Ubuntu – I want Labels at Icons on the Deskop with more than one Line in Xubuntu


On Xubuntu 16.04.3 LTS the labels attached to the icons on my desktop could span more than one line.

Now I have installed Xubuntu 18.04.3 LTS. This version (with its default settings) truncates all labels on my desktop where a line break would become necessary.

That's quite unsatisfactory since I sometimes have similar items which distinguish themselves not in the first say 12 characters but rather in some later ones which would appear on the second or third line of the label if linebreaking would happen instead of truncation.

I have to admit that the line breaking on Xubuntu 16.04 sometimes happened in odd places, e.g. in the middle of a word, sometimes even giving rise to strange interpretations of the words… At least it was better than what I have now.

Can I tell Xubuntu not to just truncate the label but rather to provide space for say up to three lines?

It would be even nicer if Xubuntu could display labels to the icons with reasonable hyphenation… just as a matter of aesthetics.

Best Answer

  • Things aren't really that bad in Xubuntu 18.04:

    If an item is not selected, you'll see this:

    icon with only one line of text

    But if you click on the item, you'll see this:

    Icon with expanded text: filename with spaces

    Or this:

    Icon with expanded text: filename has no spaces

    However, if you always want more of the label's text to be visible, whether or not the item is selected, you'll need to use a theme that supports such a feature. To know which of your themes would do, run

    grep -r XfdesktopIconView 

    from within ~/.themes or /usr/share/themes. The Greybird and Numix themes are present in Xubuntu by default. And both are suitable. (Adwaita is not.)

    For either of these themes, open the gtk-2.0 folder and then open the gtkrc file. Search for the line below:

    XfdesktopIconView::cell-text-width-proportion = 1.9

    Increase the value from 1.9 to meet your needs. To test, save the file, switch themes away from Greybird and then back to Greybird using the Appearances application.

    Note that if we consider the desktop surface to be a grid, a higher value will increase the dimensions of each cell in the grid resulting in fewer total rows and columns. You can see how the item below the Appearances icon get pushed down and even out of sight as this animated gif shows:

    Animation showing increased length of labels

    The approach described above is applicable to Xubuntu 19.10 as well.

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