Vertical Panels
by SimonB 58

A change to allow vertical panels has been added, and is lined up for the next release of Cinnamon.

We have added the ability to have panels at the side of your screen in exactly the same way as you can currently have them at bottom and top.  There are some enforced differences, because there is only room to have an icon in a vertical panel. Any text that normally displays along with the applet icon cannot be shown, as it just won’t fit.  Just about everything else you are used to looks and behaves as it does in Cinnamon 3.0 now.

The overall effect is simple, elegant and modern.  Here’s an example screenshot:

Vertical Panels Screenshot

In this case in the left panel the menu and ‘show desktop’ applet have been placed at the top, panel launchers to the centre, and a selection of standard applets to the bottom.  On the right panel the calendar applet is to the top showing the current time [21:33] with the workspace switcher below, the centre has the window list showing icons for each running window, and the system tray is at the bottom. The theme used is Mint-Y.

Panels can be moved freely to another orientation if wanted, and the panel edit facility can be used to move applets around within or between panels.

Horizontal and vertical panels can be mixed if that’s your preference.  Here is a screenshot of a horizontal and vertical panel used together.

Mixed vertical and horizontal panels

The ability to use more advanced features such as panel hiding, panels on multiple monitors, and mouse pointer barriers are all there. The right click panel menu and applet menus work as you are used to, as does tooltip help on hover and window preview when hovering over a window list item. We’ve tried to keep everything as similar to what you are used to as possible.

At the moment fixed display formats are in place for the calendar and workspace switcher in a vertical panel so we can be sure the applet will always look sensible.  3rd party applets that we cannot guarantee will fit in the panel are detected, and we’ve designed a mechanism for their authors to declare them suitable for both horizontal and vertical orientations.

We’ve also added a new facility for theme designers to offset the ends of the panel away from the edges of the screen, for those who might prefer this.

There are a few technical things that applet authors and theme designers will want to be aware of. These are described in the main pull request for the change which can be found here https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/pull/4996

Quite a number of the development team have been involved in this, contributing design ideas, code fragments, and reviewing and testing. It’s been over a year in development, and it’s been quite a learning experience for me, as a relative newcomer.  It takes a while to work out how the Cinnamon components fit together, and there are Javascript, Python and C programs all involved. I’d like to thank all those who have made this happen, and particularly JosephM for his support and for giving the code a little bit of love at key stages.

It’s great to have been involved in making this frequently requested feature happen.

We hope that you will enjoy the new panel styles !

58 thoughts on “Vertical Panels

  1. Reply Muntasim-Ul Haque Sep 30,2016 09:43

    Hi,
    It’s great that Cinnamon has the vertical panel. There’s one problem though; the volume icon, nm-applet icon, battery indicator, etc. could be made smaller compared to the applications icons. Windows 7 vertical panel got this right! No Linux desktop environment has got this right as of yet!
    The indicator icons shouldn’t be the same size as the applications icons. The show desktop also should be of smaller size. Please consider this for better usability. Thanks.

  2. Reply Raphael Valdez Sep 30,2016 11:25

    Cool, I think this is a big step for cinnamon, especialy for me who wants more of the interfaces .

  3. Reply Crewp Sep 30,2016 11:27

    Nice ! :)

  4. Reply KDB Sep 30,2016 12:21

    Congrats! Good work! This is an amazing change!

  5. Reply Donne Sep 30,2016 12:29

    This is first, very, VERY badly and very, VERY ugly implemented feature in Linux Mint as far as I can remember. Idea good, implementation bad.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am all in for every single feature, option or toggle possible, but this will destroy barely achieved UI consistency as it is, if implemented in current sate (screenshots).
    Please think about it more before you guys implement it for good.
    For example:
    Make icon smaller for example, make option to widen/tighten (any)panel by mouse drag while icons wont get bigger (really?) but stay in same proportion but they put in some sensible order them selves.

    Drag panel by mouse from border to border while it order all its items corresponding with position in which panel ends up keeping any user modification.

    Split visually System icons (right side) from app tray icons (less right side). Don’t mix them. Keep this while system and tray icons reorder based on current width of panel.

    If someone would stand something like we can see on second image it must be visually consistent not just place one panel “as it is” into another panel “as it is” without any design adjustment what so ever.

    I know I don’t have to use this feature at all but I use Linux Mint partially because I know everything is finished and done (UI). As I live “IN” my computer 10 hours a day it would tear me a part after while knowing I have un-solid/unfinished/un-tuned system over a degree I can accept under my fingers. Mint/Cinnamon has quite a number “Unfinished businesses” as it is, please don’t add another one.

    As an example I just mention situation when you insert USB key into computer and right click it in Nemo. There is no “Format drive” option. Soooooooo, SOOOOOOOO totally obviously should be there. So totally not there… And bunch of such unconcluded parts all over Cinnamon desktop.

    Over all in Linux world, I like Mint very much obviously, but it has its problems which probably should be addressed before next cool feature is put in place :)

    2cents by Donne

    • Reply Muntasim-Ul Haque Sep 30,2016 14:59

      I second this!

      • Reply KDB Sep 30,2016 17:06

        Have you already tried it to say it’s crap?
        If not, then how is it possible to already have a judgment?

        How is it possible to be so negative about people work? If you don’t want to use it, simply don’t use it. But it doesn’t impact you if it’s here. So why are you complaining?

        “Talk is cheap. Show the code”. Torvald.

      • Reply lestcape Oct 1,2016 19:05

        I really disagree, with the comment…
        1- Vertical panels and how applets are displayed in vertical panels are not the same things.
        2- The user preferences and what it’s a desktop, it’s not the same thing.
        3- The initial commit to organize in a hight level the desktop and the final result are not the same thing.
        4- Any better or also worst idea of any user are heard by the Mint team, so if there are a better idea of how the applet need to be placed please say it, provide examples and sure will be taking on accound.
        5- A desktop is an effort of different individual efforts, so an effort in one direction, not mean carelessness of the other directions.
        6- In the screen shot please see that applets are not displayed “as it is” into another panel “as it is” please go to the optometrist if you do not see it.

    • Reply thobin Oct 2,2016 01:45

      Umm how can you tell from the picture it’s going to be bad? Any choice is good if you don’t like it don’t use it.

  6. Reply linuxscoop Sep 30,2016 13:03

    Look like Unity Launcher. but, I like this

  7. Reply luca Sep 30,2016 13:15

    If this is an option OK, if it’s default for me it’s crap. I changed Ubuntu for Linux mint for this reason. I hate unity

    • Reply clem Sep 30,2016 14:44

      Why would it be default? It’s additional support in the panels. This is good news for people who want it and it’s not bad news for people who don’t. You really don’t need to “hate” things and to sound so negative.

      • Reply Jdub Oct 1,2016 02:55

        First comment ever. I agree Clem, simply an option for whomever wants to use it. I have converted others to mint, namely my wife, based on your work on Mint. I know you get many negatives but I want to thank you for the work that you and your team put into making Mint a great distro.

      • Reply Aspire89 Nov 11,2016 13:36

        Hello dear developers, I have to you have a small request, you can realizat feature of Windows 7, it is called Aero Shake
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DgaGwle7mg

      • Reply Aspire89 Jan 19,2017 08:55

        Again Hello, dear developers, from me to you, there is one very important request, add please function, location of labels on the grid on the desktop, and then at me, and not only me, but many other users there is a Problem, for example, when you come out of some games, you see how labels bump against each other on the desktop, many such disgrace is very annoying, I ask you to correct this shortcoming

    • Reply Samuel Tiago Sep 30,2016 18:36

      Luca,

      Igual o eu, odiei o Unity nossa, eu gostava de Ubuntu antes de Unity, nossa mas respeito gosto de pessoa então é o mesmo motivo sai do Ubuntu para desde Linux Mint 16 neste momento estou usado o Linux Mint 18.

  8. Reply Anand Sep 30,2016 14:09

    Brilliant, this has been a much awaited feature and can’t wait to give it a shot! Waiting for Alpha builds :)

  9. Reply Anand Sep 30,2016 15:28

    Also, would love to see Panel resize by simple dragging of mouse in Edit mode.

  10. Reply Carlos Fontes Sep 30,2016 17:20

    I’ve been testing vertical panels for some time now (from Cinnamon github) and I find it great. I’ts working very nicely so far. Thank you very much for this very useful new feature!

    • Reply JosephM Sep 30,2016 17:46

      There is still polishing going on. As they get more use and we get more constructive feedback they will continue to improve.

  11. Reply Herr Dierk Sep 30,2016 18:46

    Another step forward ! And another choice for the people who uses this great distro.

  12. Reply Omar Sep 30,2016 19:17

    Is a goods options by ultra-wide screen monitors

  13. Reply Felix Sep 30,2016 21:53

    Looks nice. I like it.

    PS: The haters will always hate.

  14. Reply byebyexp Oct 1,2016 00:21

    Vertical panels in cinnamon? Brilliant idea, imho! Fwiw … I’ve been using xfce’s vertical+deskbar type panel for these past 2+ years. What i find VERY useful is the option to have multiple rows of buttons, and that even a multi-rowed panel resizes itself to accommodate the pixelw-width of its buttons, ie scaling from 36 pxels to 42. Hopefully, you’ll be able to do the same in cinnamon. Until then, i’ll have to stick with LM-xfce. Overall — kudos and a BIG thankyou to the team!

  15. Reply JosephM Oct 1,2016 07:20

    For those of you that don’t want to use vertical panels, this doesn’t effect you. You can just keep using Cinnamon as you always have. The time and effort was put into them because support for these types of panel layouts was one of our most requested features.

  16. Reply I2k4 Oct 1,2016 15:42

    Interesting for me, though not a priority. I’ll keep the bottom panel, but could be interested in adding a left-side panel assuming “Auto-hide” will work for it. I don’t like the interaction of auto-hide on a top panel with software, so haven’t thought about using a second.

  17. Reply Carlos Oct 1,2016 16:41

    Clem: I am a user of mint for years and I think the menu icons nesecitan be larger. because if large screens are used to distinguish distance costs saw an article where you referred to a new disposition of hope menu is included in 18.1.
    I also wanted to comment that cinnamon is incompatible with AMD drivers Crimson 16.04 graphical environment simply breaks after installation

  18. Reply sola Oct 1,2016 17:42

    Thanks for the great work on Cinnamon and Linux Mint, I am a happy user.

    I would also recommend making the indicator icons smaller to separate them more naturally from the application icons (or a configurable size for them) and making it possible to arrange them in multiple rows/colums (for compactness).

  19. Reply Rehdon Lofgeornost Oct 1,2016 18:59

    The interesting side-effect of this is that, long after the good old days of Gnome 2, we’re going to have double panels again *and* in a way that doesn’t steal precious horizontal space. Promising, hope you get all the details right.

  20. Reply Guillaume Oct 1,2016 19:24

    Great!! For the last years, I’ve been switching from a D.E. to another D.E. on my laptop and was never totally satisfied. Cinnamon is great on my desktop with it’s big screen, but vertical space on a laptop comes at a premium. Unity was close to my liking but it’s not really available on Arch, Gnome with extensions is OK, but overly complicated and buggy with extension, XFCE is not modern enough, KDE… well is KDE, great, but not for me. Cinnamon with a vertical panel will be the best D.E. for me, thanks!

  21. Reply Robin Oct 2,2016 04:21

    This will be tempting me to go back to cinnamon

  22. Reply rik Oct 2,2016 09:20

    Can you have a side panel and a vertical panel at the same time? If so, which one “prevails” in the corner? Meaning, does the horizontal panel take up the whole width, with the vertical panel going from one edge of the screen to where the horizontal panel is (not extending all the way to the other edge since the horizontal panel is there)?

    I would expect this to be default (horizontal panel has “full width”). But maybe it is the case that the “first panel added” gets full distance, then additional panels fit in? (so if you add a vertical panel first it is full distance, and then adding a horizontal panel second means it is not full, but just to the edge of the vertical panel)?

    • Reply clem Oct 2,2016 09:57

      Yes, you can have up to 4 panels per monitor. I won’t comment on the details because it’s still being worked on. Joseph has a huge PR on this just getting to be merged for instance :)

    • Reply JosephMcc Oct 3,2016 01:25

      rik, The horizontal panel gets priority.

  23. Reply DaveW Oct 2,2016 13:13

    I am using LM Mate 18. I have a vertical panel for my most-used launchers. However, the main panel does not work very well as a vertical panel. Do you anticipate porting this capability to LM Mate?

  24. Reply jm Oct 2,2016 17:45

    I would like the panels only be editable by the administrator because people is modifying everything in the interface and I spent everyday fixing it back

    • Reply clem Oct 2,2016 18:42

      Hi jm,

      I agree, an admin lockdown would be useful.

    • Reply mikef90000 Oct 3,2016 02:48

      Admin lockdown?
      If you have set up a kiosk (single user) system, then I agree. Otherwise please elaborate.

      Why doesn’t each user have their own login that loads his/her own preferences? Unnecessary lockdowns are what I despised about corporate Windows sysadmins without a clue.

      • Reply clem Oct 3,2016 08:56

        Hi Mike,

        It goes without saying the DE wouldn’t be locked by default. It would take an admin to lock it first.

        This isn’t a feature that would be useful to users at home, but imagine a cybercafe, a library, a school even.

  25. Reply hagi Oct 2,2016 22:41

    hi
    sory for my english.
    i want to ask about possibility to creatte bigger panel height in horizontal view mode. in my screen max height is in my opinion to small that i want.

    • Reply JosephMcc Oct 3,2016 19:05

      Panel height is controlled either by your theme or by settings in the Cinnamon panel settings. You can set them how you like. With the vertical panels themes can also now set separate default heights/widths for vertical or horizontal panels. In my own use of the vertical panels I found that I preferred a wider vertical panel and a shorter horizontal panel.

  26. Reply mikef90000 Oct 3,2016 02:41

    Hey, looks like SimonB somehow borrowed :-) my left + top panel XFCE layout I’ve been using for years. With app launchers on the left and everything else on top it Just Works for me. I’ll be interested to see this functionality when it is released and won’t comment on ‘what will not work’ statements made above.

    “XFCE not modern enough”, pffft.

    NOTE to web maintainers, your host complains about illegal HTML tags or some such when the above tags are used. Boo Hiss.

  27. Reply mrman Oct 4,2016 13:01

    Great. Looks fantastic, now if only the old menu could be bined and a new faster, fresher menu introduced.

    Also @clem I agree with @jm , having the ability to lock the panels for a user / admin may not work at home ( although with kids its might ! ) but just because i don’t use that feature doesn’t mean it is not useful to some.

    I think looking out for small business / library & cafe systems is a really nice thing to do and cements the idea that mint is great for quick & safe setups. Although a well versed Linux system admin could lock systems down with time, just how many are there who could help a small local cafe with this ? umm.. none or none who would do this for free or not bamboozle the manager with jargon.

    So having useful day to day features to help small business keep things nice and simple (but safe for customers & the business ) that are quick and easy to administer is better than any other OS has managed afaik ( including windows )

    One suggestion if i may ? That would be a nice new sub menu to include with local admin features for typical kiosk duties and panel settings, rather than scattering them amongst each and every bar or menu as a tick box.

    Thanks

  28. Reply Mike Oct 4,2016 13:55

    Love it, great option. Thanks!

  29. Reply Zinou-linux-user Oct 5,2016 22:35

    i’ll surely love it
    i’v really searched for it but it feels good to know that
    thanx

  30. Reply Anand Oct 6,2016 17:13

    Hi Simon,

    Any chance of implementing an intelligent auto-hide for applets in panel? Would help to keeps panel nice and clean!

    https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/issues/3129

    At the moment, use Drawer applet
    https://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/applets/view/169

  31. Reply Walt Oct 7,2016 11:04

    please no drag and drop for panels – I hope – end users mess up their desktop by accident too easily like that.

  32. Reply Dirk Haar Oct 12,2016 10:23

    May I ask where to put or read bug reports? In launchpad’s advanced search there are only version numbers up to 12/Katya. Bug tracking seems to be abadoned.
    Why is blog.linuxmint.com closed? I can’t find any hint about that, too.

    PS.: Why is use of the “bold” button not possible (message “html code not allowed”)?

  33. Reply Ragai Oct 13,2016 10:36

    I like Mint Linux and I am not pro or against either the vertical or the horizontal strips the major factor in my opinion is how much it will be customizable to allow a person to personalize the most of its aspects to suit him and in fact the Mint Linux desktop is in general compared to the Ubuntu unity desktop is far more logic, relaxing,elegant, and customizable. Thanks to all who works and participate in this human and magnificent open source free projects.

  34. Reply Dirk Haar Oct 13,2016 14:03

    Where do I find the live-installer repo? There’s only the LMDE debian version, where the partitioning dialogue window is much higher than the one for Cinnamon (e.g.).
    The dialogue should be changed to resizeable.

  35. Reply Rucice Za Namestaj Nov 1,2016 16:37

    Thank you very much Simon,I have a vertical panel.

  36. Reply Ivan Samuelson Nov 8,2016 13:31

    Nice. And I would assume it’s very simple. Allow editing of the panel and then move it, unlike Unity which requires getting the Unity Tweak application to be able to move the Unity bar to the bottom. I like the flexibility and freedom Cinnamon gives. That’s the way Linux should be.

  37. Reply rico Nov 9,2016 10:21

    Good for who have a 16:9 display (most of laptops, for example), a vertical panel allow to save vertical space, in my laptop is only 768 pixels.
    Ok, i use intellihide option ,but it’s not the same.

  38. Reply Anand Nov 10,2016 09:15

    Can we see Cinnamon 3.2 Romeo packages soon? :))

  39. Reply Olduser Nov 12,2016 01:10

    Can we add a simple option to group tasks together, also proxy does not work in linux package manager, simpler stuff like that should work fine

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