Howto: Set a background image for your panel

October 12, 2007 at 6:33 pm | Posted in tips and tricks, xubuntu | 18 Comments
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Just like in GNOME! …With a little bit more effort, of course.

So, why would somebody want a background image for their panel? Well, for one, a nice gradient image on the panel can really complete the feel of your desktop. For another, using a section of your wallpaper for a panel background can make your desktop feel more integrated.

For instance, here’s one of my panels with a background image the same as my wallpaper, to make it feel more like a dock:

My panel

One image I recommend using is the OSX menubar image. Scroll down and choose the image for your desktop resolution.

Sounds good? Let’s get started!

1) Rename the image that you want to background.ext (ext being the file extension. ex: png, jpg, etc.). Put the image in your home folder. (actually, you can name it whatever you want, but for consistency, we’ll leave it as background.ext. Make sure it’s in your home folder though!)

2) Open up the terminal (Xfce Menu > Accessories > Terminal), and create and edit a GTK configuration file:

touch ~/.gtkrc-2.0
mousepad ~/.gtkrc-2.0

3) Copy and paste in it the following:

style "panel"
bg_pixmap[NORMAL] = "background.ext"

widget_class "*Panel*" style "panel"
widget "*Panel*" style "panel"
class "*Panel*" style "panel"

(Again, .ext, of course, being the file extension).

4) Save the file and exit. You’ll have to log out and in again for the changes to take effect. If you don’t want to do that, run the following in the terminal:

killall xfce4-panel
xfce4-panel &

to complete the changes.

Have fun with your panel!

(Special thanks to crimesaucer at for this tip!)

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