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A panel is an area in the GNOME Desktop where you have access to certain actions and information, no matter what the state of your application windows. For example, in the default GNOME panels, you can launch applications, see the date and time, control the system sound volume, and more.

You can customize panels to your liking. You can change their behavior and appearance, and you can add or remove objects from your panels. You can create multiple panels, and choose different properties, objects, and backgrounds for each panel. You can also hide panels.

By default, the GNOME Desktop contains a panel at the top edge of the screen, and a panel at the bottom edge of the screen. The following sections describe these panels.

Top Edge Panel

By default, the top edge panel contains the following objects:


Your distribution of GNOME may have altered this default setup.

Menu Bar applet

The panel menubar contains the Applications, the Places, and the Desktop menu. For more on the menu bar, see Chapter 5, Panel Menubar.

Web Browser Launcher

Click on this launcher to open the web browser.

Notification Area applet

Displays icons from other applications that may require your attention, or that you may want to access without switching from your current application window. For more on this, see the section called “Notification Area Applet”.

Until an application adds an icon to the notification area, only a narrow bar is visible.

Clock applet

Clock shows the current time. Click on the time to open a small calendar. For more on this, see the Clock Applet Manual.

Volume Control applet

Volume Control enables you to control the volume of the speaker on your system. For more on this, see the Volume Control Manual.

Window Selector icon

Window Selector lists all your open windows. To give focus to a window, click on the window selector icon at the extreme right of the top edge panel, then select the window. For more on this, see the section called “Giving Focus to a Window”.

Bottom Edge Panel

By default, the bottom edge panel contains the following objects:


Your distribution of GNOME may have altered this default setup.

Show Desktop button

Click on this button to minimize all open windows and show the desktop.

Window List applet

Displays a button for each window that is open. Window List enables you to minimize and restore windows. For more on this, see the Window List manual.

Workspace Switcher applet

Enables you to switch between your workspaces. For more on workspaces, see the section called “Workspaces”.

Working With Panels
Desktop User Guide Next
Managing Panels

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