Chapter 4. Working With Panels

Managing Your Panels

The following sections describe how to manage your panels.

To Add a New Panel

To add a panel, right-click on a vacant space on any panel, then choose New Panel. The new panel is added to the GNOME Desktop. The new panel contains no objects. You can customize the new panel to suit your preferences.

To Interact With a Panel

To interact with a panel, you must left-click, middle-click, or right-click on a vacant space on the panel. You can also middle-click or right-click on one of the hide buttons to select the panel, if the panel has no vacant space. If the hide buttons are not visible on a panel, modify the properties of the panel so that the hide buttons are visible.

You use the mouse buttons to interact with a panel in the following ways:

Middle-click

Enables you to grab a panel, then drag the panel to a new location.

Right-click

Opens the panel popup menu.

To Move a Panel

You can move panels to different locations. To move a panel, middle-click and hold on any vacant space on the panel, then drag the panel to the new location.

To Hide a Panel

You can hide or show panels. To hide a panel, use a hide button. If the hide buttons are not visible on a panel, modify the panel properties so that the hide buttons are visible.

Hide buttons are at either end of a panel. The hide buttons contain an optional arrow icon. The following illustration shows hide buttons.

A horizontal panel and a vertical panel, both with hide buttons.

To hide a panel, click on one of the hide buttons. The panel reduces in the direction of the arrow on the hide button. The hide button at the other end of the panel remains visible.

To show a hidden panel again, click on the visible hide button. The panel expands in the direction of the arrow on the hide button. Both hide buttons are now visible.

You can set a panel to autohide. When you set autohide, the panel hides automatically when the mouse is not pointing to the panel. The panel reappears when you point to the part of the screen where the panel resides. To set your panel to autohide, modify the properties of the panel.

To Modify Panel Properties

To modify preferences for all panels, use the Panel preference tool to make the changes that you require. For example, you can modify animation preferences for panels.

You can also modify properties for each individual panel. You can change the features for each panel, such as the position of the panel, the hide behavior, and the visual appearance.

To modify the properties of a panel, perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click on a vacant space on the panel, then choose Properties to display the Panel Properties dialog. The Panel Properties dialog contains the following tabbed sections:

    • General

    • Background

  2. To modify panel size, position, and hiding properties, click on the General tab. The following table describes the dialog elements on the General tabbed section:

    Dialog Element

    Description

    Name

    Type a name for the panel. When you use shortcut keys to switch between your panels and the desktop, this panel name is displayed.

    Orientation

    Select the position of the panel on your screen. Click on the required position for the panel.

    Size

    Use the spin box to specify the size of the panel.

    Expand

    Select this option if you want the panel to expand to the full length of the edge of the screen where the panel is located.

    Autohide

    Select this option to enable autohide.

    Show hide buttons

    Select this option to display hide buttons on your panel.

    Arrows on hide button

    Select this option to display arrows on the hide buttons, if the hide button is enabled.

  3. To modify the panel background, click on the Background tab. Choose the type of background for the panel. The choices are as follows:

    Dialog Element

    Description

    None (use system theme)

    Select this option to use the default panel background. The default panel background depends on the settings in the Theme preference tool.

    Solid color

    Select this option to specify a single color for the panel background. Click on the Color button to display the color selector dialog. Choose the color that you require from the color selector dialog.

    Use the Style slider to specify the degree of transparency or opaqueness for the color. For example, to make the panel transparent, move the slider towards the Transparent end.

    Background image

    Select this option to specify an image for the panel background. Enter the filename of the image to use in the drop-down combination box. Alternatively, to browse for the file, click on the Browse button. When you have selected the file, click OK.

    You can also drag a color or image on to a panel to set the color or image as the background of the panel. For more information, see the section called “To Drag a Color or Image to the Background of a Panel”.

  4. Click Close to close the Panel Properties dialog.

To Drag a Color or Image to the Background of a Panel

You can drag a color or image on to a panel to set the color or image as the background of the panel. You can drag a color or image from many applications. For example, you can drag a color from the Nautilus file manager to a panel to set the color as the background of the panel. You can also drag a color from any color selector dialog.

You can drag an image to a panel to set the image as the background of the panel. You can also drag pattern images from the file manager to set the background of the panel.

To Delete a Panel

To delete a panel from the GNOME Desktop, right-click on the panel that you want to delete, then choose Delete This Panel.

Note

You must always have at least one panel in the GNOME Desktop. If you have only one panel in the GNOME Desktop, you cannot delete that panel.