I am running Ubuntu 17.10 (Xorg if that matters).

Is it at all possible to re-order the application indicators in the top bar? (dropbox, glipper, etc.)

I have noticed that if I close an application and open it again, that indicator gets pushed to the far left in the top bar.

Other than this, I cannot find a way to set them in a position I desire.

Is there a way I can set a preferred order for the indicators? I would rather not close out each application and open them in the order I want them to appear manually.

If there is no other solution, would it be to far fetched to write a Python script to open those applications on startup (in the order I want them to appear) instead of having the system load them?


I have found a way to load the indicators in the order I want with a Python script that calls each process individually, waits for stdout to send a pre-defined "complete" message, and repeats with the next process.

There is still one downside to this method though.. As soon as the computer goes to sleep, the indicators seem to go to an unordered state again.. I will modify my script a bit to compensate for this, but I am still looking for a long term solution.

  • It would be super if you could maybe post your script as a GitHub gist or something. Here I am in 2019, using elementaryOS, still having this problem, and no amount of dbus-sending or .keyfile-modifying seems to be helping.
    – Kevin E
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 20:31
  • @TheDudeAbides I sadly don't have the script any longer. If I recall correctly, this was right around the time I decided to distro hop like there was no tomorrow which led me to my beloved Arch, ending up with me ditching my desktop environment altogether. If you care to take a shot at it yourself, I believe my approach was to disable the programs from startup, then had a script start the programs in a predefined order as a daemon when your DE starts. I also believe that I eventually dealt with the 'default' order as it seemed to be more of a hassle than it was worth.
    – Jebby
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 22:31
  • It's exasperating, for sure. It seems like a thing that at least a couple of Linux DEs had gotten right for about two years, before rewriting everything from scratch and changing the indicator protocols again. It's not some crazy novel idea; pretty sure you could do this on MacOS in the 90s. :(
    – Kevin E
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


EDIT: I should point out I am unsure whether this will work on 17.10, I can confirm for 16.04

First, use the following command to find what the system calls each indicator:

dbus-send --type=method_call --print-reply --dest=com.canonical.indicator.application /com/canonical/indicator/application/service com.canonical.indicator.application.service.GetApplications | grep "object path" | sed 's/_/-/g' | cut -d"/" -f5

Then, add each to the file /usr/share/indicator-application/ordering-override.keyfile, and order them by number, with 1 being the right-most position. An example ordering-override.keyfile file might look as follows:

[Ordering Index Overrides]
  • 1
    Thanks for your reply. Sadly I don't think this is working for 17.10. I get this error on the dbus-send command: Error org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.ServiceUnknown: The name com.canonical.indicator.application was not provided by any .service files Would it be too far fetched to get the names of the applications I want to rearrange, remove them from startup applications and make a Python script to load them in the order I want on boot?
    – Jebby
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 19:09
  • It seems kinda hacky to me, but if there is no other solution to this, then I may just do that.
    – Jebby
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 19:11
  • Update on loading indicators in order by calling their command... I successfully made the indicators load in the order I wanted with a python script that waits for stdout to send a complete message and starts the next process. There is still a downside though.. As soon as the computer goes to sleep, the icons seem to go to an unordered position again..
    – Jebby
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 9:31

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