How to Add App Drawers to Unity Launcher in Ubuntu

While Unity Launcher is arguably one of the most useful highlights of the Unity graphical shell, it comes with its own set of issues. For example, you can’t place it the way you want (there are only a couple of placement options at the moment), and when the launcher gets overcrowded with app icons, things get slightly messy.

Talking about the second problem, there could be some solutions. For example, you can customize the launcher in a way that it contains different icons in different workspaces. But sometimes all you wish for is a way to just group icons together based on their type – all web browsers in one group, all social media apps in another, and all media players in a separate one.

If you are looking for such a solution, then look no further, as in this article we’ll be discussing a way to¬†achieve this.

How to add App Drawer in Unity Launcher

For this, you first need to download and install a tool called Unity Launcher Folders. The downloaded file will most likely be in .deb format, so, you can install it by double-clicking the file. If you prefer the command line, you can use the following command:

sudo dpkg -i unity-launcher-folders_1.0.3_all.deb

Once the tool is installed successfully, you can run the application “Unity Launcher Folders ” or launch it using the following command:


Here’s what the tool’s UI looks like.


To create a new app drawer, click the leftmost icon (the one with a document and “+” sign), and enter the name of the drawer in the window that appears.


For example, I created a drawer named “Image-Editors” in my case.


Once a drawer is created, you can add app shortcuts to it. All you have to do is to drag and drop app icons from Unity Dash to the Unity Launcher Folders window.

Unity Launcher Folders -app-icons-added

Now you can save the app drawer and add it to the launcher, something you can do by clicking the “save” icon (third one from the beginning) in the tool’s UI.

Needless to say, this action will create a new entry in the Unity Launcher, and clicking it will produce the list of app icons you’ve added to the drawer.

Unity Launcher Folders -drawer-added

You can now remove individual app entries in the Unity Launcher, and group the related ones into a single folder or drawer.

The Unity Launcher Folders tool also provides some customization options – you can tweak the icon size, font size, and item width. There’s also an option to choose from a horizontal drawer, vertical drawer, and a box.

Unity Launcher Folders -pref

For example, the following screenshot shows a vertical drawer.

Unity Launcher Folders vertical-drawer

And here’s a box.

Unity Launcher Folders box

An important thing worth mentioning here is that when you drag and drop links or web addresses from web browsers into the Unity Launcher Folders window, they look something like this.

Unity Launcher Folders web-links

Obviously, this isn’t very eye-pleasing. So, just right click on each shortcut and click the Properties option. A window similar to the following will open, allowing you to set an app name of your choice as well as a nice little icon for it.

Unity Launcher Folders app-properties


Unity Launcher Folders can prove to be very useful if your Unity Launcher contains a lot of icons or if you have a habit of keeping things organized Not a lot of documentation is available on the tool’s website, but that should not be much of an issue given that there’s only a small set of features to learn. Go ahead and try the tool out.

Himanshu Arora
Himanshu Arora

Himanshu Arora is a freelance technical writer by profession but a software programmer and Linux researcher at heart. He covers software tutorials, reviews, tips/tricks, and more. Some of his articles have been featured on IBM developerworks, ComputerWorld, and in Linux Journal.

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