[HOW TO] Install Plank dock in Xubuntu

Plank is a lightweight dock that provides simple functionality: launch applications and alternate between running applications. Here's how to install it in Xubuntu via PPA.


Open a terminal window and run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/docky -y && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install plank -y


Plank can be accessed via Applications Menu > Accessories > Plank or typing the following command: plank.


Plank doesn't have a graphical configuration interface, you need to edit the text file: ~/.config/plank/dock1/settings. The configuration file has comments that explain how to configure it.

Add launchers to Plank

Right-click on a running application and select "Keep in dock".

Remove launchers from Plank

Drag-and-drop the launcher outside plank.


Plank – The Most Lightweight Dock For Ubuntu
Plank: Introduction


  1. Whats the difference between the Xubuntu lower dock and Plank? I use Cairo on my desktop but would like something lighter on the laptop like Plank.

    1. Xubuntu by defualt doesnt have a dock, it's a 2nd panel.
      This is the lightest dock i tried so far.

    2. On the bottom of the screen is actually another panel with launchers and auto-hide enabled.

      Plank is a real dock which provides intelligent auto-hide and provides task management, ie, when you click a launcher it'll find a running instance and make that the active window, creating a new one if the app isn't running. The panel just creates new instances. Some applications, like web browsers, have a right-click option to create a new windows. You can even create a chromium incognito window from Plank.

      I don't have rigorous measures but I confirm that's lightweight. On my system it uses less memory than xfce4-panel itself! And it's easy on the CPU as well.

  2. Cheers added it to my laptops Xubuntu install. :)

    I kinda liked the Cairo-docks "Shortcuts menu" and "Share folder" though. But aslong as its less stressful for the poor laptop I'm happy

  3. Thanks for showing Plank! I just added it.

    Now I have 2 questions. First, I don't know if I should stop running xfce4-panels, or even if I'm able to stop them. Do you have both Plank and xfce4-panels running?

    The second one is I just tried to install a theme for plank. I replaced the two files in .config/theme, but even if I restart my laptop it doesn't show the new theme.

    1. I would replace the bottom panel with Plank. You might want to backup ~/config/xfce4/panel and ~/config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-panel.xml in case you change your mind.

      The Plank theme problem is solved here: http://goo.gl/aUTq9

  4. Good tip.

    I swaped the XFCE panel to plank. It is really fast.

  5. Thanks! What would be the differences to docky? Looks almost the same...

  6. I get this error message when trying to install Palnk:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    plank : Depends: libplank0 (= 0.6.0-0ubuntu1~14.04~ricotz1) but it is not going to be installed
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    Can you advise what to do? The Xfce panel is very unworkable to me and inadequate, I would like themes as in your example on this page. Alas I am a completely noob to Xubuntu/Linux! Thanks.

    1. I tried to install Plank in 14.04 and that didn't happen to me. Could you give it another try? Maybe there was a packaging problem that has already been fixed. And welcome to Xubuntu!

    2. Hi Wilson, thanks for the welcome!

      I diid give it another go, after attempting this fix I found on another site:

      sudo apt-get --fix-broken install

      But still the same problem. I guess its only a small issue (although I would like to be able to use Plank, and also VLC player which gave a similar error message) and depsite that I think Xubuntu is a great distro. Had tried Ubuntu previously for a short time, but my system (ex-WinXP laptop which died) hasn't the resources to run it without hanging up. Xubuntu is pretty fast by comparison :)

  7. DockbarX works again on 14.04. (I couldn't install it in previous version due to unmet dependencies, but now it installed like a whim !
    I believe it's also pretty lightweight and the cool thing about it, is that you can integrate it into you xfce-panel, instead of having a seperate dock.
    I installed it because docky keeps crashing now and then..


    1. I've been using DockBarX since Xubuntu 13.04. Here's how to install it: http://goo.gl/1xQ5qi

    2. Sadly, DockBarX also has unmet dependencies for me


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