How to use Desklets in Linux Mint Cinnamon – Linux Mint 21.2 edition

In a previous article, as part of my Linux Mint 21.2 tutorial series, I already discussed one of the Cinnamon Spices, the Applet. But there are other Cinnamon Spices available to modify and further improve your Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop experience. In Linux Mint Cinnamon you can use the following types of spices: themes, applets, desklets, and extensions. In this article, I will explain How to use Desklets in Linux Mint Cinnamon.

Content of this article

  1. What are Desklets
  2. How to find new Desklets
  3. How to install new Desklets
  4. How to configure Desklets
  5. Some useful Desklets

Article information

Distro versions: 

  • Linux Mint 21.2 Cinnamon

Tutorial series: 

What are Desklets

Linux Mint is an excellent Linux distribution. Simple to use and easy to learn, but also extremely powerful, flexible, and adaptable. It offers something for everyone. Especially the in-house designed desktop environment Cinnamon is wonderful to use and can be adapted to your own preferences in many ways.

Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop environment can be customized with what we call Spices: Themes, Applets, Desklets, and Extensions. In this article, we will focus specifically on Desklets. In my previous article “How to use Applets in Linux Mint Cinnamon” you can read more about the different Spices and all about Applets.

Desklets are small, mostly one-purpose applications, that run inside an environment that we call gDesklets, which enables users to add additional features to their desktop. With Desklets, think about specific functionalities like simple clocks, RSS, calendars, and weather information. 

Desklets can both be installed and set up from within Cinnamon itself or can be found via the Cinnamon Spices website. Currently, there are almost 50 Desklets for you available, free to use. And if you are really adventurous, you can of course create your own Desklets by using the Python programming language. 

How to find new Desklets

It’s pretty easy to find new Desklets. There are multiple ways to find new Desklets for Linux Mint Cinnamon. In this article. I will focus on the following two ways:

  • Built-in Desklets app
  • Cinnamon Spices website

So let’s take a closer look at both approaches.

Built-in Desklets app

Linux Mint Cinnamon has an application available out-of-the-box specifically for adding, maintaining, and removing Desklets. The Desklets application can be found via the application launcher in the Linux Mint main menu, or by right-clicking on an empty spot on your Desktop.

1) In the panel, click on the Linux Mint logo at the bottom left to open the Linux Mint main menu and search for Desklets in the search bar. Or right-click on the desktop and select Add Desklets.

The following screen opens:

Here you will see three main parts, namely Manage, Download, and General Settings. 

2) Click on Manage.

In Manage you will see an overview of already installed Desklets. Some of these Desklets are considered system Desklets and cannot be removed and often cannot be modified. A number of these Desklets can be adjusted if the gear icon on the right side of the line of a Desklet is active. If you select a Desklet, with the plus or minus sign you can activate the Desklet on your desktop.

3) Click on Download.

The following screen is displayed:

Here you see an overview of available Desklets. You can sort Desklets here in several ways, such as by Popularity, Name, and Date. you can also sort so that the Installed or Upgradable Desklets become visible. You also have a search area here. At the bottom of the screen, you see 4 icons, for more Information, Uninstall, Updates, and Refresh.

4) When you select a Desklet, you can click on the Information icon at the bottom.

Now a new webpage in your browser will be opened. This is a page as part of the Cinnamon Spices website, which we will discuss in the next section.

5) Click on General Settings.

The following screen will be visible:

Here you can change the decoration of your Desklets: no decoration, border only, or border and header. Further, you can choose to snap the Desklets to a grid, select the width of the Desklets snap grid, and if you want to lock the Desklets in their current position.

6) Feel free to browse the available Desklets in the Deslet app and see if there is anything that would appeal to you. When you like something, just click on the Install button at the right of a Desklet. 

Cinnamon Spices website

Next to the Desklets application in Linux Mint Cinnamon, you maybe like it more to have a kind of app store where you can not only find Desklets, but also Themes, Applets, and Extensions, which I discuss in separate articles. Well, there is the very nice Cinnamon Spices website, which was shortly mentioned in the previous section, as it is used as a reference for the Desklets app.

https://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/

1) Go to https://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/

2) Click on Desklets.

Here you can search, and choose between Popular and Latest.

3) Click on a Desklet to see all the details, like the description, documentation, and also comments from users. Here you also see buttons that bring you to for example open issues and the product website.

How to install new Desklets

I prefer to use the built-in Desklets app because it offers a simple, fast, and visual way to download, install and activate the Desklets.

Let’s for example try to install the Weather Desklet.

1) Right-click on your Desktop and select Add Desklets.

2) Select the Download section.

3) Search for Weather.

4) Select Weather Desklet and click on the Install button at the most right of the Desklet item.

After the download and installation were successful, you see a checkmark on the left side of the Desklet icon and name.

5) Now go to the Manage section.

In the list, you see the new Weather Desklet.

6) Select the new Weather Desklet and click at the bottom of the screen on the Add sign.

Now you immediately will see that an extra item is being added to your Desktop.

How to configure Desklets

Via the Desklets app, you can change some settings, if any are available, for your Desklets. Let’s have a look at the previously installed Weather Desklet.

Here you see a gear icon on the right-hand side, which brings you to the Configuration screen of this Desklet.

Each Desklet has its own configuration items, so I advice you to have a look at the configuration possibilities of each Desklet you installed.

You can also right-click on the desklet on your Desktop to configure or remove the Desklet. Further, you can click on a Deslet and move it around to reposition it on your Desktop. 

Some useful Desklets

There are quite a few Desklets out there, so I can imagine that you don’t just know which Desklets are the best, the most useful, the coolest, or whatever. So here are my 5 favorite Desklets for you to start with.

Disk Space

The Disk Space Desklet gives you instant information on the disk space of your different storage devices, RAM, or swap.

Info on Disk Space

Weather Desklet

Display the weather from several web services on your desktop.

Info on Weather Desklet

Desktop Calculator

A simple calculator Desklet, always visible and available on your desktop.

Info on Desktop Calculator

Calendar desklet

A configurable and interactive Calendar tool on your desktop.

Info on Calendar desklet

System monitor graph

Shows graphs on your desktop to keep an eye on your system data.

Info on System monitor graph

Final words

That’s it. There is so much possible with Linux Mint. If you just want to install Linux Mint and use it as it is offered out-of-the-box, you can without a problem. But if you would like to adjust the system to your own liking, that is also very possible. Desklets are just one of the types of solutions available for Linux Mint to supplement the base system with valuable little functional applications. In a separate article as part of my Linux Mint Tutorial Series, I’ll cover Themes, Applets, and Extensions.

About the free Linux Mint tutorial series

Through a number of short Linux beginner tutorials, I want to offer a simple starter guide for those who have never done anything with Linux Mint and do not know exactly where to start and where to find the necessary information. In an accessible way, it guides you through among others the principles of Linux, finding and downloading a Linux distribution, creating a live medium, finding software, installing software, executing updates, and making sure your internal and external devices work properly. This article is part of my Linux Mint tutorial series. You can find an overview of the complete tutorial series via the link below:

Linux beginner tutorials – an overview

Have a look at my latest book on Linux, in Paperback or Kindle format.

For more info on my book click here.

When you want to buy the book click on the image below.


If you appreciate what I do on this website…,

User Avatar

About John Been

Hi there! My name is John Been. At the moment I work as a senior solution engineer for a large financial institution, but in my free time, I am the owner of RealAppUser.com, RealLinuxUser.com, and author of my first book "Linux for the rest of us". I have a broad insight and user experience in everything related to information technology and I believe I can communicate about it with some fun and knowledge and skills.

View all posts by John Been →