Elementary OS: How to improve this fast launcher

The Elementary OS Pantheon desktop environment is very polished and, as a result, has been gaining great acceptance in the Linux community. Due to great qualities, the positivity surrounding this project continues to grow.

Suffice it to say that there are many good things to say about Elementary OS and its desktop environment, but it also has some problems. One of the most obvious problems is its fast launcher and its malfunction from the first moment. So, in these lines we will tell you how to improve this fast launcher.

Before starting with the pitcher Elementary OS

To begin, we will focus on the latest update of this operating system, called Juno. Although this new version has been available for a few months, it is still worth saying that you should upgrade from Loki to Juno. Since we will not focus on previous versions.

Also, upgrading to the new version of Elementary OS is not complicated at all. You just have to go to the website, make a backup copy of your files, download the latest version and proceed to install it.

Change the hotkey of the quick launcher

In this operating system, the desktop quick launcher is not the same as all other Linux desktop environments. How to allow users to start the menu simply by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard.

Instead, users are instructed to press the Win key + space bar to access the search function, and pressing the Win key displays a list of keyboard shortcuts for the desktop.

Although it only seems to be a superficial problem, not allowing users to use the Win key to search for things, ruins the muscle memory that Linux users have accumulated. Considering everyone, from Cinnamon, Gnome and even KDE Plasma does it this way.

Fortunately, it is possible to correct this shortcut, so you can touch the Win key again to access the search.

Similarly, the change of the shortcut key is carried out through the terminal. So open it on your PC by pressing the keys: CTRL + ALT + T or CTRL + SHIFT + T. Then, type the following commands:

gsettings set org.gnome.mutter overlay-key «‘ Super_L '»

gsettings set org.pantheon.desktop.gala.behavior overlay-action «‘ wingpanel –toggle-indicator = app-launcher '»

Show application categories

Another thing that can be done to improve the fast launcher of Elementary OS, is to change the default view of it. To show the categories of applications, instead of a large window of icons and no classification of applications. To change the view of the quick launcher, start by pressing the Win key to reveal it. Also, you can click on "Applications" with the mouse.

In turn, within the application launcher on the desktop, locate the search box. Next to it, there are two icons: “grid view” and “category view”. By default, the launcher shows everything in the "category view". Now, to switch to a better view, you must click on the category icon and the applications will be sorted better.

Quick settings of the Elementary OS launcher in basic settings

In addition to improving the launcher through generic settings, you can improve it through the unofficial application called: "Elementary Tweaks." However, you must be careful: the developers of the operating system in question do not support this tool and also do not think it is a good idea. Therefore, you can install and use it at your own risk.

Install elementary settings

The Elementary Tweaks application is distributed through PPA software. However, by default, Elementary Os has no way to add PPA software. Then, before installing Elementary Tweaks, you must install the software-properties-common package.

sudo apt install software-properties-common –y

After entering the previous command, add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: philip.scott / elementary-tweaks

Then you can install Elementary Tweaks with the apt install command below:

sudo apt install elementary-tweaks

Alternatively, if the PPA does not work, the source code is also on the internet. To access it, you must do it through the GitHub page. Where you can also learn how to build it.

Quick Start Settings

Now, if you have installed the Elementary Tweaks tool, you must press the Win key to open the application launcher. Search for “Tweaks” and open it to go directly to the application.

Once inside it, there are many different categories that you can select and customize. Look through these categories and find the one that says "Launcher" and select it.

Within the launcher area, you can modify the number of applications shown per row, or customize how the columns are displayed in the menu. It is also possible to configure the quick launcher to display the categories by default.