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

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Clipman

Clipman is a clipboard manager for XFCE. There is also a plugin for it that can be used to integrate it into the XFCE Panel.

To install Clipman and its panel plugin:

$ sudo apt install xfce4-clipman-plugin

I like to have Clipman plugin always around in my Panel. To do this, right-click on the Panel, choose Panel -> Add New Items and add Clipman.

Some of its settings that I configure:

  • Increase the number of copied items in history
  • Enable sync selections. This connects clipman to the default X11 clipboard. If not, only stuff you explicitly copy can be explicitly pasted. Middle-click to paste will not work as expected.
  • Choose to paste instantly on Shift + Insert. This means that when I click on an item in history list, it is directly pasted into my last focused application.

Tried with: Clipman 1.2.5-1 and Ubuntu 14.04

How to remove application menu from XFCE Panel

Problem

I switched from Unity to XFCE by installing Xubuntu. The indicator plugin area from the Panel in Unity also appears in the XFCE Panel. Whenever I opened Firefox, I noticed that its entire menu bar would appear in the middle of this indicator area!

Solution

The easy solution is to remove the indicator plugin area from the XFCE Panel. However, I have some Unity indicators that I need to be displayed in the XFCE Panel, like the Dropbox client for example.

A better solution is to remove the Application Menu indicator itself. This is what is used by Unity to display the menu bar of an application in the Unity Panel.

I do not need this on XFCE since it shows the menu bar in the application itself. Removing this indicator is easy:

$ sudo apt remove indicator-appmenu

Restart Ubuntu to get XFCE Panel in the correct state.

Tried with: XFCE 4.12 and Ubuntu 15.04

How to hide window title in XFCE

Problem

Coming from Unity, I find a lot of wastage in vertical screen estate in XFCE. One of the biggest offenses is to display the window title, even when the window is maximized. The application icon and its window title is on display in the Panel anyway!

Solution

Thankfully, XFCE 4.12 has a solution for this. (Older versions do not have this, sorry.)

Go to Settings -> Window Manager Tweaks -> Accessibility. Enable the option Hide title of window when maximized.

Tried with: XFCE 4.12 and Ubuntu 15.04

How to use Xubuntu in Ubuntu

XFCE is a great desktop environment that is fully supported and available with Ubuntu. Compared to Unity, it is lighter, its desktop and window UI layout is more traditional and is far most customizable.

If you are finding Unity to be slow and want to try something lighter, try Xubuntu! This is XFCE plus customizations to make it familiar to Unity users and a whole bunch of light applications that typically accompany XFCE.

  • Xubuntu can be installed easily:
$ sudo apt install xubuntu-desktop

Though it does not ask for it, make sure to restart after this finishes. This way you get a correctly initialized Xubuntu login manager.

  • After restart, you will be greeted by a Xubuntu login manager. Remember to pick Xubuntu session from the top dropdown before you login.

  • After logging into Xubuntu, you will notice the customizations it has over XFCE. For example, your startup applications and notification applications from Unity are carried over to Xubuntu.

  • In the login manager, there is a XFCE session too. This is raw XFCE without customizations from the Ubuntu team. If you login to this and login back to Xubuntu, you might find that the icon, window or color settings from XFCE session will persist in your Xubuntu session. Just a warning!

Tried with: XFCE 4.10 and Ubuntu 14.04

Items are left aligned in XFCE Panel

Problem

After removing or adding some items from the Panel in XFCE, you may notice that all the items have become left-aligned and collected on the left side of the Panel.

Solution

XFCE distributes the items on the panel in a left-to-right manner. To keep some items on the right side, you need to add an expandable separator between them. This is listed as Separator in the Panel Preferences. To make it expandable, click on the Separator item and then click the gear icon to edit its properties. Here you will find an option to make it expandable. Once you add an expandable separator, the items will be aligned to the left side of the Panel.

Tried with: XFCE 4.12 and Ubuntu 15.04

How to open Whisker Menu with Win key

Whisker Menu in XFCE is the equivalent of the Start menu in Windows. You get it by clicking the mouse icon in the top-left corner.

The default keyboard shortcut to activate this is Ctrl + Esc. For anyone who has used Windows or Unity before, this can be an irritating shortcut to remember. Why not just set this to the Win key?

That is easy. Go to Settings -> Keyboard -> Application Shortcuts. For the command xfce4-popup-whiskermenu, change it to the Win key. That is it!

Tried with: XFCE 4.12 and Ubuntu 15.04