How to Hide the Top Bar and Side Panel in Ubuntu 20.04

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Featured

You decided to try Ubuntu 20.04 and the Gnome desktop environment that comes with it. You feel, though, that Gnome’s top bar and side panel are always in the way and would prefer your apps to take up the whole screen. Learn how you can hide the top bar and side panel in Ubuntu 20.04.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Normal Desktop

Hide the Side Panel (Dock)

Press the Win key on your keyboard and type “dock” to filter the app list down to the sub-page you need in “Appearance Settings.” Select the Settings entry that appears to open that page.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Find Dock Options

Enable the toggle next to “Auto-hide the Dock.”

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Enable Dock Autohide

Hide the Top Bar in Ubuntu

Open your browser and visit Gnome’s Extensions page. Click on “Click here to install browser extension” to install an add-on to Firefox that will in turn enable one-click installation of extensions to your Gnome desktop.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site

When Firefox asks you if you want to allow the site to install an add-on, click “Continue to Installation.”

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site Installation

Do the same for the pop-ups that follow, first asking if you want to “Add GNOME Shell Integration?” Click on “Add,” and it then informs you, “GNOME Shell Integration has been added to Firefox.” Click “Okay, Got It.”

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site Added

There’s a search field under the link you used to install the GNOME Shell Integration extension in the previous step. Click in it and type “hide top bar” to find the Gnome extension you need.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site Find Hide Top Bar

Select the extension to visit its page. Apart from an extended description and the option to download it, you’ll also see a switch on the top right. Click on this switch to toggle it to “On” and install the extension.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site Hide Top Bar Page

Click on “Install” in the pop-up that will appear over the page.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site Hide Top Bar Install

That was it! You should now see that the top bar has disappeared (if your Firefox is in maximized mode).

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Gnome Extensions Site Hide Top Bar On

Auto-hiding in action

Both elements of the desktop auto-hide based on the proximity of other windows. In our following screenshot, Firefox runs in windows mode and doesn’t need the space occupied by the Dock and Top Bar, so they remain visible.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Window On Desktop

As Firefox’s window is moved to the left, the dock will auto-hide when they overlap.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Window Left Hide Dock

If you move the window towards the top, the same will happen with the top bar.

Ubuntu 2004 Hide Dock Bar Window Top Hide Bar

And if you move it to the top left, as the window approaches both, they’ll disappear. The same happens if you maximize a window, as you saw earlier.

With those tweaks, you can now use your whole screen for your apps without having to disable the Dock and top bar fully. You can also change your desktop icons in Gnome 3 to match your wallpaper.

Odysseas Kourafalos Odysseas Kourafalos

OK's real life started at around 10, when he got his first computer - a Commodore 128. Since then, he's been melting keycaps by typing 24/7, trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen. Or, rather, read.


  1. I use Ubuntu 20 with Gnomity desktop and Kubuntu with KDE Plasma desktop on a different machine. I like both but prefer the KDE Plasma version because among other things, it comes standard with an auto-hide bottom panel (taskkbar in Windows) and no other clutter. The ubiquitous Gnome top bar is strange; the side bar, even stranger but I guess it distinguishes Gnome from other desktops. Having to use a browser add on to effect changes in the desktop as an easy alternative to terminal commands is just plain weird!

    I’ve tried many distros and come back to Ubuntu and its’ variants because it’s well maintained and works reliably. Kubuntu, because of KDE Plasma has some quirks such not allowing Dolphin File Manager to be run as root for fear users will break their OS but Linux users know what they’re getting into, even Windows can be run in an equivalent manner, so that’s silly. Krusader File Manager gets around this but Ubuntu allows root in Nautilus File Manager out of the box.

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