These days, many applications use the system tray. It’s understandable why so many do, as it’s quite handy to be able to let a Linux application run in the background from the panel. With that said, app icons on the system tray can add up and take up a lot of screen real-estate. So, if you’re sick of looking at all of these icons, it’s a no-brainer to hide them in XFCE4. Here’s how to do it.
Hiding items in the system tray
To hide apps from the system tray in XFCE4, you have to go through panel settings. To access these panel settings, go to the XFCE4 desktop and minimize everything. From there, right-click on the panel with the mouse to open up the right-click menu.
Inside of the right-click menu, look for the option “Panel” and click it with the mouse to reveal the “Panel” sub-menu. Then, go through the sub-menu for the “Panel Preferences” option and select it to open up XFCE4’s panel settings area.
Once in the panel preferences area, you’ll see the main window with several customization options for the XFCE4 panel. Look through the window for the “Items” tab, and click on it with the mouse to reveal the panel applet settings.
In the panel “Items” tab, you’ll see a listing of several different applets set up in your XFCE4 panel. Sort through the list till you find the “Notification Area (external)” item and select it with the mouse.
After selecting “Notification Area (external)” in the “Items” list, look to the right-hand area of the window for a gear icon. Click the “gear” icon. Selecting this icon will bring up the XFCE4’s Notification Area, where you can hide individual applications in the tray on the panel.
To hide an application on the panel, follow the step-by-step instructions below.
Step 1: Open up the application you wish to hide in the tray. It must have been opened at least once, or XFCE4 will not add it to the “Known Applications” list.
Step 2: In the “Notification Area” settings, look through the list of “Known Applications” for the program(s) you wish to hide in the tray. Then, click the check-box next to the app(s) in the hidden column.
Once the hidden box is checked, your app(s) will be hidden in the system tray. To reveal hidden items, click on the arrow in the system tray.
Unhiding items in the tray
Unhiding previously hidden applications is done the same way they are hidden. To do it, right-click on the panel, and open up “panel preferences.”
Inside of the “panel preferences,” locate the “Items” tab and click on it with the mouse. Then, locate “Notification Area (external)” and select it with the mouse.
After selecting “Notification Area (external)” with the mouse, find the gear icon on the right-hand side of the window and select it with the mouse. Selecting the gear icon will bring up the “Notification Area” window.
Make your way to the “Known Applications” list, and find the app that you want to unhide. Then, uncheck the box next to the app in the hidden column. Upon unclicking the “hidden” checkbox, your app should show up on the panel again.
Remove system tray altogether
If you’ve tried hiding applications in the system tray on XFCE4, and find that it’s not enough in getting rid of those annoying tray icons, there is a more drastic measure you can take: removing the system-tray from the XFCE4 panel altogether.
To remove the tray from the panel, you’ll once again need to access the “Panel Preferences” area. To do this, right-click on the panel and select “panel preferences.”
Inside of the “panel preferences” window, make your way to “items.” Then, find “Notification Area (external)” and select it with the mouse.
After selecting “Notification Area (external)” with the mouse, look to for the minus sign on the right-hand side of the window. Select the minus button to remove the XFCE4 system tray from the panel entirely.
Once the system tray is removed from the panel, you will no longer see annoying tray icons from various apps running on your Linux PC.
Re-adding the tray
Decided you want to re-add the system tray to the XFCE4 desktop after removing it? Here’s how to do it.
First, open up “panel preferences” by right-clicking on the panel. Then, inside of “panel preferences,” click on the “Items” tab.
In the “Items” area, look for the plus sign and click on it. From there, use the menu to re-add “Notification Area (external)” to the panel.
After re-adding “Notification Area (external)” to the item list, application tray icons will begin to appear on the XFCE4 panel once again.