From Fedora Project Wiki

This chapter introduces the Xfce desktop in Fedora. It is easier to explain how to use the desktop after explaining some of the common terminology used with the Xfce desktop.

The Xfce Desktop

One common reason for using the Xfce desktop is to provide a feature-rich desktop environment for a desktop computer or a laptop with limited memory.

If you wish, you can skip this section and go directly to the Tour of the GNOME Desktop or the Tour of the KDE Desktop The Xfce desktop has three distinct areas. From top to bottom, the areas are:

  • The window list panel
  • The desktop area
  • The menu panel

The layout and location of these items can be customized, but the term used for each of them remains the same.

The window list panel is located at the top of the screen. It features the Show Desktop icon, displays the running applications as buttons, and gives access to the workplace switcher and the trash.

The desktop area is the large space between the two panels. The Filesystem, Home Directory, and Trash icons are located in the top left corner of this area; users more familiar with Microsoft Windows may equate these icons to the My Computer, My Documents, and Recycle Bin respectively.

The menu panel is located at the bottom of the screen. On the left part of the panel it contains a number of default icons that start software applications and, on the right, also provides a clock, fast user switching, volume control applet and a notification area.

The following sections discuss the Xfce menu panel, desktop area, and window list panel in further detail.

The Xfce Menu Panel

File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop f8menupanelxfce.png

This panel contains a number of launchers for common software. To customize its appearance, right-click on the panel and select Properties.

File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop xfce4 xicon1.png Applications contains all the programs.
File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop gnome terminal.png Terminal contains the console.
File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop editor.png Mousepad is a generic text editor.
File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop filemanager.png Thunar is a file manager program.
File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop browser.png Firefox is a popular web browser.
File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop fastuserswitching.png Quit is the button on which you click to log out, restart, and shutdown Xfce.
File:Docs Drafts DesktopUserGuide XfceDesktop clock.png Clock is a generic clock that can be modified by right clicking on it.

Right-clicking the clock on the right hand side of this panel provides access to a menu that allows you to:

  • Change the clock's display to and from a 12 and 24 hour format.
  • Change to or from a digital clock style.

Logging out of Xfce provides a way to switch the current username, this is located next to the clock.

The Xfce Desktop Area

Before any additional icons are added to the desktop, the desktop area contains three icons by default:

  1. Filesystem - This contains all mounted volumes (or disks) on the computer; all of these are also available by clicking on the Applications menu and selecting Filesystem. Filesystem is equivalent to My Computer in Microsoft Windows.
  2. Home - This is where all files - such as music, movies and documents - belonging to the logged-in user are stored by default. There is a different home directory for each user and users cannot by default access each others' home directories. Home is equivalent to My Documents on Microsoft Windows.
  3. Trash - Deleted files are moved here. Empty the Trash folder by right-clicking the Trash icon and clicking Empty Trash.
Permanently deleting files
To permanently delete a file, and bypass the file's move to Trash, hold down the [Shift] key when deleting the file.

Right-clicking on the desktop presents a menu of actions related to the desktop area. For example, clicking on Change Desktop Background lets you choose a different image or photograph to display on the desktop.

The Xfce Window List Panel

The Applications button consists of several components:

  • Run Program...
  • The Terminal
  • The File Manager
  • The Web Browser
  • Settings
  • Program Type Headings
  • Help, About, and Quit buttons.

Open applications appear as button icons in the middle part of the window list panel; these are the open windows being listed.

The application window that has focus appears as a depressed button. Usually, this is the application whose window is on top of all others currently on the screen. To switch from one running application to another, click on the desired application's button in the window list.

Use the key combination [Alt] +[Tab] to switch between open windows.
Holding down the [Alt] key while you tap the [Tab] key allows you to cycle through all open applications.

The workspace switcher is situated on the far left and allows you to move between workspaces. Workspaces have long been a feature of UNIX and Linux desktop environments; each workspace provides a separate desktop where applications can be organized, each with its own desktop area and corresponding window list panel. By default there are four workspaces but you can change this number by right-clicking on the workspace switcher and choosing preferences.

Clicking on the show desktop button (pictured at left) minimizes all open windows and reveals the desktop area; a window can then be displayed by clicking on the minimized window's button in the window list panel. This action is useful when open applications' windows becomes cluttered.

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