If you need quick access your favorite apps in GNOME Shell you can pin ’em to the Dash — or put them in a folder and pin that to the Dash.
You can’t do this out of the box, but with new Pin App Folders to Dash GNOME extension installed, you can. It lets you add any app folder in GNOME Shell’s Applications screen to the Dash.
For those confused, the Dash is the name of the dock/favorites bar you see in GNOME Shell when you enter the Activities overview. A number of Linux distributions (including Ubuntu) replace the Dash with an alternative launcher. This extension does not work with them.
When Pin App Folders to Dash is enabled you can right-click on any app folder in the applications screen to “pin to dash”.
It is instantly added to the Dash where you can hover over it to see the folder name. The latest version of the app allows you to freely reposition the app folder icon, or drag it out to “unpin”, just like regular application shortcuts.
Clicking on a folder in the Dash instantly open the app folder using the standard UX, rather than requiring you to go to the Applications grid:
At the time of writing this extension does not work with Dash to Panel, Dash to Dock, or similar. It’s open source code though; there’s nothing to say support for those popular extensions in the future can’t or won’t be added.
I encountered a bug while testing that I figure I’d mention:
Ubuntu Dock, Dash to Dock, and Dash to Panel are empty (no icons) when app folders have been added to favorites but the extension disabled. This is (presumably) because those add-on’s don’t know how to display them. Remove alls folders and disable the extension.