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This page is designed to be a brief introduction to the main features of the Xfce desktop.

Installing and accessing Xfce

For details of how to install and log in to Xfce, please see Desktop environments.

Configuring Xfce

This is how your Xfce desktop will appear initially. Note that the main menu is on the left-hand side of the top panel. The following sections introduce some ways of changing the desktop to suit your preferences.


Desktop background

To begin with, you will have shortcut icons for Trash and your home folder on the desktop. If you access the computer's file system through the file manager or insert a removable medium such as a USB pen, icons for these will also appear on the desktop. Icons can be deleted by right-clicking on them and selecting Delete.

To change the appearance of the desktop, right-click anywhere on it and a menu will appear - select Desktop Settings. This will enable you to make changes to the wallpaper, menus and icons.


If you change the default wallpaper and later decide to restore it, it will no longer appear in the drop-down list but you will be able to find it in the folder /usr/share/mga/backgrounds.

Right-clicking on the desktop will also allow you to launch applications from the Applications sub-menu at the bottom:


If you wish, you can add an application launch icon to the desktop itself. From the desktop menu, select Create Launcher. This will bring up a small window with a number of text boxes. Start typing the name of the application in the top box, and after a few characters a suggestion should appear below that text box (see below left). Clicking on that will automatically fill in the other boxes that are needed (see below right) and you can then click the "Create" button and the icon for that application will appear on the left-hand side of the desktop.


You can add a desktop shortcut to a folder by right-clicking on it in Thunar file manager and selecting Send to > Desktop (Create link).

It is possible to move icons around the desktop by clicking and dragging them. If you right-click on the desktop and select "Arrange Desktop Icons", this will arrange them down the left-hand side of the screen again.


Panels can be configured by right-clicking on them, which brings up various menus and sub-menus.

To make changes to the panels themselves, select Panel > Panel Preferences:


This will bring up the following menu:


The Display tab gives you options for the position and size of the panel, or you can use the green plus sign and the red minus sign to add and remove panels. The Appearance tab enables you to change the panel background and opacity. The Items tab allows you to add, remove and re-arrange the icons on the panel:


If you have more than one panel, you will need to make sure you have selected the correct one. The currently selected panel will be shown with a red dotted line around it.

Separators are useful for organising the layout of icons on a panel. They can be edited by selecting them in the list and clicking the edit icon to the right of the list. In particular, separators can be expanded to create extra space between panel items.

Right-clicking on a panel item will bring up a menu for that item, allowing you for example to move it to another position or remove it altogether:


When you try to move a panel item, red vertical lines will indicate the positions to which you can move it. If you can't move it to the exact position you want, there may be an expanded separator in the way which will need to be removed or edited first.

Configuration tools

More configuration options are available from the main menu. The Settings section contains several sub-menus:


The Settings Manager sub-menu gives you further options: