Panel app, click on this link here to go to the Gnome Shell extension page. If the Gnome Shell browser addon is working, look for the slider and change its position from “off” to “on”. This will quickly download Dash to Panel to Gnome, and show an installation dialog. Click the “Install” button to allow the extension to install.

Once the installation finishes, Dash to Panel should automatically enable itself. If this isn’t the case, open up the Gnome overview mode (by pressing Win on the keyboard) and search for “Tweaks”.

Note: can’t find Tweaks in your app menu? It may not be installed. Search for “gnome-tweak-tool”, or “tweaks” in Gnome Software and install it.

Open the Tweaks app and select the “Extensions” button on the side. Scroll down, look for “Dash to Panel” and click the button next to it to enable the extension.

Setting Up Dash To Panel

By default, Dash to Panel sets itself up pretty well. However, it still makes heavy use of icon-style buttons on the taskbar and relies on the “activities” button that Gnome uses. For someone in a hurry, this might not be a huge deal, but if you want to change Gnome into something more traditional, it’s a good idea to change the way applications are listed in the taskbar, and add a new menu.

To change settings for Dash to Panel, you’ll need to open up Tweaks. Launch the app by searching for it in the Gnome dash, and navigate to the “Extension” area of the app.

Under “Extensions” in Tweaks, scroll down to the Dash to Panel extension and click the gear icon next to it to reveal the settings menu.

For a traditional panel layout, click on the “Behavior” tab, and select “ungroup applications”. This will allow Dash to Panel to display the names of programs next to icons in the panel. Not interesting in keeping favorite icons in your panel? Look for “Show favorite applications” and set the slider to off.

Lastly, find “show previews on hover” and change it to “off”.

Application Menu

Now that the basics are set up for Dash to Panel, it’s time to add a new application menu. We’ll need a more traditional and reliable one than the default Gnome app drawer button. There are many menus to choose from, but by far the most configurable one out there is Arc Menu.

Once Arc Menu is installed, close the settings for Dash to Panel and re-open Tweaks. Look for “Arc Menu” under the Extensions page and click the gear icon next to it to open the menu settings.

First, in the Arc Menu settings click on “Behavior” and click the slider next to “Disable activities corner”.

Next, look for the “Appearance” tab and select it. Inside the appearance area, click the gear icon to open up the advanced icon settings.

Look for “Enable the arrow icon beside the button text” and set it to off. Then look for the menu icon menu, and change the drop-down menu from “Arc Menu Icon” to “System Icon”. Set your desired icon size, then close the Arc Menu settings.

After closing the Arc Menu settings, re-open the Dash to Panel settings in the Tweak app, click on “Behavior” in the Dash to Panel settings, look for “Show application icon” and set it to off.

Resetting Gnome

Dash to Panel is nice, as it allows users to take Gnome Shell and transform it into an entirely different desktop experience. Obviously, this is appealing, especially for those that don’t like the default way of doing things. However, if you find that using this panel isn’t for you, follow these instructions to quickly get everything back to normal.

Start off by opening Tweaks. Inside the Tweaks app, move on over to “Extensions”. In the “Extensions” area, look for Arc menu and change the slider from “ON” position to the “OFF” position. This will instantly disable the Arc menu and remove it from the panel.

Find the Dash to Panel and change “ON” to “OFF” to disable it as well. Disabling both of these extensions will return Gnome Shell to the look it had before modification.

To return to the modified desktop, turn both extensions back on. If you’d like to completely remove the extensions altogether, head over to the Gnome Extension page and click the red X button next to Arc Menu, and Dash to Panel.

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