Orage Panel Clock

Since all the displays are widescreen now, I like to utilize all the available vertical space for my apps. So, I keep the XFCE Panel on the left side in a vertical orientation. This worked great for everything, except the panel clock. The width of the Panel was too less for the clock to show time in digital mode. And in analog mode, the hour hand of the clock is quite confusing to read.

I was wallowing in this situation until I discovered the Orage Panel Clock. This XFCE Panel plugin can be added just like any other Panel plugin.

Installing Orage is easy:

$ sudo apt install orage

After this it will appear in the Panel plugins list, so can be added just like any other plugin.

Features I love about the Orage plugin clock:

  • The digital display can be rotated 90 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise. This is perfect if your Panel is vertical.
  • The foreground and background colors and font and font size of the display can be configured.
  • Multiple lines of clock display can be configured. For example, Line 1 can be the hour and Line 2 can be the minutes.
  • Tooltip when mouse is hovered over clock can be configured to show anything you want.
  • Clicking the clock shows the Orage calendar.

Tried with: Orage 4.12.1 and Ubuntu 14.04

The disappearing clock in the Panel


I restarted Ubuntu. After the restart and logging in I discover that the Clock in the Panel is missing! I check and see that the package indicator-datetime is still installed. I open System Settings and go to Time and Date and see that everything in the Clock tab is disabled, so I cannot change it.


This is a bug in Unity as described here. It is supposedly happening due to a configuration value being reset after packages are upgraded.

Anyway, the only solution that works right now is to kill and restart the Panel service:

$ killall unity-panel-service

This worked for me and my clock was back in the Panel! 🙂

Tried with: Ubuntu 14.04

Windows 7: Hiding the Clock

I try to keep my Windows 7 desktop as minimal as possible. One of the desktop elements I find unnecessary is the Clock which shows the time and date in the Notification area of the Taskbar. I check the time or date a few times in a day, but the clock sits in the Taskbar all day occupying a piece of the desktop and also a slice of my attention.

Hiding the Clock

Unlike normal icons in the Notification area, the Clock cannot be hidden so that it is still there, and can be seen by clicking to see the complete Notification area. The Clock is a System Icon that can be either on or completely hidden.

To hide the Clock, right-click on the Clock and choose Properties. This displays the Turn system icons on or off dialog. Choose Clock, choose Off and press OK. The clock is now gone from the Taskbar.

Checking Time or Date

You will need to check the time or date sometimes during the day. You can do that by invoking the Date and Time properties dialog. The most intuitive way to invoke it is to press the Win key and type Date, choose Date and Time and press Enter.

Another alternative is to create a shortcut for it and assign it a keyboard shortcut like Ctrl+Alt+d. The command to invoke this dialog is:

RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL timedate.cpl

The only limitation of hiding the Clock is that the calendar cannot be seen. I wish there was a shortcut to invoke that too.

How to change the date and time format of clock in panel of Ubuntu


The Clock on the Panel in Ubuntu displays the time. You can enable it to display the date and day of the week by changing its settings. It displays this information in this format:

Fri Apr 2 02:10 PM

I prefer the following format for date and time display:

2010-04-02 Fri 14:10

The date and time format can be changed to anything that you are comfortable with.

Ubuntu 12.04 and later

Changing date-time format in Ubuntu
Changing date-time format in Ubuntu

Here is how to change the date and time format of the panel clock to your liking:

  1. Install the package dconf-tools from the Ubuntu repositories. This installs the dconf-editor which is needed for changing the configuration.

  2. Open dconf editor from the Dash or dconf-editor from the shell. In the editor, navigate to com.canonical.indicator.datetime.

  3. Change the time-format field to custom.

  4. In the custom-time-format field, change the value to the desired format. The format can include both the date and time specifiers. This format uses the same specifiers as that of the C standard library function strftime().

To change to my desired format, I use:

%Y-%m-%d %a %H:%M
2010-04-02 Fri 14:10

The changes should take effect immediately and the date-time should change in the panel.

Tried with: Ubuntu 12.04 and Ubuntu 14.04

Ubuntu 10.04 and older

Use gconf-editor. Navigate to /apps/panel/applets/clock_screen0/prefs. Change format field to the string custom. Change the custom_format field as described above.