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Switching Virtual Desktops

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Klaas Westrik

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Posted: 10 Mar 2005


Switching virtual desktops, can be done much faster when using the wheel button on the desktop. But what to do about the desktop not being complete full when having a full screen application?


Create a pager on the right of the screen, in such a way that there is a border on the right when a window is maximized. If scrolling on the desktop is enabled, there now is room enough to do the fast switching of virtual desktops.

  1. Right-click on an empty place in the Main Panel and choose Add - Panel - Child Panel.
  2. Drag the new Child Panel around by holding the left mouse button down and move it to the right side of the screen (or where you like it).
  3. Then move the Main Panel to the left and back to the place where it was before, this way the size of the Main Panel will get the same size as it was before; the last panel that is moved, will move other panels a little away to get more space. You can see this after dropping down a pager.
  4. You can add a Window List by right-clicking on the Child Panel and then choose Add - Special Button - Window list. A Window List can be very handy when you have 4 or more virtual desktop and lost a window or if you just want to active it by a few mouse clicks.
  5. You can also add a Pager Applet on your Child Panel; right-click again on the Child Panel, and now choose Add - Applet - Pager.
  6. Now we need to resize the Child Panel. Do this by right-clicking on the Child panel, then choose Configure Panel and set Length to 1%. You can also change the width here and make it for example Tiny or Small.
  7. To improve it a little more, click in the Configure Panel screen on Hiding and disable the Top Panel-Hiding button.
  8. Now we need to enable the mouse wheel on the desktop (if you haven't done this already). Right-click on the Pager, choose Configure Virutal Desktops and in the Configure Multiple Desktops menu, you can select 'Mouse wheel over desktop background switches desktop'. You also can remove your other pager now, because you will probably have 2 pagers (1 in the new Child Panel and 1 in your Main Panel.)
  9. In this example you've added both a Window List and a Pager, but you can put here whatever you like, because the idea is to reserve some space at a border of you screen, so you can still see the desktop when you have maximized your windows. Because you have enabled wheeling on the desktop, you can use your wheel in this space to switch virtual desktops.
  10. Remember that you can make windows sticky. Some KDE skins give you an extra button that can set the sticky state by just one click.


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