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How to customize the Enlightenment window manager on Linux

The Enlightenment window manager (AKA desktop) is a lightweight environment for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. It runs on minimal system resources and prides itself on being very versatile, customizable, and fast. In this guide, we will show you how to customize the Enlightenment window manager so you can get the most out of it.

Shelves

In Enlightenment, “Shelves” are similar to the panels on other desktop environments. On these “Shelves,” you’ll see various “Contents” AKA widgets. These widgets include the volume mixer, clock, temperature readout, etc.

If you’re not a fan of the default contents of the panel that the Enlightenment desktop offers up, you can change it by doing the following.

Step 1: Click on the desktop with the mouse using the left-click button. This will open up a menu.

Step 2: Look through the menu for the “Settings” section and hover over it to reveal the “Settings” sub-menu.

Step 3: In the “Settings” sub-menu, locate the “Shelves” option and click on it to access Enlightenment’s Shelf settings.

Step 4: Inside of the “Shelf Settings” window, locate “shelf,” and click on it with the mouse. Then, click on “Contents” to access the settings that control what items load into the panel.

Step 5: Look through the list of “Shelf Contents,” and click “Remove” on anything you’d like to remove from the shelf. Or, add new items by clicking on the “Add” button next to the items you would like to add to a shelf.

Wallpapers

Though the Enlightenment desktop environment (or Window manager as others call it) is very different than the likes of other more traditional Linux desktops, changing the wallpapers is very much the same. If you’re tired of the stock wallpaper that comes with the Enlightenment desktop and are looking to change it, do the following.

Step 1: Click on a blank space on the desktop to open up the application menu.

Step 2: Find the “Desktop” menu entry, and over hover it with the mouse.

Step 3: Click on the “Change wallpaper” menu entry with the mouse to open up wallpaper settings.

Step 4: Use the open-file browser that appears on the screen to change the default wallpaper to something that you prefer.

Desktop Gadgets

Enlightenment has Desktop Gadgets, much like KDE Plasma 5 has desktop widgets, and Cinnamon has desklets. These Gadgets are items that users can place on their workspace to make it more useful (like adding a clock, calendar, etc.).

To add new Desktop Gadgets to the Enlightenment desktop, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Left-click on a blank space on the desktop to access the application menu.

Step 2: Look through the application menu for the “Desktop” menu settings.

Step 3: Sort through the menu until you locate the “Change Gadgets” option.

Step 4: Click on “Change Gadgets” to access the Desktop Gadgets area.

Step 5: In the Desktop Gadgets area, look through the list and click “Add” on items you wish to add to the desktop. Or, click “Remove” to remove items.

Theme

Much like other desktop environments, Enlightenment has theme settings, and users can customize the look of the desktop to their liking. To change themes on Enlightenment, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Click on a blank space on the desktop with the left mouse button to access the application menu.

Step 2: Look through the application menu for “Settings” and hover over it with the mouse to reveal options.

Step 3: Inside of the options area of “Settings,” click on the “Theme” entry to access Enlightenment theme settings.

Step 4: Use the theme chooser window to select an alternative theme to use on Enlightenment.

If your Enlightenment session does not have any alternative themes available, do not worry! Head over to Enlightenment-themes.org, download your favorite theme and click the “Import” button to install it.

Workspaces

The Enlightenment environment relies heavily on workspaces, and they’re displayed prominently on the Enlightenment Shelf/panel. By default, the amount of workspaces available is 4, which is standard. However, it is possible to customize the settings of the workspaces on Enlightenment so that you have more workspaces or less of them. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to add or remove workspaces in Englightenment.

Step 1:  Click on an empty space on the desktop to access the Enlightenment application menu.

Step 2: Find the “Desktop” menu and hover over it with the mouse to access the options available inside.

Step 3: Look through the options menu for the “Virtual” sub-menu and hover over it with the mouse.

Step 4: In the “Virtual” sub-menu, click on “Set Virtual Desktops” to access Enlightenment’s workspace settings.

Step 5: Use the slider at the bottom of the window to increase the number of workspaces that display on the Shelf/panel horizontally. Or, use the vertical slider to increase the number of workspaces stacked vertically.

When you’ve chosen how many workspaces you want Enlightenment to use, click the “OK” button, followed by “Apply” to apply the new changes.

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