Cairo-dock is a highly customizable dock written in C.
Install AUR. The core package provides only the strict minimum to run cairo-dock - to use applets, animations, views, effects and dialogs you will also need AUR.AUR from the
You can also try the latest BZR snapshot packages:AUR and AUR.
Running the dock
Run the dock in the background:
$ cairo-dock &
This will generate a startup message that will ask you to choose a backend for the current session (OpenGL or Cairo). There is an option to remember the choice and if not choosing to remember the choice, a startup message will be generated each time cairo-dock is run without backend options. To supress the startup message, you can specify which backend to use when running cairo-dock by specifying it as an option.
Run the dock with OpenGL backend:
$ cairo-dock -o &
Run the dock with Cairo backend:
$ cairo-dock -c &
Running the dock at startup
This depends on which desktop environment or window manager that is being used and which backend cairo-dock should be run with. The following section shows how to run cairo-dock at startup without forcing a backend.
Run cairo-dock and right-click the dock and go to Cairo-Dock > Launch Cairo-Dock on startup. The settings will be stored in
~/.config/autostart/ and sourced the next time you login.
Add the following to
If you have
xfce4-autostart-editor installed, simply run it and add an entry for cairo-dock. If you're not using a session manager you can add the following to
Add a cairo-dock entry to Startup Programs using
Configuring the dock
To configure the dock, right-click the dock and go to Cairo-Dock > Configure.
Two cairo-docks are running
This is most likely a result of saved sessions being runned at login. If you are using a desktop environment like GNOME, KDE or Xfce you need to disable automatic startup of sessions in your session manager settings. You may also need to delete the sessions cache:
$ rm ~/.cache/sessions/x*
If you are not using a desktop environment with a session manager or choose to have cairo-dock startup by itself, you need to remove autostart files generated by cairo-dock:
$ rm ~/.config/autostart/cairo-dock*
The background is black
This is most likely caused by not running a composite manager, like Xcompmgr or Cairo Compmgr. Cairo-dock uses the transparency feature of the composite manager to display the dock, and without it the dock will be displayed with a black background. If you are using a desktop environment, simply enable the composite manager or desktop effects in the settings.
An alternative solution that does not require a composite manager is to enable fake transparency in cairo-dock. To do this, right-click the dock and go to Cairo-Dock > Configure > Advanced Mode > System > Composition. Then enable both Emulate composition with fake transparency and Make the config panel transparent.