The GNOME desktop also referred to as the GNOME Shell can be enhanced with extensions. Here, you will find the best GNOME shell extensions to start with and save you the time of finding them yourself.
The philosophy behind GNOME Extensions is that everybody starts with a blank slate. And then adds on what they want and need. This way, extensions fulfill a central role in the GNOME experience. As a result, it allows users to add more functionality and, with other extensions, even optimize their workflow.
When I mention ‘GNOME Extensions’ instead of ‘GNOME Shell Extensions’, do not get confused both have the same meaning.
You can check out my guide if you do not yet know how to find, install, and manage GNOME (Shell) Extensions. How to use gnome extensions. All extensions mentioned here will be installed from extensions.gnome.org.
So let’s get started with the best GNOME (Shell) Extensions. I’m using the brilliant Ubuntu-based distribution Pop!_OS. However, this list is compiled to be compatible with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Pop!_OS 20.10, and even Pop!_OS 21.04. This translates to all the major Ubuntu-based distributions, including Linux Mint.
To get the best out of the extensions, I have grouped them in several categories.
System / Desktop
Dash to Dock
Update: The latest versions of the major Ubuntu-based distributions (Ubuntu, Pop!_OS) now come with a built-in dock. This entry is kept for older distributions that do not come with a dock out-of-the-box.
This brilliant extension provides a desktop dock for your favorites and running applications. It takes the GNOME Dash and transforms it into a full desktop dock. This extension is so popular and has been around for years. However, as mentioned in the update, several Ubuntu-based distributions provide a built-in dock, similar to dash to dock. Pop!_OS 21.04 and Elementary OS provide one now.
This extension provides precisely what you expect from it. All the common features like auto-hide, custom themes to blend perfectly, adjustable icon size, and of course, all the obvious features like drag-drop and moving applications like you expect from a dock.
Status area horizontal spacing
This straightforward extension has been around for a very long time. By default, there is quite some space between each icon in the top-right status area. The place a lot of people call the system tray. This extension allows you to set the padding between the icons. This will enable you to compact the icons.
I have set the padding to a value of 2.
As the previously mentioned extension, this extension is also straightforward. It allows you to set an email address for your user account. And as such, it will display the Gravatar of the email address as the user avatar. Everywhere your user avatar is shown, it will display your avatar, in the settings and even on login.
Night light slider
This beautiful little extension is convenient for those who work in the evening and want more warm light from their screens. Also, this extension will work with the GNOME Shell Night Light.
The default GNOME Shell Night Light can work on a schedule or from sunrise to sunset. This extension will allow you to control your screen’s warmth easily. Therefore a simple slider is all you need to manage your night light effectively.
I highly recommend this extension for those who work late.
I always wanted to keep an eye on your system. Knowing what is system is doing is always handy—being able to detect that your system is under load while you’re not doing anything. Vitals is an extension that provides this information for you.
You can select which information you want to show anytime in the system tray. The nice thing about this extension is that you can also configure which information to show on the drop-down. Most similar extensions will not allow you to do this.
Lastly, this extension comes with a bunch of configuration options, and the drop-down menu even comes with a quick shortcut to the “System Monitor.” This extension does have some dependencies.
sudo apt install gir1.2-gtop-2.0 lm-sensors
sudo dnf install libgtop2-devel lm_sensors
sudo pacman -Syu libgtop lm_sensors gnome-icon-theme-symbolic
Connectivity / Audio
Bluetooth quick connect
Due to COVID-19, a lot of people have been working remotely. Even while working remotely due to background noise, you need the ability to switch between devices quickly.
The extension allows you to connect and reconnect your different Bluetooth devices quickly. When you need to switch between several devices or are sometimes having issues with your Bluetooth, this extension is one that should always be in your repertoire.
Sound input & Output Device chooser
The previously mentioned extension allows you. This extension falls in the same category. It will enable you to use a quick menu from the system tray to select your sound input device or output device.
Have you ever had a situation where you had a lot of online meetings, and there is just too much background noise, and you had to switch to your headset? Well, sometimes, this switch does not go fluently. Audio is not automatically switching, or your meeting app is still using the default computer built-in microphone.
With this in mind, this extension is a must for everyone having online meetings regularly. When you quickly need to remedy any sound device problems without the need to leave your meeting, this extension is one you need.
The “Disconnect WiFi” extension adds a disconnect option to the WiFi status menu in your system tray. After you disconnect from a network, it will show a “Reconnect” option. The “Reconnect” option can also be made always to be shown.
This option is convenient for those on the road or working from many places.
Refresh WiFi Connections
In the same way as the previous extension, this one is quite handy. It adds a “Refresh” button to the select WiFi network screen of the GNOME Shell. It allows you to refresh the available network list manually.
Since GNOME Shell 3.32 the WiFi lists automatically refreshes every 15 seconds.We humans still want to click stuff 🙂
It’s 2023, and more and more applications are moving to the cloud. I recommend this extension when you are looking for a helpful monitoring extension for your connection. Have you ever wondered, “Is there something wrong with my Wifi?” or “Did I just lose my internet connection?”. To illustrate, many people have their ISP modem set up somewhere in their houses. However, that does not mean it is easily accessible or visible from your home or office. Ultimately I just want to know how my connection is doing. The easiest solution, use a latency monitor.
This extension provides a latency monitor. Latency is a term used to describe delays in network communication. The lower the value, the better. When you hear a gamer scream at their computer or console and curse about the network, communication, or that they were “lagging,” then they talk about network latency.
The latency monitor will put a simple monitor in your system tray showing your current latency. It uses a ping to get the latency. The best part about this extension is that you can set the DNS address or IP number which to use through its configuration. It defaults to
For most situations using this address is perfect. However, you can change the address. When you use the IP address of your company’s private cloud, you have a direct monitor of the company’s network latency in your system tray.
If it’s coffee, thee, or maybe even Red Bull or water, we all have our favorite beverage we like to consume when we are focusing. Similarly, Caffeine is an extension providing the same functionality often associated with a cup of coffee. In summary, it allows you to disable the screensaver and the auto suspend of your system.
As most working on Linux know, having access to your terminal at any time is essential. A lot of the time, you want to run a single or only a few commands. This extension provides a nice drop-down terminal. Just press the shortcut, which defaults to
F12, and a terminal drops down with a cool animation.
Incorporated in this extension is the functionality of multiple tabs that you can easily switch to with shortcuts. The extension also works on Wayland natively. Above all, this extension will make your GNOME Shell look awesome when colleagues are watching your screen, and you need a terminal.
In conclusion, this selection of GNOME (Shell) Extensions will help you create your GNOME Shell. Which of these extensions do you like? Which ones do you dislike? Please comment below with your opinion, and I hope you will also share your favorite extension. I’m always looking for excellent extensions which can help me customize my shell and improve my productivity.