1. Overview

Shell extensions are small pieces of code that can add or improve the functionality of a GNOME desktop. We can access some of these extensions from the top bar of our GNOME desktop. However, GNOME also provides several shell extensions that we can install and manage effectively.

In this tutorial, we’ll explore different approaches for installing and managing GNOME shell extensions on Linux using the gnome-shell-extensions package, Extension Manager, and a web browser.

2. Using the gnome-shell-extensions Package

gnome-shell-extensions package is included in the standard repository of Ubuntu. Additionally, we can install it on our system to manage our shell extensions.

2.1. Installing gnome-shell-extensions Package

Firstly, let’s open our terminal and update the system packages:

$ sudo apt update

Then, we’ll install the gnome-shell-extensions package with apt:

$ sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

After that, we’ll launch the Activities menu, search for Extensions, and open it:

Launching Extensions via Activities menu on Linux

As a result, we can see all Extensions of our system:

Viewing Built-in Extensions on Linux

2.2. Adding New Extensions

To find new extensions, we’ll navigate to extensions.gnome.org. However, to add them, we have to install the GNOME Shell Integration extension on our browser:

Opening GNOME Shell Extensions on Chrome

2.3. Disabling Built-in Extensions

To disable a built-in extension, e.g, Ubuntu AppIndicators, we’ll turn off its toggle:

disabling builtin gnome extensions on Linux

2.4. Removing Manually Installed Extensions

However, to remove a Manually Installed extension, we’ll first turn off its toggle and then click on the corresponding Remove… button:

removing manually installed extensions on Linux

3. Using the Extension Manager Application

On Linux, we can install and use the Extension Manager application to install new extensions. Moreover, it also allows us to remove or disable the User-Installed and System Extensions with ease.

3.1. Installing Extension Manager

Firstly, we’ll install Extension Manager on our Linux system:

$ sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-manager

After successful installation, we’ll launch Extension Manager via the Activities menu:

Launching Extension Manager via Activites menu on Linux

Within the Installed tab, we can see the list of User-Installed and System Extensions:

Moving to Installed tab of Extension Manager

3.2. Searching and Installing Extensions

To install a new extension, we can switch to the Browse tab, type the extension Name, and click Install.

Now, let’s search and install an extension, i.e., Applications Menu using the Extension Manager:

Installing an Applications Menu extension Using Extension Manager on Linux

Next, we’ll click on the Install button for confirmation:

Confirming to download and install Applications menu on Linux

Consequently, the Applications Menu extension is added to the list of installed GNOME extensions.

3.3. Disabling Extensions

To disable any of the User-Installed or System Extension, we’ll simply turn off its respective toggle:

Removing gnome extensions using extension manager

4. Using the Web Browser

Often, we need to update the GNOME shell extensions as we can’t update them via the system updates. For this, it is essential to use the Chrome browser on our Linux system and update the required extensions via GNOME EXTENSIONS.

To do so, we’ve to add the GNOME Shell Integration extension from the GNOME EXTENSIONS main web page.

4.1. Adding GNOME Shell Integration Extension

Firstly, we’ll navigate to extensions.gnome.org, and install the GNOME Shell Integration extension on Chrome:

Opening GNOME Shell Extensions on Chrome

Specifically, we’ll now click on the Add to Chrome button:

Removing gnome extensions using extension manager

As a result, the GNOME Shell Integration is added to our Chrome browser.

4.2. Installing Extensions

To install a new extension, we can type its name in the GNOME Extension search bar of our browser.

To demonstrate, let’s search for the Screen Net Speed extension:

Searching for Screen Net Speed extension on Linux

Now, we’ll enable the blue ON toggle, and click Install to add the Screen Net Speed extension.

Installing Network Speed GNOME shell extension on Linux

As we can see, our Screen Net Speed extension is installed and listed in both the Extensions app and Extension Manager accordingly:

Viewing installed Network speed extension in Extensions Manager and Extensions app

4.3. Updating Extensions

Moreover, to update an extension, we’ll click on the green Upgrade this extension icon:

Updating an GNOME Shell Extension on Linux

4.4. Disabling Extensions

However, to disable an extension, we’ll click on the black OFF toggle:

Disabling GNOME Extension on Linux

4.5. Removing Extensions

Likewise, to remove an extension, we’ll click on the red Uninstall this extension icon:

Removing GNOME Extensions on Linux

5. Conclusion

In this article, we’ve learned different methods for installing and managing GNOME shell extensions on Linux. These methods included using the gnome-shell-extensions package, Extension Manager, and a web browser.

Naturally, we can install the gnome-shell-extensions package to manage the built-in extensions. Meanwhile, the Extension Manager is a great choice when we need to browse and install new extensions on our system. Furthermore, we can also navigate to GNOME EXTENSIONS on our web browser to install, update, disable, and remove extensions.

Comparatively, we recommend using the GNOME EXTENSIONS on our web browser for efficiently installing and managing GNOME shell extensions.

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