You may like using the Unity Launcher in Ubuntu 14.04, but you may not like it taking up room on your desktop. However, there is a way to have the Unity Launcher automatically hide when you’re not using it.

NOTE: If you’re using Ubuntu 14.04 in a virtual machine, you can hide the launcher, but you can’t seem to show it again by moving the mouse to the left side, or the upper-left corner of the screen. We tested this using VirtualBox. See the end of the article for another option to make the Unity Launcher take up less space on the screen.

To have the Unity Launcher automatically hide, click the system menu in the upper-right corner of the screen on the top panel. Select “System Settings” from the drop-down menu.

The “System Settings” dialog box displays. In the “Personal” section, click “Appearance.”

On the “Appearance” screen, click the “Behavior” tab.

On the right side of the “Behavior” tab, there’s an ON/OFF switch. Click the switch so it reads ON.

The ON/OFF switch also turns orange. Additional options for how to show the hidden Unity Launcher become available in the “Auto-hide the Launcher” section of the “Behavior” tab. Under “Reveal location,” select whether you want to move the mouse to any location on the “Left side” or just to the “Top left corner” of the screen to reveal the Unity Launcher. Use the “Reveal sensitivity” slider to change the sensitivity of the reveal location.

Once you have chosen your settings, close the “Settings” dialog box by clicking the “X” button in the upper-left corner of the dialog box.

If you don’t want to hide the Unity Launcher, or you can’t because you’re using Ubuntu 14.04 in a virtual machine, you can make the icons on the launcher smaller so it takes up less room on your desktop. We’ve also covered eight things you need to know to master the Unity Launcher.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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