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How to Customize the Xfce Desktop

 How to Customize your Xfce Desktop using Panels and Background Wallpaper

Xfce Panel Configuration

The Xfce desktop, despite it's lightweight footprint, allows a good deal of customization. In this article, we will look at the basic configuration of a new Xfce Panel as well as the Desktop wallpaper and icon fonts. The following screenshots are taken from the Xfce Desktop of Xubuntu 12.04 (-which uses Xfce version 4.8).


Customizing an Xfce Panel

Xfce Panel Configuration is, in many ways, similar to that of LXDE and KDE. In this section we will examine how to customize an existing panel.

You can edit an Xfce Panel by right-clicking over it and choosing the Panel Preferences option:

Xfce  Panel Preferences Option

A multi-tabbed dialogue box will open up. The default tab is labelled Display and allows you to alter things like the height/length of the panel and whether it is permanently visible or only appears when the mouse is moved over it:

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Display Tab

The Appearance tab allows you to specify the background colour, opacity and behaviour on mouse over/mouse out:

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Appearance Tab Changed

The Items tab allows you to specify and edit the icons and shortcuts that will appear in the panel. From here you can add, delete and change the order of icons within the panel:

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Items Tab

Double-click on an item to edit it- a new dialogue will open up, giving you access to high level configuration:

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Editing an Icon in the Panel

To add a new icon, click on the plus icon to display a scrollable list of applications. Select the desired application then click "Close":

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Adding a new Launcher

The new application should now be listed in the Launcher:

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Advanced Tab

If you double-click the launcher icon within this new dialogue, you will gain access to more detailed configuration parameters. Should you need to alter these, click the "Save" button to confirm the changes:

Xfce Panel Preferences Dialogue Box - Editing Launcher Properties

When you have configured the new Panel as desired, close any dialogue boxes via the Close button. You should now see any panel changes on the desktop:

Xfce Panel - Changes Applied


Adding a New Xfce Panel

You can edit an Xfce Panel by first right-clicking over it and choosing the Panel Preferences option:

Xfce Add Panel Preferences Option

From here, click on the plus icon Xfce Add Panel Icon to create a new panel:


Deleting an Xfce Panel

You can delete an Xfce Panel by first right-clicking over it and choosing the Panel Preferences option:

Xfce Delete this Panel Option

From here, click on the Xfce Delete Panel Icon icon to delete the panel.


Changing the Desktop Wallpaper

Xfce also allows you to change the Desktop Background (-or Wallpaper) by right-clicking the Desktop and selecting the Desktop Settings.. option. A dialogue box will display:

Xfce Desktop Preferences Dialogue

The default Background tab allows you to select an image file to use for the wallpaper (-in the image above it is xubuntu-precise-right.png) and to specify how that image is to be displayed - for example, by specifying the type of image, background fill, brightness and colour saturation to be applied to the image.

The Menus tab allows you to customize the desktop menu behaviour - what displays on middle and right mouse-click and how entries are displayed (icons or text).

The Icons tab allows you to specify the font type and size used to label icons on the desktop:

Xfce Desktop Preferences Dialogue

Once your changes have been made - click the "Close" button to apply changes to the desktop:

Xfce Desktop Wallpaper Applied


References and Further Reading:


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