Ubuntu: Can I use the Unity launcher icon to minimize applications/windows?


I don't know if this is a feature or a bug, but clicking on an active application's launcher icon doesn't minimize it. It is terribly inconvenient for folks using a persistent Unity bar to click minimize button every time. Is there any way to add minimize functionality to the launchers?


For 14.04:

See this answer.

For 13.10 and below:

Because Mark Shuttlewoth decided it, at least for now?:

no, clicking on the icon will not minimise the app. We have a minimise button for that, it's prominent.

At least, that bug now has the status opinion which means the developers won't fix it for now, but wait for community discussion.

So if you would like minimize on click too, make a clear statement at launchpad.


For 14.04 & 14.10:

minimize-on-click in action

An unsupported capability was added to Unity for Trusty. Unsupported means that Canonical do not guarantee this capability moving forwards towards Unity 8.

However, from a LTS point-of-view this gives those users at least 5 years with just this capability. This is not directly available through the standard GUI.

For a safe way, reach for a terminal and copy & paste the following:

gsettings set org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ launcher-minimize-window true  

To undo this change:

gsettings set org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ launcher-minimize-window false  

For an unsafe method, you can use compizconfig-settings-manager Install compizconfig-settings-manager:

  1. Launch the application and click on Ubuntu Unity Plugin:

    CCSM Main Window

  2. Switch to the Launcher tab and put the checkmark beside Minimize Single Window Applications (Unsupported) to enable this feature.

    Launcher tab for Ubuntu Unity Plugin


For 13.10 and below

There is quite a heated debate about this missing feature on launchpad:


In response to the expose mode for multiple windows, this can be easily adapted for with a second click to minimize all windows as there is currently no further function for that extra click in launcher.

If you want to minimize all the application's windows, I do not think there is an easy way currently so this functionality would help in that instance too.


I've made a script to workaround this issue.
See this working here.


  1. You will need Xdotool Install xdotool and Compiz Config Settings Manager Install compizconfig-settings-manager from the Ubuntu Software Center

  2. Create a new file named '.minimize' in your home folder (gedit ~/.minimize). Copy & Paste the following text into it and save:

    #!/usr/bin/env python  # by desgua  # version 0.1.3 - May 06 2011  # To minimize with unity Launcher  ##################################  import os  import wnck  import gtk    stream = os.popen("xdotool click --clearmodifiers 1")  screen = wnck.screen_get_default()    while gtk.events_pending():      gtk.main_iteration()    windows = screen.get_windows()  active_app = screen.get_active_window().get_application()    for w in windows:      if w.get_application() == active_app:          w.minimize()  
  3. Make the script executable: (More Info)

    chmod +x ~/.minimize  
  4. Open Compiz Config

    Use Run Command, Alt + F2, and type ccsm

  5. Enable 'Commands' plugin then add the above script ~/.minimize to one of the empty command lines.


  6. Change to Button Binding tab and make a button shortcut for the corresponding command line number above.

    The screenshot example is using Alt + Button1 which corresponds to Mouse left click with the Alt button held down.


  7. Enjoy! ;-)


You can do this without a script, as Unity has a built-in keyboard shortcut to minimize the window. By default it's now Ctrl + Alt + 0 (Refer to Settings â†' Keyboard (NOT Keyboard Layout, that's different (and confusing)). Note that this means the NUMERIC KEYPAD zero key, and that the regular zero key will NOT work. Then with xdotool you just add a command xdotool key Ctrl+Alt+KP_Insert (Yes, it's the numeric keypad zero, which xdotool knows as KP_Insert) and assign it anywhere you like. You can even add it to an app's quick-list (Using MyUnity to define the quick list entry).


This is just a workaround for the real problem, but there is a keyboard shortcut for minimizing windows, Alt + F9

It only closes the active window though and not all windows of an application.

This one and many other keyboard shortcuts are, however, configurable through the keyboard shortcuts application gnome-keybinding-properties. It is part of the system settings application that can be launched via the logout menu on the far right side of the panel.

I use this, for example, to be able to lock the screen via the pause button on my keyboard.


Clicking on a launcher icon of a running app displays the windows of that app in exposé mode, provided there's more than one window. So either that functionality would have to go in favor of the minimizing, or minimizing by clicking the launcher button would only work if the app does not have more than one window. The latter would be two functionalities for the same action, so I don't think that's gonna happen.


For Ubuntu 14.04 to 17.04

Command line method :

Activate one click minimize :

gsettings set org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ launcher-minimize-window true  

Disable one click minimize :

gsettings set org.compiz.unityshell:/org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/ launcher-minimize-window false  

GUI method :

Open a terminal and execute :

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Open Unity Tweak Tool

Go to Unity > Launcher > Behavior and check : Minimize single window applications on click.

unity-tweak-tool screenshot


For 12.04 - not 12.04.1 and later

You need a patched version of Unity to provide the functionality you are requesting. One is available called Unity-revamped.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ikarosdev/unity-revamped  sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade  

Note: You have to use compizconfiguration setting manager (ccsm) to activate the patched options.

sources: https://launchpad.net/~ikarosdev/+archive/unity-revamped/ , http://www.webupd8.org/2012/05/how-to-get-dodge-windows-and-minimize.html

Sometimes the ppa is a little behind updates to Unity, but I have experienced no stability problems and I love this package.

Features of Unity Revamped:

  • Dodge Windows behavior and options re-added. (This is the intelli-hide feature that only hides the launcher when a window would overlap it. That feature was removed in 12.04, auto-hide-where the launcher is by default hidden unless the mouse is over it- is still present)

  • Minimize on click behavior for Launcher items. (A second click activates the expose mode if there are multiple windows like the vanilla unity's default)

  • Option to allow menus to be permanently visible. When maximized, window controls will be alongside menu. (12.04 by default hides the window menus after a delay time and only shows the title in the top panel)

  • Option to enable/disable expo icon on launcher. Note: even if enabled, the expo icon will not show if multiple workspaces are not in use. (Note, you can use keyboard shortcut Cntl+Alt+Arrow to switch between workspaces if the expo icon isn't there)

I have had no issues using this patched version of Unity, but it is not always updated as fast as the vanilla flavor. For example, currently it provides unity-5.14.0-0ubuntu1, while in the official repository it's unity-5.16.0-0ubuntu1 (as of Sep 13,2012)


  • alt+f9 - minimize current
  • alt+ctrl+d- minimize all
  • alt+ctrl+d- reopen minimized

I think, this is default behaviour, so there is no need for another scripts or modifications.


For 12.04 - not 12.04.1 and later

There is an experimental patch for 12.04 that enables this behaviour. It is for testing purposes only.

Since it wasn't even considered adding minimize on click as an option, Jonathan French has created a PPA with the minimize on click patch.



sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ojno/unity-minimize-on-click  sudo apt-get update  sudo apt-get upgrade  


sudo apt-get install ppa-purge  sudo ppa-purge ppa:ojno/unity-minimize-on-click  

Please read the Web Upd8 article on the subject for more information.


There is now support available for 11.10 in the same PPA.

Excerpt from Package changes file:

Version: 4.28.0-0ubuntu2+ojno3  Distribution: oneiric    Changes:    unity (4.28.0-0ubuntu2+ojno3) oneiric; urgency=low     * Apply minimize on click patch  

Source: Web Upd8


I'm currently complementing my Unity launcher with a gnome-panel, this gives me the minimize behavior I want. It seems absurd, but the space in the top center of the screen is wasted otherwise anyway.

When you login to unity in 11.10, you can simply start gnome-panel (if you installed it via apt-get). I found it difficult to configure that panel initially so I logged out and then into the gnome classic session where I configured it to not expand and removed all the applets until I was left with just a panel with a window list. Then I used Ctrl + Alt + Delete to logout and log back into the Ubuntu/Unity session.

I found that adding the gnome-panel directly to the Startup Applications list caused it to land behind the Unity bar at the top so I added this instead: bash -c "/bin/sleep 2 && /usr/bin/gnome-panel&".

Edit: It looks like there are some bugs in the way gnome and unity interact. But making the panel auto-hide seems to work ok.


For 11.10

To change back (Oneiric 11.x): Shutdown button -> System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> Navigation -> Hide Normal Windows (instructions for changing the shortcut are at the bottom of the settings window).

Hope this helps someone because it really annoyed me for a while (mainly due to name being changed to "Hide Normal Windows").


For 12.04

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zxcq14/minimize-unity-7  sudo apt-get update  sudo apt-get upgrade  

This ppa is available for 12.04 and 14.04. Minimize on click works again for most recent versions of unity.


See to minimize the the app you will see an option same like windows 7 but on the left hand side of the screen if your app is maximized the you have to scroll the cursor to the upper left hand corner of the screen and minimize it will minimize on the ubuntu unity launcher

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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