When I'm working on my laptop I have periods that I am only using a couple of programs, so the default intellihide setting of the Launcher ('Dodge windows') is very handy. But I also have periods that I have to switch very often between programs, and then I find it very useful (and better for my workflow) that the Launcher doesn't hide.

Now, every time I wan't to switch I have to open CCSM and change the setting (Unity plugin -> Hide Launcher), but it would be easier if I could use a shortcut for it. So my question:

Is there a way to create a shortcut to switch between (or change) the two settings of Compiz?

I thought of command line interface to compiz, but I couldn't directly find something like that.

  • Command line for changing Compiz settings: wiki.compiz.org/Plugins/Dbus But coding a switch for this you need someone else ;) (maybe leave a q on their wiki?)
    – Rinzwind
    May 8, 2011 at 11:26

5 Answers 5


You can run

gconftool-2 --type int --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode" 2

to set the launcher hide mode to "Dodge Windows", and

gconftool-2 --type int --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode" 0

to set it to never hide.

The mode numbers are:

  • 0 - Never
  • 1 - Autohide
  • 2 - Dodge Windows
  • 3 - Dodge Active Window

You can make this a switch by just calling (the value must be 2 or 0 before):

gconftool-2 --type int --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode" $((2 - $(gconftool-2 --get "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode")))

You then would create a new keybinding (Alt + F2gnome-keybinding-properties) with the command being:

/bin/bash -c "gconftool-2 --type int --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode" $((2 - $(gconftool-2 --get "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode")))"
  • Thank you very much, exactly what I wanted! The call for switching works perfect.
    – joris
    May 8, 2011 at 12:55
  • But a question: I tried to map it to 'Super + H', but that doesn't work. However, with 'Ctrl + Alt + H' it works fine. Is there a reason for that?
    – joris
    May 8, 2011 at 13:06
  • It's probably because the Super key is used for Unity shortcuts of all sorts (hopefully that will be customizable in Ubuntu 11.10).
    – htorque
    May 8, 2011 at 13:12
  • This doesn't seem to work in 13.04, or am I doing something wrong?
    – user138784
    May 8, 2013 at 9:21

If you are using Ubuntu 15.04 (vivid) the following commands should work for you.

To enable launcher auto-hide setting use:

dconf write "/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/launcher-hide-mode" 1

To disable it use:

dconf write "/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/launcher-hide-mode" 0

For Unity

The command to make the launcher autohide:

gconftool-2 --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode" --type string "1"

And the command to make it never hide:

gconftool-2 --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/launcher_hide_mode" --type string "0"

For Unity-2D

To autohide launcher:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity2d.Launcher hide-mode 1

To never hide launcher:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity2d.Launcher hide-mode 0
  • Hmmmm, this seems correct but the changes don't seem to apply unless I open up the launcher settings window. Any idea what's up with that?
    – Joe
    May 6, 2012 at 1:47
  • @Joe No idea. If I set a keyboard shortcut, it seems to adjust the value. I don't know why the launcher is not reacting though. :(
    – jokerdino
    May 6, 2012 at 1:59

I created an application indicator called Unity Launcher Toggle that lets you switch between launcher modes. http://napdivad.com/unity_launcher_toggle/

  • The link doesn't work anymore.
    – falconepl
    Sep 16, 2015 at 11:30

Here's how you can do it for Ubuntu 16 or 17: (Based on falconepl & htorque's answer)

(This toggles the auto-hiding of launcher)

dconf write "/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/launcher-hide-mode" $((1 - $(dconf read "/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/launcher-hide-mode")))

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