The KDE 4 Panel consists of several areas with which you should familiarize yourself. Each of these areas provides you with specific functions that allow you to launch and manage applications and tools.
Some of the icons on the KDE Panel in Figure 1 are called “launchers” because they launch the application programs that they represent.
KDE Panel Main Components
As you can see in Figure 1, the KDE Panel contains multiple components. Each main component can be added or deleted from the panel along with individual application launchers, plasmoids and applets.
KDE Menu Icon
The KDE Menu Icon on the far left side of the KDE Panel is the starting point for launching programs, utilities and various folders and applets. Click on the KDE Menu Icon to open sub-menus from which you can launch programs. You can also add program launchers to the KDE Panel by right clicking on the icon representing the program, applet or folder and selecting “Add to Panel” from the pop-up context menu.
One of the neat features of KDE is multiple desktops. This feature of most Linux desktop environments, including Gnome and KDE allows you to have more than one simultaneous working desktop.
One reason for having multiple desktops is to reduce the clutter on any one desktop. I use multiple desktops when I am working on more than one project at a time with several windows open for each project. A single desktop can get very cluttered when one is working on multiple projects simultaneously so some option is needed to organize the programs, i.e., windows, for each project. Placing the program windows for each project on a separate desktop allows this type of organization.
The desktop pager allows switching easily between desktops. Simply click on the desktop you want to switch to. See the document Multiple Desktops for information on configuration of the Desktop Pager.
The KDE Task Bar shows each running program and allows switching between programs. Just click on the button that represents the program you want to work with and it is brought to the foreground. By clicking on the icon belonging to a program, i.e., a “task,” you can quickly switch to that task.
Multiple instances of the same program can be displayed separately or with a single button, and the task bar can also show all programs running on every desktop or only the ones for the current desktop. This depends upon how the Task Bar is configured.
The System Tray contains icons for applications or applets that conveys some important information or allows easy access to one o more controls. For example the System Tray in Figure 1 contains the Lock/Logout button and the clipboard. Other things you might see there are the volume control, the status of the wired and wireless network connections if you have Network Manager and other system monitoring applets.
The Configuration button allows you to configure the KDE Panel by moving objects around and by adding new applets or plasmoids.