Chapter 4. Working With Panels

Launchers

When you click on a launcher, you initiate one of the following actions:

  • Start a particular application.

  • Execute a command.

  • Open a folder in a file manager window.

  • Open a Web browser at a particular Uniform Resource Locator (URL). A URL is the address of a particular location on the Web.

  • Open special Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). The GNOME Desktop contains special URIs that enable you to access particular functions from the file manager.

You can find launchers in the following places in the GNOME Desktop:

  • Panels: On panels, launchers are represented by icons.

  • Menus: On menus, launchers are represented by menu items. The menu items usually have an icon beside the menu item.

  • Desktop: On the desktop, launchers are represented by icons.

You can modify the properties of a launcher. For example, the properties of a launcher include the name of the launcher, the icon that represents the launcher, and how the launcher runs.

To Add a Launcher to a Panel

You can add a launcher to a panel in one of the following ways:

  • From the panel popup menu

    To create a new launcher, right-click on any vacant space on the panel, then choose Add to Panel->Launcher. A Create Launcher dialog is displayed. For more information on how to complete this dialog, see the section called “To Create a Launcher With the Create Launcher Dialog”.

    Alternatively, to add an existing launcher to the panel, choose Add to Panel->Launcher from menu from the panel popup menu. Choose the launcher that you want to add from the menu.

  • From any menu

    To add a launcher to a panel from any menu, perform one of the following steps:

    • Open a menu that contains the launcher. Drag the launcher on to the panel.

    • Open the menu that contains the launcher from the panel where you want the launcher to reside. Right-click on the title of the launcher. Choose Add this launcher to panel.

  • From the file manager

    To add a launcher to a panel from the file manager, find the .desktop file for the launcher in your file system. To add the launcher drag the .desktop file to the panel.

To Create a Launcher With the Create Launcher Dialog

To create a launcher with the Create Launcher dialog perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click on any part of a panel to open the panel popup menu. Choose Add to Panel->Launcher to display the Create Launcher dialog. The dialog displays the Basic tabbed section.

  2. Enter the properties of the launcher in the dialog. The following table describes the dialog elements on the Basic tabbed section:

    Dialog Element

    Description

    Name

    Use this text box to specify the name of the launcher. You can use the Advanced tab to add translations of the name. This name is the name that appears when you add the launcher to a menu or to the desktop.

    Generic name

    Use this text box to specify the class of application to which the launcher belongs. For example, you might type Text Editor in this text box for a gedit launcher. You can use the Advanced tab to add translations of the generic name.

    Comment

    Use this text box to specify a short description of the launcher. The comment is displayed as a tooltip when you point to the launcher icon on the panel. You can use the Advanced tabbed section to add translations of the comment.

    Command

    Use this field to specify a command to execute when you click on the launcher. For sample commands, see the next section.

    Type

    Use this drop-down combination box to specify the type of launcher. Select from the following:

    • Application: Select this option to create a launcher that starts an application.

    • Link: Select this option to create a launcher that links to a URI.

    Icon

    Choose an icon to represent the launcher. To choose an icon, click on the No Icon button. An icon selector dialog is displayed. Choose an icon from the dialog. Alternatively, to choose an icon from another directory, click Browse. When you choose an icon, click OK.

    Run in terminal

    Select this option to run the application or command in a terminal window. Choose this option for an application or command that does not create a window in which to run.

  3. To set advanced properties for the launcher, click on the Advanced tab. The Launcher Properties dialog displays the Advanced tabbed section.

  4. Enter the advanced properties of the launcher in the dialog. The following table describes the dialog elements on the top part of the Advanced tabbed section:

    Dialog Element

    Description

    Try this before using

    Enter a command here to check before starting the launcher. If the command is executable and is in your path, the launcher appears on the panel.

    Documentation

    Enter the path to the help file for the launcher. If you enter a path in this field, a Help on launcher-name Application menu item is displayed on the popup menu for the launcher.

  5. You can also add a translation of the Name, Generic name, and Comment fields from the Basic tabbed section. To add a translation, enter the details of the translation in the Name/Comment translations table as follows:

    Field

    Description

    First field

    Enter the two-letter code for the language for which you want to add a translation.

    Second field

    Enter the translation of the Name of the launcher.

    Third field

    Enter the translation of the Generic name of the launcher.

    Fourth field

    Enter the translation for the Comment for the launcher.

    Then click on the Add/Set button.

    To edit a translation, select the translation. The translated text appears in the lower part of this dialog. Edit the fields as required, then click on the Add/Set button.

    To remove a translation, select the translation, then click on the Remove button.

  6. To create the launcher and close the Launcher Properties dialog, click OK.

Launcher Commands

The type of commands that you can enter in the Command field depend on the option that you choose from the Type drop-down combination box. If you choose Application from the Type drop-down combination box, you can enter a normal command. The following table shows some sample commands and the actions that the commands perform:

Sample Application Command

Action

gedit

Starts the gedit text editor application.

gedit /user123/loremipsum.txt

Opens the file /user123/loremipsum.txt in the gedit text editor application.

nautilus /user123/Projects

Opens the folder /user123/Projects in a file object window.

If you choose Link from the Type drop-down combination box, you can enter a link command. The following table shows some sample link commands and the actions that the commands perform:

Sample Link Command

Action

http://www.gnome.org

Opens the GNOME website in your default browser.

ftp://ftp.gnome.org

Opens the GNOME FTP site in your default browser.

applications:///

Opens the Applications location in a file manager window. Double-click on an application to start the application.

preferences:///

Opens the Desktop Preferences location in a file manager window. Double-click on a preference tool to start the preference tool.

To Modify the Properties of a Launcher

To modify the properties of a launcher perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the launcher to open the panel object popup menu.

  2. Choose Properties. Use the Launcher Properties dialog to modify the properties as required. For more information on the Launcher Properties dialog, see the section called “To Create a Launcher With the Create Launcher Dialog”.

  3. Click Close to close the Launcher Properties dialog.