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I would like to be able to unhide the XFCE panel by pressing a key instead of placing the mouse cursor at the edge of the screen.

I'm running Xubuntu 12.04 but updated to XFCE 4.10

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hmmm.. I think I could come up with something that would move your mouse over there on a key press. Would that do what you want? – Seth Jan 18 '13 at 2:51
@iSeth - if nothing better is possible then yes. But optimally I'd like to able to press a key and see the panel regardless of where the cursor is... – Borsook Jan 18 '13 at 8:15
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Take the following two commands and bind them to separate Super-key combinations:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-0/autohide -s false
xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-0/autohide -s true

This can be done by either selecting, Applications Menu --> Settings --> Keyboard, or by running xfce4-keyboard-settings from the command line(Ctrl-Alt-t.

I've bound the first command to Super-u (to 'unhide' the panel). For the second command, I am binding Super-h (to 'hide' the panel).

As you can see in the commands above, the behavior is only changed on a single panel(In this case, panel-0 is being modified).

You will notice a slight delay while the panel changes state.

Source. More details on the xfconf command can be found here.

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Hmmm, I tried that and got xconf command not found error. What version of Xfce do you use? – Seth Jan 23 '13 at 4:52
@iSeth The command is xfconf, not xconf. ;-) The command has been available since xfce 4.6. I'm running xfce 4.10 from this PPA – Kevin Bowen Jan 23 '13 at 4:57
Ah, your right. Works now. +1 – Seth Jan 23 '13 at 5:02
You can also use the toggle option in Xfce 4.10 and just bind a single command to one key: i.e. xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-0/autohide -T – user76204 Mar 13 '13 at 0:14
Just to update on the later version of xfce4-panel. The latest xfce4-panel do not have the 'autohide' property. Instead there is 'autohide-behavior' and no longer a boolean, but a numeric value of 0, 1, or 2. 0: never hide, 1: intelligent hide, 2: always hide. To achieve the same outcome, you can use xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-0/autohide-behavior -s 0 and xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-0/autohide-behavior -s 2. – Richard Wong Oct 14 '15 at 14:51

Try this workaround:

Install xte and xdotool with sudo apt-get install xdotool xautomation

You can use xdotool to find the x,y coordinates of the mouse. Open a terminal type xdotool getmouselocation then move the mouse somewhere where it will activate the panel and hit enter. You will get some output like:

findclient: 62914741
findclient: 6291474  
x:1282 y:1079 screen:0 window:62914741  

What's important here is: x:1282 y:1079, which gives us the x,y coordinates of the mouse.

Now type xte 'mousemove 1282 1079' (replacing 1282 1079 with the coordinates you got earlier). That should move the mouse where you want.

You can use xbindkeys to bind this command to a key on the keyboard. I can add instructions upon request or you can set it in Xubuntu's keyboard settings.

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@JQuigley pointed out "This no longer works..." see comments.

As Kevin said, you can use xfconf, but I'd do it this way:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-0/autohide -T

The -T toggles the true/false value. This way, you can use the same key to hide/unhide.

To get more options do:

xfconf-query --help

I wanted to make a comment to the answer from Kevin, since it's what got me on the right track. But I'm new here, not enough reputation..

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This no longer works unfortunately; the autohide property seems to have been replaced with autohide-behavior, which is an integer that can be 0, 1, or 2. But the two-key approach still works. Also I imagine a person could write a little toggle script of some sort to maybe store the state in a file or something and allow a one-key strategy to work again. – J Quigley May 28 at 0:13
@JQuigley oh, thanks for pointing it out. I'm not on xfce anymore... If that's the case I'd go with a script to read the current value and change it accordingly (external file is prone to errors). – fede s. May 28 at 18:04


It's been pointed out in a comment that the autohide property has been changed to something else, and -T doesn't work with the new one :/

So, while I was fooling around with this, I made a little ruby script to toggle all panels at the same time. It seems to work.

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

#Toggle all panels' autohide property in xfce4
# fede s.
out = `xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -l`.split
out.inject( {|res, val|
    m= /panel-([0-9]+)/.match(val);                 #get the panel numbers
    if m then res.push(m[1]) end;                   #add only if it matches
    res}.sort.uniq.each do                          #filter duplicates
        | num |
            `xfconf-query -c xfce4-panel -p /panels/panel-#{num}/autohide -T` #here is the command that will repeat for every panel found

It's probably not the best way to do it, and I don't really know much about ruby, so feel free to throw me in the fire! :P

If Someone want's to use it:

  1. make sure you have ruby installed.

  2. copy it to a file wherever you see fit (I have mine as ~/scripts/xfce/toogleautohide.rb).

  3. chmod +x path/to/your/script

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