How To Create App Folders In Gnome Shell [Guide]

A little-known feature in Gnome is the ability to create app folders. These folders are accessible in the Activities overview mode and allow users to categorize their favorite apps, much like on smartphone operating systems like iOS and Android. There are two different ways to create app folders in Gnome shell.

App Folders With Gnome Software

The best way to create app folders in Gnome Shell to organize your favorite applications is to use Gnome Software. To create a new folder, press the Windows key and search for “Software.†Click on the shopping bag icon and open the program.

Ubuntu users: you will not find Gnome Software on your PC. Canonical modifies Gnome Software to create the Ubuntu software center. Don’t worry! You can still make app folders! Open the dash in Gnome on Ubuntu, search for “Ubuntu Software†center and launch that instead!

Gnome Software is fast to launch, but not always responsive right away. Before trying to do anything, give it a minute and let the app load up. When the Software app loads, look for the “Installed†tab and click on it.

On the “Installed” tab in Gnome Software (or Ubuntu Software Center), click the checkmark icon located at the top-right of the window. Clicking this checkmark icon will put Gnome Software in selection mode. Go down the list and check boxes next to the apps you’d like to organize into a folder.

Once you’ve gone through and selected all the programs you’d like to add to a Gnome Shell app folder, look at the bottom of Gnome Software for the “add to folder” button and click on it to bring up the folder creation dialog.

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Add Apps To Existing Folder

Gnome Shell comes with a “Utilities” app folder out of the box. To add selected programs to it, select the “Utilities” option in the app folder creation window, then click the “Add” button.

Alternatively, it is possible to move a program out of one app folder and into another by selecting the “move to folder” button in Gnome Software.

Add Apps To New Folder

To add new programs to a custom app folder, go through the selection process outlined above. Then, click the “+” icon to create a new app folder in the dialog window that appears.

Fill out the name of the custom folder, then select “Add” to finish up the creation process.

Remove Apps From Folder

Follow the selection process and find the program(s) to remove from an app folder. Then, look at the bottom of Gnome Software for the “remove from folder” button and click it. Selecting “remove from” folder will instantly take selected programs out of an app folder.

GNOME App Folders Manager

Gnome Software is an excellent tool, but it’s not the only way to create app folders in Gnome Shell.

Introducing GNOME App Folders Manager: it’s a useful tool that lets users quickly modify app folders and create new ones too.

Install Folder Manager

To get GNOME App Folders Manager, open up a terminal and follow the instructions that match your Linux OS.


Grab GNOME App Folders Manager DEB package for your Ubuntu or Debian system via wget.


With the package downloaded to your PC, installation can begin. Using the dpkg command, set up GNOME App Folders Manager.

sudo dpkg -i gnome-appfolders-manager_0.3.1-1_all.deb

During the installation of Gnome App Folders Manager, some dependency issues may arise. Correct them with the apt install command.

sudo apt install -f

Source Code

Those not on Ubuntu or Debian will need to install GNOME App Folders Manager from source. To do it, launch a terminal and do the following operations.

Note: to build GNOME App Folders Manager from source, ensure you have Python 2.x, GTK+ 3.0 libraries for Python 2.x, GObject libraries for Python 2.x, XDG library for Python 2.x, and Distutils library for Python 2.x installed.

git clone  cd appfolders-manager python2 install

Make App Folders

To create a new app folder with the GNOME App Folders Manager, launch the program and click the new folder icon at the top, next to the text that says “folders.”

Upon clicking the new folder icon, a dialog box will pop up. Write out the name of your folder in this dialog box, and then select “create folder.”

To add new programs to new app folder, select it in the side-bar, then click the “+” icon.

Add Apps To Existing Folder

Along with creating new app folders, GNOME App Folders Manager also lets users add programs to existing ones. To do it, launch the program and select an app folder in the sidebar. Then, click the “+” icon.

Remove existing apps from folders by going to an existing folder, then clicking the “-” folder.

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