How do "Notification Area" and "Indicator Applet" interact?

I'm using Mate on Ubuntu. I like a small panel (18px). Some icons show up in "Notification Area" and some show up in "Indicator Applet." The ones in indicator applet are tiny..sometimes, and sometimes they're insane. See the screenshot, left of the blue line is notification area and right of the blue line is indicator applet.

Screenshot at 2020-09-17 10-01-14

It seems that "Notification Area" works better, but I don't know how to get icons to show up there. The whole thing seems like a mess, and I haven't messed with it at all, it started this way. I haven't messed with dconf-editor or mate-tweak, but I'm sure the solution is something in there. What are people's recommendations for managing this?

The theme hasn't made a difference, however the theme I'm using is "Material Black Lime."

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I would like to 'ditto' this query. I think indicator was supposed to supersede notification, but instead, as you have pointed out, we have a mess.

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This is a workaround. It's kind of lame, I'll admit.

Easy: Just delete the Indicator Applet. Right-click on pretty much any part of the Indicator Applet and in the menu that pops up, click "Remove from Panel".

This should cause most or all of the former indicators to appear in the Notification Area. If not, try logging out and logging back in, if possible.

Also note that you should expect the Notification Area to go missing in action eventually -- there is a push in many parts of the community to get rid of the 35+-year-old X Window System and replace it with Wayland, but the Notification Area utilizes X-centric concepts that apparently don't port easily to Wayland. But in the meantime, Ubuntu MATE will keep the X Window System, so you're safe for now. Just expect the Indicator Applet to take over in a few years, and expect it to improve by that time.

This is not quite working. I removed the indicator applet; when I rebooted the volume applet now is in "Notification Area" which is good, but network manager, bluetooth, UPS monitor, chrome, OBS are totally absent. That was a great suggestion, but it's not that easy sadly.

Just right click the task bar> add to panel>indicator applet complete. That will put everything back.

I don't have an issue re-adding it; at this point I just want the icon sizing managed. I tried adding this:


.mate-panel-menu-bar menuitem {
padding: 0 0px;
margin: 0 0px;

But it messed with the right click menus and didn't fix the icon sizes.