This is a GNOME shell extension that reduces the horizontal spacing between status area icons (top-right of the panel: volume indicator, etc). (Tested in GNOME 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8).

Status area before (default 12px hpadding):

original (12px padding)

Status area after (6px hpadding):

after with 6px padding


One-click install from link here.

Manual install: download the files (go to 'Downloads' and select the zip file).
Start gnome-tweak-tool and select 'Shell Extensions > Install Shell Extension > (zip file you just downloaded)'.


GNOME 3.10+

You can configure it via the website, or using the gnome-shell-extension-prefs command.
The "horizontal spacing" setting is the padding between items in the top-right area of the panel.
There is a new "status icon spacing" setting which is the spacing between the status icons in the new aggregate menu button (the single button that has all the wifi/battery etc icons).

GNOME 3.4+

You can configure it via the website, or using the gnome-shell-extension-prefs command.


Edit extension.js and change the line:

const HPADDING = 6;

to whatever spacing you want. The original GNOME-shell value is 12px, and the default for this plugin is 6px.
At least 6px is recommended.


If you do not want to use the extension, you can modify /usr/share/gnome-shell/theme/gnome-shell.css: change the -natural-hpadding property of .panel-button, i.e.:

.panel-button {
    -natural-hpadding: 12px;

could become

.panel-button {
    -natural-hpadding: 6px;

to change the padding to 6 pixels. If you change this below 6 pixels, you will also have to modify the -minimum-hpadding value to accommodate it.

However this will be lost every time you change themes, upgrade gnome-shell, etc.


Branches are as follows:

  • 'default' branch is for development.
  • 'gnome3.2' branch is for GNOME 3.2. Configure it by editing extension.js.
  • 'gnome3.4' branch is for GNOME 3.4+ (3.6-3.12) Configure using gnome-shell-extension-prefs.
  • 'gnome3.10+' branch is for GNOME 3.10+ (3.10-3.12) Configure using gnome-shell-extension-prefs. On top of the gnome3.4 branch it also lets you set the horizontal padding of the "aggregate menu" button.
  • 'stable' branch: obsolete (renamed to 'gnome3.2').