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openSUSE 11.1 KDE Quick Start Guide
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Customizing Your Desktop

You can change the way your KDE desktop looks and behaves to suit your personal preferences.

Locking and Unlocking Desktop Objects

Desktop elements can be locked in their current position to prevent them from being moved around on the desktop. As long as the desktop elements are locked, you cannot add, move, or remove any objects to and from your desktop.

To lock or unlock the desktop elements, click the desktop toolbox at the upper right corner of the desktop and select Lock Widgets or Unlock Widgets.

Alternatively, right-click an empty patch on the desktop and select the respective menu items from the context menu.

Changing Individual Desktop Elements

In the following, find some examples of how to change individual desktops elements.

Adding Program Icons to the Desktop

To create a link to an application and place it on the desktop or the panel, proceed as follows:

  1. Click the main menu button and browse to the desired application.

  2. Right-click and select Add to Desktop from the context menu that appears. If these menu items are not available, your desktop elements are probably locked. Unlock them first as described in Locking and Unlocking Desktop Objects.

  3. To change the icon position on the desktop, left-click the icon and drag it to the desired place.

To delete an icon from your desktop, right-click the program icon and select Remove this Icon.

Adding Widgets to the Desktop

Widgets (or plasmoids) are small applications that can be integrated into your desktop or your panel.

  1. To add widgets to you desktop, right-click an empty patch on your desktop and select Add Widgets.

    If these menu items are not available, your desktop elements are probably locked. Unlock them first as described in Locking and Unlocking Desktop Objects.

  2. In the dialog box that appears, you can limit the selection of widgets that is shown with the drop-down list at the top.

  3. Select a widget and click Add Widget. The widget appears on your desktop.

  4. To position the widget on your desktop, left-click the widget and drag it to the desired place. To align all widgets to a grid, right-click an empty patch on the desktop and select Align Horizontally or Align Vertically.

To remove a widget from your desktop, right-click the widget and select the Remove... entry.

Configuring Widgets

In order to configure widgets, the desktop elements need to be unlocked as described in Locking and Unlocking Desktop Objects.

  1. To configure a widget, hover your mouse pointer over the widget until a translucent frame appears around the widget, showing a number of symbols.

    If the frame does not appear, your widgets are probably locked. Unlock them first as described in Locking and Unlocking Desktop Objects

  2. To change the widget size, left-click the star symbol in the frame and keep the mouse button pressed while moving your cursor across the desktop to scale the widget size.

  3. To rotate the widget in any direction, left-click the arrow symbol in the frame and keep the mouse button pressed while moving your cursor in a circle across the desktop. There is a sticky boundary in the horizontal and vertical positions where you can clamp the widget, if you like. Of course, you can also arrange it in any tilted position.

  4. To change the contents, settings, or properties of a widget, left-click the wrench symbol in the frame. In the configuration dialog box that appears, set the options according to your wishes.

Use the X symbol in the frame if you want to close the widget.

You can customize the KDE panel according to your preferences: Applications and widgets can be added to the quick launch area or the system tray in the main panel or in additional panels. Panel elements and additional panels can be moved to different places or be completely removed at any time.

  • Click on the desktop toolbox (lower right corner, half-round icon) to open the settings panel. If you cannot find the desktop toolbox, it is probably locked. Click on a widget and choose Unlock Widgets.

  • To move panel objects to a different place within the panel, hover the mouse over the respective widget. The mouse cursor turns into a crosslines-like form. When you click on the widget, you can move it to a different position. Click again to fix it at this place.

  • To change the overall appearance or behavior of the panel, click on the icons at the borders of the settings panel. The icons have the form of arrows and you can change the adjustment of the left and right side. If you click on one of these icons and drag them inside, the width of the panel is immediately changed.

The icons in the settings panel have the following meaning:

  • To place the panel on different sides of the screen use the Screen Edge button. Drag and drop it to the preferred place.

  • To change the height of the panel, click the Height button and move the mouse cursor to the end location.

  • If you need additional widgets on your panel, place them with the Add Widgets... button.

  • To prevent the panel and widgets from being moved accidentaly, use Lock Widgets.

  • To adjust additional configurations, use More Settings....

  • Close the settings panel with the red close button on the right side.

Changing the Desktop Background

You can change the background colors of your desktop or select a picture to use as the background.

  1. Right-click an empty patch of the desktop and select Configure Desktop. A configuration dialog appears.

  2. Choose from the Type drop-down list, if you want to use an Image, a Slide Show or None as background first.

    • For an image wallpaper, choose a default wallpaper from the Picture list. Download and install new wallpapers with Get New Wallpaper.... To use a custom picture, click the folder button beneath the list and select an image file from the file system. Define the Positioning of the image.

    • To have multiple images appear in a Slide Show mode, define the directory from which to select the pictures and set the interval after which to change the images.

    • If you do not want an image or slide show, you can set a Color as desktop background.

  3. Set the other options in the configuration dialog according to your wishes and click OK to save your changes and leave the configuration dialog.

Modifying Personal Settings

Apart from changing individual desktop elements, KDE allows you to personalize your desktop to a very high degree. Possibilities to adjust the overall appearance and behavior of your desktop can be found in the Personal Settings configuration dialog.

Start the Personal Settings from the main menu by selecting Favorites > Configure Desktop .

The General and Advanced tabs provide different categories of settings. To get an impression of the numerous possibilities, just click a category icon and explore the possibilities provided there. Performing tasks in some areas of the control center requires system administrator (root) permissions.

Change the settings as desired. No changes take effect until you click Apply. To discard changes in the recent view that you have not yet applied, click Reset. To reset all items in the recent view to the default values, click Defaults.

To get back to the start-up view showing all categories again, click Overview. You can also enter a search string at the top of the window (for example, Screen Saver) to find the category which holds options related to the search string. Each character you enter in the Search field narrows down the search.

openSUSE 11.1 KDE Quick Start Guide
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  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire