Chapter 5. Tour of the Xfce desktop
One common reason for using the
desktop is to provide a feature-rich desktop environment for a desktop computer or a laptop with limited memory.
Figure 5.1. The Xfce desktop
desktop has three distinct areas. From top to bottom, the areas are:
the window list panel.
the desktop area.
the menu panel.
The layout and location of these items can be customized, but the term used for each of them remains the same.
The window list panel is located at the top of the screen. It features the
icon, displays the running applications as buttons, and gives access to the workplace switcher and the trash.
The desktop area is the large space between the two panels. The
icons are located in the top left corner of this area.
The menu panel is located at the bottom of the screen. On the left part of the panel it contains a number of default icons that start software applications and, on the right, also provides a clock, fast user switching, volume control applet and a notification area.
The following sections discuss the
menu panel, desktop area, and window list panel in further detail.
This panel contains a number of launchers for common software. To customize its appearance, right-click on the panel and select
contains all the programs.
contains the console.
is a generic text editor.
is a file manager program.
is a popular web browser.
right mouse click allows you to mute the sound and set your preferences.
allows you to switch to other desktops. Four are configured by default.
minimizes all open windows to show a clear work area.
is a generic clock that can be modified by right clicking on it.
is the button on which you click to log out, restart, and shutdown Xfce.
Right-clicking the clock on the right hand side of this panel provides access to a menu that allows you to:
Logging out of Xfce4 provides a way to switch the current username, this is located next to the clock.
5.1.2. The Xfce 4 desktop area
Before any additional icons are added to the desktop, the desktop area contains three icons by default:
– this contains all mounted volumes (or disks) on the computer; all of these are also available by clicking on the
menu and selecting
– this is where all files - such as music, movies and documents - belonging to the logged-in user are stored by default. There is a different home directory for each user and users cannot by default access each others' home directories.
– deleted files are moved here. Empty the
folder by right-clicking the Trash icon and clicking
Permanently deleting files
To permanently delete a file, and bypass the file's move to
, hold down the
key when deleting the file.
Right-clicking on the desktop presents a menu of actions related to the desktop area. For example, clicking on
Change Desktop Background
lets you choose a different image or photograph to display on the desktop.
5.1.3. The Xfce 4 window list panel
button consists of several components:
Open applications appear as button icons in the middle part of the window list panel.
The application window that has focus appears as a depressed button. Usually, this is the application whose window is on top of all others currently on the screen. To switch from one running application to another, click on the desired application's button in the window list.
Use the key combination AltTab to switch between open windows
Holding down the
key while you tap the
key allows you to cycle through all open applications.