How can I put the opened programs in the top bar to switch between them? Like Xubuntu, KDE, Gnome classic, fallback... But I'm talking about Unity.

I need see/know what software I'm using in some moment without need to use the large side bar of Unity.

I'm left-hand and I can't use + all the time.

I need alternate between the programs using the top bar without a bar that group the same programas (as the Unity sidebar do it).

I can't believe Canonical didn't think about the big free space in the top bar (just have the clock, system tray and some icons).

I installed MyUnity but I can't change anything about top bar.

I know the top bar is the app menu.

I just want the opened programs without use the sidebar. The sidebar group the same window. Where can I mark to never group? MyUnity and CompizConfig Setting Manager don't have this option.

  • 1
    By design the Top Panel is meant for housing the Indicators, the Appmenu, and the Clok ONLY. As the application management is done with the Launcher (a.k.a the Dock on the left), or using the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut. Dec 17, 2011 at 16:42
  • 2
    You want to change Unity so much that it's probably easier for you to switch to another DM: either install gnome-shell, Lubuntu, Xubutu or Kubuntu. Dec 20, 2011 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


The top panel isn't empty. It is used for applications menus and titlebars, and you can add many indicators which also requires space. I sometimes like to use my screens narrow and tall, and then there would really not be any room for anything more.

You can't add a taskbar to the top panel. Adding a bottom panel with a taskbar is fairly easy, though. You can use Gnome Panel (the panels from earlier versions of Ubuntu -- they are still available), Xfces panel, LXDEs panel or any other panel you like. There will be no conflict with Unity as long as you only use a bottom panel. In the case of Gnome Panel, you'd have to delete the top panel manually, either by pressing alt and right-clicking the top panel, or you could use dconf-editor from the dconf-tools package.

For instance, this is Unity with an xfce4-panel taskbar, with extras. As you can see, there's no conflict. I would probably recommend that you use Gnome Panel if that's what you're used to. Just remember that in Gnome Panel 3, you have to press alt to display the right-click menu on the panel or move applets. Otherwise, it's just the same as in earlier versions.

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By default you can't customize top panel. However there are workarounds. But I advise you not to play with your top panel, as it will only create additional issues, which might not be easy to fix.

  • 2
    And those workarounds are? Jan 16, 2014 at 5:58
  • One workaround is to use gnome-panel during the unity session. Although you may have to switch back and forth from metacity to set the panel configuration unless you know a better way.
    – mchid
    May 23, 2014 at 10:57
  • 1
    I do: press super+alt+right-click if you want to customize in Compiz. Jun 1, 2014 at 8:25
  • @Jo-ErlendSchinstad (alt + right-click with metacity) but I found out ctrl + alt + right-click also works with compiz
    – mchid
    Jun 21, 2014 at 9:37
  • everything in Linux is customizable and Linux is all about playing with the system. Play with it and you will find a way.
    – g_p
    May 21, 2017 at 13:38

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