How to Group Apps Together In Ubuntu Unity Launcher with Drawer

Despite of lots of hues and cries, Unity is still here even after more than one year. One of the main features of Unity is its launcher which resides (mostly) in the left of the screen and enables a user to place the application shortcuts here for a quick launch. By default the size of the icons in the launcher is quite big. Even if you tweak your Unity using configuration application like MyUnity, not more than 18 icons can be visible in the launcher at one glance (at least in my Dell Inspiron N4010).

Many users felt the need to group the similar applications together in the launcher and save some space. Some advanced users did manage to tweak Unity for it, but those tricks are not everyone’s cup of tea. Though there is no official app as such available from Ubuntu, a new app, Drawers, has emerged on the horizon that could be very well candidate of Ubuntu Software Centre in next release of Ubuntu 12.10.

Drawers is a an application which allows a user to group a bunch of application shortcuts together in one folder and hence free up the space from the main launcher. Drawers, as the name suggests like a table drawer, keeps files (read apps shortcuts) in it. And you can open the drawer to find the file (read launch the app).

There is a PPA available from the developers to install Drawer in Ubuntu. Open the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and type the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ian-berke/ppa-drawers 
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install drawers

Once you have Drawers installed, go to Unity dash and launch Drawers.

Drawers-Unity

As soon as it is opened, it will prompt you to create a new group/drawer. I named it “Browser” to keep all my web browsers in it.

Drawers-Unity

It creates a new drawer by the name of “Browsers”, in my case, in the location”~/.local/share/applications“. Go to this location and drag and drop this newly created drawer in the launcher.

Now we need to add applications by drag and drop in the drawer. Few things to note here:

1. Make sure that you have opened the newly created drawer.

2. You cannot drag and drop applications from launcher itself. You have to look in to the dash first and then drag and drop the application into drawer.

Once you have successfully dragged and dropped apps (or files or folders) in the drawer, you will be able to see them by left clicking on the drawer:

Drawers-Unity

3. Right click on the drawer shows the apps in text columns instead of icons:

Drawers-Unity

You can also rearrange the apps in the drawer by dragging them. Clicking on the settings button gives you a wide variety of configuration option such as renaming the drawer, using a custom icon, changing the font size, transparency etc.

Drawers-Unity

What are your views on Drawers? Do you think it is worth giving a try or you would stick to the way you were using the launcher previously. If you liked it, do you think it deserves a place in Ubuntu Software Centre? Do let us know of your views.