How to install GNOME on Ubuntu

I’ve been using Ubuntu as my primary operating system for a couple of years now, but choose to support the default Unity shell which has recently been announced to be ending.

This guide documents the simple steps I’ve taken to install GNOME without reinstalling Ubuntu.

To install GNOME itself:

sudo apt install gnome gnome-shell

During the installation, it will ask a couple of questions. I recommend selecting the default answers.

To customise mine:

Following the installation above, you will need to Log Out, or reboot, and select “GNOME” from the list of available shells on the login screen.

I then add extensions by visiting the GNOME extensions site below (you maybe asked to install a browser extension to enable the page to integration with the shell).

I recommend installing and enabling:

Activities Configurator by nls1729

AlternateTab by fmuellner

Applications Menu by fmuellner

Dash to Dock by michele_g

Freon by UshakovVasilii

Places Status Indicator by fmuellner

Tweaking extensions:

I make the following tweaks, to make the extensions provide the look and feel I’m after.

Using the Tweak Tool application, then selecting “Extensions”, I choose the cog icon to edit extensions as appropriate:

Activities Configurator
Hide icon = ON
Set Panel Background = Choose a dark grey
Panel Transparency = 50

Dash to Dock
Position on screen = Bottom
Appearance->Opacity = ON – 30%


I prefer to use the themes below. Download them:
sudo apt-get install numix-gtk-theme numix-icon-theme

Then use the Tweak Tool to select (in Appearance tab):
GTK+ = Numix
Icons = Numix
Cursor = Adwaita

Done. What do you think?


I'm passionate about technology, and particularly helping people make the most of it. I've spent the last 30 years helping others make the most of technology. My career started in IBM, but I choose to move into smaller business environments, to use a breadth of skills, and help businesses step change their IT services. My skills range from user based technology, through business systems (applications) to infrastructure. I also have a long background in IT security. I focus on what I consider to be "productive technology", i.e. adding genuine value to peoples lives. I'm not a big gamer, and don't hold much interest in what I consider to be disposable consumer technologies. During the day, you'll find me consulting with businesses or heading up an IT department. At the weekend, you'll find me sat at my Linux PC, writing PHP or Python code, or trying to help others on Twitter, this blog, or my YouTube channel: Artexic.