GNOME extensions are small plugins created by the community to add extra features to and extend the functionality of the GNOME desktop environment. There are over 1,000 available for free download on GNOME’s extension page.
In this article, we will count down our top picks for the 10 best GNOME extensions available for Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. We have a separate guide for How to install Gnome Shell Extensions on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux Desktop if you need to learn how to install GNOME extensions.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- 10 of the most useful GNOME shell extensions available
|Category||Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used|
|System||Installed or upgraded Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa|
|Software||Downloadable GNOME desktop extensions|
|Other||Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
The OpenWeather extension will display the current weather and forecast right on your desktop for any location you wish to configure. It shows the current temperature and weather activity right next to GNOME’s clock. You can then click on it for more detailed weather information.
The Clipboard Indicator extension is basically a manger for your computer’s clipboard. It will keep a cache of all the text that’s been copied to your clipboard so you can select it again in the future. There’s even a search feature that will allow you to find stuff quickly. You’ll be surprised how much time it saves you and how handy it can be.
Todo.txt is an extension for managing your to-do list. We like it for its unparalleled simplicity – just add tasks and cross them off as you complete them. It works a lot like storing your own tasks in a text file, except that it’s visible from GNOME’s top bar. As a matter of fact, it does store everything in a plain text file. You can find out more about how it works on the git page.
It’s actually surprising that the features of this extension aren’t already present in default GNOME. Caffeine is very basic, all it does is disable your screensaver and GNOME’s auto suspend. Every time I tab back into a Ubuntu virtual machine, I have to enter my password just because I was away for a few minutes. That gets old. Caffeine takes care of this annoyance, and you can toggle it on or off by hitting the little coffee mug in your top bar.
Applications Overview Tooltip
The Applications Overview Tooltip extension integrates so well that you’re likely to forget you even have it. It really feels like it’s part of GNOME’s default interface – which it definitely deserve to be. The Activities menu in GNOME shortens a lot of application’s names in order to fit in the grid, and this extension will display the full name and a brief description when you hover your mouse over one of the icons.
GNOME’s default look for the alt-tab interface is a bit tired and plain. The Coverflow Alt-Tab extension gets your alt-tab menu looking a little more spiffy. It probably won’t do much for your productivity workflow, but it offers GNOME a favorable cosmetic change.
The NetSpeed extension provides you with a really simple way to keep an eye on how much bandwidth your system is currently using. It will constantly monitor your upload and download speeds and report the numbers on GNOME’s top bar. It’s a convenient way to see if you’re getting the speeds you expect, and you also may catch something using your bandwidth in the background that you were previously unaware of.
The Force Quit extension offers a convenient solution to hung up programs or windows on your desktop. It will force any application to quit by launching xkill. All you have to do is click on the Force Quit icon in GNOME’s top bar, your mouse cursor will display an X, and then click on whichever application window you wish to force close. It’s not something you’d need often (hopefully), but it’s very nice to have when you finally do.
The Screenshot Tool extension gives you some more options when it comes to taking screenshots. It allows you to define an area to capture, or a particular window, or your entire desktop. After capturing the screenshot, you can use the interface to save the image away to any location, or just copy it to your clipboard. It’s definitely a lot more useful than the default way of taking screenshots, where the image just gets saved away to your Pictures folder.
If you’re considering installing some of the extensions in our list, you may also want to consider installing the Extensions extension (yes, the name of the extension is “Extensions”). This extension will give you a very easy way to toggle on or off any of your installed GNOME extensions. This is a must-have if you’re running a few extensions, especially if you don’t need some of them to run all the time.
GNOME extensions are a very handy way to extend the functionality of your Ubuntu desktop. But with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right ones for your needs. Hopefully our list has clued you in to some of the more popular and useful GNOME extensions.