Customizing top panel to add icons and “show desktop” in Ubuntu

Add Icons, Show Desktop, Change Icon Size, Change Color..etc...Here is how to customize the top panel

The top panel (commonly known as Taskbar) can be greatly customized to include some cool features such as adding a “show desktop” icon which minimizes all the open windows and shows the desktop, displaying icons of running applications, changing color, opacity, and more.

So what do you get is a cool taskbar which is compact and more useful. You can also add apps icon, minimize all windows with one click, and switch workspaces too. Here is how to enable all these features.

Adding “Show Desktop” and displaying icons on the Ubuntu Top Panel

This guide will work only on Ubuntu with starting from GNOME 3.10.

Step 1) First thing to do is enable GNOME extensions on your Ubuntu PC. Refer our tutorial using below link and then continue to next step.

How to enable GNOME Shell extensions in Ubuntu

Step 2) Go to this link: TaskBar GNOME shell extension

Step 3) Toggle the slider to “ON” position.

Enable TaskBar
Enable TaskBar

Step 4) You should immediately see the new taskbar features applied to the top panel. In order to configure the settings, refresh the TaskBar extensions webpage. You should see the settings icon right next to the “ON” button. Click on it.

Step 5) You can now adjust the Taskbar settings. “Overview” tab lets you manage the several features of the extension. For example, you can disable “Appview Button”. Or you can add a “Bottom Panel”.

Taskbar Settings Overview
Taskbar Settings Overview

Step 6) “Panels” tab lets you manage the Panel size, taskbar position, icon sizes, and also the panel background color with opacity control.

Controlling Panel Size
Controlling Panel Size

There are also a pleura of things you can tweak such as closing tasks with a right/middle click, activating tasks on hover, Scrolling tasks/workspaces, keybindings, etc.. I will let you stroll through the settings and figure out how you want to configure the taskbar.

However, I would like to live highlighting a handy “Import/Export Settings”. When you are done with tweaking the settings, you can use the export button to save the settings so that you can import it whenever needed in the future. It will save a bunch of time. You will find the feature misplaced in the “About” tab. I think it should have a tab on its own!

Export-Import settings
Export-Import settings

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!


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