What if we made the side dock reveal on Win key?

Hi, Gnome community and the Gnome dev team!

In this post I want to propose to enhance already all-in-one Meta (Win) key with the ability to show a side dock on pressing (but not releasing) it.

Given that Gnome dashboard already contains a dock in it, this may be seen as showing a part of the dashboard on key-press event, and showing the rest of the dashboard on key-release.


To quickly access favorite apps you need something like an application dock. Some people use the dock to switch to already opened apps too (instead of the window switcher, Alt+Tab). But the dock makes your desktop less distraction-free. Probably, also feels less consistent, since Gnome is designed without a side dock in mind. To use dashboard as a dock is hardly OK, since you see a lot of extra animation.

Details of proposition

You press the Win key - the dock appears (the one that you usually see on the left side of the dashboard). I want to make it keyboard-friendly, so it would be nice if apps on the dock had numbers, like in screenshot below

If you press a number, an app window appears (it’s a new window or you get switched to an existing one). If you point with a mouse at an icon and release Win key - an app window appears, if you click an icon - the same. If you just release the Win key - you see the dashboard.

Where this can lead to

If implemented, this can make the Win key an alternative of Alt-Tab: it would be equally easy to switch to an app using it. So we would have kind of duplicated functionality. We can go the elementaryOS route and say: let Alt+Tab also shows the dock, but containing just the running apps. To make things more consistent.

Btw, the dock can sit at the bottom too. But the dashboard should probably be changed in that case too. And it’s not friendly to the multi-monitor setup: a dock is better to be located between monitors, not at the center of a monitor (unless you have three of them!)


  • What do you think of this? Does it align with Gnome guidelines / philosophy?
  • Is this possible / easy to implement? Can it be implemented as an extension?
    AFAIK clutter can have separate handlers to key-press and key-release.
  • Amendments / suggestions?

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