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Frequently Asked Questions

How to pronounce Xfce ?

“Ecks Eff See Eee”

What does it mean ?

The name Xfce originally stood for XForms Common Environment, but since then, Xfce was rewritten twice and doesn't use XForms toolkit anymore. The name survived, but the F is no longer capitalized (not “XFce”, but “Xfce”). Currently the abbreviation doesn't stand for anything (suggestion: X Freakin' Cool Environment). It's not pronounced “X-Face”. There is no “a” in it.

What does the logo mean ?

A mouse, obviously, for all kinds of reasons like world domination and monsters and such.

On which platforms does Xfce run currently ?

Xfce is developed to be versatile. It is currently supported on Linux, Solaris and BSD, but has been known to run in some shape or form on IRIX, MacOS X, and Windows.

Under which license is Xfce distributed ?

Xfce 4 components are licensed under free or open source licenses: GPL or BSDL for applications and LGPL or BSDL for libraries. Read the documentation, the source code, or the Xfce homepage for more information.

How long between two official release ?

There is no set schedule, but there are goals the developers try to meet. That said, the creation of deadlines does not lend itself well to those working without compensation. So the overall goal is to release a new version as certain goals are reached. Unfortunately, that does not allow the advanced statement of any release schedule. Please check back often to read any news releases about the product.

Section Keyboard FAQ

How to configure Shortcuts / Hotkeys / Menu Accelerators ?

A number of Xfce applications (Thunar, for example) support the standard GTK2 way of changing shortcuts: simply hover over the menu option with the mouse pointer and press the keyboard shortcut you want to rebind it to.

To delete a keyboard assignment, press the Backspace key while you are on the menu entry.

If the shortcut doesn't change, then you need to enable the feature in GTK+. This can be achieved in 3 ways:

  • If you are running the Xfce desktop environment, enable Editable menu accelerators in the User Interface Preferences dialog.
  • If you are running GNOME then you can enable Editable menu accelerators in the Menu and Toolbars control center dialog.
  • Otherwise put the following in your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 file (create the file if it doesn't exist):
When xfsettingsd is running you must change the setting with the Xfce GUI, not through the .gtkrc-2.0 file.
This functionality has been disabled since GTK3 which means that Xfce apps that have migrated to GTK3 (such as xfce4-terminal) do not support it.
Refer to specific app's documentation to learn how to configure its shortcuts.

Is there some way to call the menu with the keyboard in the xfce?

Assign a key with the Keyboard Settings → Shortcuts to the command xfdesktop -menu. (This does not work reliably since Linux Kernel is tickless, so xfdesktop -menu needs a fix) The menu will popup where your mouse is located. You can also use xfce4-popup-applicationsmenu to popup the panel menu (also provided by xfdesktop and make sure you have the plugin in your panel ^_~).

Is it possible to focus the Verve plugin with a key?

Assign a key to the command verve-focus

My windows button does not work in the Keyboard Settings > Shortcuts.

The windows button (also known as the superkey) not working as a modifier is related to the toolkit, GTK+ in the case of Xfce. If you want to have the windows-key working we recommend you to upgrade GTK+ to at least version 2.10.0.

How do I get numlock to start on login?

There are two possibilities to achieve this. Or you should use a display manager that turns the numlock on (eg. gdm, check the settings) or you can use a little program called numlockx, adding numlockx on in your .xinitrc will do the job.

Is it possible to use Media keys in the Shortcut Editor?

Use xmodmap to assign keycodes to your Media keys to make them available for the Xfce shortcut editor:

To determine keycodes of the multimedia keys use the program xev. Create a .Xmodmap file in your $HOME directory containing those keycodes and assign keysyms to them. Example:

 keycode 162 = XF86AudioPlay
 keycode 164 = XF86AudioStop
 keycode 160 = XF86AudioMute
 keycode 144 = XF86AudioPrev
 keycode 153 = XF86AudioNext
 keycode 176 = XF86AudioRaiseVolume
 keycode 174 = XF86AudioLowerVolume
 keycode 237 = XF86AudioMedia
 keycode 230 = XF86Favorites
 keycode 236 = XF86Mail
 keycode 178 = XF86WWW

All possible keysyms can be found in /usr/lib/X11/XKeysymDB or /usr/share/X11/XKeysymDB. To ensure that the .Xmodmap file is loaded when you start Xfce add /usr/bin/xmodmap $HOME/.Xmodmap to your .xinitrc or .xprofile file. When you start the shortcut editor the assigned keysyms should show up when you press one of your multimedia keys. Now it is possible to assign a command to them. Note: Several problems with auto-loading of .Xmodmap files at xfce startup have been reported (also when issued as autostart command). Search the xfce bugzilla sites for current problems. As a workaround, run xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap by hand every time, or try out editing the somewhat less straightforward xkb configuration files.

How to determine keycodes with ''xev''

All keyboards are different, keycodes can differ(eg. my keyboard with few keycodes above, not working) and of course not everyone has time to search XKeysymDB file. You can acquire keycodes from your keyboard with xev. In terminal type:

  xev | grep -A2 --line-buffered '^KeyRelease' | sed -n '/keycode /s/^.*keycode \([0-9]*\).* (.*, \(.*\)).*$/\1 \2/p'

then press key of which keycode you need, eg. I press “Stop” and got output “174 XF86AudioStop”.

What should I do to change keyboard layout?

There are several options. One is to use xfce4-xkb-plugin, see http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/panel-plugins/xfce4-xkb-plugin . You can also use the setxkbmap command with the two letter keyboard code as argument; you can edit your X server configuration file to choose a different keyboard layout (change the value after Option “XkbLayout”, e.g.: Option “XkbLayout” “dvorak”).

Is it possible to change the default shortcut keys?

Yes, of course… Keyboard shortcuts are defined on two locations. The shortcuts to handle the window manager are defined in the Settings Manager > Window Manager Settings > Keyboard. The Default theme can not be changed, but when you add a theme you can change that one. More global keyboard shortcuts, like volume adjustements, can be found in Settings Manager > Keyboard Preferences > Shortcuts. Again you need to add a new theme before you can start customizing it.

How can I see a list of all the shortcut keys?

Use the following command, which will produce a nicely formatted text list to standard output:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts -l -v | cut -d'/' -f4 | awk '{printf "%30s", $2; print "\t" $1}' | sort | uniq

If you want to put this list into a file, add > filename at the end of command.

How do I make a shortcut that doesn't steal focus?

You can't.

Section Menu FAQ

The left-click to get the menu on the title bar menu button seems a little slow. How do I change that?

The left-button single-click menu button display speed is linked to the double click speed. If one wants the menu to appear quicker, just change the double click speed in the Xfce 4 Settings Manager Mouse properties to be faster. Or, one can right click on the title bar to get the menu displayed almost instantly without adjusting the double-click speed. The menu will display both ways.

How do I display a list of all windows?

There are two possibilities. The first is by middle clicking on the desktop (if you have xfdesktop running) or you can add the window list plugin to the panel (is provided with a xfce4-popup-windowlist command).

How to edit the auto generated menu with the menu editor?

cp ~/.cache/xfce4/desktop/menu-cache-name-of-the-generated-file.xml ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/menu2.xml
cd ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/
cat menu.xml > menu3.xml
cat menu2.xml >> menu3.xml
mv menu.xml menu.orig.xml
mv menu3.xml menu.xml

Now, you already have a menu with all the categories in the main tree with some duplicates, but you must first edit menu.xml with your favorite editor and remove the 4 following lines in the middle of the file, otherwise the menu editor will complain about a wrong format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE xfdesktop-menu>


That's all. Now you can run the menu editor, remove the few duplicates and edit all as you like.

Settings > Desktop > Menu > Menu Editor

Notes: by removing the “system” line, you will remove all the duplicates menu entries from the auto generated file. So, if it is changed in this auto generated file, they don't appear anymore, but you will get rid of most of the duplicates.

To restore the original menu, just do in a terminal:

mv menu.xml menu3.xml; mv menu.orig.xml menu.xml

What are the exact commands used when launching the 'Setting' applications?

Please see this wiki entry.


Please refer to the Thunar FAQ

Desktop Manager

I want to disable the trash, home and filesystem icons on my desktop, is that possible?

Yes. In Settings > Desktop > Icons > Appearance, select 'None'.

My Xfce Desktop doesn't have any shortcut icons, why?

You can adjust this via Settings > Desktop > Icons > Appearance.