Is it possible to change the appearance of the dock or to replace it with a different one like Docky? Thanks!

2 Answers 2


To change the appearnce

According to this Daniel Foré's answer Freya uses a Plank version that has some options patched out.

To get more changes one should use Rico's PPA and install from there (after uninstalling the default version).

Then, to change the appearance of the dock (Plank) one can use themes that can be found on the net, e.g. on deviantart.

enter image description here

Themes are located in ~/.local/share/plank/themes and /usr/share/plank/themes.

The settings can be accessed by right-clicking the dock (a bit tricky, you have to do that outside any icon) or by the command plank --preferences.

enter image description here

To find that in the application launcher for the future (using gedit text editor):

sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/plank_preferences.desktop

and paste this & save:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Plank Settings
Exec=plank --preferences

Also one can install elementary-tweaks.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks

enter image description here

To manually change settings, edit ~/.config/plank/dock1/settings which contains detailed description of the possible options. Mine looks like so:

#This file auto-generated by Plank.

#Whether to show only windows of the current workspace.
#The size of dock icons (in pixels).
#If 0, the dock won't hide.  If 1, the dock intelligently hides.  If 2, the dock auto-hides. If 3, the dock dodges active maximized windows. If 4, the dock dodges every window.
#Time (in ms) to wait before unhiding the dock.
#Time (in ms) to wait before hiding the dock.
#The plug-name of the monitor for the dock to show on (e.g. DVI-I-1, HDMI1, LVDS1). Leave this empty to keep on the primary monitor.
#List of *.dockitem files on this dock. DO NOT MODIFY
#The position for the dock on the monitor.  If 0, left.  If 1, right.  If 2, top.  If 3, bottom.
#The dock's position offset from center (in percent).
#The name of the dock's theme to use.
#The alignment for the dock on the monitor's edge.  If 0, panel-mode.  If 1, left-aligned.  If 2, right-aligned.  If 3, centered.
#The alignment of the items in this dock if panel-mode is used.  If 1, left-aligned.  If 2, right-aligned.  If 3, centered.
#Whether to prevent drag'n'drop actions and lock items on the dock.
#Whether to use pressure-based revealing of the dock if the support is available.
#Whether to show only pinned applications. Useful for running more then one dock.
#Whether to automatically pin an application if it seems useful to do.
#Whether to show the item for the dock itself.
#Whether the dock will zoom when hovered.
#The dock's icon-zoom (in percent).

To replace the Dock

Nothing stops you. Plank can be uninstalled or just disabled as indicated in the other answer (also here) and a different dock can be installed.

(I see Plank as part of the whole concept of elementary OS. When such ideas come in my mind I think it's better to use a different system than start disassembling one that was conceived in the way elementary is.)

  • This does not answer the question, no matter how well written.
    – RolandiXor
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 22:21
  • @RolandiXor - Thanks for commenting, but I really don't get what you mean. the question has two parts: 1. change appearance of the dock (my answer: use Plank themes, use tweaks or Plank preferences providing the command for the latter and a desktop file to launch the GUI of that, which is not present by default, and edit ~/.config/plank/dock1/settings), 2. is it possible to replace with Docky (my answer: yes, link to other answer, suggesting it doesn't make much sense to do it though).
    – user170
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 6:15
  • @RolandiXor - I had forgotten that I'm not using the default Plank version but the one from Rico's PPA. I have added that to the answer now and made the two parts of the answer more clear.
    – user170
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 6:41
  • @RolandiXor - I really appreciate your posts (they helped me in the past) so I dislike having negative comments from you: would you please take again a look at my edited answer and give me some feedback on how to improve it or even to remove it?
    – user170
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 8:43
  • 1
    Sorry for the misunderstanding - somehow I must have misread the question. I'm almost certain I remember the question being a bit different before... oh well - all on me.
    – RolandiXor
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 4:59

There is a settings menu for the plank, but it is very limited. You can find it by right clicking on the plank, but you need to make sure you aren't clicking on an icon. This can prove quite tricky.

To replace the plank:

  1. First, disable plank, this can be done using any configuration tool editor. Install the editor if you don't already have one:

    sudo apt-get install dconf-tools 
  2. Once installed, open the editor and select:

    • Under 0.4 loki:

      org -> pantheon -> desktop -> cerbere`
    • Under other versions:

      org -> pantheon -> cerbere
  3. Under monitored processes you'll see something like [‘wingpanel’, ‘plank’, ‘slingshot-launcher –silent’], simply remove plank.

  4. Reboot your device, the plank should now be gone.

  5. Install Docky, or the dock of your choice. For Docky:

    sudo apt-get install docky
  6. You can now remove plank if you wish (not necessary):

    sudo apt-get remove plank
  7. Finally you need to set the new dock to run on startup, this is usually done in the docks settings panel. For Docky ensure that the 'Start When User Logs In' is checked.

If you wish to reinstall plank, make sure you remove the other dock first, and that you add 'plank' back to the config file.

Also, it should be noted that all installations can be done through the software center if you don't want to use the command line.

For your convenience here's a link to a tutorial explaining this in a bit more detail. Here is another example of how to replace plank on the stack exchange.

  • Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – RolandiXor
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 19:52
  • Also, please avoid using lmgtfy in answers. It's potentially as rude as saying "Did you google before asking your question?" It is generally assumed that users come here when they can't find the answer on Google.
    – RolandiXor
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 19:53
  • 1
    @RolandiXor Thanks for the tips, was first time answering a question. Will be generally better in future. Commented May 2, 2016 at 11:41
  • There's no Cerbere option at dconf editor below pantheon. Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 19:02

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