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

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


In general, an application dock is a system component on certain desktop operating systems that enables multitasking by providing quick access to apps and utilities. Not only that, it also adds to the visual appearance of your desktop, making it both functional and attractive.

On Linux, there are several apps you can use to get a dock on your desktop. Let’s take a look at some of these best docking apps for Linux.


Latte is a dock based on the Plasma framework. It is intuitive and relies on parabolic zoom effects for its animations. You can use this dock on a variety of Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, openSUSE, Arch Linux, and Fedora.

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

Latte Dock comes with support for common shortcuts for applets and tasks, multiple visibility modes, and the ability to use custom layouts, among other things.

Latte Dock Installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install latte-dock

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S latte-dock

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install latte-dock

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

Docky is a full-fledged docking app with a range of features. It is fully integrated into the GNOME desktop and is easy to use and customize.

Related: The Key Features of the GNOME Desktop Environment

With Docky you get an application launcher and several docklets (widgets) to display information. These docklets allow you to add information such as a CPU monitor, weather forecast, and a clock directly to your dock.

Docky also offers app integration, which allows you to add more menu items to the context menus of apps to display more information. Likewise, there is support for customization so you can customize some of Docky’s components to suit your requirements.

Docky installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install docky

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S docky

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install docky

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

That said, with Plank, you get the necessary options to customize the dock’s appearance and behavior settings. Plus, like Docky, there’s also support for docklets, and you get a number of them, including CPU monitor, battery info, and app shortcuts.

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

How to install a shelf

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install plank

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S plank

Fedora/CentOS/RHEL:

sudo dnf install plank

Dash to Dock is more like a GNOME Shell extension than an app. Ideal for the GNOME desktop, it helps transform the dashboard into a dock for quick access to apps and faster switching between apps and workspaces.

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

But that said, Dash to Dock works better with Linux distributions that use GNOME, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. So if you’re using any other distro, you should probably avoid this one, or better yet, install the GNOME desktop on your system.

Dash to Dock Installation

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

git clone https:

Then use the CD and ls commands to navigate to the program directory. Then run the following commands to install the dock:

make
make install

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

yay -S gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-dock

Polydock is a highly customizable dock for Linux. It is somewhat inspired by Polybar and can be used next to it to address the missing window frame. You can even use it with other status bar apps.

Speaking of customizability, Polydock supports a variety of appearance and behavior options, along with support for themes. In addition, you can set rules to define custom icons and also use custom window management commands.

Related: The Best Window Managers for Linux

One of the outstanding features of Polydock is window grouping, which allows you to separate windows into groups and open them quickly. It is highly configurable and you can set triggers for window groups to, among other things, browse groups of windows or view all open windows in a group.

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

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

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

All configurations on Tint2 are stored in a configuration file, which you can change as desired using the accompanying documentation. Some of these configurable options include fonts, colors, and location. Alternatively, you can also use the GUI configuration tool.

Tint2 installation

Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt install tint2

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S tint2

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 it gives you full control over your desktop.

With Cairo-Dock you can choose between OpenGL and Cairo as your preferred backend for the current session. Alternatively, you can also use a composition manager if you prefer.

In addition, Cairo-Dock offers you the usual configuration options, such as changing the dock position, customizing launcher icons, changing themes, and configuring your own keyboard shortcuts. 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

Enhance 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 giving you access to apps and other functionalities.

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

Not only that, if you recently switched to Linux from Mac and are missing the macOS dock, these dock apps provide the easiest way to get a macOS-like dock on Linux. Sure, there will be several visual differences in the look, but at least you’ll get the most functionality on Linux.

However, if customization is your only goal, there are a few other ways to make your Linux desktop look great that you might want to check out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *