There’s no doubt that Gnome Shell has a slick, modern interface. That said, the default look of the desktop isn’t something that appeals to everyone. Some people prefer a Windows-like interface. That’s where the Dash to Panel Gnome extension comes in. It allows users to stick with the best parts of Gnome Shell (the Activities overview, search feature and modern design) will have a familiar, Windows-like interface.
In this guide, we’ll go over how to set up Dash to Panel to give Gnome Shell a better interface. However, before we begin, your Gnome Shell desktop must be able to install Gnome extensions. If you’re unable to install extensions, follow our guide to learn how to set up Gnome extensions on your system.
Install Dash to Panel
Once you’ve enabled Gnome extensions on your system, it’s time to install the Dash to Panel extension. There are two ways to do this: the Gnome Software app, and the website. Look at the instructions below to get the extension installed with your preferred method.
To install the Dash to Panel extension on the Gnome desktop via the Gnome Software application, start by pressing Win to bring up the search box inside of the “Activities” area. Locate the search box and type in “Dash to Panel,” and you’ll see a black puzzle piece icon with “Dash to Panel” as its label.
Click on the “Dash to Panel” search result, and you’ll immediately launch the extension’s Gnome Software page. From here, click the “Install” button.
Once you click the “Install” button in Gnome Software for Dash to Panel, a black window will appear in the center of the screen, asking if you’d like to install the extension. Allow it to install by clicking the “install” button.
After you click the “install” button, Dash to Panel will launch with default settings on your Gnome Desktop. Move on to the configuration section of this guide to learn how to set the panel up to best suit your needs.
Those who prefer to install extensions from the website can get Dash to Panel set up in the following way. First, click this link here to head over to the official page for the extension.
Once on the page, confirm you have the Gnome Shell extension set up in Firefox or Chrome, and that you have the “Gnome-chrome” runtime package set up as well. Then, locate the “off” button and set it to “on,” next to Dash to Panel.
As you slide the extension to “On,” you’ll see a black window appear in the center of the screen asking if you’d like to install Dash to Panel. Click “Install” to confirm, and the Dash to Panel extension will download to your Gnome PC and launch with the default settings.
With the extension set up on your Linux PC via the Gnome Extensions website, move down to the configuration portion of this tutorial, as it will go over how you can customize this panel to suit your needs better.
Configuring Dash to Panel
Installing Dash to Panel is enough for most people to get an excellent Windows-like experience in Gnome Shell. That said, the extension has a lot of customization settings, so we’ll show you some basic tweaks and changes you can make to change and improve the panel.
To tweak Dash to Panel, you must first install Gnome Tweaks. If you do not have this app set up on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line installation instructions below to get it working on your PC.
sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
sudo pacman -S gnome-tweak-tool
sudo dnf install gnome-tweak-tool
sudo zypper install gnome-tweak-tool
Need to get Gnome Tweaks for your Linux PC but unable to find it? Check out Pkgs.org; they list Gnome Tweaks packages for almost every Linux operating system!
After installing the Gnome Tweaks application on your Linux system, press Win, search for “Tweaks” and open the app. Then, locate “Extensions” and select it to access Gnome Extension settings.
On the “Extensions” page in Gnome Tweaks, scroll through the list to find “Dash to Panel,” and click the gear icon next to it to access its settings.
Upon selecting the gear icon for Dash to Panel, a pop-up window will appear with various settings. These settings are “Position,” Style,” “Behavior,” “Fine-Tune,” and “About.”
Position of panel
Want to change the status of your panel from the bottom of the screen to the top? Locate the “Panel screen position” and change it to “Top” in “Position.”
Change clock location
Not happy with where the clock is by default? Select “Position” and find “Clock location.” In this menu, you’ll be able to customize exactly how the clock appears on the panel.
The size of the icons on the panel is a bit big by default. If you’d like to tweak the size to make them smaller, locate “Style,” in settings and select it. From there, drag the “Panel Size” slider downward to get smaller icons. You’ll also be able to change the icon margins, and icon padding by messing with “App Icon Margin,” and “App Icon Padding.”
By default, Dash to Panel will show all of your application favorites in the Panel. Showing favorites on the panel is a nice feature, but if you dislike it, the setting is easily disabled by going to “Behavior,” and turning the slider off next to “Show running applications.”
There are a lot of other tweaks that Dash to Panel offers to Gnome users, such as disabling animations (located in “Fine-Tune”), disabling application grouping (found in “Behavior,”) and much more. Be sure to go over all of the different customization settings that Dash to Panel has to offer to get the best Windows-like experience on Gnome Shell for Linux!