How to move the Ubuntu Unity panel to the bottom

If you've longed to move the Ubuntu Unity panel to the bottom of your window, and you happen to be using a daily build of 16.04, Jack Wallen shows you how you can pull off this long-awaited configuration.

Image: Jack Wallen

One of the biggest complaints about Ubuntu Unity is the lack of configuration. Yes, there is the Unity Tweak Tool (which can be installed from the standard repositories), but even with the amount of tweaks that app allows, it's been missing one highly sought after option. That option...moving the Launcher to the bottom of the window.

Up until recently, it seemed the call out for this particular customization had been ignored. When the ball drops on Ubuntu 16.04, those cries will have officially been heard.

Or so the rumor goes.

Fear not, intrepid Ubuntu fans, if you're using a daily build of Xenial Xerus (16.04), you can take that Launcher and move it to the bottom of your screen. All it takes is a few .deb files and the dconf-editor.

Let me walk you through the process.

Installing the necessary pieces

The first thing you are going to want to do is open a terminal window and create a new directory to house a few downloaded files. So open the terminal window and issue the command mkdir ~/Downloads/UNITY. Once that directory has been created, download the six required .deb files (64 bit, 32 bit). Save all of those files into newly created directory. Back at the terminal window, change into the UNITY directory with the command cd ~/Downloads/UNITY.

Before we install those files, we must first install the dconf-editor. To do this, issue the command sudo apt-get install dconf-editor. Once that installation is complete, issue the command:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb && sudo apt-get -f install && dpkg -i *.deb

The above command will not only install the downloaded files, it will also fix a few dependency issues that arise from the installation.

When the installation completes, you'll need to log out and log back in (so bookmark this page).

Configuring the panel

Unfortunately, you cannot configure this option via the Tweak tool or the standard Settings app. That's where the dconf-editor comes into play. Open the Dash, type dconf, and then click on the dconf-editor entry to launch the new tool.

From within the dconf-editor, you need to navigate to com | canonical | unity | launcher. Click on the launcher entry in the left pane and then click on launcher-position in the right pane. Here you'll be able to switch the position from left to bottom (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen
As soon as you click bottom, the change will happen.

There you go! Your Unity Launcher is now on the bottom. You can now close the dconf-editor and start working with your newly configured Unity desktop.

There is, of course, one caveat to moving the Launcher to the bottom. When you click to open the Dash, it will not open from the bottom but, rather, from its normal top left location (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen
The Dash still opens from the top left.

This is a small price to pay for those that have been desperately wanting their Launcher on the bottom of the window. have it.

Understand that the second you upgrade your daily build of 16.04, this change will revert back to the default. Hopefully, when the final 16.04 release is made available, moving the Unity Launcher from left to bottom will be a permanent option.

It's not a huge change, but it's an important one. Give this a try and see if it doesn't make Unity a bit more appealing to you. If not...what more does Unity need to turn you into a fan?

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