Chapter 4. Working With Panels

Panel Objects

This section describes the objects that you can add to your panels, and use from your panels.

Interacting With Panel Objects

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


Launches the panel object.


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


Opens the panel object popup menu.

You interact with applet panel objects in a different way. For more information, see the section called “To Select an Applet”.

To Add an Object to a Panel

You can add an object to a panel in several ways, as follows:

  • From the panel popup menu

    Right-click on a vacant space on a panel to open the panel popup menu. The panel popup menu contains an Add to Panel submenu. The Add to Panel submenu enables you to add the following objects to your panels:

    • Applets in the following categories: Accessory, Amusement, Internet, Multimedia, Utility.

    • Buttons for quick access to common actions: Force Quit button, Lock button, Log Out button, , Run button, Screenshot button, Search button, Show Desktop button.

    • Launchers

    • Launchers from menus

    • Main Menu

    • Menu Bar

    • Drawers

  • From any menu

    When you right-click on a launcher in any menu, a popup menu for the launcher opens. You can use this popup menu to add the launcher to a panel.

    You can also drag menus, launchers, and applets from menus to panels.

  • From the file manager

    Each launcher corresponds to a .desktop file. You can drag the .desktop file on to your panels to add the launcher to the panel.

To Modify the Properties of an Object

Some panel objects, such as launchers and drawers, have a set of associated properties. The properties are different for each type of object. The properties specify details such as the following:

  • The command that starts a launcher application.

  • The location of the source files for a menu.

  • The icon that represents the object.

To modify the properties of an object perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the object to open the panel object popup menu, as shown in Figure 4.3, “Panel Object Popup Menu”.

    Figure 4.3. Panel Object Popup Menu

    Panel object popup menu. Menu items: Properties, Remove From Panel, Lock, Move.
  2. Choose Properties. Use the Properties dialog to modify the properties as required. The properties in the Properties dialog depend on which object you select in step 1.

  3. Click OK to apply the changes, then close the Properties dialog.

To Move a Panel Object

You can move panel objects within a panel, and from one panel to another panel. You can also move objects between panels and drawers.

To move a panel object, middle-click and hold on the object and drag the object to a new location. When you release the middle mouse button, the object anchors at the new location.

Alternatively, you can use the panel object popup menu to move an object, as follows:

  1. Right-click on the object, then choose Move.

  2. Point to the new location for the object, then click any mouse button to anchor the object to the new location. This location can be on any panel that is currently in the GNOME Desktop.

Movement of a panel object affects the position of other objects on the panel. To control how objects move on a panel, you can specify a movement mode. To specify the movement mode, press one of the following keys as you move the panel object:


Movement Mode


No key

Switched movement

The object swaps places with other panel objects. Switched movement is the default movement mode.

Alt key

Free movement

The object jumps over other panel objects into the next vacant space on the panel.

Shift key

Push movement

The object pushes other panel objects further along the panel.

To Lock a Panel Object

You can lock panel objects so that the objects stay in the same position on the panel. This feature is useful if you do not want some panel objects to change position when you move other panel objects.

To lock an object to the current location of the object in the panel, right-click on the object to open the panel object popup menu, then choose Lock. To unlock the object, right-click on the object, then choose Unlock.

To Remove a Panel Object

To remove an object from a panel right-click on the object to open the panel object popup menu, then choose Remove From Panel.