Best Extensions for GNOME Top Bar

3 min

Use these GNOME top bar extensions to transform your GNOME desktop’s top bar from mundane to extraordinary.

The default GNOME top bar is very basic. The thin bar gives you the Activities view (plus the dock), date/time, calendar in the middle, and the quick settings menu at the right. Although the Quick settings tray can be customized with several options, new buttons, media controls and so on, the rest of the top bar actually sits there.

Thanks to some amazing extensions, you can change the look, make it completely transparent, add system information, etc.

This article will discuss some of the top bar’s coolest extensions.

Best GNOME Top Bar Extensions

All the following extensions need the Extensions application to search and install them. You can follow this guide on installing GNOME extensions and search for the name of the following. This applies to all the GNOME-based Linux distros.

1. Transparent top bar

The first extension in this list makes the top bar transparent. Making it transparent actually gives a whole new vibe to the amazing GNOME desktop.

The extension also allows you to change the transparency settings – from 0 to 100%. Choose what you feel like. In addition, you can also set the top bar to become opaque when a window edge touches it.

To install, search “transparent top bar” in the Extensions app.

Transparent top bar extension
Transparent top bar extension

2. Resource monitor

The next extension adds several system performance metrics directly to the top bar. Resource monitor allows you to add CPU, memory utilization, disk I/O, and CPU/GPU temperature. You can also control the refresh frequency and monitor the separated mounted file systems. Furthermore, network upload and download speed tracking are also available.

If you are using Ubuntu, you may need to install lm-sensors using the following commands for temperature sensor detection in your hardware.

sudo apt install lm-sensors
sudo sensors-detect

To install, search “resource monitor” in the Extensions app.

Resource monitor with settings
Resource monitor with settings

3. App icons taskbar

If you are one of those users who want to see the icons of all open applications, then it’s possible to add it in the top bar itself. By default, you have it in the default bottom dock on the GNOME desktop (or the fixed left dock in Ubuntu). The app icons taskbar adds the favourites and any custom app shortcuts at the top bar. You can customize it only to show the opened windows. In addition, you can customize the open indicator and size of the icons and add the application menu as well. One of the great extensions to have.

If you enable this in Ubuntu, you can remove the left fixed dock.

To install, search “app icons taskbar” in the Extensions app.

App icon taskbar
App icon taskbar
App icon taskbar settings
App icon taskbar settings

4. Just another search bar

The fourth extension in this list, “just another search bar“, helps you search Google and other search engines directly from the top bar. When enabled, a small search icon at the top bar brings up a small text box where you can search the web. It launches the default browser in your system with your search query. In addition, you can choose search engines – Google, Yandex, Baidu and recoll.

To install, search “just another search bar” in the Extensions app.

Search from top bar
Search from top bar

5. Space bar

The final one is my favourite. If you efficiently use different workspaces for various workflows, you can add workspace# in the top bar. The space bar extension mimics the i3 window manager concept and adds small clickable buttons at the top. You can also create workspaces using add (+) button. The extension replaces the Activities.

To install, search “space bar” in the Extensions app.

Numbered workspace in space bar extension and settings
Numbered workspace in space bar extension and settings

Wrapping Up

Effective use of these GNOME top bar extensions with quick settings help you make a productive desktop. Which, in fact, saves time. And improves productivity. I hope this list gives you an idea of how to personalize the top bar.

What is your favourite top bar extension? Let me know in the comment box.


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