Tip on re-ordering the indicators

Here's a tip on how to do just that.

:warning: This only applies to the indicator-based layouts. Check if you are using them in MATE Tweak.

  1. For a local user, create this folder structure:

     mkdir ~/.local/share/indicators/application/
  2. Copy the system-wide override file to this directory:

     cp /usr/share/indicator-application/ordering-override.keyfile ~/.local/share/indicators/application/
  3. Open the file for editing, it may look something like this:

    [Ordering Index Overrides]

  4. Use this command to find out the IDs of the existing indicators:

     dbus-send --type=method_call --print-reply --dest=com.canonical.indicator.application /com/canonical/indicator/application/service com.canonical.indicator.application.service.GetApplications | grep "object path"

    As an example, this is mine:

    Are shown as:

     object path "/org/ayatana/NotificationItem/multiload/Menu"
     object path "/org/ayatana/NotificationItem/razer_keyboard_indicator/Menu"
     object path "/org/ayatana/NotificationItem/transmission/Menu"
     object path "/org/ayatana/NotificationItem/nm_applet/Menu"

    Note that any indicators that are legacy are actually part of the system tray, like this Firefly for Thunderbird (messages icon) on the far left.

    Unfortunately, as this is not technically an indicator, I haven't found a way to rearrange that, except if you swap the Indicator applet and System Tray applets.

  5. Change the number of the entries based on the above output:

    [Ordering Index Overrides]

    A negative value like -1 will always place that indicator at the beginning (left).

  6. Save the file and reload the panel:

     mate-panel --replace

And there you have it, a manual way to change the order of your indicators.

Thanks to this source for the info:


I could not get it apply to some indicators despite following the excellent instructions, which led me to discover there are two kinds of indicators. Maybe others knew this already, but it took me a while to figure it out.

This tip applies to the application indicators (aka appindicators), which are mostly third-party apps plus Network Manager and keyboard/ibus.

The sound indicator and messaging menu (and power, clock and user on Unity, I think, but not on MATE) are system indicators. There is a way to reorder these too, as described here (note that it works for me in 16.04 and 16.10 despite it saying 14.04):


What you can’t do, as far as I can tell, is intermix the two types of indicators.


Thanks, I actually used it so my volume meter would reappear and it worked :blush:

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Hi. That discourse.ubuntu link is dead, so any chance you can supply the instructions? (Actually, all 3 links you supplied are dead, but I'm just interested in the guide). Thanks