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Oracle Solaris 11 User's Guide for the GNOME Desktop     Oracle Solaris 11 Information Library
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Document Information


1.  Getting Started With the Desktop

2.  Using the Desktop Windows

3.  Using the Desktop Workspaces

4.  Using the Desktop Panels

5.  Using the Desktop Applications

6.  Using the Main Menubar

7.  Using the File Manager

8.  Using the Desktop Tools and Utilities

9.  Configuring the Desktop

About Preference Tools

Assistive Technologies

Keyboard Shortcuts

How to Add a Custom Shortcut

How to Edit a Keyboard Shortcut

Preferred Applications

Setting Look and Feel Preferences


Theme Preferences

Desktop Background Preferences

Font Preferences

Font Rendering

Visual Effects

Show Icons in Menus

Editable Menu Shortcut Keys

Toolbar Button Labels



Setting Internet and Network Preferences


Network Proxy

Remote Desktop

Setting Keyboard Preferences

Desktop Keyboard Preferences

Input Method Keyboard Preferences

How to Activate/Deactivate IM

Keyboard Preference Tool

Keyboard Preferences

Keyboard Layouts Preferences

Keyboard Layout Options

Keyboard Accessibility Preferences

Keyboard Accessibility Audio Feedback

Mouse Keys Preferences

Typing Break Preferences

Setting Hardware Preferences

Monitor Preference Tool

Sound Preference Tool

Sound Effects Preferences

Sound Input Preferences

Sound Output Preferences

Application Sound Preferences

Setting Session Preferences

Configuring Startup Applications

A.  Using the Mouse

B.  Using the Keyboard

Setting Look and Feel Preferences

This section explains how to use the Appearance preference tool to configure the desktop.


The Appearance preference tool enables you to configure various aspects of the desktop:

Theme Preferences

A theme is a group of coordinated settings that specifies the visual appearance of a part of the Oracle Solaris Desktop. You can choose themes to change the appearance of the Oracle Solaris Desktop. Use the Theme tab to select a theme. You can choose from a list of available themes, which includes several themes for users with accessibility requirements.

A theme contains settings in the Customize Theme window that affect different parts of the Oracle Solaris Desktop, as follows:

How to Create a Custom Theme

The themes that are listed in the Theme tab are different combinations of controls options, window frame options, and icon options. You can create a custom theme that uses different combinations of controls options, window frame options, and icon options.

  1. Choose System -> Preferences -> Appearance.

    Open the Theme tab.

  2. Select a theme in the list of themes.
  3. Click Customize.

    The Customize Theme dialog is displayed.

  4. Select the options that you want to use in the custom theme.

    For more information about the options, see Theme Preferences.

  5. Click Close to close the Customize Theme dialog.
  6. In the Appearance preferences tool, click Save As.

    The Save Theme As dialog is displayed.

  7. Type a name and a short description for the custom theme in the dialog, and then click Save.

    The custom theme now appears in your list of available themes.

How to Install a New Theme

You can add a theme to the list of available themes. The new theme must be an archive file, .tar.gz, that is tarred and zipped.

  1. Choose System -> Preferences -> Appearance.

    Open the Theme tab.

  2. Click Install.

    The File Chooser dialog is displayed.

  3. Type the location of the theme archive file in the location entry, or select the theme archive file in the file list. Click Open.
  4. Click Install to install the new theme.

How to Delete a Theme Option

You can delete controls options, window frame options, or icons options.

  1. Choose System -> Preferences -> Appearance.

    Open the Theme tab.

  2. Click Customize.

    The Customize Theme dialog is displayed.

  3. Click the tab for the type of option that you want to delete.
  4. Select the theme option you want to delete.
  5. Click Delete to delete the selected option.

    Note - You cannot delete system-wide theme options.

Desktop Background Preferences

The desktop background is the image or color that is applied to your desktop. You can open the Background tab in the Appearance preference tool by right-clicking on the desktop and choosing Change Desktop Background, as well as from the System -> Preferences menu.

You can customize the desktop background in the following ways:

Note - You can also drag a color or a pattern to the desktop from the Backgrounds and Emblems dialog in the file manager.

The following table lists the background preferences that you can modify.

Table 9-2 Desktop Background Preferences

Dialog Element
Desktop Background
Determines the desktop background. Choose an image from the list, or use the Add button to choose any image on your computer.
Specifies how to display the image:
  • Centered – Displays the image in the middle of the desktop, respecting the image's original size.

  • Fill Screen – Enlarges the image to cover the desktop, altering its proportions if needed.

  • Scaled – Enlarges the image until the image meets the screen edges, and maintains the proportions of the image.

  • Zoom – Enlarges the smaller dimension of the image until it meets the screen edges; the image might be cropped in the other dimension.

  • Tiled – Duplicates the original-sized image as often as necessary and prints the images next to another so they entirely cover the desktop.

Click Add to browse for an image on your computer. Choose the image you want and click Open.
Choose the image that you want to remove, and then click Remove. This removes the image from the list of available wallpapers; however, it does not delete the image from your computer.
To specify a color scheme, use the options in the Style drop-down list and the color selector buttons.

You can specify the following color schemes:

  • Solid Color specifies a single color for the desktop background.

    To choose the color, click Color and choose a color, and then click OK.

  • Horizontal gradient creates a gradient effect from the left screen edge to the right screen edge.

    Click Left Color and choose the color that you want to appear at the left edge.

    Click Right Color and choose the color that you want to appear at the right edge.

  • Vertical gradient creates a gradient effect from the top screen edge to the bottom screen edge.

    Click Top Color and choose the color that you want to appear at the top edge.

    Click Bottom Color and choose the color that you want to appear at the bottom edge.

Font Preferences

Use the Fonts tab in the Appearance preference tool to choose which fonts are used in different parts of the desktop, and the way in which fonts are displayed on the screen.

You can choose fonts for the following parts of the desktop:

How to Choose Fonts

The font selector button shows the name of the font and its point size. The name is also shown in bold, italic, or regular type.

  1. Choose System -> Preferences -> Appearance.
  2. Click the Fonts tab.
  3. Click Font Selector.

    The Font Picker dialog is displayed.

  4. Select the font family, style, and point size from the lists.

    The preview area shows your current choice.

  5. Click OK to accept the change and update the desktop.
Font Rendering

You can set the following options relating to how fonts are displayed on the screen:

Visual Effects

You can use the Interface tab in the Appearance preference tool to customize the appearance of menus, menubars, and toolbars for applications. As you make changes to the settings, the preview display in the window updates so you can see the changes if no application windows are currently open.

Show Icons in Menus

This option displays an icon beside items in application menus and the panel menu. Not all menu items have an icon.

Editable Menu Shortcut Keys

This option enables you to define new keyboard shortcuts for menu items. To change an application shortcut key, open the menu, and with the mouse pointer on the menu item you want to change, press the new combination of keys. To remove a shortcut key, press Backspace or Del.

Note - When using this feature, you will not be warned if assigning a new shortcut key to a command also removes it from another command.

You cannot restore the original, default keyboard shortcut for a command.

This feature does not maintain shortcuts that are common to all applications, such as Ctrl+C for Copy to avoid inconsistencies in your applications.

Toolbar Button Labels

The following Toolbar button labels specify what to display on the toolbars in your applications:


Use the Windows preference tool to customize window behavior for the Oracle Solaris Desktop.

The following table lists the windows preferences that you can modify.

Table 9-3 Windows Preferences

Dialog Element
Select windows when the mouse moves over them
Gives focus to a window when you point to the window. The window retains focus until you point to another window.
Raise selected windows after an interval
Raises windows a short time after the window receives focus.
Interval before raising
Specifies the interval to wait before raising a window that has received focus.
Double-click titlebar to perform this action
Determines the behavior that occurs when you double-click a window titlebar. Select one of the following options:
  • Maximize – Maximizes the window.

  • Maximize Vertically – Maximizes the window vertically without changing its width.

  • Maximize Horizontally – Maximizes the window horizontally without changing its height.

  • Minimize – Minimizes the window.

  • Roll up – Rolls up the window so that only the titlebar is displayed.

  • None – Does nothing.

If a window is already maximized or rolled up, double-clicking on the titlebar will return it to its normal state.

To move a window, press and hold this key then grab the window
Specifies the key to press and hold when you drag a window to move the window.

Note - You can modify the position of the Control, Alt, and Super keys on the keyboard in the Keyboard Layout Options dialog. For more information, see Keyboard Layout Options.


A screensaver displays moving images on your screen when your computer is not being used. Screensavers also help prevent older monitors from being damaged by the same image being displayed for long periods of time. To stop the screensaver and return to the desktop, move the mouse or press a key on the keyboard.

You can modify the following settings in the Screensaver preference tool: