Thursday, January 29, 2009

Customizing the GNOME Panel - Adding Utility Buttons to the Panel

The GNOME Panel allows you to add a number of utility applets. Each of these has some specific function, such as tracking your stocks, telling you the weather, or performing some particular system-related function. To start out, let’s add a clearly useful utility to the top panel: the Force Quit button. The Force Quit button lets you quickly and easily deal with non-responding windows.

Yes, it does happen on occasion: A window suddenly refuses to do anything. Regardless of what you want it to do or what it is supposed to be doing, it just sits there as if it is on strike (maybe it is). With just one click of the Force Quit button, your cursor becomes a powerful surgical instrument that will kill the window you click. You definitely don’t want to be without this button, so here’s how to add it to the panel:

1. Right-click any open space on the top panel.

2. From the popup menu, select Add to Panel, after which the Add to Panel window will appear.

3. In that window, click Force Quit once to highlight it. Click the Add button, and then click Close to finish the job.

To reinforce what you’ve just learned how to do, let’s add another utility to the panel: the Run Application panel applet. Once you start installing applications in Ubuntu, you will find that some of those applications do not automatically install program launchers in your Applications menu. This means that you have to open a Terminal window and type a command every time you want to run such programs, which can get old rather fast. The Run Application panel applet is one way around this problem.

To add the Run Application applet to the panel, just follow the same steps you used in adding the Force Quit button; but this time in step 3, highlight Run Application in the Add Launcher window instead of Force Quit.

If you later decide not to keep the Run Application panel applet on the panel, or if you just prefer keyboard shortcuts to pointing and clicking, it is worth noting that you can also bring up the applet by pressing ALT-F2.

Source of Information : Ubuntu for Non-Geeks (2nd Ed)

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