How to use Plank, a simple and customizable dock, on Ubuntu

Plank, according to its developers, is meant to be the simplest dock on the planet. The goal is to provide just what a dock needs and absolutely nothing more. It is, however, a library that can be extended to create other dock programs with more advanced features.

In this article, we will describe two ways to install the Plank dock on Ubuntu, both through the command line:

  • Install Plank from Official Ubuntu Repositories
  • Install Plank from the Ricotz PPA-for latest version

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system. We will be using the Ubuntu command line, the Terminal, in order to install Plank on our system. You can open the Terminal application either through the Ubuntu Application Launcher search or the Ctrl+Alt+t shortcut.

Install Plank from Official Ubuntu Repositories

Luckily, Plank is now available through the official Ubuntu repositories. It might not be the latest version of the software but if you want a one-step installation in mind, this is the way to go.

In order to install the latest available version of a software available on the Internet repositories, your local repository index needs to be in line with them. Run the following command as sudo in order to update your local repository index:

$ sudo apt-get update

Update package lists

Please run the following command as sudo in order to install the Plank dock from the APT repositories:

$ sudo apt-get install plank

Please note that only an authorized user can add, remove and configure software on Ubuntu.

Install Plank

The system might ask you the password for sudo and also provide you with a Y/n option to continue the installation. Enter Y and then hit enter; Plank will then be installed on your system. The process may, however, take some time depending on your Internet speed.

You can verify which version is installed on your system by running the following command:

$ plank --version

Check Plank version

Launch the Plank dock

You can launch Plank from the Ubuntu Application Launcher bar as follows, or directly access it from the applications listing:

Plank Icon

You can also launch it by entering the following command in the Terminal:

$ plank

Now when you view the bottom of your desktop, you will be able to see the Plank dock as follows:

Plank Dock

Tip: In order to get rid of the default Ubuntu dock through the UI, go to the Dock view from your system Settings. Then, turn the Auto-hide the Dock slider button On. This way, you will only see the Dock when you hover over the left area of the screen.

Plank Settings

Remove Plank

If you ever want to remove Plank from your system, open the Terminal and enter the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt-get remove plank

Remove Plank with apt

Enter y on the y/n prompt and the software will be completely removed from your system.

Install Plank from the Ricotz PPA

The Ricotz PPA developed and maintained by Rico Tzschichholz is where you will always find the latest version of Plank. Please follow these steps in order to install Plank from this PPA

Open the Terminal application and enter the following command as sudo in order to add the Ricotz PPA to your system:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/docky

Add ricotz PPA

Enter the password for sudo, after which the PPA repository will be added to your system.

Tip: Instead of typing the command, you can copy it from here and paste in the Terminal by using the Ctrl+Shift+V, or by using the Paste option from the right-click menu.

The next step is to update your system’s repository index through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

This helps you in installing the latest available version of a software from the Internet.

Update packages

Now that you are done with adding the PPA, use the following apt-get command as sudo in order to install Plank to your system:

$ sudo apt-get install plank

Install Plank Dock

Now the system will pick the Ricotz PPA to install the software from.

You can check the version number of the installed Plant dock through the following command:

$ plank --version

Plank version

The version installed through the PPA is definitely newer than the one I installed from the official Ubuntu repositories.

Remove Plank

If you want to remove Plank installed through this method, run the following command as sudo in your Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get remove plank

You can then remove the added PPA repository through the following command:

$ sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ricotz-ubuntu-docky-bionic.list

These were two ways through which you can install and use the Plank dock on your Ubuntu. You can choose the source depending on whether you want the latest version or a slightly older version of the software.