An application is a type of computer program that allows you to perform a particular task. You might use applications to create text documents such as letters or reports; to work with spreadsheets; to listen to your favorite music; to navigate the Internet; or to create, edit, or view images and videos. For each of these tasks, you would use a different application.
To launch an application, open the menu and choose the application you want from the submenus. For more on this, see the section called “Applications Menu”.
The applications that are part of GNOME include the following:
Gedit Text Editor can read, create, or modify any kind of simple text without any formatting.
Dictionary allows you to look up definitions of a word.
Image Viewer can display single image files, as well as large image collections.
Calculator performs basic, financial, and scientific calculations.
Character Map lets you choose letters and symbols from the Unicode character set and paste them into any application. If you are writing in several languages, not all the characters you need will be on your keyboard.
Nautilus File Manager displays your folders and their contents. Use this to copy, move, classify your files; and access CDs, USB flashdrives, or any removable media. When you choose an item from the menu, a Nautilus File Manager window opens you show you that location.
Terminal gives you access to the system command line.
Further standard GNOME applications include games, music and video players, a web browser, software accessibility tools, and utilities to manage your system. Your distributor or vendor may have added other GNOME applications, such as a word processor and a graphics editor. Your distributor or vendor may also provide you with a way to install further applications.
All GNOME applications have many features in common, which makes it easier to learn how to work with a new GNOME application. The rest of this section describes some of these features.
The applications that are provided with the GNOME Desktop
share several characteristics. For example, the applications have a consistent
look-and-feel. The applications share characteristics because the applications
use the same programming libraries. An application that uses the standard
GNOME programming libraries is called a GNOME-compliant application. For example, Nautilus and the gedit text editor are GNOME-compliant applications.
GNOME provides libraries in addition to the libraries provided by your
operating system. The libraries enable GNOME to run your existing applications
as well as GNOME-compliant applications. For example, if your operating system
is UNIX-based, you can run your current X11 applications and Motif applications
from the GNOME Desktop.
Some of the features of GNOME-compliant applications are as follows:
GNOME-compliant applications have a consistent look-and-feel. GNOME-compliant
applications use the look-and-feel settings that you specify in the preference
tools. You can use the following tools to change the look-and-feel of your
Menubars, toolbars, and statusbars
Most GNOME-compliant applications have a menubar, a toolbar, and a statusbar.
The menubar always contains a menu and a menu. The menu always contains an menu item, and the menu always
contains an menu item.
A toolbar is a bar that appears under the menubar.
A toolbar contains buttons for the most commonly-used commands. A statusbar is a bar at the bottom of a window that provides information
about the current state of what you are viewing in the window. GNOME-compliant
applications might also contains other bars. For example, Nautilus contains a location bar.
You can choose to make the toolbars in GNOME-compliant applications detachable. That
is, the toolbar can be removed from within the window and placed anywhere on the screen. When this option is enabled, each toolbar has a handle that you can grab then drag the bar to another location. You can drag the bar to snap to another side of the window, or to another part of the screen.
Default shortcut keys
GNOME-compliant applications use the same shortcut keys to perform the
same actions. For example, to quit a GNOME-compliant application, press Ctrl+Q. To undo an action in a GNOME-compliant
application, press Ctrl+Z.
GNOME-compliant applications provide consistent feedback
when you drag-and-drop items, and interoperate in a sophisticated manner.
For example, GNOME-compliant applications
recognize the format of the items that you drag. When you drag a HTML file
from a Nautilus window to a web browser, the file
is displayed in HTML format in the browser. However, when you drag the HTML
file to a text editor, the file is displayed in plain text format in the text
The work you do with an application is stored in files. These may be on your computer's hard drive, or on a removable device such as a USB flashdrive. You open a file to examine it or work on it, and you save a file to store your work. When you are done working with a file, you close it.
All GNOME applications use the same dialogs for opening and saving files, presenting you with a consistent interface. The following sections cover the open and the save dialog in detail.
The Open File dialog allows you to choose a file to open in an application.
The right-hand pane of the dialog lists files and folders in the current location. You can use the mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard to select a file.
Once a file is selected in the list, perform one of the following actions to open it:
Double-click the file.
If you open a folder or a location instead of a file, the Open File dialog updates to show the contents of that folder or location.
To change the location shown in the right-hand pane, do one of the following:
Open a folder that is listed in the current location.
Open an item in the left-hand pane. This pane lists places such as your Documents folder, your Home Folder, media such as CDs and flashdrives, places on your network, and your bookmarks.
Click one of the buttons in the path bar above the file listing pane. This shows the hierarchy of folders that contain your current location. Use the arrow buttons to either side of the button bar if the list of folders is too long to fit.
The lower part of the Open File dialog may contain further options specific to the current application.
You can restrict the file list to show only files on certain types. To do this, choose a file type from the drop-down list beneath the file list pane. The list of file types depends on the application you are currently using. For example, a graphics application will list different image file formats, and a text editor will list different types of text file.
If you know the name of the file you want to open, begin typing it: the file list will jump to show you files whose names begin with the characters you type. Arrow keys will now select from only these files. The characters you have typed appear in a pop-up window at the base of the file list.
To cancel find-as-you-type, press Esc.
You might sometimes need to choose a folder to work with rather than open a file. For example, if you use Archive Manager to extract files from an archive, you need to choose a folder to place the files into. In this case, the files in the current location are greyed out, and pressing Open when a folder is selected will choose that folder.
You can type a full or relative path to the file you want to open. Begin typing a full path starting with / to open the Open Location dialog. Otherwise, to open the Open Location dialog either press Ctrl+L or right-click in the right-hand pane and choose .
Type a path from the current location, or an absolute path beginning with / or ~/. The Location field has the following features to simplify the typing of a full filename:
A drop-down of possible file and folder names is displayed once you begin typing. Use down arrow and up arrow and Return to choose from the list.
If the part of the name typed uniquely identifies a file or folder, the name is auto-completed. Press Tab to accept the suggested text. For example, if you type "Do", and the only object in the folder beginning with "Do" is Documents, then the entire name appears in the field.
You can open files in remote locations by choosing the location from the left panel, or by typing a path to a remote location into the Open Location dialog.
If you require a password to access the remote location, you will be asked for it when you open it.
Adding and Removing Bookmarks
To add the current location to the bookmarks list, press Add, or right-click a folder in the file list and choose . You can add any folder that is listed in the current location by dragging it to the bookmarks list.
To remove a bookmark from the list, select it and press Remove.
The first time you save your work in an application, the Save File dialog will ask you for a location and name for the new file. Subsequent saving updates this file. To save to a new file, choose ->.
You can enter a filename and choose a location to save in from the drop-down list of bookmarks and commonly-used locations.
Saving in another location
To save the file in a location not listed in the drop-down list, click the Browse for other folders expansion label. This shows a file browser similar to the one in the Open File dialog.
The expanded Save File dialog has the same features as the Open File dialog, such as filtering, find-as-you-type, and adding and removing bookmarks.
Replacing an existing file
If you type in the name of an existing file, you will be asked whether you wish to replace the existing file with your current work. You can also do this by choosing the file you want to overwrite in the browser.
To specify a path to save a file, type it into the Name field. A drop-down of possible file and folder names is displayed once you begin typing. Use down arrow and up arrow and Return to choose from the list. If only one file or folder matches the partial name you have typed, press Tab to complete the name.