I’m a big fan of elementary OS. Paraphrasing from their design philosophy, elementary OS offers a concise, simple interface that avoids configuration in an effort to get out of your way so that you can get things done. This is great, except when you want to configure something a little differently. Enter super-wingpanel. Super-wingpanel is a drop-in replacement for elementary’s standard top panel (called wingpanel). It adds a number of features that build on my previous work with wingpanel-slim. If you’re not convinced yet, I’ve included a list of the specific features super-wingpanel adds at the bottom of this post.
If you’re new to linux, installing and configuring super-wingpanel is a little bit more technical than some of the other modifications you can make to elementary OS. That said, I’ll do my best to walk you through it.
First we need to add the super-wingpanel PPA. PPA stands for Personal Packaged Archive. It allows people who are not a part of the elementary project to publish software in the software center. One of the major benefits of adding a PPA versus simply downloading an app from a website is that PPAs are integrated into elementary’s software update system. This makes it easy to ensure you always get the latest features. The super-wingpanel PPA can be added to your system by opening the Terminal application and entering the following command
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:heathbar/super-wingpanel
Next we need to install the app. This can be done through the software center, or since you already have the terminal open, the following commands will do the same thing.
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install super-wingpanel
Now that super-wingpanel is installed, we need to modify our system to use it instead of the standard wingpanel. The easiest way is by using elementary tweaks. If you haven’t installed this piece of software already, you definitely should. Installation instructions can be found here. Tweaks can be opened by launching the System Settings app and selecting Tweaks.
Once you have Tweaks open, click on the Cerbere tab on the left. Cerbere is the part of elementary OS that makes sure some of the important parts of the operating system are running. It watches the processes (programs) in the list and if for any reason they quit working, Cerbere will re-start them. You’ll notice wingpanel is listed. Double click to edit it and change it to super-wingpanel.
Finally, log out and log back in and you will be using super-wingpanel. Alternatively, if you’ve still got the Terminal app open, you can simply type:
killall wingpanel && super-wingpanel &
Unlike wingpanel-slim, super-wingpanel doesn’t have a convenient interface to modify its settings. At the time of this writing, if you want to modify super-wingpanel’s settings (which is why you installed it, right?), you’ll need to use dconf-editor. You can install dconf-tools from the software center or by entering the following command in the Termianal
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
Once dconf-editor is installed and open, navigate to org.pantheon.desktop.super-wingpanel by clicking the little triangles to expand each section
- launcher-text-override – don’t like the “Applications” nomenclature? This setting allows you to over write the text of the Applications button.
- indicator-order – want the sound menu on the far right? This setting allows you to modify how indicators are ordered.
- show-window-controls – when windows are maximized, the close and maximize button are displayed in the panel. This feature works best in conjunction with maximus.
- hide-mode – allows you to have the panel hide in various ways, including my favorite Intellislim: slim when you need it, not when you don’t.
- slim mode – This is the same as wingpanel-slim, but with more features. For the uninitiated, this setting allows the panel to shrink to the smallest possible width which allows windows to be displayed on the topmost part of your screen, ultimately making more room for your stuff
- slim-panel-edge – allows you to select the edge shape of the slim panel
- slim-panel-position – allows you to specify where you want the slim panel to be positioned
- slim-panel-margin – allows you to specify the number of pixels the panel stays from the edge of the screen in Elementary Left and Elementary Right modes to allow for non-standard window control configurations
- slim-panel-separate-launcher – allows you to choose whether the Applications button is a separate panel on the left, or if it is placed in the slim panel next to the date/time.