How to Customize The Enlightenment Desktop Screen — Part 3

Two women working on a computer

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Welcome to part 3 of this series showing how to customize the Enlightenment Desktop Environment.

If you missed the first two parts you will find them here:

Part 1 covered changing the desktop wallpaper, altering the application themes and installing new desktop themes. Part 2 covered customizing applications including setting up a favorites menu, setting default applications for particular file types and launching applications on startup.

This time I will be showing you how to define the number of virtual desktops, how to customize the lock screen and how to adjust when and how the screen goes blank when the computer isn't in use.

Enlightenment - Virtual Desktop Settings
Enlightenment - Virtual Desktop Settings.

Virtual Desktops

By default, there are 4 virtual desktops set up when using Enlightenment within Bodhi Linux. You can adjust this number to 144. (Although I can't imagine why you would need 144 desktops).

To adjust the virtual desktop settings left click on the desktop and select "Settings -> Settings Panel" from the menu. Click the "Screens" icon at the top of the settings panel and then choose "Virtual Desktops".

You will see the 4 desktops in a 2x2 grid. There are slider controls to the right and bottom of the desktops. Move the slider up on the right side to adjust the number of vertical desktops and move the slider at the bottom to adjust the number of horizontal desktops. For example, if you want a 3x2 grid, slide the bottom slide across until the number 3 shows.

There are a few other options available on this screen. The "flip when dragging objects near to the screen edge" option when checked should show the next desktop if you drag an item to the edge of the screen. The "wrap desktops around when flipping" option moves the last desktop to the first position and the first to the second and so on. The flipping actions depend on the edge detection settings being activated. This will be covered in a later article in this series of tutorials.

Each virtual desktop can have its own wallpaper image. Simply click on the image of the desktop you wish to change and this will bring up a "Desk Settings" screen. You can give each desktop a name and set the wallpaper image. To set the wallpaper click the "set" button and navigate to the image you want to use.

The virtual desktop settings screen has two tabs available. The default is the one that allows you to define the number of desktops and has the heading "Desktops". The other is called "Flip Animation". If you click on the "Flip Animation" tab you can choose a nice visual effect that will occur when you move to another desktop.

Options include:

  • None
  • Blend
  • Diagonal
  • Grow
  • Pane
  • Zoom

Screen Lock Settings

There are a number of ways to adjust how and when your screen locks when using the Enlightenment Desktop Environment. You can also customize what happens when the screen locks and what you have to do to unlock the screen.

To adjust the screen lock settings select "Screen Lock" from the settings panel.

The screen lock settings window has a number of tabs:

The locking tab lets you set whether the lock screen is shown on startup or not and whether it is shown when you suspend (shut the laptop lid etc).

You can also implement a number of different methods for unlocking the screen. The default option is your user's password but you can also set up a personal password or a pin number. All you have to do is click on the appropriate radio button and provide the password or pin number required to unlock the system. Personally I recommend leaving this alone.

The keyboard layout tab lets you choose the keyboard to use for entering passwords. There will be a list of all your available keyboard layouts. Select the one you wish to use and click apply.

The Login Box tab lets you choose which screen the login box appears on. This relies on you having multiple screens set up. The options available include current screen, all screens, and screen number. If you choose screen number then you can move a slider along to pick the screen the login box appears on. 

The Timers tab lets you define how long after the screensaver displays that the system locks. By default this is instant. So if your screensaver is set to kick in after a minute then as soon as the screensaver is displayed the system will lock. You can move the slider along to adjust this time.

The other option of the timer tab lets you determine after how many minutes the system locks automatically. For instance if you set the slider to 5 minutes then your system will lock after 5 minutes of inactivity.

If you are watching a movie on your computer then you will want the system to enter presentation mode so that the screen stays on. The "Presentation Mode" tab lets you determine how long the system has to be inactive before a message is displayed asking if you want to use presentation mode.

The Wallpaper tab lets you set a wallpaper for the lock screen. The options include the wallpaper for the theme, the current wallpaper or a custom wallpaper (your own image). To define your own image click on the "custom" option, click on the image box and navigate to the image you wish to use.

Screen Blanking

The screen blanking settings determine how and when your screen goes blank.

To adjust the screen blanking settings select "Screen Blanking" from the settings panel.

The screen blanking application has three tabs:

  • Blanking
  • Wakeup
  • Presentation

From the blanking tab, you can turn the screen blanking feature on and off. You can specify the amount of time it takes for the screen to go blank by sliding the slider to the number of minutes of activity there has to be before the screen goes blank.

Other options on the blanking screen let you determine whether the system suspends when the screen goes blank and whether the system suspends even when there is AC power (i.e. it is plugged in).

If you set the system to suspend then there is a slider letting you specify the amount of time before the system suspends.

Finally, you can also specify whether blanking occurs for full-screen applications. Generally speaking, if you are watching a video in a full window you won't want the system to suspend.

The wakeups tab has a couple of options that let you determine when the system automatically awakens such as when there is a notification or an urgent action such as low power.

The "Presentation Mode" setting is the same as the one for the screen locking and lets you specify how long the system is idle before a message appears suggesting switching to presentation mode. You will want to use presentation mode if you are watching films or you are performing a presentation.


That is is for part 3. The part of the guide will cover window, language and menu settings.

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If you want to try out the Enlightenment Desktop Environment why not install Bodhi Linux following this step by step guide.

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