The Panel stretches across the bottom of the desktop. By default, it contains the Main Menu icon (the big Red Fedora) and quick-launch icons for logging out, opening a terminal window, and other common applications and utilities.
Figure B-3. The KDE Panel
The Panel is highly configurable. You can add and remove buttons that launch applications easily. To do so, right-click on the Panel and choose Panel > Configuration to open the Panel Settings.
Other tabs in Settings contain options to further customize your Panel. Click Help for more information on these options.
Applications and utilities can be added easily to the Panel. To add an application to the Panel, right-click on the Panel and choose Panel > Add. Then select Button, Applet, Extension, or Special Button, and make your choice from the corresponding menus.
The Main Menu is the central point for using KDE. Clicking the Main Menu button on the Panel displays a large master menu from which you can perform tasks such as launching applications, finding files, and configuring your desktop. The Main Menu also contains several submenus that organize applications and tools into several categories, including Extras, Graphics, Internet, and Games.
From the Main Menu, you can also lock your screen (which will display a password-protected screensaver), run applications from a command line, and log out of your KDE session.
Applets are small applications that run on the Panel. There are several types of applets that perform functions such as system/network monitoring, launching applications by typing commands in a text box, and even checking the local weather.
There are some applets that run on the Panel by default. The following sections cover those default applets in detail.
By default, KDE provides four desktops (sometimes called workspaces) that you can use to display multiple applications without having to crowd all of them onto one desktop. Each desktop can hold icons, open applications, and even have individually customized backgrounds.
For example, while you are writing a message in KMail on Desktop 1, you can have Konqueror browsing the Web on Desktop 2, the KWord word processor open on Desktop 3, and so on.
You can change the number and names of desktops available in KDE by following these steps:
Right-click on the desktop; you will see a brief menu of actions you can take.
Select Configure Desktop; the KDE Panel configuration tool will open.
Click the Number of Desktops tab.
Figure B-4. The Number of Desktops Tab in the Panel Configuration
You can change the names of your desktops (from Desktop 1, Desktop 2, etc.) by deleting the default names and typing a new name in each desktop's corresponding text box. You can also change 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 Borders tabs are where you can make various desktop configuration selections, like icon arrangement and font size.
After you make any adjustments to your desktop configuration, click Apply to save the changes and close the Panel configuration tool.
Buttons for your desktops appear on the panel in the Desktop Pager. Simply click on the tiles to move to a different desktop.
You can use the keyboard combination of the Ctrl and Function keys to switch desktops. For example, Ctrl-F2 will switch you from Desktop 1 to Desktop 2, Ctrl-F3 will take you to Desktop 3, and so on.
The taskbar displays all running applications — both minimized and on the desktop.
Figure B-5. Applications on the Taskbar
You can maximize running applications or bring them to the front of your working windows by clicking on the associated item on the taskbar.
Another way to bring minimized or background windows to the front is to use the Alt and Tab keys. To pick an item from the taskbar, hold down Alt-Tab. To scroll through the tasks, hold down the Alt key, while pressing the Tab key in succession. When you have found the task you want to maximize and bring to the front, release both keys.
To further customize the Panel for your particular needs, you can include additional applets and icons (launchers).
To add an applet to the panel, click the Main Menu button and choose Configure Panel > Add > Applet. Choose the applet you want from the menu and it will immediately appear on the Panel. You can move the applet by clicking on the applet bar and choosing Move from the menu.
To add a new launcher to the Panel, click the Main Menu button and choose Configure Panel > Add > Button and choose the application or resource you wish to add to the Panel. This will automatically add an icon to the Panel.
You can hide the panel automatically or manually, place it on any edge of your desktop, change its size and color, and change the way it behaves. To alter the default Panel settings, click the Main Menu button and choose Configure Panel > Preferences. The Settings window will appear, allowing you to adjust all Panel settings, or any one of the specific properties (Position, Hiding, Look & Feel, Menus, and so on).