Part I. A Tour of the GNOME Desktop

Chapter 4. Working With Panels

The information in this chapter describes how to use panels.

Introducing Panels

A panel is an area in the GNOME Desktop from which you can run applications and applets, and perform other tasks. When you start a session for the first time, the GNOME Desktop contains at least one panel. Your system administrator might have set your default panels according to your local requirements, so you might see slightly different default panels.

You can change the behavior and appearance of your panels to suit your requirements. You can also add or remove objects from your panels. You can create multiple panels, and choose different properties, objects, and backgrounds for each panel. You can also hide panels.

Typically, the GNOME Desktop contains a panel at the top edge of the screen, and a panel at the bottom edge of the screen. The following sections describe these panels.

Top Edge Panel

Figure 4.1, “Sample Top Edge Panel” shows an example panel at the top edge of the screen. Your system administrator might have set your default top edge panel according to your local requirements, so you might see a slightly different top edge panel.

Figure 4.1. Sample Top Edge Panel

Sample top edge panel. The context describes the graphic.

A top edge panel may contain the following objects:

Object

Description

Menu Bar applet

Contains the Applications and the Actions menu. The Applications menu contains the standard GNOME applications. The Actions menu provides commands that enable you to various tasks.

File Browser Launcher

Click on this launcher to open your home folder in a Nautilus file browser window.

Terminal launcher

Click on this launcher to start the Terminal application. Terminal provides access to a UNIX command line.

Clock applet

Clock shows the current time. Click on the time readout to display a menu of clock commands.

Volume Control applet

Volume Control enables you to control the volume of the speaker on your system.

Window Selector icon

Window Selector lists all your open windows. To give focus to a window, click on the window selector icon at the extreme right of the top edge panel, then select the window.

Bottom Edge Panel

Figure 4.2, “Typical Bottom Edge Panel” shows a typical bottom edge panel. Your system administrator might have set your default bottom edge panel according to your local requirements, so you might see a slightly different bottom edge panel.

Figure 4.2. Typical Bottom Edge Panel

Typical bottom edge panel. The context describes the graphic.

The bottom edge panel contains the following items:

  • Show Desktop button: Click on this button to minimize all open windows and show the desktop.

  • Window List applet: Displays a button for each window that is open. Window List enables you to minimize and restore windows.

  • Workspace Switcher applet: Enables you to navigate between your workspaces.