I was looking for a way to get gnome style notifications in Unity. Or at least, if there´s a way of making the default Unity notifications interactive and clickable? As it is by default only a notification pops up and the user needs to find the relevant window, which I find very counterproductive.

  • This is very nearly a duplicate of this question. Also this one which points to this Webupd8 post. Have you tried any of these? If you did, what didn't work? – Tom Brossman Feb 8 '12 at 18:18
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    "this one" mentioned relates to changing display duration, not making them "interactive and clickable". The Webupd8 solution requires adding a PPA, while a simpler solution exists, see below – Stéphane Gourichon Jan 11 '13 at 11:54
  • Do not take the accepted answer as the only solution; as @StéphaneGourichon points out, a much better solution is below and it works swimmingly in Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS. – Jonathan Landrum Nov 23 '16 at 15:14

Sorry, this is not possible.

Ubuntu's notification system, NotifyOSD, as used by Unity, is designed to be un-clickable, in order to simplify the experience and not confuse users. There is no way to change that.

Gnome Shell, on the other hand, uses another built-in notification system that behaves differently to NotifyOSD, as explained in this LXNews article

  • Link to "gnome-shell-notifications-explained" is broken. I was really interested to follow it. Can we fix it? Thanks! – Pablo Nov 6 '12 at 14:58
  • I'm sorry, I couldn't find the article online anymore – Gabriel Mazetto Nov 12 '12 at 11:24
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    It's mirrored on Internet Archive – Cas Nov 21 '13 at 16:26
  • Actually, this isn't entirely true. The NotifyOSD Configuration application allows you to make Unity notifications clickable. See this answer for more info. Works in 14.04 for me. – Baku9 Apr 12 '16 at 19:42

You can have clickable notification with Unity.

Tested with 12.10, 13.04, 13.10, 14.04, 14.10, 16.04 (thanks @ManseUK).

What we want

Notification are supposed to non-obstrusive, non-disrupting of your train of thought, and provide a shortcut when relevant.

Problem in Unity (, at least)

Default notification engine is notify-osd.

  • notifications are not clickable (which hurts efficiency for those that offer to quickly bring you to the place of interest).
  • when several happen quickly, they queue and appear only one after the other : no way to see them quickly, you just have to ... wait.


Current XFCE notifications on the other hand implement just that, and they can be used with Unity. I just tested it with a separate account (default config) to rule out any user-specific settings.


Here's how install and use XFCE4's notifications instead of Unity's:

sudo apt-get install xfce4-notifyd ; sudo apt-get purge notify-osd

To get immediate effect this may help (else logout/login):

killall -v notify-osd
/usr/lib/*/xfce4/notifyd/xfce4-notifyd &

You might want to test and adjust appearance:

  • +1 This looks interesting. I'm afraid to try it just now as I'm on 12.04 and in the middle of another project. Thanks for posting it though! I'd really like to switch to this soon. – Tom Brossman Jan 11 '13 at 12:17
  • @tom-brossman Thanks for your feedback. I changed the order of the apt-get : first install new daemon, then remove other, to ensure dependencies are met at all times. – Stéphane Gourichon Jan 14 '13 at 9:04
  • @StéphaneGourichon is there any way, that when you click on notification, it would open/focus that program where notification came from? – user242143 Feb 4 '14 at 12:40
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    @Ville Rouhiainen From what I understand, it's the sending application's job to ask for a specific "action" doing this (and hope the notifyd supports it, which is not always). It may be possible to modify xfce4-notifyd (or other implementations) to offer such an action for all applications. Reference people.gnome.org/~mccann/docs/notification-spec/… . Suggestion : open a wish on bugzilla.xfce.org/buglist.cgi?product=Xfce4-notifyd – Stéphane Gourichon Feb 4 '14 at 18:10
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    +1 Working on 16.04 too - if Evolution Mail changed the sending font my life would be completed lol Thanks – Manse Feb 2 '17 at 9:15

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