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[How To] Add a Unity-like Dash to GNOME Shell

Several months back we posted a preview of a new ‘Dash’ like extension for GNOME-Shell.

That extension, renamed ‘Bolt’ (a play on the word ‘Dash’), is now available for the GNOME Shell users amongst you to install.

gnome shell dash extension in Ubuntu 12.04

Bolt

Zac Barton, the developer of Bolt, describes the launcher as ‘a fusion of the Ubuntu dash, the Gnome-shell overview and the classic Gnome 2 menu which replaces the overview’.

Much like the Dash it imitates Bolt is callable by the ‘Super’ key, is able to ‘match’ your desktop wallpaper color, track/search files using Zeitgeist, and gives ample screen estate to displaying your recently used files, folders and applications.

The extension replaces the ‘default’ GNOME activities overlay, but ensures that launching applications is just as easy.

There are GNOME-2 style ‘sub categories’ for sifting through applications:

Bolt categories

and a search box to help you find a specific file, folder or app.

Searching in Bolt extension

Settings

Bolt ships with a heady array of preferences. If there’s something you’re not keen on in the main interface chances are there’s an option to change it.

To access Bolt’s settings click on the small square pixel next to the search field.

Drawbacks & Planned Features

Bolt is not ‘bug free’. The ‘Dash’ can, on occasion, crash GNOME-Shell after being opened.

It’s also important to remember that, as Bolt replaces the default activities overlay in GNOME-Shell, you will lose access to workspace management (there are extensions that remedy this, however).

The developer aims to address this in a future version of the extension.

Also planned for inclusion is : -

  • Themeing support
  • Search provider extensions
  • Resizable Dash

Download

Bolt is available to install directly from the GNOME Extensions web site.

Point your browser in the direction of the link below, then pull the slider next to the extension to ‘on’.

Install Bolt Extension for GNOME Shell