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Linux tips and tweaks

Hide the top and bottom panels for more screen space

Windows has a taskbar in which it displays the applications that are running and windows that are open. The Mac has a Dock that does a similar job and Linux has panels.

Linux panels are more like the taskbar than the Dock and they both have broadly similar functions, but panels that look like the Mac's Dock are available for Linux too.

Just as the Windows taskbar and OS X Dock can be automatically hidden when they are not actually being used, so can Linux panels. Ubuntu has two panels - one at the top of the screen and one at the bottom, and on a small screen like a laptop or netbook, they take up far too much vaulable screen space.

You should set them to auto-hide so they disappear when they are not bing used. Then there's more space for your application windows.

You can hide one or both panels and the choice is yours. Right click the bottom panel and select Properties from the menu that is displayed. On the General tab, tick the Autohide option. Click Close and you'll see the bottom panel slide off the screen. Move the mouse pointer down to the bottom of the screen and it reappears, so it's there when you want it and it hides when it's not needed.

An alternative to this is to tick the Show hide buttons option. Also tick Arrows on hide buttons. What this does is to put an arrow at each end of the panel. Click the left arrow and the panel slides off left, click the right button and it slides off right. Whether you use the auto or manual hide options is up to you. Either way you'll get more screen space.

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