There are some distributions that bring this feature by default. Is it an extension? A shell specific version? Take a look at this screenshot:

enter image description here


This is a feature that comes only with older versions of GNOME. The screenshot you are looking at is of an older version of GNOME Shell. In versions of GNOME prior to 3.8, there was a category selector on the right side as your screenshot shows. In GNOME 3.8, the category filter was removed and applications can now be launched using either a "Frequent" or "All" filter.

Compare the following two screenshots of the GNOME Activities Overview from two successive releases of GNOME.

GNOME 3.6 Activities Overview

GNOME 3.6 Activities Overview

This screenshot from the GNOME 3.6 Activities Overview Release Notes shows the application categories on the right side.

GNOME 3.8 Activities Overview

GNOME 3.8 Activities Overview

This screenshot from the GNOME 3.8 Release Notes shows the lack of categories and the "Frequent" and "All" filters at the bottom of the screen instead.

This change in the Activities Overview was an intentional design change. More can be read about this design change in the "Stage 2" section of this application picker design document on the GNOME wiki.

  • Thanks! That was exactly what I was expecting to hear. Sad to know that new versions of the shell do not bring that feature anymore. – vienswuer May 29 '14 at 18:04
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    @user63070 Glad it answered your question. For what it's worth, if you read the design doc I linked to, there is some explanation about the design direction. The idea seems to be that the GNOME Software application should be used for app discovery (i.e. letting users find applications by name and category) and organization (i.e. letting users organize apps into their own groups). The screenshot for 3.8 above even shows two user-defined application groups in the last row. I have not tried this feature. – Mike Miller May 29 '14 at 18:24

This is an old answer but it helped me today so I thought I'd share it. This blog post goes into some detail but the practical upshot is that you can add categories to org.gnome.shell => app-folder-categories using dconf-editor to tell the dash to group up your items.

Here's the dconf location:

dconf shot

The recommended value of

['Utilities', 'Games', 'Sundry', 'Office', 'Network', 'Internet', 'Graphics', 'Multimedia', 'System', 'Development', 'Accessories', 'System Settings', 'wine-wine', 'Crossover', 'Crossover Games', 'Science', 'Education', 'Universal Access', 'chrome-apps', 'Other']

worked well for me on gnome-shell 3.10.4-0ubuntu5.2.

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