Guide to using Plank Dock on Linux

Plank is a Linux dock that allows launching fixed applications and managing open windows in the X11 environment (Wayland is not supported). This article outlines Plank, how to install Plank on popular Linux distributions, how to install new themes, how to use multiple docks (such as having multiple monitors), and more.
This is the Plank dock using the default settings and its preference window:
This is again a “wooden board” with a third-party theme, “dock” (shows desktop and trash can), the “wooden board” icon allows access to its preferences and exits the dock (on the left side of the dock), the folder is fixed to the dock Up and enable icon zoom:Wooden board dock custom theme icon zoom
Below you will also find a video so you can see the Plank icon zoom animation (icon zoom is not available on Elementary and Fedora due to possible patent infringement):
Plank is a sleek but simple dock designed by default, but it does have some advanced features, including libraries that can be used to create a dock based on Plank. It uses Gtk3, but as long as it uses X11, it will work on any desktop environment (including KDE Plasma-only extracting some Gtk dependencies).
Although Plank does not have it, it needs a window manager with composition functions (such as Mutter, Compiz, Marco, Muffin, Metacity, KWin or Xfwm) or a separate composite manager (such as Compton) to achieve effects and transparency.
Wooden board features:

  • Show running application icons and allow pinning applications to the dock
  • Drag and drop to rearrange icons in the dock
  • Multiple hide modes: Smart hide, auto hide (always hide until you move the mouse near the bottom of the screen), dodge the maximize window, dodge window, dodge the active window, and have configurable hide and unhide delays and optional Pressure (so you wo n’t accidentally find it) to show the dock
  • Configurable position on the screen: bottom, top, left or right
  • Multiple alignment methods: center, fill (fill the base background with 100% screen width to make it appear as a panel; in this setting, you can change the arrangement of the icons to center, the starting or ending point of the base), the starting point (Left or top, depending on the orientation of the dock) and end (right or bottom, depending on whether the dock is horizontal or vertical).
  • Configurable icon size, and optional icon zoom effect (with configurable zoom level); icon zoom disabled on base OS and Fedora due to possible patent infringement
  • Can be set to show only pinned items so that they only function as launchers (do not show running applications), useful in a multi-dock setup where one of the docks is used only as a launcher (only pinned apps are shown program)
  • Show only applications running on the current workspace
  • Allows you to select a monitor to display the dock
  • Supports docks and has some built-in plugins (these are applets / stand-alone tools running in Plank, such as Clippy, clipboard manager, battery indicator, display desktop or trash can icons)
  • Theme support
  • Run multiple docks simultaneously, each with its own configuration (this feature is not exposed in the Plank preferences)

Install Plank Dock on Linux and add it to startup

Plank is found in the official repositories of many Linux distributions, including Fedora, Arch Linux / Manjaro, openSUSE, Debian / Ubuntu, and Linux distributions based on Linux distributions, such as Linux Mint, Pop! _OS, Zorin OS, etc.

  • Fedora:
sudo dnf install plank plank-docklets
  • Debian / Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, such as Linux Mint, Pop! _OS or Zorin OS:
sudo apt install plank
  • Arch Linux / Manjaro:
sudo pacman -S plank
  • openSUSE:
sudo zypper install plank
  • Solus OS:
sudo eopkg install plank

Additional installation options:

  • Plank sources can be downloaded from Launchpad or GitHub
  • For Ubuntu, there is also an official PPA with a newer Plank version for Ubuntu versions (such as 18.04 / Linux Mint 19 *) (do not use this PPA on the base OS!)
  • On Arch Linux / Manjaro, you can install the latest Plank from Git using the unofficial Arch User Repository package

From the application menu, from Alt + F2 Dialog (by typing plank)Wait
You may also need to add Plank to your startup application. Most desktop environments have graphical tools to add applications and commands to launch:

  • Xfce: Settings -> Session and Startup > Application Autostart
  • Cinnamon / Ubuntu with GNOME / MATE: boot Startup Applications
  • GNOME desktop running on Linux distributions other than Ubuntu: Launch Tweaks Apply and click Startup Applications On the sidebar (in Ubuntu, “Plank” does not appear in the “Tweaks Startup Applications” pane, not sure why). This only allows adding criteria plank To launch, you cannot add custom Plank commands (e.g. plank -n dock2) To start using Tweaks.
  • KDE plasma: System Settings -> Startup and Shutdown -> Autostart
  • Budgie: Budgie Desktop Settings -> Autostart

Use these graphical tools to add startup applications, add new startup items, use Plank For application name and plank As a command (if you want to use multiple docks, you can add multiple startup items for Plank-see below for information on using multiple Plank docks, for example, plank -n dock2 As a startup command to add a second Plank dock to startup).
There is also a “universal” way to add a startup project that should work for most desktop environments (including KDE Plasma tested on Kubuntu 18.04):

  • Create first ~/.config/autostart Folder (if it does not exist):
mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart
  • Open the file manager and navigate to ~/.config/autostart (.config Is a hidden folder in the home directory; to show it press Ctrl + H -This will switch between showing / hiding hidden files and folders and creating a file named plank.desktop You need to paste the following:
[Desktop Entry]

You can modify Exec Section (this is a command that runs at startup) and / or create multiple startup items (e.g. plank2.desktop For the second Plank launch entry, plank -n dock2 If you want to add multiple docks to startup, use this command to launch a second dock. If you want to start Plank with a startup delay (if it starts too early and some desktop elements interfere with Plank), add an extra line to this ~/.config/autostart/plank.desktop File contains X-GNOME-Autostart-Delay=N,where is it N Is the delay in seconds.

How to access Plank preferences (and Plank Quit menu items) and other Plank tips / hide features

New Plank users may have difficulty finding application preferences because there are no menu items by default.Boardwalk Dock PreferencesBoard Preferences with Quit The menu items can be accessed via right cliking Near the edge of the base (left / right). Or you can press and hold Ctrl Key and right click Anywhere on a wooden board pier.
You can also use dconf to change your “wooden board” preferences (for example, install the Dconf tool and navigate / net / launchpad / plank / docks / dock1 For the default dock, … dock2 If you use multiple docks, etc., use it for a second dock).
Using the Dconf editor, you can also enable show-dock-item (Next / net / launchpad / plank / docks / dock1) There is an icon on Plank that you can click to open its preferences or exit Plank, which makes accessing these menu items more intuitive. Some other Plank tips / things you may find useful:

  • If you use Ubuntu, you have the option to remove or disable the Ubuntu Dock
  • On Xfce, Plank may have a weird shadow over the entire width of the screen. You can solve this problem by: Settings -> Window Manager Tweaks -> Compositor And disable Show shadows under dock windows (This will also disable Xfce panel shadows)
  • To delete a pinned application, you can right-click it and uncheck it Keep in dock Or you can drag and drop the icon onto the dock to delete it
  • To remove a dock from Plank, drag and drop it outside the dock
  • You can add folders or files to Plank. Using your file manager (Nautilus, Nemo, etc.), drag and drop folders or files to Plank and it will stay fixed on the dock
  • You may know that you can launch a new window of the application by right clicking Its icon on the dock and select New Window, But you may not know that you can also do this middle-clicking On the application icon (or use Ctrl + left click
  • Scroll through the top of the application icon to cycle through multiple open windows of the same application

How to install a new Plank theme

Plank comes with 3 themes by default (Gtk + and Default are the same, transparent and matte). But you can install other themes.
The easiest and fastest way to install some new Plank themes is to see if a theme is available in the Linux distribution repository. For example, Fedora has 3 Plank themes in its repository: Arc, elementary, and Adapta, and you can install them with the following command:

sudo dnf install adapta-gtk-theme-plank elementary-theme-plank arc-theme-plank

There are no Plank themes in Arch Linux’s repository, but there are 4 Plank themes on AUR. For any Linux distribution, you can get new themes by visiting the Plank Themes category on GNOME or by searching for Plank on a site like GitHub. theme. You can install Plank themes downloaded from such websites in the following ways:

  • ~/.local/share/plank/themes For your current user (no root / sudo required)
  • /usr/share/plank/themes Works for all users (installing them requires root / sudo)

If you downloaded the archive, unzip it and place the theme folder in the selected directory in the two folders listed above.
You do not need to restart Plank. After installing a new Plank theme, open Plank preferences and you will find a new theme that you can use.

How to run multiple Plank docks at the same time

Boardwalk 2 Pier
Use 2 Plank docks simultaneously, each with its own configuration

There are multiple use cases for having multiple Plank stops at the same time. You can use the dock on each monitor in a multi-monitor setup. Alternatively, you can have 2 docks on the same display, one dock showing running applications and the other dock showing fixed apps (in various settings, for example, one at the bottom, one side).
To create a second Plank dock, use -n Option followed by the name of the second base you want to call. For example, because the default dock is called dock1, This command will run another Plank dock, called dock2:

plank -n dock2

To configure the second base, press and hold Ctrl When your key right click On the dock and choose Preferences. Any settings you change will only affect the second stop, called dock2 under these circumstances.
For example, if you have two displays, set up a Plank Dock to display On Primary Display From its settings and disable for another dock On Primary Display Option and set it to show on another monitor.
Create the required number of docks in the same way. Add them to startup using the instructions already mentioned above.
It is also worth mentioning that you can also access the settings of each dock through the Dconf editor by: / net / launchpad / plank/ docks.
For using Plank with multiple monitors, there is also autoplank, a third-party tool that allows Plank to be moved to an active monitor to use a single Plank instance with multiple monitors. The original autoplank code is not available for the latest Linux distributions, but there are some pull requests that make it work, but even those requests are not perfect. I hope someone will take over the project and fix the rest.