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Linux hints and tips

Mint: Shrink the menu, use the sidepane

The menu in Linux Mint is quite large and you might find it a bit cumbersome to navigate because it stretches across the screen. If you are using Mint on a small screen, such as a netbook, you even might find that it goes off the screen. There is a solution though and it's thanks to Linux's highly configurable interface.

Right click the Menu button in the bottom left corner of the screen and select Preferences from the menu that is displayed. Select the Options tab and then tick Show sidepane. Click Close and then take a look at the menu. You will see a new narrow strip on the left of the menu. It doesn't appear to do anything, but it's a sort of storage area for menu sections.

Click the Places heading and you'll see that it is removed from the menu and a Places icon appears in the sidepane instead. Now click the System heading on the menu and it is also removed and stored as an icon in the sidepane. The menu is now much more compact and you simply have access to your applications.

You might want to keep it like this most of the time when you are working, but if you need the items in the Places or System menu sections, just click the icon in the sidepane and they are put back on the menu.

Mint: Add recent documents to the menu

Linux Mint menu optionsThe menu is pretty big, but you can make it even bigger! A new panel can be added to the right side of the menu that contains your most recently accessed documents. It makes it easy to continue working on files you have opened previously. And if you combine this feature with the previous tip to shrink the menu, it stops the menu from filling the screen when it is open.

Right click the Menu button in the bottom left corner of the screen and select Preferences from the menu that is displayed. Select the Options tab and then tick Show recent documents. Click Close and then take a look at the menu. You'll see the recent documents panel on the right. You might need to open and close a few files before you see any documents in it, but once it's been working for a while you'll find that it is full of recently used items. Just click an item to reopen it.

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