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How to Enable Click to Minimize on Ubuntu 18.04

Many of not most of Ubuntu users come from a Windows or a Mac system. While nobody probably expects Ubuntu to be exactly the same as other more popular systems, there are some basic tasks that users expect from it. For instance, Windows users would immediately look for a task manager if an app stops responding. That user would still look for a task manager or an alternative when on Ubuntu, under a similar situation. Ubuntu does have a task manager. Similarly, when you click on an app icon that is already open, on the Ubuntu dock, you’d expect it to minimize. Not only is this how most other operating systems behave, but it also seems natural. Click to minimize has always been disabled by default on Ubuntu for some reason. Here’s how to enable Click to Minimize on Ubuntu 18.04.

With Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu has completely ditched Unity for GNOME 3. Canonical does ship a modified version on GNOME so users still have the dock on the left by default. Naturally, click to minimize is still disabled here. Moreover, with Unity, users could enable click to minimize easily in the dock settings. Since Ubuntu 18.04 uses GNOME, there are no such settings available anymore. When you click on an app icon already in focus, the default action is to do nothing. This behavior can be changed via a GNOME extension called dash to dock.

minimize window ubuntu

Since Ubuntu has already modified the GNOME dash to appear as a dock on the desktop, installing the dash to dock extension can create some conflicts. You can still install dash to dock and enable click to minimize without enabling the extension though. It works.

You’ll need either the GNOME Tweak Tool or the Extensions extension in order to manage dash to dock and enable the said feature. That can all be a bit more complicated than it needs to be. Especially if you don’t really care about extensions or Tweaks. Click on the gear icon next to Dash to dock on any of those. Under Behaviour in the new window that pops up, select the desired Click action. You can select between Minimize, Cycle through Windows and raise window amongst other things.

dash to clock ubuntu extension

Enable click to minimize on Ubuntu

There are a couple of ways to enable click to minimize on Ubuntu without installing the dash to dock extension though, by simply enabling the property manually.

Method 1: via Terminal

This is the recommended way to enable click to minimize. For one, it isn’t complicated at all. Furthermore, it does not require you to install another app that you may never use again. All you have to do is copy a single command line and paste it into a terminal window. Launch the Terminal on your Ubuntu system. You can do this by hitting the window key and searching for terminal or simply by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on the keyboard. Copy the following command, paste it into the terminal and hit Enter. You can, of course, type it all out in the terminal if you prefer that.

gsettings set click-action 'minimize'

If for some reason you don’t like the click to minimize feature later, you can get rid of it too just as easily. Copy or type the following command in a terminal and hit Enter.

gsettings reset click-action

Method 2: via Dconf Editor

Dconf editor is somewhat of the registry editor equivalent on Linux. Even if you aren’t comfortable with the command line, doing this via the Dconf editor will have to be the tougher option. It might even prove riskier if you’re not careful. Dconf editor does not ask you for any confirmations and changes are applied as soon as you click, so click with caution. It can be found in the Ubuntu software center from where it can be easily installed.

Dconf editor Ubuntu 18.04

Open Dconf editor when installed and navigate to org > gnome > shell > extensions > dash-to-dock. Scroll down, find click-action and click on it. Turn off the Use default value toggle here and change the custom value to ‘minimize’ including the inverted commas.

dash to clock click action

You may also like: How to Manage Users in Ubuntu 18.04

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