Changing the Ubuntu 11.04 Unity Desktop Background

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The Ubuntu 11.04 Unity desktop environment allows the background to be changed either to a solid or graded color, or to any image you choose to specify. In addition, the background may also be implemented as a slideshow comprising of a series of images displayed during a predefined timing sequence.

In this chapter of Ubuntu 11.04 Essentials we will look at the steps involved in making these configuration changes.




Changing the Ubuntu Unity Desktop Background

There are three methods for changing the background of the Unity desktop. By far the easiest option is to click with the right hand mouse button on the current desktop background and selecting Change Desktop Background from the resulting menu.

Alternatively, click on the power button (top right hand corner of the desktop), select the System Settings menu option and choose Appearance from the Control Center Window. Within the Appearance Preferences dialog select Background tab.

The third method involves clicking with the right hand-mouse button on an image in the web browser and selecting Set As Desktop Background. This method allows you to find images from one of the many web sites that provide them and quickly make one of them your background.

Using either of the first two methods will cause the Appearance Preferences dialog to appear as illustrated in the following figure:


The Ubuntu 11.04 desktop appearances dialog


The list of available backgrounds includes both single images and slide shows. Slideshow based backgrounds are shown indicated by the appearance of being stacked and display a play button when selected in the preferences dialog which, when selected, will transition through the slide show images:


Slideshow background selection


Selecting a Background from the Wallpaper List

The Appearance Preferences dialog provides a list of pre-installed wallpaper background images and slide shows from which to choose. As each example is selected the background will automatically change to reflect the new selection.


Creating a Solid or Graded Background

If you prefer a background consisting of a solid color, simply select the top left hand sample in the Background selection window, make sure the Colors selection box is set to Solid color and click on the color box to select a color.

The background can also be created by specifying a color gradient transition from one color to another. The gradient may be horizontal or vertical. With the blank wallpaper option selected change the Color menu to a Vertical or Horizontal gradient. Using the resulting two color boxes, specify the start and end colors. The desktop will then create a background image based on these settings. For example, the following figure shows a vertical gradient transitioning from yellow to red:


Ubuntu 11.04 Unity desktop with gradient background


Specifying a Background Image

As mentioned previously, there are two ways to specify an image file for the desktop background. One way is to open an image (for example in a web browser) clicking with the right mouse button and selecting Set as Desktop Background. This will cause a dialog to appear asking how the image is to be positioned on the desktop:

Selecting a web image as the Ubuntu 11.04 Unity desktop background


From this dialog select whether the image should be tiled, stretched or centered. If space is going to be visible around the edges of the image be sure to select a suitable color for the border area using the color box. To fill the entire desktop with the image, choose to either tile or stretch image. Click on Set Desktop Background to apply the settings.

An alternative mechanism for specifying an image as the desktop background is to open the Appearances dialog by right clicking on the desktop background and choosing Change Desktop Background. In the resulting dialog click on the Add button and browse the file system to locate the desired image. Click on Open to add the image to the wallpaper list and use the Style selection box to choose Fill Screen, Tiled, Scaled or Centered.

Summary

In this chapter we have looked at changing the Ubuntu desktop background. In the next chapter we will look at Ubuntu 11.04 Unity Screensaver, Desktop Lock and Power Management Configuration.


Purchase and download the full version of this eBook in PDF & ePub formats for only $12.99
PDF/ePub version contains 39 chapters and 255 pages.

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PreviousTable of ContentsNext
Configuring the Ubuntu 11.04 Unity Launcher and WorkspacesUbuntu 11.04 Unity Screensaver, Desktop Lock and Power Management Configuration