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

Customize Unity from the command line

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

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 not possible to move it to the right side of the screen or the top of the screen.

To move the launcher to the bottom, open a terminal window by pressing CTRL, ALT, and T on the keyboard. Alternatively, press the super key on the keyboard, search 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

Type the command into the terminal, watch it work, and then forget all about it.

Ubuntu Unity launcher on bottom

To move the launcher back to the left side of the screen, enter the following command:

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

The GSETTINGS Command Explained

The manual page for gsettings says that it is a simple command line interface to GSettings.

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 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

You can look at the screen to find where the launcher is placed. However, you can find out for sure by typing the following command:

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

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

Ubuntu get Unity launcher position

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

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

Ubuntu list gsettings schemas

To list the keys for a particular schema, enter 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, type 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.

Ubuntu gsettings favorites

Don't use the set command to change the launcher. It's easier to right select and remove icons and to drag icons to the launcher than to use the command line.

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

gsettings writable com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites

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

The range of values that are available for a key may not be obvious. For instance, with the launcher position, you might not know that you can choose Left and Bottom.

To 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 isn't recommended that you list all the schemas and keys and change the values but it is important when running terminal commands that you know why you are typing a command into the terminal.