How To Customize Your GNOME Shell Easily using GNOME Extensions

December 04, 2011
GNOME team have unveiled GNOME Shell extensions. These are small bits of code that help you customize different user interface aspects of your GNOME 3 desktop.

GNOME Shell extensions are independently developed by third party developers and are not maintained by the GNOME 3 team or the GNOME Community. You can access GNOME Shell extensions at

Having said that, it is quite easy to install the extensions on your GNOME 3 desktop. While logged into GNOME 3, just visit the website, click on the link to the extension you wish to install, and then in the resulting page, swipe the button from the Off state to the On state. The extension will then prompt you for confirmation; once given, the extension is installed on your GNOME 3 desktop.

Currently, it has a total of 32 extensions with more being added.

Two extensions worth trying out are as follows.

Auto-hide top panel - Hide the top panel automatically.

gTile extension - Tile your windows in many different ways. You can divide your screen into 2x2. 4x4, or 6x6 sections.

If an extension does not work with your version of GNOME, the website says so which gives a nice touch to the whole thing.

A word of caution - The code in a GNOME Shell extension becomes part of the core operating system. For this reason, the potential exists for an extension to cause system misbehavior, crashes, or even to have malicious behavior like spying on the user or displaying unwanted advertisements. However, the extensions displayed on the website are veted completely before being made available for download.

GNOME Shell extensions is a work in progress. And more useful extensions will be added to the site. But at its current state, it has succeeded in showing the type of customization that is possible in the GNOME 3 desktop.

These extensions work only on GNOME 3.2 and above. If you are running GNOME 3.0, you need to upgrade your GNOME desktop before you can start using these extensions.