The panel stretches across the bottom of the desktop. By default, it
contains the main menu icon and quick-launch icons for starting a Web
browser, email client, word processor, and other commonly used
Figure A-3. The Panel
The panel is highly configurable. You can add and remove buttons
that launch applications easily. Right-click on the panel and select
Configure Panel to open the panel
Settings. You can configure panel orientation and
size, set a panel hiding configuration (where the
panel remains hidden until you hover over the panel area), and
customize your main menu. Click Help at any time
to learn more about configuring your panel.
Figure A-4. Panel Settings
Other tabs in Settings contain options to
further customize your panel and taskbar. Click on
Help for more information on these options.
Applications and utilities can be added easily to the panel. To add
an application launcher to the panel, right-click on the panel and
choose Add. Then select Application
Button and make your choice from the menus.
A.4.1. Using The Main Menu
The Main Menu is the central point for using KDE. Clicking on
the Main Menu icon on the panel displays a
large master menu from which you can perform tasks such as launch
applications, find files, and configure your desktop. The main menu
also contains several submenus that organize applications and tools
into several categories, including
From the Main Menu, you can lock your screen,
which will display a password-protected screensaver. You can also run
applications from a command line as well as logout of your KDE
A.4.2. Using Applets
Applets are small applications that run on the panel. There are
several types of applets performing functions such as system monitoring,
time and date display, and launching applications by typing commands in
a text box.
There are some applets that run on the panel by default. This
section covers them in detail.
A.4.2.1. Working with Multiple Desktops
By default, KDE provides four desktops that you can use to
display multiple applications without having to crowd all of them
onto one desktop. Each desktop can hold icons, open applications,
and be individually customized.
For example, while you are writing a message in
Evolution on desktop one, you can have
Mozilla browsing the Web on desktop two,
the OpenOffice.org Writer word processor
open on desktop three, and so on.
You can change the number and names of desktops available in KDE
by making these adjustments:
Right-click on the desktop; you will see a brief menu of
actions you can choose.
Select Configure Desktop; the KDE desktop
configuration tool will open.
Click the Multiple Desktops icon (see
Figure A-5. Virtual Desktop Configuration
You can change the names of your desktops (from
Desktop 1, Desktop 2,
etc.) by deleting the default names and typing a new name in each
desktop's corresponding text box.
You can also change the number of desktops available to you by
adjusting the slider in the Number of
Desktops. For more desktops, drag the bar to the right;
for fewer desktops, drag the bar to the left.
Behavior, and Paths, and
Background icons are where you can make various
desktop configuration changes. For example, to customize each
virtual desktop to have different backgrounds, click the Background
icon, uncheck the Common Background checkbox,
click the virtual desktop you want to change, and choose the color or
image you want to make your background using the associated tabs.
Figure A-6. Desktop Background Configuration
After you make any adjustments to your desktop configuration,
click Apply to save the changes. Click
OK to close the desktop configuration tool.
Buttons for your desktops appear on the panel in the
Desktop Pager. Click on a tile to move to
a different desktop.
You can use the keyboard combination of the
[Ctrl] and Function keys to switch desktops. For
example, [Ctrl]-[F2] switches to desktop two,
takes you to desktop three, and so on.
A.4.2.2. Viewing The Taskbar
The taskbar displays all running applications, both minimized
and displayed, on all desktops.
Figure A-7. Applications on the Taskbar
You can maximize running applications or bring them to the front
of your working windows by clicking on the associated item on the
Another way to bring minimized or background windows to the
front is to use the [Alt] and [Tab]
keys. To pick an item from the taskbar, hold down both the
key. To scroll through the tasks, hold down the
[Alt] key, while tapping the [Tab]
key. When you have found the task you want to maximize and bring
to the front, release both keys and the application appears on the
A.4.3. Adding Icons and Applets to the Panel
To further customize the panel for your particular needs, you can
include additional launcher icons to start applications without using
the main menu or Start Here.
To add a new launcher to the panel, right-click the panel and
choose Add => Application
Button and choose the application or resource you wish
to add to the panel. This automatically adds an icon on the
panel. You can move the icon anywhere you want on the panel by
right-clicking the icon and choosing Move
Application Button, where
Application is the name of the
application associated with the icon.
A.4.4. Configuring the KDE Panel
You can hide the panel automatically or manually, place it on any edge
of your desktop, change its size and color, and change the way it
behaves. To alter the default panel settings, right-click the panel
and choose Configure Panel. The
Settings window will appear, allowing you to
adjust all panel settings, or any one of the specific properties
and so on). Choose the Hiding tab, click
Hide automatically, and adjust the number of
seconds to elapse before the panel is hidden. Click
Apply then OK to close
the Settings dialog. The panel will remain hidden
until you hover over the panel area to make it reappear.