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Customising Gnome Panels

Creating a New Panel

Note: this section does not apply to Gnome 3, as used by Fedora Linux or Ubuntu 11.04 onwards. It applies solely to the Ubuntu 10.x and previous versions of Gnome

The panels at the top and bottom of the Ubuntu Gnome GUI are customisable. In fact, you can even add new panels to the left and right of your screen if desired. To add a new panel, right click over an existing panel and choose “New Panel”:

New Panel Menu

The panels at the top and bottom of the Gnome GUI are customisable. In fact, you can even add new panels to the left and right of your screen ..

By default, this will appear in the next free space (-which will be on the right hand side if you have not added any other panels to the default setup). To change the position, you can right click over it and choose “Properties”:

Panel Properties

In the “Orientation” box you can change the position to Top/Bottom/Left/Right and change the appearance via several options:

Panel Position Dialogue


Adding Built-In Functions to a Panel

To add a task to the panel, right click over it and choose “Add to Panel...”:

Add to Panel

This will display a list of functions that you can scroll through and double-click (-or single click, then click the “Add” button) to add that function to the new panel. Take the time to scroll through the whole list of available functions: there are a huge number. You can also add your own scripts and applications to the panel using the "Find an item to add to the panel" link.

You can also add your own scripts and application to the panel ..

When you have added everything you require, simply click on the “Close” button

Pick Application to Add

You should now see the icons for the various functions you picked in the new panel – just click them to invoke their function:

Icon Added to Panel

However, Gnome would have just placed the icons into a default location: if you don't like their positioning, simply drag and drop (-i.e. click the icon, move the icon to the destination, then release the mouse button) them into the desired position in the panel:

.. if you don't like their positioning, simply drag and drop .. them into the desired position in the panel ..

Icon Moved within Panel


Adding User Shortcuts to a Panel

You can add any application that appears in the “Applications” menu to a taskbar simply by right clicking on it's menu entry and choosing “Add to Panel”. In the example below, we wish to add an icon to open a terminal window to my bottom panel by selecting:

Applications → Accessories → Terminal → (right click) Add this launcher to panel

Add Launcher to Panel

.By default, the icon will be added to the top panel but you can click drag it to any other panel or position within a panel

The icon should be added (-here, it's the rectangle to the right of the Firefox web browser icon):

Top Panel with Icon Added

By default, the icon will be added to the top panel but you can click drag it to any other panel or position within a panel.


Removing Functions from a Panel

If you wish to remove a function or icon from a panel, right click over the icon in question (-here it's the System Monitor) and choose “Remove from Panel”:

Remove Icon from Panel

Note: there is no confirmation message if you pick this option – it will just be removed. However, it is an easy matter to re-add it back it, using the instructions in the previous section.


Removing a Panel

To remove a panel, simply right click over it and choose “Delete this Panel”:

Delete  Panel

You will be asked to confirm your decision (-think very carefully about this – there is no easy Undo facility):

Confirm the Deletion

If you choose the “Delete” button, then the panel will be deleted; use the “Cancel” button if you are not absolutely sure that this is what you want to do.


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