I can’t get used to the new Unity system. I’d like to move the left Unity panel to the bottom of screen (like Windows 7 – more similar is better).

But I can't find a way. Is it possible?

  • 6
    As of Ubuntu 16, the accepted answer should be this one. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 8:06

7 Answers 7



There is now an unofficial Compiz Plugin that allows you to move the Unity 3D (not Unity 2D) launcher from the left to the bottom.

enter image description here

Credit to WebUpd8.

In summary:

  1. You can now peruse the source-code. Contact the maintainer with suggested fixes! Remember this is unofficial and can & probably will have many bugs still to be ironed out.
  2. Install the PPA - ppa:paullo612/unityshell-rotated
  3. The packages to install are unityshell-rotated libnux-1.0-0
  4. A new plugin Ubuntu Unity Plugin Rotated will be made available in CCSM
  5. There is a likelihood of freezes on installation. If this occurs use CTRL+ALT+F1 to start a TTY, login and restart lightdm with sudo service lightdm restart. Rerun ccsm to enable the new plugin
  6. This plugin replaces the official Unity Plugin. You will obviously not receive further bugfixes from the Ubuntu development team - you will be reliant on the PPA maintainer to supply bug-fixes

warning please see this Q&A as to potential stability issues using CCSM

Linked Questions:

  1. What are PPAs and how do I use them?
  2. Source code
  • @fossfreedom Can i restore the Official Unity Plugin incase i decide to revert back??( I use 12.04 now)
    – Nirmik
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 6:01
  • 1
    I've headlined the answer as 11.10 - it is applicable only to 11.10 (no 12.04 PPA as yet). For 11.10 users - yes you can revert because the standard plugin exists in CCSM to be chosen (reactivated).
    – fossfreedom
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 6:40
  • 3
    Well. Ok. This moves it to the bottom. What about the right side? I'd like it to be on the right the way like the Wharf Bar in AfterStep.
    – Ivan
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 19:17
  • @Ivan - note - the answer is headlined 11.10. Other answers for newer questions exist. However you should note - right hand side launchers are not available unless you are using a right-to-left language such as arabic and hebrew.
    – fossfreedom
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 19:19
  • 1
    This is a nice idea. But will it work in Ubuntu 15.04? Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 10:06

12.04 - 15.10

As of 12.04 you can not move the launcher, and there’s no official support for that.

This is by design, and so far, there are no Canonical plans to change that. Here’s a quote from Mark on the bug report for Ubuntu 11.04:

I think the report actually meant that the launcher should be movable to other edges of the screen. I’m afraid that won’t work with our broader design goals, so we won’t implement that. We want the launcher always close to the Ubuntu button.

I interpret that as a stand that a consistent design must be experienced as a Unity (pun intended), or it won't work at all.

While I personally disagree with Mark’s/Canonical’s decision not to provide a way to move the launcher (please read my final note on this), I do understand the design choice: it truly makes sense for it to be on the side and not at the bottom. Most users today have a widescreen monitor, and virtually all monitors for sale, specially for end-user consumer market, are widescreen too. That means the vast majority of users have lots of extra horizontal space (mostly underused), while vertical space is premium.

Most apps and websites do not use your whole screen width (check the large vertical background bars in both sides of screen of Ask Ubuntu, for example). But they do use the full vertical length (actually, they scroll 3, 5, 10 times your screen height). Meaning lots and lots of scrolling. And then you subtract title bar, menu bar, favorites bar, tabs bar, etc., all of them sucking up your precious vertical space. So adding the launcher on top/bottom would make things even worse, while there’s plenty of extra, “idle” horizontal space.

There is an ongoing, strong movement in app development, specially browsers, towards reducing the number of bars and merging them together. Think about how Firefox changed in this regard in the last few years. So it makes sense for an OS to do the same.

True, Windows’ panel is a well-crafted one… but the design choice of Unity to put it at side and not the bottom is a wise one, once you get used to it. And it’s worth doing so. Your mouse wheel will say thanks ;)

That said, some important notes:

  • I am just expressing Mark’s/Canonical’s statements and point of view. While I do understand the design choice, and I do agree with a side launcher, I certainly do not agree with the decision of not being able to move it. But I’m just a messenger. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • There are unofficial, third-party packages that allow you to move the launcher. This other answer covers that in great depth.

  • You can, at least, have some control over the launcher in a multi-monitor setup:

Unity launcher multi-monitor settings

(image edited from Ubuntu Vibes)

  • 49
    If you’re wondering, the “Ubuntu button” (a.k.a. “BFB”) mentioned by Mark in the quote is apparently a button that was in the top-left of the screen at the time of his comment. Now it is on the launcher itself, at the top. Since it would thus move with the launcher, it no longer helps to justify Mark’s design choice. Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 17:51
  • 13
    On multi-monitor setups, the bar on the side is demonstrably inferior to on the bottom (provided the bar is on a screen that has another screen to the left of it, as the center screen in a 3-screen setup would). The launcher is now "out in space" and no longer enjoying the Fitts' Law infinite sized screen edge. Sticky edges attempt to make that edge a wider target, but it's still a poor substitute for a hard stop.
    – Legion
    Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 2:51
  • 3
    @RoryO'Kane Also the wide display is not a justification neither, since you may be using auto hide panel as I do, so it does not stole no single pixel to other apps. Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 14:14
  • 6
    I have my primary monitor rotated so that it is vertical and so the launcher actually eats away precious space in the limited dimension, which is a shame.
    – Burhan Ali
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 12:54
  • 2
    @BurhanAli: I also have a sweet 24" monitor with pivot that I love to put in portrait mode, so I do share your pain and I also regret Mark's/Canonnical's decision. Autohide helps, but does not solve th issue. A placement option would surely make us "corner-case" users way more happy :)
    – MestreLion
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 3:13

16.04 and later (Unity 7)

From 16.04 the unity launcher can be moved.

enter image description here

Copy and paste the following into a terminal:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

To reset it back to its side-position:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left
  • Wow I didn't thought it would be that easy :p Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 8:18
  • Seems as if this requires 16.04, Unity 7 on 14.04 have no "launcher-position" setting. Thank you for posting the answer!
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 8:34
  • The users of 16.04 onwards should be also interests of using various methods to move the launcher to the bottom position listed in this post: How does one move the Unity Launcher to the bottom in Ubuntu 16.04 Commented May 2, 2016 at 0:11
  • 3
    @fossfreedom how did you style your ubuntu like that? I like this style. Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 17:14
  • 3
    How about putting it to the right edge? Why isn't that possible? Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 19:54

You can't move the launcher from where it is. Here is a comment from Mark Shuttleworth:

I think the report actually meant that the launcher should be movable to other edges of the screen. I'm afraid that won't work with our broader design goals, so we won't implement that. We want the launcher always close to the Ubuntu button.

As an alternative, you can use Cairo-Dock Install Cairo-dock:

Cairo-Dock is a pretty, fast and customizable desktop interface. You can see it as a good alternative/addition to Unity, Gnome-Shell, Xfce-panel, KDE-panel, etc After 6 months of hard work, a new version of Cairo-Dock is available (Source: http://www.glx-dock.org/).

Other alternatives that offers you a launcher at the bottom of the screen: Cinnamon, LXDE, and so on.

This is a screenshot of my Cinnamon desktop (as you can see the launcer is at the bottom):

Cinnamon desktop

As you can see, Linux is full about choices!

  • 7
    The funny thing about that quote though, is that it was made back in the day of Natty. They've since moved the Ubuntu button onto the launcher itself, making that argument null.
    – Seth
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 15:17
  • 3
    So now that the argument is null, is there a way, in 13.04+? Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 17:03
  • 1
    @digitalextremist: nope, and not up to 14.04.
    – MestreLion
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 11:08
  • Dude you're awesome! This is so great that I don't even need sidebar. Commented May 11, 2015 at 4:49

If you are using Ubuntu 16.04 you can run the following command in terminal to move the unity launcher to the bottom:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

If you want it in the default location (left of the screen), run:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left

You can also use Unity Tweak Tool to move the launcher to the bottom.

First install Unity Tweak Tool with the following line from a terminal (ctrl+alt+t)

sudo apt install unity-tweak-tool

after that you can open it from dash or command line.

You will be greeted by the following window where you need to access the Starter (called Launcher in english) tab (see arrow):


In the starter tab then you will see the option to move the Launcher to the bottom (see arrow in following picture):


  • The tab is called "Launcher" in English.
    – Seth
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 22:36
  • Included it into the answer, thank you. Thank you aswell for corecting my incredible bad grammar :))
    – Videonauth
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 22:41

Another possible solution - via dconf-editor , the schema is com.canonical.Unity.Launcher

enter image description here

To install dconf-editor run sudo apt-get install dconf-editor in terminal , or find it in the new software center

  • It is not the option in ubuntu 14.04
    – Pallavi
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 5:26
  • 2
    @Pallavi yes, because bottom placement of the launcher has been added in 16.04 :) Also , if you didn't notice , the question is tagged 16.04 , hence there would be no answers related to 14.04 in the first place Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 5:28

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