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There's an (as far as I can tell) undocumented feature of gnome-control-center which can be used to show a specific panel directly. For example, gnome-control-center sound will display the "Sound" panel. I've been trying to figure out what the "Keyboard Layout" panel is called, without success:

gnome-control-center keyboard # Just the "Typing" and "Shortcuts" tabs
gnome-control-center layout # Not found
gnome-control-center keyboardlayout # Not found
gnome-control-center 'keyboard layout' # Not found

Where can I find the list of panel names to use with this command?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you have 3.8 installed a new feature is available which makes finding out the panel names a lot quicker, this was added in the 3.8 branch only, as of 01-10-2013, for reference this is the commit that added the feature:

(g-c-c) Add --list command-line option

gnome-control-center -l

which will give the following with a list.

Available panels:
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Doesn't work on Ubuntu 12.10. -1 until explained. – l0b0 Apr 21 '13 at 20:11
Well it could be that feature wasn't implemented until 3.8 but I found the string using gnome-control-center --help I have updated the answer accordingly. – l300lvl Apr 22 '13 at 1:31
The only reference I could find to this option on Google refer back to this page, so I'll just have to wait until 3.8 is available to test it. – l0b0 Apr 22 '13 at 5:49
As we suspected, this is only available in 3.8. I apologize if I caused confusion but there isn't a huge man page on g-c-c. I will update my answer again. For reference, here is the commit indicating when this feature was added, gnome-control-center --list command line option – l300lvl Apr 22 '13 at 9:01

I think what you want is gnome-control-center region; that should launch the keyboard layout and regional language settings.

Further below is the full listing of individual gnome-control-center commands that are used to launch the various settings panels. It has been found by checking off ones I knew against the source code (although dpkg -L gnome-control-center might also be useful).

You can download the source code with

apt-get source gnome-control-center

Now, when you examine it you will see there is a desktop file in each folder in gnome-control-center-3.4.2/panels/ that has an exec line. As an example, /wacom/ contains the line: Exec=gnome-control-center wacom.

Complete list for reference (most are easily guessable, but I list here for completeness)

1) Wacom Graphics Tablet ---> gnome-control-center wacom

2) Keyboard Layout ---> gnome-control-center region

3) User Accounts ---> gnome-control-center user-accounts

4) Keyboard Shortcuts ---> gnome-control-center keyboard

5) Universal Access ---> gnome-control-center universal-access

6) Sound Volume/events (Unity only) ---> gnome-control-center sound-nua

7) Sound Volume/events ---> gnome-control-center sound

(see also gnome-sound-applet for desktop volume control)

8) Screen brightness and lock ---> gnome-control-center screen

9) Printers ---> gnome-control-center printers

10) Power Management ---> gnome-control-center power

11) Network settings ---> gnome-control-center network

12) Mouse and touchpad ---> gnome-control-center mouse

13) System Information ---> gnome-control-center info

14) Displays ---> gnome-control-center display

15) Date and Time ---> gnome-control-center datetime

16) Color management ---> gnome-control-center color

17) Bluetooth ---> gnome-control-center bluetooth

18) Desktop background ---> gnome-control-center background

19) Language (this is slightly different) ---> gnome-language-selector

(but also see gnome-control-center region for some language settings.

For more information, see man gnome-control-center and the official site.

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As of January 2016 this page is the first hit on google search for "gnome-control-center get list of panels" and (surprise!) the correct answer given 3 years ago is no longer correct.

You'd have thought that they'd come up with a sane way of getting the list of panels by now right? Wrong! (somebody correct me if I'm wrong!).

This is what I resorted to:

strace 2>&1 -f gnome-control-center | grep panel

Then inspect that output for the likely places where it looks for panels.

So to save you the time here's how you'd get the list of panels as of January 2016 (I'm sure it's not 100% reliable, but hey, it works for me at the moment!):

ls /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/control-center-1/panels/|sed -e 's/lib//' -e 's/.so//' -e 's/_//g'

If you are running 32bit obviously it won't work for you because of that x86_64 thingy so go back to the strace command above and work your way from there.

I have a feeling that this method will stop working in, oh, say, 6 months time.

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