Using the GNOME Panel is very simple and will come easily to anyone who has used a graphical based operating system. You may add new panels, add applications to the panel, and add various applets. All of these functions and more will be described in this section.
To start using any pre-loaded application press the Main Menu Button. The Main Menu has the picture of the stylized foot and on first use is on the bottom left of the screen. You should release the mouse button after pressing the Main Menu button so that you can take advantage of other features in the Main Menu such as right mouse clicks and drag and drop from the menu.
Figure 5-1. The Main Menu Button
The Main Menu is the starting point for all of the applications on your system. Later in this manual you will learn how to customize the Main Menu to suit your work environment, but for now you can use the menu that is established when you install GNOME. The Main Menu works like any other menu you might have used in other graphical desktop environments. Simply press the Main Menu Button and select from the menu that pops up from the button.
At any time you may hide the GNOME Panel by pressing the Hide Button
Figure 5-2. The Hide Button
This will hide the GNOME Panel in the direction of the arrow on the Hide Button. There are hide buttons on both sides of a Panel so you can hide it in either direction.
You may decide that you want the Panel to hide on its own when you are not using it. This can be a helpful function if you are unable to run your system in a high resolution. You can find out how to autohide the Panel in Chapter 8.