15+ Useful AppIndicator Applets For Ubuntu

Appindicator was first introduced in Ubuntu karmic as a replacement for the Gnome panel applet. It is a small applet to display information from various applications consistently in the panel. It can also be used as a access point to access (and control) the application without having to open the application. if you are running Ubuntu Lucid or Maverick, you should see the messaging menu (the applet that contains Empathy, Evolution and Gwibber icons), which is a good example of an appindicator.

As the development of appindicator getting more mature, more and more apps started to show up with support for the indicator-applets. Since most of these apps are not found in the Ubuntu repository, we have compiled a list of useful appindicators that you can install and use. Most of them are really useful, but you are not obliged to install all of them, just grab the one you need will do.

1. Indicator-DesktopNova

DesktopNova is a Gnome and XFCE based wallpaper changer. Indicator-desktopnova is an apppindicator developed by another developer, Michael Otto to allow you to change wallpaper directly from the system tray. If you are looking for a simple wallpaper changer, this will be useful.


To install:

2. Indicator-VirtualBox

Developed by the same developer – Michael Otto, indicator-virtualbox allows you to start your VM without having to open the VirtualBox VM Manager.


To install:

3. Indicator-Dropbox

If you have upgraded your Dropbox to version 1.0, you should see a nice Dropbox appindicator running in the system tray.


4. Indicator-cpufreq

Indicator-cpufreq allows you to change your CPU frequency easily. This is useful if you are using a netbook and need to preserve battery life, you can quickly set your CPU to powersave mode.


To install (for Ubuntu 10.10 onward):

5. Pastie

Pastie is a simple clipboard manager for Linux that comes with its own appindicator support.


To install Pastie:

6. Indicator-workspace

As its name implies, indicator-workspace allows you to easily switch to another workspace from the system tray. This is useful if you are an active workspace user.


7. Indicator-keylock

Ever wonder where is the NUM lock, Screen lock and CAPS lock button in your keyboard? Most keyboards found in laptop and netbook do not come with dedicated NUM and Screen lock buttons. With this appindicator, you can turn on the required keylock without going to the keyboard.


8. UbuntuOne Indicator

The UbuntuOne indicator-applet allows you to monitor your UbuntuOne sync status as well as access to the recently published files.


9. Lookit

Lookit is a quickgrab screen capture tool that can be used to capture an area or the whole screen. After the screen capture, you can get it to upload to a FTP, SSH server or Imgur.


To install:

After installation, press “Alt + F2” and type lookit to activate the appindicator.

10. Compiz-indicator

There is no doubt about the functionality, versatility and usefulness of Compiz window manager. The Compiz-indicator provides you with quick Compiz configuration options and allows you to control the seperate elements of your Window manager and Decorators, all from your Indicator tray in ubuntu.


There is no PPA for this appindicator. To install, first download the compiz-indicator tar file from here. Extract the tar file to your Home folder. You should see a “compiz-indicator” folder.

Open a terminal and type:

After the installation, press Alt + F2″ and type compiz-indicator-start to activate it.

11. USB Safe Removal application indicator

If you always have a USB drive or an external drive plugged in your system, whenever you want to unmount them, you will have to either use the command line or go to Nautilus file manager. The USB Safe Removal appindicator allows you to unmount your USB drive directly from the system tray.


To install, just download (and install) the deb file from here.

12. Touchpad Indicator

Ever feel frustrated that the touchpad is always hindering you while you are typing? Well, you can now temporarily deactivate it with the touchpad indicator.


TouchPad indicator is currently supported in Ubuntu Maverick only. To install:

13. My Weather Indicator

Developed by the same developer as touchpad indicator, my weather indicator allows you to view your weather condition quickly and even notify you when there is a weather condition change.


My Weather Indicator is currently supported in Ubuntu Maverick only. To install:

14. Google Reader Indicator

Yet another appindicator by @atareao, Google Reader Indicator shows a notification when there are new items in your Google Reader and it displays the article title with a link to the source.


Google Reader Indicator is currently supported in Ubuntu Maverick only. To install:

15. Various music players appindicators

The default installation of Ubuntu Maverick comes with support for Rhythmbox integration into the sound indicator. Some other media players also comes with their own appindicators.

Banshee: Install the banshee-community-extensions and activate the Banshee appindicator from the plugins list.

Exaile: Download the exaile’s sound appindicator plugin file from here. Extract it and place it in the directory “/HOME/.local/share/exaile/plugins”. Open your Exaile. Go to “Edit -> Preferences -> Plugins”. Activate the Sound Menu Indicator plugin.

Clementine: If you are running the latest version, it will automatically integrate itself to the sound indicator.

XNoise: Install xnoise-plugins-core and activate the sound menu plugin from the Plugins list.

The above list is not conclusive and there are many more appindicators out there that we didn’t discover. If you know of any appindicator not in the above list, feel free to let us know.

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. yeah, install them all these Indicators and watch your Application / Places / System menus disappear! :D

  2. Thanks for the list! I was just looking for a working weather indicator (just switched to Wingpanel, so goodbye trusty old Gnome clock)

  3. I know this isn’t a help forum, but… I installed the indicator-usb from the link on this page (looks very handy), but accidentally un-checked the “Disks” section of the “Devices” submenu (over-sensitive mouse button). Now I can’t get the thing to appear on my panel. Any suggestions?

    1. Try this: Press Alt + F2 to launch the “Run Application” window. Type “indicator-usb” (without the quotes) and press Enter.

      1. Well, it’s running, but it isn’t coming up when I insert a USB device. Everything I own seems to be recognized as a disk. Since it’s now (accidentally) set to not recognize disks, it’s invisible and no longer accesible.

        I cannot find what looks like its config file anywhere in my Home folder, so I can’t edit or delete it to reset it to defaults. There doesn’t seem to be any man pages or internal help options from the command line.

        Any ideas? Thanks! And again, I’m sorry if I’m intruding on this blog with my help requests.

        1. Try this:

          Go to nautilus file manager. Press Ctrl + H to reveal the hidden folders. Navigate to .config folder. You should see a “indicator-usb” file. Rename it as indicator-usb-backup. Restart the indicator-usb.

  4. Ctrl+alt+arrow keys switches desktops, much better for an “active workspace user” than clicking a panel. lol.

    Lest I be a completely grumpy guss, cheers for the weather one, that’s actually nifty.

  5. Please!! How do you change the icon for the DesktopNova indicator? And where did you get that icon?

    1. Did you install indicator-desktopnova? It is a third-party addon for desktopnova. The icon shown above is the icon for indicator-desktopnova,

      1. I checked the source files and found that the required icons are found in: /usr/share/desktopnova/tray-icons/
        The two files are:

        The two I made are here:

        I think I’d like the ones from this articles screen shots, though.

        1. You can download the tar file from https://launchpad.net/indicator-desktopnova. Extract the tar file and you should be able to find the icons in the Images folder. Copy them to /usr/share/indicator-desktopnova

  6. I’m wondering what’s the name and functionality of that “arrow pointing up and down” applet …

    1. Actually I figured it out and installed, but I still can’t make it appear in systray of Ubuntu 11.04 (of course, using Unity interface). With classic interface (GTK), it’s ok. What should I do?

        1. Yes, and it’s there by default as you said. I realized that I was wanting the old one. I can use only at a time, not both.

          The images below may explain better what I’m saying.

          1. These images:
            http://files.myopera.com/ilogico/blog/connection-information-1.png (old one)
            http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_s2Vn1-aLreg/TEtmif8pJnI/AAAAAAAAAVs/VRd_2dq6gv0/s1600/Network%20manager.png (new one)

          2. I think the difference in the icon is between wired and wireless connection. The up/down arrow icon refer to wired network. It will appear when your PC is connected via LAN. It will only show one at a time.

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