Panels are the KDE equivalent of taskbars in Windows: A place for notification icons, menus, important icons, minimized windows, and clocks. However, KDE panels are much more, with controls for virtual desktops, and a selection of applets or small utilities to enhance functionality. As in GNOME, they can be positioned on any side of the desktop, with options to be hidden or always visible and always on top of either items on the desktop or not. You can add as many panels as you want to the desktop, too.
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If that weren't joy enough, besides the main panel, KDE offers 4 panel extensions -- really, alternate types of panels:
At a glance, you might conclude that you have no way of editing the KDE menu. In fact, it's hidden in the right-click menu of the main panel under Configure Panel -> Menus. From this window, you can choose from pre-defined sub-menus, or else add your own items to the desktop menu. You can also configure the menu to show any number of recently used or most frequently used items.
As in GNOME, the KDE panel includes a calendar that drops down when you click the data display. The calendar defaults to the current month with the current day highlighted. You can use the arrow keys at the top to change the month or year displayed. At the bottom of the display, the KDE version has two additional tools: one to display the month for an exact date, and another to change the display by the week of the year -- an option that might be useful in some businesses, depending on how they do their accounting.
Remember the multiple clipboard in MS Word? With KDE's Klipper, you can have the same functionality for your entire desktop. Better yet, you can not only save multiple items to the clipboard, but you can set the number of items it saves at one time, whether items are saved when you log out, and whether the clipboard opens by the mouse cursor or above the notification icon for the program. You can also define actions for regular expressions, so that Klipper will pass the copied material to a program to open it -- for example, you could set the regular expression ^mailto:. to open your mail browser. These features make Klipper so useful that why GNOME and other desktops don't have their own multiple clipboard is a minor mystery.Next page: KOffice, Plus: Looking Ahead KDE4