How to Move the Ubuntu Unity Launcher to the Bottom of the Screen

Move The Unity Launcher
Move The Unity Launcher.

Introduction

As of Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) it is now possible to move the location of the Ubuntu Launcher from the left hand side to the bottom of the screen.

In this guide I will show you how to use the command line to move the Unity Launcher from the left to the bottom and back again.

I will also explain the command that is used to move the launcher as it is fairly cryptic.

How To Move The Unity Launcher Using The Command Line

The Unity Launcher can be placed either on the left of the screen or at the bottom.

It is still not possible to move it to the right side of the screen or indeed the top of the screen.

To move the launcher to the bottom open a terminal window by pressing CTRL, ALT and T on your keyboard. Alternatively press the super key on your keyboard and searching for "term" in the Unity Dash search bar and click the terminal icon when it appears.

Within the terminal window type the following command:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

You can type the command straight into the terminal, watch it work and then forget all about it.

To move the launcher back to the left side of the screen (because after all those years of complaining it turns out we like it where it was after all) run the following command:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left

The gsettings Command Explained

If you are anything like me you will want to at the very least try and understand the syntax of the command you just ran.

The manual page for gsettings says that it is a simple command line interface to GSettings (brilliant, thanks for that).

In general the gsettings command has 4 parts to it

  • The command
  • The Schema you wish to change
  • The key you wish to change
  • The value

In the case of the Unity Launcher the command is set, the schema is com.canonical.Unity.Launcher, the key is launcher-position and finally the value is either bottom or left.

There are a number of commands that can be used with gsettings:

  • get
  • monitor
  • writable
  • range
  • set
  • reset
  • reset-recursively
  • list-schemas
  • list-relocatable-schemas
  • list-keys
  • list-children
  • list-recursively
  • help

Whilst it is fairly obvious by looking at your screen where the launcher is placed you can actually find out for sure by running the following command:

gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position

The output from the above command is simply either 'Left' or 'Bottom',

You might be curious to know what other schemas there are.

You can get a list of all the schemas using the following command:

gsettings list-schemas

The list is quite long so you might wish to pipe the output to more or less as follows:

gsettings list-schemas | more

gsettings list-schemas | less

The list returns results such as com.ubuntu.update-manager, org.gnome.software, org.gnome.calculator and many more.

To list the keys for a particular schema run the following command:

gsettings list-keys com.canonical.Unity.Launcher

You can replace com.canonical.Unity.Launcher with any of the schemas listed by the list-schemas command.

For the Unity Launcher the following results are displayed:

  • cher
  • favorites
  • launcher-position
  • items
  • favorite-migration

    You can use the get command to see the current values of the other items.

    For example run the following command:

    gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites

    The following is returned:

    • application://ubiquity.desktop
    • application://org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop
    • application://firefox.desktop
    • application://libreoffice-writer.desktop
    • application://libreoffice-calc.desktop
    • application://libreoffice-impress.desktop
    • application://org.gnome.Software.desktop
    • application://ubuntu-amazon-default.desktop
    • application://unity-control-center.desktop

    Each item in the favorites matches the icons in the launcher.

    I don't recommend using the set command to change the launcher.

    It is much easier to right click and remove icons and to drag icons to the launcher than use the command line.

    Not all of the keys are indeed writable. To find out if they are you can use the following command:

    gsettings writeable com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites

    The writable command will tell you if a key is writable or not and simply returns "True" or "False".

    It might not be obvious the range of values that are available for a key. For instance with the launcher position you might not know that you can choose left and bottom.

    To the see the possible values use the following command:

    gsettings range com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position

    The output in the case of launcher position is 'Left' and 'Bottom'.

    Summary

    It certainly isn't a recommendation for you to start listing all the schemas and keys and messing with the values but it is important when running terminal commands that you know why you are typing a command into the terminal.