From ArchWiki

Plank is a lightweight and minimal dock. Plank will not work if you are using Wayland.


Install plank or plank-gitAUR for the development version.

Running Plank

$ plank

On Wayland, it may fail with the following error:

$ [CRITICAL] [AbstractMain:255] Only X11 environments are supported.

In this case, it needs the following variable to be set[1]:

$ XDG_SESSION_TYPE=x11 plank
Tip: This is also needed when you're not using a display manager to start X. e.g. xinit

Adding new dock icons

  • Application icon: drag and drop a shortcut to the dock, or right click a running application's icon and select "Keep in dock".
  • Folder or file icon: drag and drop it to the dock.
Tip: Plank stores icons as .dockitem launchers in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/plank/.


Preferences can be opened by holding Ctrl and right-clicking on the dock. Select Preferences in the context menu that opens.

Although the preferences of each dock is stored in the dconf database and not in plain text, sometimes it makes sense to get and store that information anyway and then feed it back at some point. Eg. backing up the settings or migrating the settings, etc.

Therefore one may want to save all the docks:

$ dconf dump /net/launchpad/plank/docks/ > /path/where/to/save/plank/docks.ini

And then one may want to reload the saved settings:

$ cat /path/where/saved/plank/docks.ini | dconf load /net/launchpad/plank/docks/

Setting themes

The theme can be changed by selecting a choice in the drop-down menu of Preferences > Appearance > Theme. Themes are stored globally under /usr/share/plank/themes/ or locally under ~/.local/share/plank/themes/.

These custom themes can be installed to give your plank dock an eyecandy touch. Search for "plank-theme" on AUR, for example plank-theme-arcAUR is an Arc theme for Plank.

Multiple Docks

It is possible to run multiple plank docks at once.

Directories for each dock are stored under ~/.config/plank/. Under these directories, there is a directory named 'launchers'. Going further, under this directory, docklets are stored. When the plank command is run, it either defaults to the dock1 directory or creates it if it is non-existent. If you were to run:

$ plank -n newdock

A new directory named 'newdock' would be created under ~/.config/plank and docklets stored under ~/.config/plank/newdock/launchers/ is displayed on the dock, unless a directory under that name has already been created. This makes it possible to have multiple docks each with their own settings and preferences by specifying the name under the -n flag.

For example:

$ plank -n primdock 
$ plank -n secondock