If you use Ubuntu you use GNOME Shell, and if you use GNOME Shell you’ve probably cocked an eyebrow at the ‘Activities’ label in the top-left corner.

It’s very …There.

screenshot of GNOME Shell activities label with an arrow pointing at it
Activities is pretty static

It’s not useless, of course: you click the “Activities” label to enter the “activities” overview — or the ‘workspace switcher’ as I tend to call it.

But most of us (empirically speaking; I did a survey and you did take part) tend to enter the workspace switcher/activities overview by tapping the super key.

Anyhow, there’s a new GNOME extension out called Replace Activities Label that —deploy your faux shocked faces now— replaces the ‘Activities’ label with something a little more useful.

Emphasis on the little, mind:

See, instead of a static ‘Activities’ label glaring back at you this extension puts 3 little dots in the corner. Not only are these less obtrusive (and still clickable) but watch what happens to them when you launch an application:

Pay attention to the upper-left corner

The dots animate as a loading indicator — y’know, so you can tell something is happening after you click the shortcut but are left waiting for the app window to actually appear.

It’s a deliciously simple idea that, to my mind, makes much better use of that corner.

The extension also disables app menus from the top bar, though this is optional. If you are one of those who do find those menus useful, you can keep ’em. Additionally, the Preferences panel for the extension also has an option to load an alternative animation to be used, though I don’t have any of those to try.

Of note, the developer of this add-on is the same dev behind the terrific Tiling Assistant extension, and the Focus Indicator extension that was recently being tested by GNOME devs to help inform their design approaches in GNOME 44 and beyond.

You can get the Replace Activities Label on GNOME Extensions using a web browser or (recommended) Matt Jakeman’s epic Extensions Manager app.

Note: you may find that after you install the extension the loading animation does not appear. Log out and back in to solve this.

Thanks to Scotty Trees – appreciate the tip!


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