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The 7 Best Linux Docks to Give Your Desktop a New Look

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Is your Linux desktop cluttered with apps, and you struggle to find an app every time you want to launch it? Well, it turns out, you can use a dock to fix this.

Generally speaking, an application dock is a system component on certain desktop operating systems that facilitates multitasking by providing quick access to apps and utilities. Not only that, but it also contributes to the visual appearance of your desktop, making it both functional and appealing.

On Linux, there are a variety of apps you can use to get a dock on your desktop. Let’s check out some of these best docks apps for Linux.


Latte Dock
Image Credit: KDE

Latte is a dock based on the Plasma framework. It’s intuitive and relies on parabolic zoom effects for its animations. You can use this dock on a wide range of Linux distros, including Ubuntu, openSUSE, Arch Linux, and Fedora, among others.

With Latte, you get various configuration options, such as those for its location and alignment, in addition to several appearance options and numerous customizations for actions, scrolling, and other behavior.

Among other features, Latte Dock comes with support for global shortcuts for applets and tasks, multiple visibility modes, and the ability to use custom layouts.

Latte Dock Installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install latte-dock

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Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S latte-dock

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install latte-dock

Alternatively, you can also install Latte Dock from the source using the instructions over at its GitHub.

Docky
Image Credit: Linux Mint (Community)

Docky is a full-fledged dock app with a gamut of features. It’s fully integrated into the GNOME desktop and is easy to use and customize.

Related: The Top Features of the GNOME Desktop Environment

With Docky, you get an application launcher and various docklets (widgets) to show information. These docklets allow you to add information, such as a CPU monitor, weather report, and a clock, right to your dock.

Docky also features app integration, which lets you add more menu items to apps’ context menus to display more information. Similarly, there’s support for customization, so you can tweak some of Docky’s components as per your requirements.

Docky Installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install docky

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S docky

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install docky
Plank

Plank is one of the simplest dock apps for Linux. It manages to strike the right balance between what’s essential for a dock app and what isn’t to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed with overly complex and confusing options.

That said, with Plank, you do get the necessary options for customizing the appearance of the dock and its behavior settings. Plus, similar to Docky, there’s also support for docklets, and you get a bunch of them including CPU monitor, battery information, and app shortcuts.

Of these, Clippy is one of the most useful docklets. It records your clipboard entries and lets you see the contents of your clipboard at a glance.

How to Install Plank

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install plank

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S plank

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install plank
Dash-to-Dock
Image Credit: Michele Gaio/GitHub

Dash to Dock is more like a GNOME Shell extension than an app. It’s ideal for the GNOME desktop and helps transform the dash into a dock to provide quick access to apps and faster switching between apps and workspaces.

However, much like standalone dock apps, Dash to Dock, too, provides a range of customization settings, including basic ones for dock position and icon size to themes and quick actions.

But that said, Dash to Dock works better with Linux distros that use GNOME, like Ubuntu and Fedora. So if you’re running another distro, you should probably avoid it, or even better, install the GNOME desktop on your system.


Dash to Dock Installation

You can install Dash to Dock from the source. To do this, open the terminal and run:

git clone https://github.com/micheleg/dash-to-dock.git

Next, use the cd and ls commands to navigate to the program directory. And then, run the following commands to install the dock:

make
make install

Arch users can directly install the package from the AUR using Yay:

yay -S gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-dock
PolyDock
Image Credit: Folke Lemaitre/GitHub

Polydock is a highly-customizable dock for Linux. It’s somewhat inspired by Polybar and can be used alongside it to address its missing window list. In fact, you can also use it with other status bar apps.

Talking about customizability, Polydock supports a variety of appearance and behavior options, along with support for themes. Plus, you can set rules to define custom icons and also use custom window manager commands.

Related: The Best Window Managers for Linux

One of Polydock’s highlighting features is window grouping, which allows you to separate windows into groups and access them quickly. It’s highly configurable, and you can set up triggers for window groups to cycle through groups of windows or view all open windows in a group, among other actions.

Instructions to install Polydock on Linux can be found over at Polydock’s GitHub.

Tint2
Image Credit: Tint2/GitLab

Tint2 is one of the minimal-style docks for Linux. It’s lightweight and functions very smoothly, which makes it suitable for less powerful computers.

That being said, Tint2 does include only a few handy features. The ability to add a task list, battery monitor, and system tray is one example. Besides, it also includes support for many Linux window managers. So you can use it with any of them without a problem.

All configurations on Tint2 are saved in a configuration file, which you can modify to your liking using its documentation. Some of these configurable options include fonts, colors, and location. Alternatively, you can also use its GUI configuration tool.

Tint2 Installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install tint2

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S tint2
Cairo-Dock
Image Credit: Cairo

Cairo-Dock is a highly-customizable Linux dock. It makes more sense when used with some of the more customization-friendly desktop environments like XFCE, LXDE, KDE, and Openbox, as you get complete control over your desktop on them.

With Cairo-Dock, you get to choose between OpenGL and Cairo as your preferred backend for the current session. Alternatively, you can also use a compositing manager if you wish to do so.

Besides, Cairo-Dock gets you the usual configuration options like changing dock position, customizing launcher icons, changing themes, and configuring your own shortkeys. You can also add add-ons to the dock to make it more functional.

Cairo-Dock Installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install cairo-dock

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S cairo-dock

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install cairo-dock

Improve Your Linux Desktop Experience Using a Dock

Adding a dock is one way to improve your experience on the Linux desktop. It gives a visual overhaul to your setup and adds to its usability by offering you access to apps and other functionalities.

Hence, finding the right dock app is essential. That way, you can control the dock’s position, its size, and the apps and utilities it holds to leverage it to its full potential and maximize your productivity.

Not just that, if you’ve recently switched to Linux from Mac and are missing the macOS dock, these dock apps offer the easiest way to get a macOS-like dock on Linux. Of course, there will be several visual differences in the looks, but at least you’ll get most of its functionality on Linux.


If customization is your only objective, however, there are a few other ways to make your Linux desktop look fantastic, which you might want to check out.


linux-desktop-look
5 Ways to Make Your Linux Desktop Look Fantastic

Want a new look for your Linux desktop environment? Learn how to choose new themes, fonts, icon packs, and even custom widgets.

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