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[How to] Add an Exposé Button to the Unity Launcher

Want to add an ‘expose’ style button to the Unity Launcher to quickly find the application window you’re looking for? Read on… 

By default the Unity desktop comes with an ‘expose’ feature of sorts: when more than one window of a particular application is open you can click on its launcher icon to ‘expose’ all of its windows.

The following guide, sent in by reader Chris Rogers, instead creates a launcher entry that exposés all open windows when clicked, not just those of a particular application.

How to add a Exposé Button to Unity Launcher

  • Install the ‘xautomation‘ package.
  • Right-click on the desktop and choose the ’Create Launcher’ menu item
  • A window will open; In the command field enter: -
    • xte ‘keydown Shift_L’ ‘keydown Alt_L’ ‘key Up’ ‘keyup Shift_L’ ‘keyup Alt_L’
  • Fill in the other fields however you wish. Set an icon by clicking on the icon in the upper left corner of the window and navigating to a support image type
  • In a Terminal enter: -
    • gksu nautilus /usr/share/applications
  • Copy the launcher you created on your desktop into the to ‘/usr/share/applications’ folder that has opened
  • The next step is to drag and drop the launcher from the ‘/usr/share/applications’ folder on to the Unity Launcher
  • Finally, if you don’t want to keep the launcher on your desktop you can safely delete it