Avant Window Navigator (AWN) is an application launcher and dock which would redefine your Linux experience. The good part is it’s highly customizable and hence will fit perfectly well with your Ubuntu theme. Let’s see how to install and customize AWN on your Ubuntu machine.


(AWN/Awn) is a dock-like navigation bar for the Linux desktop that positions itself at the bottom of the screen. It can be used to keep track of open windows and behaves like a normal window list.

Final Result


We are going to install the testing package of AWN via the developer’s PPA (Personal Package Archive). I am using Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope).

Adding the PPA Repositories

1. Go to the PPA page (Mentioned at the end of the post) and choose your Ubuntu version (In my case it’s Jaunty (9.04).


2. We’ll now add the sources.list entries to software sources, for Ubuntu 9.04 to know about the repositories.

3. To do so go to System > Administration > Software Sources.

4. Go to the tab that reads Third-Party Software.

5. Click the Add… button and add the following lines one by one.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/awn-testing/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/awn-testing/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

The final result should look like this (Make sure both the check boxes are checked).

Final Third Party Software

Don’t close this window as yet. Follow the steps below to add the PPA keys associated with AWN.

Adding the PPA keys

On the same AWN Testing PPA page (Mentioned at the end of the post), you’ll see a line that reads Signing Keys.

Signing Keys

1. Click on the link 1024R/BF810CD5 and you’ll reach the public key server page.

PGP public key AWN

2. Open gedit by hitting ALT+F2 and typing gedit. Copy the code under “—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–” in your gedit.

3. Save the file as PGPAWN on your desktop.

4. We’ll now import this PGP (PGPAWN) security key. On the Software Sources Window select the tab that reads “Authentication” and click “Import Key File…”. Locate the PGPAWN file which we saved on desktop and import it.


5. Now click the Close button to close Software Sources windows. You’ll be prompted with a message to reload.

AWN Reload

6. Click reload to update the software sources.

Installing AWN-Window-Navigator and AWN-Extras

1. Open a terminal window by hitting ALT+F2 and typing “gnome-terminal” (without quotes).

2. Copy and paste the following line in your terminal window to install AWN-Navigator.

sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator-trunk

3. Type “y” to install.

Similarly we’ll install AWN-extras-applets by pasting the following lines in the terminal window.

sudo apt-get install awn-extras-applets-trunk

awn extraa

Launching Avant-Window-Navigator

You can now launch AWN by going to Applications > Accessories > Avant Window Navigator.

You’ll now have AWN running. It should look this:

Doesn’t look so great. Right! Let’s pimp it up and make it a real eye candy dock.

Delete the panel

In the above screenshot you’d notice a panel behind the dock. Let’s get rid of it.

Right Click on the panel and click “Delete This Panel”. Confirm by hitting the Delete button.

delete panel

With the panel gone, AWN looks neat but not as neat as we want it to look. So let’s see how we can pimp it up.

Configuring Avant Window Navigator

Click on the first icon which is “AWN-Manager” to bring up the AWN Manager window.

AWN manager

General Preferences

1. Under the General Preferences in the General Tab, check the box which reads “Automatically start AWN on login”. This would make sure that AWN is started with every new session of Ubuntu.

2. I’ll also check the box that reads “Maximized windows don’t cover the bar” so that I have AWN visible all the time (You’ll have to restart AWN for this setting to take affect)

Bar Appearance

I don’t like the flat bar so I’ll go to the tab that reads “Bar Appearance” and under the drop down menu Looks, select “3D look”.

3d AWN

As a result of this your AWN bar will look like this:

AWN 3d

You can experiment with rest of the settings.

Adding Applets to your AWN

Don’t settle with just the above configuration. We can add various Applets to our dock.

Start AWN Manager and select Applets.

AWN Applets

From the list of avaialble applets select the one you want to have on your dock. I added a few

Theme AWN

Avant Window Navigator comes with a decent theme. However, there is an option of adding more themes. You can download the themes from the official theme page mentioned at the end of this post.

1. Download the theme from the theme page.

2. Open AWN Manager and select Themes.

3. Click Add to install the theme

theme AWN

Click Apply to use the selected theme. You can select a theme that best compliments your desktop wallpaper. Feel free to try other settings to see how creative you can get!


Avant Window Navigator Home Page


AWN Testing PPA page


Awn Theme Page