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15.2. The Panel

The GNOME panel can contain several different types of objects. The most obvious are the buttons for the menu and application launchers. You also can use a button to open a drawer, which is like a subpanel containing additional launchers. There are a few special types of buttons used for logging out of the session and locking the screen. Finally, small programs called applets can be run on the panel. The Desk Guide and the clock are examples of panel applets.

Settings for the panel are found in the Panel menu on the main menu or by right-clicking on the panel. This menu offers options to add new launchers or applets to the panel; adjust the style, size, and display of the panel; or create new panels on the desktop.

15.2.1. Additional Panels

You can create more than one panel on your desktop. This is useful if you have different sets of applications used for specific but common tasks. For example, if you do a lot of work on graphics, you can dedicate a panel to launch your favorite graphics tools. To create a new panel, right-click on the default panel and select Add New Panel. Or from the main menu, select PanelAdd New Panel. There are five different types of panels available from the submenu:

edge panel

The style of the default panel. It stretches across one entire edge of the screen. Arrow buttons on each end of the panel are used to collapse the panel to the side of a screen. Clicking on the remaining visible arrow button of a collapsed panel will cause the panel to appear again in full.

aligned panel

A similar panel that is effectively anchored to one corner of the screen and extends just enough to fit the buttons and applets it contains. An aligned panel can be hidden by clicking the arrow button that is at the edge of the screen. The arrow button farthest from the edge will anchor an aligned panel on the opposite side of the screen.

sliding panel

Like an aligned panel except that it can be placed anywhere along the edge of the screen. It is not anchored to a corner.

floating panel

As you'd suspect, a panel that can be placed anywhere on the screen.

menu panel

A special type of panel that stretches along the top of the screen. It is a thin bar that contains drop-down menus for the Programs, Favorites, Settings, and Desktop menus found in the main menu.

All of the panels except the menu panel can be moved by middle-clicking (or clicking the left and right buttons simultaneously) and dragging the panel to another part of the screen where it can be placed.

Each panel can be configured individually from the Panel menu in its context (right-click) menu. Right-click and select PanelProperties. Here you can choose from several different menu options. The Type submenu changes the panel's type (although a menu panel cannot be changed to another type of panel). The Hiding Policy submenu has settings for Explicit Hide, where you click one of the arrow buttons to collapse the panel to the side of the screen; or Auto Hide, where the panel automatically reduces when not in use. The Hide Buttons submenu allows you to show or hide the arrow and hide buttons of a panel. The Size submenu sets the size of the panel from tiny to huge. The Background Type submenu lets you set the background of a panel to either a color or a pixmap image.

To access all of the panel's properties in one dialog, select All Properties from this menu. Global property settings are found in the GNOME Control Center. They are described later in this chapter.

15.2.2. Adding an Application Launcher to the Panel

One of the conveniences of the panel is creating launcher icons that allow you one-click access to frequently used applications. To add an application, right-click the panel and select Add New Launcher. You also can right-click on an application in the main menu and choose Add This Launcher to Panel.

In each case, the Create Launcher Applet dialog will appear. Provide a name for the application, a comment to be used as a tooltip, and the command used to open the application. Click on the icon button to select the image to be used for the button on the panel. If the application is to be run in a Terminal, click the Run in Terminal button.

The drag-and-drop functionality of GNOME allows you to place applications on the panel in a number of ways. For example, you can click on an application file in the file manager and drag it to the panel. This will open the Add New Launcher dialog and create a new launcher button on the panel. You also can drag a desktop icon to the panel.

You can configure a launcher's properties by right-clicking it and selecting Properties. This opens the Launcher Properties window, where you can change the name, comment, command, application type, and icon used for the launcher.

Launcher buttons can be placed in any position and order you want on the panel. To move a launcher button, right-click it and select Move. The mouse pointer will change, allowing you to drag the button to another position. Click to set the new position of the button.



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