Ubuntu – How to enable ‘show desktop’ icon

These steps show how to add a ‘Show Desktop’ icon to the launcher in Ubuntu 18.04.

Previously this was a built in feature in Ubuntu, but was removed when the Gnome 3 interface was introduced.

Instead we need to install xdotool – a command line tool – and create a shortcut icon.

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard to open the terminal
  2. Run the following command to xdotool
  3. sudo apt-get install xdotool
  4. When prompted, enter in the administrator password for the computer and follow the prompts
  5. Run the following command to create the command
  6. gedit ~/.local/share/applications/show-desktop.desktop
  7. The file will automatically open. Paste the following into the file
  8. [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Show Desktop
    Exec=xdotool key --clearmodifiers Super+d
  9. Close and save the file
  10. Click on the ‘Show Applications’ menu
  11. Search for ‘Show Desktop’
  12. Right-click and select ‘Add to Favorites’

TIP: Click and drag the icon to the desired location (the end of the launcher)


The OLD Ubuntu 16.04 way …

The following steps show how to add the Show Desktop icon to the launcher using Ubuntu 16.04.

  1. Click on the Ubuntu icon in the launcher
  2. Type  ‘System Settings’ and click on the icon when it appears in the results
  3. Click on the ‘Appearance’ icon
  4. Click on the ‘Behaviour’ tab at the top of the window
  5. Tick the ‘Add show desktop icon to the launcher’ option
  6. Close the Window to save the changes.