I want to know if XFCE can be configured to allow zooming/scaling of icons when the user hovers over them, similar to the effect(s) shown on a Mac dock.

Also, I wonder if my left panel (of course it is automatically hidden) could be set to show/hide a bit more gradually, such as how jQuery slide animation works?

I hear tell of config files for the DE, but I haven't delved into them just yet. I haven't run an XFCE desktop in a couple of years; I usually prefer WM-only, using Openbox + xdm, but I'm converting back for the moment. I'm just a humble web developer and I miss the quick productivity (and undue clutter) of icons all over the place. Anyway, I still want them to look pretty!

Note: I don't know why Tux looks like a monkey on my wallpaper, but I really like that grey. Eh!

Hey, it looks like Unity, but is much faster and less spy-y!

  • 1
    You could always install cairo-dock which allows for that Mac dock type of experience. sudo apt-get install cairo-dock – Terrance Jun 18 '16 at 22:06
  • phew! That thing is buggy but boy, is it neat. I do like it, though it doesn't directly answer the question of whether I can customize my XFCE panel to do similar things. It's very twitchy and picky but, +1 for the suggestion which is a very nice workaround. Cheers! Thanks. – P Smith Jun 19 '16 at 1:53
  • Yeah, it is buggy, but I like it too. If you need it in OpenGL mode, launch it with cairo-dock -o. I don't know if there is a way to get the panels in Xfce to do the similar things like the dock does. I have been using Xfce now for quite a while and I have never figured anything out for that. We can wait and see if someone comes along and knows. =) – Terrance Jun 19 '16 at 3:03

Mostly no. To this answered date, Xfce has limited to no transitions for panels and icons. Nothing fancy, besides minimizing active applications window to the panel in Xfce.

Xfce allows delay

Delay is a transition or pseudo-animation in Xfce that I have tried before. This is documented as part of theming Xfce panel in this page of Xfce Docs.


The normal panel window.


style "xfce-panel-window-style"
  # Time in miliseconds before the panel will unhide on an enter event
  XfcePanelWindow::popup-delay = 225

  # Time in miliseconds before the panel will hide on a leave event
  XfcePanelWindow::popdown-delay = 350

  # Size of autohide window in pixels
  XfcePanelWindow::autohide-size = 3
class "XfcePanelWindow" style "xfce-panel-window-style"

Requirement: Xfce must enable the option to automatically hide the panel. In Xfce 4.12, delay will work for the hide option Always but will not work for Intelligently.

Following the requirement, do these steps:

  1. Create a file at $HOME/.gtkrc-2.0, then copy and paste the provided code (as quoted).
  2. Change the respective values for popup-delay, popdown-delay and autohide-size.
  3. Restart the panel by running xfce4-panel --restart to take effect.

Xfce allows opacity

Opacity is another transition that can be applied to Xfce panel.

Requirement: Xfce must enable compositing for opacity to work. In Settings > Window Manager Tweaks > Compositor, ensure that "Enable display compositing" is checked.

Following the requirement, do these steps:

  1. In Panel Preferences, look under Appearance > Opacity.
  2. Adjust the slider for "Enter:" or "Leave:" to your liking.
  3. Click Close to finish.

The screenshot below shows the panel becomes less opaque when the mouse cursor leaves the panel (left) and becomes fully opaque when the mouse cursor enters the panel.

Xfce panel with different opacity

Besides delay and opacity for Xfce panel, I am not aware of other options to customize transitions and animations in Xfce. To make up for the missing features in Xfce, install plank. Plank is a simple dock, which has both features of hiding animation and icon zoom transition that you want.

Related posts:

  • Fantastic. Answered all my questions, and thank you for the links/ references. I will look at them and sorry if I made a duplicate; I did not come across them when searching through these forums. Cheers! – P Smith Jun 19 '16 at 19:11
  • @PSmith I'd refined my search and clarified that your question is unique. The links I had mentioned are relevant for desktop environments of any distro, which you might not find on Ask Ubuntu after all. No worries. – clearkimura Jun 20 '16 at 13:44

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