Xfdesktop – lesser known new features

While Xfdesktop in its 4.11 state has added the per-worspace/per-monitor wallpapers and added some improvements to wallpaper cycle options there’s also quite a few other, subtle, features added.

Right click on the menu to edit launchers:

Right click on the selected menu item to easily edit that item
Right click on the selected menu item to easily edit that item

You can now right click (or shift + left click) on the menu Xfdesktop pops up to edit menu items. This works much the same way the xfce4 appfinder application does. This was requested by a couple users in the Xfce forums so it got picked up.

Coverart for folders:

Xfdesktop's CoverArt
Xfdesktop’s CoverArt

Xfdesktop will now display cover art within the folder. The file name has to be something like folder.jpg, cover.jpg, albumart.jpg or fanart.jpg which seems to be the best we can get to a standard. If you simply add or rename a file in the folder then xfdesktop will notice and update the icon.

Emblems on desktop icons:

Emblems. Xfdesktop also shows shortcuts and read-only emblems automatically.
Emblems. Xfdesktop also shows shortcuts and read-only emblems automatically.

Xfdesktop will now render emblems on desktop icons the same way Thunar does. You can set them either through right clicking on the icon in Xfdesktop, with Thunar, or even the Nautilus/Nemo file managers. There will be a small delay before the icon is updated, but that’s due to the design of GVFS.

Other minor notes:

Xfdesktop will also notice when files are added or removed from the wallpaper folder so there’s no need to reload Xfdesktop if you’ve added more backgrounds to your collection.

Xfdesktop will also try to remember the placement of icons. It’s why you’ll see a bunch of saved icon position files with weird dimensions – that’s how Xfdesktop sees the space left on the screen. Things like have a panel may reserve space and xfdesktop respects that. The overall idea is that if your monitor goes through a couple resolution changes when your PC starts up or if you decide to play a game then your desktop should return to its old layout when it goes back to that resolution. Same thing with multi-monitor changes; you can have different layouts when your laptop is docked. The downside is that Xfdesktop doesn’t know when an icon position change should invalid the other saved resolutions so in that case icons may change positions but Xfdesktop tries to minimize those moves.


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