What's the official name for that area on the top of the screen, similar to the Mac Menu Bar, where you see icons representing running apps?


The bars at the top and bottom are the panels. Within these I've annotated a screenshot to give you some idea of the different components.


  • This is really useful. – ændrük Dec 28 '10 at 21:37

I think you are talking about panel.The area where you can see applets and icons are said to be gnome-panel.

alt text


It is called gnome-panel as karthick said. There is also an area in the panel called "notification area" where some running application icon can be found like if Rhythmbox is running.


Its a PANEL. And you might have asked about the Notification Area applet of the top panel. Or maybe the Indicator applet

Righ-click on some of its icons: if they all have the same options "About", "Remove from Panel", "Move" and "Lock" (or "Unlock"), its the Indicator Applet

If each icon has its own options, its the Notification Area

And Ive said "a" panel and not "the" panel, because in Ubuntu/Gnome you can have several panels. Each panel have several applets.

Ubuntu (Desktop) comes with 2 panels: one at the top, and one at the bottom.

The top one has, by thefault, these applets:

  • The Gnome/Ubuntu main menu - Menu, Places and System
  • Some default launchers (like Firefox and Help).
  • The Notification Area, that shows icons of some running apps (like Skype)
  • The Indicator Applet, that also shows icons, not of apps, but more like system indications, like wi-fi, battery, volume, etc
  • The Clock
  • The User Menu (Login, Logoff, Switch User, Shutdown, etc)

The bottom one, for reference, has

  • The "Show Desktop" icon
  • The Window List, that shows the windows of running apps

When you ask about "running apps", you could be asking about the Notification Area, the Indicator Applet, or the Window List. All of them are, in a way, "icons of running apps".


In Gnome "notification area"; generally (from KDE) "system tray" (shortly "systray").

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.