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documentation.suse.com / Dokumentacja systemu SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server / GNOME User Guide / Introduction / Customizing your settings
Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP4

3 Customizing your settings

The look and feel of GNOME desktop can be changed to suit your personal tastes and needs.

You can change the way the GNOME desktop looks and behaves to suit your personal tastes and needs. Some possible changes of settings are:

These settings and others can be changed in the GNOME Settings dialog. It focuses on look and feel, personal settings and preferences of your GNOME desktop.

To change some system-wide settings, you need to use YaST instead. This is the case for administrator settings (including most of the hardware, the graphical user interface, Internet access, security settings, user administration, software installation and system updates and information). For information about using YaST, refer to the integrated YaST help texts or to the Deployment Guide.

To access the GNOME settings dialog, right-click the desktop and select Settings.

3.1 Changing the desktop background

The desktop background is the image or color that is applied to your desktop. You can also customize the image shown when the screen is locked.

To change the desktop background:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose Change Background.

    GNOME Background settings
    Figure 3.1: GNOME Background settings
  2. Select one of the wallpapers (preconfigured images distributed with your system) shown in the content area.

  3. Alternatively, click Add Picture to select an image from your Pictures directory (~/Pictures) or another location in your file system.

  4. Close the Settings dialog.

    The new background is now shown on your desktop.

3.2 Configuring language settings

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server can be configured to use any of several languages. The language setting determines the language of dialogs and menus and can also determine the keyboard and clock layout.

To configure your language settings right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Now choose Region & Language.

Here you can choose:

  • Language. Choose a language from the list. For the change to take effect, you will be prompted to Restart the desktop session. To do so, you must log out of your session and log back in afterward.

  • Formats: To change the formats for date, number, currency and related options, choose a country from the list. For the change to take effect, you must log out of your session and log back in afterward.

Note: Settings made using ibus-setup do not take effect

On GNOME, settings made using ibus-setup do not take effect. ibus-setup can only be used to configure IceWM. Instead, always use the Settings application:

  • To change input methods, select Keyboard in the navigation pane of the Settings dialog.

  • To change the key combination that switches between input methods, use Keyboard › Keyboard Shortcuts. Then select the category Typing and the entry Switch to next input source.

3.3 Configuring the keyboard

Refer to Section 4.4, “Keyboard and mouse” for additional settings, such as key autorepetition and cursor blink rate, and accessibility features. To configure your keyboard layout, refer to Section 3.2, “Configuring language settings”.

To modify keyboard shortcuts, right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Now select Keyboard › Keyboard Shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcut dialog
Figure 3.2: Keyboard shortcut dialog

This dialog shows the keyboard shortcuts that are configured for your system. To edit a key combination, click the entry that you want to change. To set a new key combination, press the respective keys. To disable a shortcut, press <— instead.

3.4 Using XCompose to type special characters

GNOME supports fast input source (keyboard layout) switching (Section 3.2, “Configuring language settings”). However, if you are using xmodmap to create custom keymaps, it may not work correctly when you switch between multiple input sources. For example, you have two input sources, English and German. Your xmodmap commands work fine in the first input source you select, but when you switch to the second input source the same xmodmap commands produce incorrect output. xmodmap is an older protocol and does not have a full view of the keyboard layout, so in more complex situations it causes errors.

An alternative method is to use xcompose to assign special symbols to sequences of key presses. This should work with any input source. Install xcompose by installing the libX11-devel package.

Next, assign a compose key with the Tweaks tool in the Activities overview. You will press this key in sequence with one or two additional keys to print a special character. The keys must be pressed in the correct sequence, starting with the compose key.

In the Tweaks tool, navigate to Keyboard & Mouse › Compose Key and select your command key (Figure 3.3, “Enabling the compose key in tweaks”).

Enabling the compose key in tweaks
Figure 3.3: Enabling the compose key in tweaks

Next, create a ~/.XCompose file. This is the default per-user configuration file. Enter your keymappings in this file, like in this example:

include "%L"

<Multi_key> <a> : "α"
<Multi_key> <b> : "β"
<Multi_key> <exclam>  : "¡"

include "%L" includes the default compose file for your locale, for example /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8.

The remaining lines specify the compose key, the other keypresses, and the symbols they are intended to print. After you make changes to your compose file, you must log out of your session and log back in to activate the changes.

Your key assignments are case-sensitive. ~/.XCompose overrides the system files. Use the compose file for your locale to see what is already configured, and to copy symbols from it into your personal compose file. (These files may have a lot of whitespace at the beginning; they are not empty so keep scrolling.) As always, watch out for conflicts with the other keymaps on your system.

For additional information see man xcompose.

3.5 Configuring Bluetooth settings

The Bluetooth module lets you set the visibility of your machine over Bluetooth and connect to available Bluetooth devices. To configure Bluetooth connectivity, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Now choose Bluetooth.

  2. To use Bluetooth, set the switch at the top on.

    Your computer is visible as long as the Bluetooth panel is open.

    Note: Temporary visibility

    The Visibility switch is meant to be used only temporarily. You only need to turn it on for the initial setup of a connection to a Bluetooth device. After the connection has been established, turn off the switch.

  3. On the device you want to connect, turn on Bluetooth connectivity and visibility, too.

  4. If the device has been found and is shown in the list, click it to establish a connection to it.

    You will be asked whether the PINs of the two devices match.

  5. If the PINs match, confirm this on both your computer and the device.

    The pairing is now established. On your computer, the device in the list is shown as Connected.

    Depending on the device type, it will now be available in other applications, for example as a storage device in GNOME Files, or a sound device in playback applications.

To connect to a paired Bluetooth device, select the device in the list. In the dialog that appears, turn the Connection switch on. You can send files to the connected device by using the Send Files button. If you are connected to a device such as a mobile phone, you can use it as a network device by activating the appropriate option.

To remove a connected device from the list on your computer, click Remove Device and confirm your choice. To completely remove the pairing, you also need to do so on your device.

3.6 Configuring power settings

Settings available in this dialog depend on your hardware. In the following, the options that are typically available when using a laptop are described. On a workstation, many of the described options are not available.

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose Settings.

  2. In the navigation pane, select Power.

  3. In the Power Saving Options of the content area, set after how many minutes to blank the screen (or to not blank it at all).

  4. In the Automatic Suspend section of the dialog, configure a time after which the computer is paused after a certain period of inactivity.

3.7 Configuring the mouse and touchpad

To modify mouse and touchpad options, right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Then select Mouse & Touchpad.

Mouse and Touchpad settings dialog
Figure 3.4: Mouse and Touchpad settings dialog
  • In the General section of the dialog, you can set the Primary button orientation (left or right).

  • In the Mouse section of the dialog, use Mouse Speed to adjust the sensitivity of the mouse pointer.

    With Natural Scrolling you can set the direction in which the content moves when scrolling with the mouse. When natural scrolling is turned off, the content moves up while pushing the scroll wheel down. When natural scrolling is turned on, the content moves in the same direction as the mouse wheel.

  • To test your settings, click Test Your Settings and try the pointing device.

For configuration of mouse accessibility options, refer to the Section 4.4, “Keyboard and mouse”.

3.8 Installing and configuring printers

The Printers dialog lets you connect to any available local or remote CUPS server and configure printers.

To start the Printers module, right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Now choose Printers. For detailed information, refer to Chapter 6, Managing printers.

3.9 Configuring screens

To specify resolution and orientation for your screen or to configure multiple screens, right-click the desktop and choose Display Settings. The configuration options available in this dialog depend on whether you have a single or a multiple monitor setup.

3.9.1 Changing settings: single monitor setup

Single monitor settings dialog
Figure 3.5: Single monitor settings dialog

If you use a monitor which can change its orientation, you need to adjust the display before turning the monitor. Use Orientation to do this. Choose the orientation your monitor supports, close the selection box and click Apply.


To change the screen resolution, click Resolution. Choose a new value and click Apply.

Night Light

If you are working in a dark environment, your eyes can easily be strained by the monitor. To prevent this, change the screen's color palette to a warmer tone by turning on Night Light. Under Schedule you can automate this setting by specifying at which time Night Light should be turned on and off.

3.9.2 Changing settings: multiple monitor setup

To set up an additional monitor, connect the monitor to your computer. If your system does not recognize it immediately, or you want to adjust the settings, do the following:

  1. Open the Activities overview and start typing Displays.

  2. Click Displays to open the panel.

  3. In the display arrangement diagram, drag your displays to the relative positions you want.

  4. Click Primary Display to choose your primary display.

    The primary display is the one with the top bar, and where the Activities overview is shown.

  5. Select the orientation, resolution or scale, and refresh rate.

  6. Click Apply. The new settings will be applied for 20 seconds before reverting. If you are happy with the settings, click Keep Changes.

With two or more screens, these display modes are available:

Join Display

The screen edges are joined so windows and dialogs can pass from one display to another.


The same content is shown on all displays, with the same resolution and orientation for all.

Single display

Only one display is configured, effectively turning off the other displays. For example, an external monitor connected to a docked laptop with the lid closed.

For further instructions refer to Section 3.9.1, “Changing settings: single monitor setup”.

3.10 Configuring sound settings

The Sound tool lets you manage sound devices. Here you can select the general output volume or turn the sound off completely.

To open the sound settings, right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Now choose Sound.

Configuring sound settings
Figure 3.6: Configuring sound settings

Use the Output category to select the device for sound output. Choose the Balance setting you prefer.

Use the Input category to set the input device volume or to mute the input temporarily. If you have more than one sound device, you can also select a default device for audio input in the Input Device list.

You can also choose an Alert Sound.

3.11 Setting default applications

  1. To change the default application for various common tasks such as browsing the Internet, sending e-mails or playing multimedia files, right-click the desktop and select Settings. Now choose Default Applications.

    Default applications
    Figure 3.7: Default applications
  2. You can choose an application to handle Web, mail, calendar, music, videos or photographs. Select one of the available applications from the drop-down boxes for the task of your choice.

3.12 Setting session sharing preferences

To open a configuration dialog for allowing remote logins via SSH, right-click the desktop and choose Settings. Then choose Sharing.

Before you can share anything, you need to turn on the switch in the upper part of the dialog. The switch also helps you if you quickly need to disable all sharing options.

To enable logging in via SSH, click Remote Login and enter the administrator password.