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How to Make Transparent XFCE Panels and Terminals

How to Make Transparent XFCE Panels and Terminals

The good thing about XFCE is that it is highly customizable, including the ability to change the color of the panels. If you don’t like the default colors of XFCE panels, we show you here how to make transparent XFCE panels and terminals too.

Make the XFCE Panel Transparent

For this tutorial, we’re using XFCE with the default configuration of two panels at the top and bottom of the screen. Let’s start with the top panel. Right click on it and select “Panel -> Panel Preferences …”


Move to the Appearance tab and notice how it offers two Opacity controls. The second, Leave, determines how transparent the panel will look at any time. The first, Enter, affects the level of transparency when the panel is active when you point at or interact with it.

Since you can’t use a panel and change its opacity at the same time, use the Exit value as a demo for the current panel display.


When you find the opacity level you like, use this value for another slider, which sets the active opacity for the panel. Since you will be interacting with it, you want all elements to remain readable, so it’s best not to be less than 50 percent. We use a value of 75 percent.

Then, return to the Leave slider and adjust further to set the opacity you want for the panel each time. If you don’t find yourself checking the information on this panel every now and then, even turning it completely transparent won’t make a difference in usability. We prefer 25 percent value.


Your top panel is ready! Repeat the same steps for the bottom panel, setting the opacity on and off to whatever value you want. We’re using the same values for both panels because we want to have a more uniform look.



Invisibility Terminal

With the panel not working, let’s turn our attention to the main tool most users use to interact with their Linux installations: the terminal. Right-click on an empty spot on your desktop and select “Open Terminal Here” from the menu that appears.


When your terminal window appears, select “EdIt -> Preferences …”


Switch to the Appearance tab and check the pull-down menu in the Background section. That’s where the transparency option hides.


Click that menu and select the Transparent background option. Your terminal will immediately turn semi-transparent.


The main purpose of your terminal is to allow your interaction with your computer, not to look beautiful on your desktop. So make sure you can read what’s displayed in it, and if not, increase the opacity level until you can see everything comfortably. Then, increase it again, for good measure.

Better to play it safe, because your terminal may function like ours, using colors to differentiate elements. Suppose you lowered the opacity too much when using a complex design or a photo as the background. In this case, some of the terminal colors can blend into the background, making some text unreadable.


However, specifically for terminals, you have to check it in action, try different commands. Then, depending on whether you are comfortable with the result or if your eye is sore, go back to your terminal’s Appearance options and adjust the opacity slider accordingly.

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