The Panel

The panel stretches across the bottom of the desktop.

Figure 3-2. The Panel

The panel is very configurable. You can add and remove buttons that launch applications and applets, which will allow you to open them easily. Right-click on the panel and select Panel menu => Settings to open the KPanel Control Module. Go to the General tab for panel placement and appearance options.

Other tabs in the KPanel Control Module have options to further customize your panel. Click on Help for more information.

Applications and utilities can easily be added to the panel. To add an application to the panel, right-click on the panel and go to Add. Then select Button, Applet, or Extension and make your choice from the corresponding menu. Once your choice is highlighted, release the mouse button and the item will be added to the panel.

Multiple Desktops

By default, KDE provides four desktops on which you can spread your work. Each desktop can hold icons, open applications, and have individually customized backgrounds.

For example, while you are writing email on the first desktop, you can have Netscape Navigator running on desktop two, a word processor open on desktop three, and so on.

You can change the number and names of desktops available in KDE. To make these adjustments:

  1. Right-click on the desktop; you will see a limited menu of actions you can take.

  2. Select Configure Desktop; the KDE panel configuration tool will open.

  3. Click on the Number of Desktops tab (see Figure 3-3).

Figure 3-3. The Desktops Tab in the Panel Configuration

Now you can change the names of your desktops (from Desktop 1, Desktop 2, etc.) by deleting these default names and typing in any name you want in each desktop's corresponding text box (see Figure 3-3).

You can increase (or decrease) the number of desktops available to you by adjusting the slider at the top of the Desktops tab. For more desktops, drag the bar to the right; for fewer desktops, drag the bar to the left. The Desktop, Appearance, and Number of Desktops tabs are where you can make various desktop configuration selections, like icon arrangement and font size.

Buttons for your desktops appear on the panel in the Desktop Pager. Click on the buttons to move among your desktops. Alternately, you can use the Windowlist applet to navigate your desktops. If the Windowlist icon is not on your panel, you can add it by right-clicking on the panel and selecting Add => Windowlist.

TipSwitch Desktops Quickly

You can use the keyboard combination of the [Ctrl] and Function keys to switch desktops. For example, [Ctrl]-[F2] will switch you from desktop one to desktop two, [Ctrl]-[F3] will take you to desktop three.