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When I open the Unity Dash from the launcher, the Dash takes up the whole screen and doesn't give me the ability to resize it. This makes it impossible to see my desktop and drag and drop icons to it in order to create shortcuts. I've seen some screen where the dash has maximize and minimize buttons, but I do not have anything like that on my 11.10 install.

Unity Dash - No Resize option

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For Ubuntu 11.10

The solution depends on whether you are using the standard or 2D verson of Ubuntu, which depends on your graphics card. (See: Am I using Unity or Unity 2D? )

Resizing the Dash in the standard Ubuntu

When opening the Ubuntu Dash, you should see three "window buttons" in the upper-left. Click the maximize button (the square) to switch between fullscreen and windowed mode.

picture of buttons

Resizing the Dash in the Ubuntu 2D

Install and launch the Dconf Editor (Software Center). Once it's open, navigate to the desktop > unity section in the left pane. You will see a form-factor option, which if set to 'Netbook' will made the Dash fullscreen, and if set to 'Desktop' will make the Dash windowed.

picture of dconf

What about drag-resizing the Dash, like a Window?

There are many unconfigurable parts of Unity, and this is one of them. The Dash has two modes (fullscreen and windowed) and you can switch between them using the methods above. You can't drag-resize the Dash.

In defense of Unity's design, though, there's no reason you'd want to resize the Unity Dash to arbitrary dimensions on the fly. You don't "drag and drop icons [from the desktop to the Dash] in order to create shortcuts", as the question asker mentioned; that's what the launcher is for. The Dash is designed to be the sole focus on your desktop when you use it.

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You need to hover your mouse over the top left menu bar in order for the resize widgets to show up:

enter image description here

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I hover my mouse over the top left corer and the resize widgets never show up. I also tried setting the fomr-factor from Netbook to Desktop with the dconf-editor to no avail. Any other suggestions? – Jeff Oct 19 '11 at 12:10
@Jeff Odd, that should work, no idea there. – Jorge Castro Oct 19 '11 at 12:27

You can install dconf-editor from Software Center start it, and go to

desktop -> unity

and change the fomr-factor from Netbook to Desktop.

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