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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.

To Select an Applet

Some restrictions apply on where you can click on an applet in order to display the panel object popup menu, or to move the applet, as follows:

  • Some applets have popup menus of applet-specific commands that open when you right-click on particular parts of the applet. For example, the Window List applet has a vertical handle on the left side, and buttons that represent your windows on the right side. To open the panel object popup menu for the Window List applet, you must right-click on the handle. If you right-click on a button on the right side, a popup menu for the button opens.

  • Some applets have areas that you cannot use to select the applet. For example, the Command Line applet has a field in which you enter commands. You cannot middle-click or right-click on this field to select the applet. Instead, middle-click or right-click on another part of the applet.

Adding an Object to a Panel

To add an object to a panel, perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click on a vacant space on a panel to open the panel popup menu.

  2. Choose Add to Panel.

    The Add to Panel dialog opens.The available panel objects are listed alphabetically, with launchers at the top.


    You can type a part of the name or description of an object in the find box. This will narrow the list to those objects that match what you type.

    To restore the full list, delete the text in the find box.

  3. Either drag an object from the list to a panel, or select an object from the list and click Add to add it at the spot on the panel where you first right-clicked.

You can add also add any item in the Applications menu to the panel: right-click the menu item and choose Add this launcher to panel.

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

Modifying 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 4.1, “Panel Object Popup Menu”.

    Figure 4.1. 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.

Moving 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.

Locking 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.

Removing 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.

Managing Panels
Desktop User Guide Next

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire