I've sent a few mails to the Ayatana mailing list regarding some UI suggestions for Unity, but I'm afraid I keep confusing the right terms for the UI element, so I would like to have some clarification.

Answer Index:


3 Answers 3


Ubuntu 11.04

alt text enter image description here enter image description here

  1. Launcher
  2. Launcher Items
  3. Workspace Switcher

    Menu Bar:

  4. Window Title
  5. Application Menus
  6. Status Menus (Indicators)

    1. Network Menu
    2. Sound Menu
    3. Messaging Menu
    4. Clock
    5. Me Menu
    6. Session Menu

    And others

    This region also contains the Notification Area, disabled by default.

  7. Window Decoration

  8. Window Buttons
  9. Toolbar
  10. Status Bar
  11. Desktop
  12. Ubuntu Button (Home Button or BFB, "Big Freakin' Button")
  13. Dash
  14. Run Command (Alt+F2)
  • 22
    Even after upvoting this (and mgunes' answer), I still feel compelled to comment on how awesome your diagram is.
    – belacqua
    Mar 12, 2011 at 19:55
  • 2
    We know about Lenses. Where would they be?
    – Takkat
    May 1, 2011 at 8:11
  • The icons for Lenses are called Launcher Items as well, you may call them "lens launchers" or something if you like, I don't know if there's an accepted term for those in particular. Jun 6, 2011 at 7:31
  • 2
    ![imagebin.ubuntu-gr.org/1316863006.png][1] Dash has changed a bit, are there any terms for the new 4 elements at the bottom of it ? On the picture i have enumarate them.
    – user25539
    Sep 24, 2011 at 11:20
  • The HUD should be pictured. Dec 29, 2012 at 9:47

1. Panel

Is the bar at the top called "panel"?

Yes, the top bar is called the "unity-panel" or simply panel, the container for indicators and global menus.

2. Home Button

Does the Ubuntu logo at the top left corner have a name?

Since 11.04 it's called Home Button though it's jokingly referred to as the BFB by developers, for "Big Freaking Button"

home button diagram from 11.04 documentation

3. Launcher

Is the left sidebar called "dock"?

It's called the Launcher.


4. Launcher icons / Launcher items

Are the coloured tiles with app icons on them called "launchers"?

Launcher icons or Launcher items.

5. Workspace switcher

Is the purple tile called "workspace switcher"?

As of 11.04, yes.


6. Dash

Are the fullscreen things that appear when you click the Ubuntu logo, the Places tile or the Apps tile, called "dash"? Do they all have the same name?

Right; Dash is the component name for the overlay that's used for Applications and Places. In non-technical contexts it seems to be used as the Applications Dash and the Places Dash.

dash mockup

Also consider:

The first thing you'll see when opening the Dash is the Dash Home. Without typing or clicking anything, the Dash Home will show you applications and files you've used recently.

Other Terms

There seems to be no term decided upon for items kept on the launcher via the "Keep in launcher" function. The relevant dbusmenu functionality is named "pinning_item" in the code; "sticky" doesn't appear anywhere in the wiki and bug reports, and "Favorites" is used in the architecture document once and somewhat ambiguously to refer to what seems to be the "pinned" application items. So "Pinned" and "Favorites" seem both fine for now.

For further information, see the Unity Architecture document, and /Unity/Lenses on the wiki.

  • Actually, the left sidebar is called "vertical task management panel" at unity.ubuntu.com/projects/unity Dec 29, 2012 at 10:23
  • 1
    This is outdated now. See Ubuntu from 11 up below.
    – alci
    Jan 16, 2014 at 15:43
  • Given the generalization of the question that @jorge made, your answer did not make much sense to me. I had to spend a while looking around before I figured out that the question had been edited. Although this response is outdated (per alci), since yours is the accepted answer, this should be fixed in case others encounter the same issue. I see two solutions, an edit to your response or a reversion of the question to have the original list of specific questions. I've never edited someone else's posts so I am not sure of the etiquette here.
    – slbass
    Mar 4, 2014 at 18:36
  • @slbass Feel free to submit an edit! Mar 4, 2014 at 19:40
  • Any sources on calling the panel the "menu bar"? Even the Unity Architecture document calls it the panel...
    – Seth
    May 30, 2014 at 3:48

Ubuntu from 11.10 up

    • Windows Title
    • Application Menu
    • Dash icon
    • Launcher icons
    • Workspace switcher
    • Launcher
    • Trash
    • Indicators

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Where is the "HUD" / Heads-Up Display? Or is there none? Mar 19, 2019 at 3:45

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