Using Ubuntu Step One (general and appearances)

When you first start using Ubuntu 10.10 there are many basic things you can configure.  These are mostly found in either


System > Preferences


System > Administration


Most things in Administration I haven’t really touched since I first set Ubuntu up but a lot of settings overlap between Administration and Preferences so I won’t separate them by where they are located.


Before we start…




Your Panel is the bar at the top of the screen.

If  you use an application a lot you can also add things to your panel either by dragging the item from your menu, or by right clicking on the panel and choosing Add to Panel.

As you can see I have a few things like Mozilla Firefox added to mine (on the left).  On the right you will have your System Tray with all your practical icons like Volume etc.  You can set these to appear manually but some will appear by default.



If you can’t find anything I mention it is probably hidden by default.  In order to add one of these things to your menu right click on Applications in the panel and choose Edit Menus.  You can also get to this menu through


System > Preferences > Main Menu


You can add any item to your menus by selecting it here.  You can also create a new original menu using the New Menu button on the right.




System > Preferences > Appearances


Everything you can can customise involving your display such as themes, backgrounds and fonts are in Appearance.

  • Themes

You can install new themes from the website by going to the Themes tab and clicking Get more themes online.

Once you have downloaded your theme, you can install it by dragging the whole folder (don’t extract it – take the whole tar.gz) into your theme tab window.  It will ask you if you want to apply theme now.  Click on apply and then Customise to get the colours/buttons you want.  When you are finished click save as to save the theme for later use.

NOTE:  with some themes you will not have the option to change the colours etc.

As you can see I have created my own custom theme by choosing my favourite controls and colours from the tabs.

  • Backgrounds

To add a new background to the default collection just go to the Background tab, click Add, find the picture you want to use, and click Open.  You can then choose it from the collection.


Keyboard Shortcuts


System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts


Exactly what it says.  An extremely useful list of all the keyboard shortcuts you will ever use.


Power Management


System > Preferences > Power Management


This is just like the power management in Windows.  You can edit settings like how long your system waits till it dims the screen and the action you want it to take when you close the lid.  Also, you can choose whether to show the Battery icon in your System Tray or not.

Categories: Linux and Ubuntu, Ubuntu 10.10 - Maveric Meerkat | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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