Saturday, March 23, 2013

kde's date and time

Configuring the KDE4 panel's digital clock is sort of a pain, mainly because settings aren't all in one place. Not a problem if you know what you're doing. If you don't... good luck. Prepare to spend a lot of time floundering.

I've finally gotten to the point where it takes me only a few minutes to get things tweaked to my satisfaction. Here's a look at how I did things in Fedora 17, with KDE 4.10.1.

Right-click on the clock and click on "Digital Clock Settings." The default settings look something like this:

Under "Appearance," the "Font" section controls the time's font, but not the date's font. I changed the Font to "Bold." In the "Information" section, I changed the Date format from "No date" to "Short date":

To tweak the date, first I clicked on the "wrench" button that sits to the right of the Date format. That opened up the "Country/Region & Language - KDE Control Module" window. I clicked on the "Date & Time" tab. The two fields I'm concerned with here are the "Time format" field and the "Short date format" field. With the cursor hovering inside one of the fields, suggestions show up, providing some helpful hints:

There's also a drop-down list that shows some strings you can use in the field.

In the "Time format" field, I used HH:MM to give me a 24-hour clock. In the the "Short date format" field, I used SHORTWEEKDAY SHORTMONTH dD. Those text strings are defined in the pop-up that appears when the cursor is hovering inside the field.

Finally, I clicked on "Apply" and closed the window. Back in "Digital Clock Settings" window, I clicked on "Apply" and closed that window, too.

At this point, the font for the time was in bold, but the font for the date was too small, and not in bold. To adjust the date's font: System Settings > Application Appearance > Fonts. The "Small" font setting is the one that is used for the the date.

The "Choose..." button brings up the following window:

A strange thing here is that the size of the time's and date's fonts are sorta connected. If you make the date's font larger, the time's font will shrink. I wanted to keep the date's font smaller than the time's font, but in the end the date's font was still a bit too small for my old eyes. This was remedied by increasing the height of the panel itself.

After all that, I had things the way I wanted them.

It's unfortunate that the KDE devs still haven't found a way to make all this much simpler, but with a little practice, the user can make short work of it.

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