Want the top bar in Ubuntu to hide whenever a window is placed near it?

A nifty GNOME extension makes it happen.

Here’s a demo of this panel hiding behaviour in action:

Autohide the top bar

Simple, right?

But why is an extension needed? Can’t Ubuntu do this automatically?

Sadly not.

Ubuntu does make it easy to auto-hide the Ubuntu dock (the icon bar that sits on the left-hand side of the screen by default) by flicking a switch in the Settings > Ubuntu Desktop section, but there’s no option to hide the top bar (the panel stripped across the top of the screen).

If you want to auto-hide the top bar in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS or later when windows touch it you need to install a GNOME Shell extension.

But don’t worry – this is easy.

Install the Hide Top Bar Extension on Ubuntu

Extension Manager makes installing any extension easier
Extension Manager makes installing any extension easier

The quickest way to install the Hide Top Bar extension in Ubuntu is using the Extension Manager desktop app (though newer versions of the tool are available on Flathub). As this app is available in the Ubuntu repos you can install it using Ubuntu Software or the command line.

Once done:

  1. Open the Extension Manager app
  2. Search for “Hide Top Bar”
  3. Select the matching result from the list
  4. Click on the ‘Install’ button

That’s it; you don’t need to do anything else as GNOME extensions installed through this app are activated automatically and begin working right away.

Now when you maximise an app window or drag an app window to the top of your screen, the top bar slides out of view. While hiding you can continue access it. To make the top bar re-appear just move your mouse cursor against the top of the screen, or move/minimise any window touching it.

Settings allow you to fine-tune behaviour

Configuration options let you adjust the behaviour (such as only hiding the top bar when an active window touches it), fine-tune the animation timing, and adjust the ‘intellihide sensitivity’.


The main one (that’s hard not to notice) is this: when this extension is enabled the top of the Ubuntu Dock tucks-under the top bar. It looks strange but, hey, maybe you’re fine with it. Workarounds are to move the Ubuntu Dock to the bottom or turn-off panel mode in Ubuntu Desktop settings.

Secondly, and this quirk affects any Linux distro this extension is used on, is that when you get a desktop notification (and auto-hide is enabled) the top bar will hide. A workaround (assuming this bugs you to a great extent) is to change notification position using — you guessed it — a GNOME extension.

Wrapping Up

So that’s the Hide Top Bar extension – a nifty add-on for those looking to maximise every pixel of their display, and hide any unneeded distractions. Intellihide makes this adaptable add-on especially agile in use, without making the top bar difficult to access when you need it.

Let me know what you think of the extension down in the comments.

customization GNOME Extensions