Edit Jan. 2021: Orage Clock is not supported anymore since the release of Xfce 4.16. No More date in the Panel, for me.

The day and the month displayed horizontaly in a vertical Panel

Close-up view of the clock and the date

I like to have my Panel (XFCE’s version of macOS Menubar and Windows Taskbar) on the left of my screen, vertically. It saves some screen real estate and let me see more of what I’m actually working on — the text I’m writing or reading. It’s even more essential on my X220 ThinkPad laptop, with its meager 1280x768 vertical resolution where every single pixel counts.

And for no other reason than often forgetting what day it is and being lazy, I like to have the date always visible somewhere next to the clock, as it saves me the tedious chore of having to move the cursor over the clock to open the usual popup that shows the day and date every single time I wonder ‘Is it Wedesday or Sunday?’ Yep, I’m that lazy.

Illustration

It is easy to make XFCE’s clock extension display the date, and it looks fine — as long as you dont use a vertical Panel.

Illustration

Usable, I guess. But come on, am I really the only one using the Panel vertically that expects the date to be displayed like any other text on my screen (horizontally)? Alas, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it like I wanted and like you can see it in the first screenshot.

So, how did I finally managed to do it?

I stopped using the clock extension to display the date, and used another extension for that. An extension I placed next to the clock — clever guy!

(I still use the Clock extension to display the… clock, mind you, as I find its Digital mode much more readable, aka bigger.)

The new extension is called Orage clock. You’ll find it in your Panel’s list of Items once you have installed the Orage calendar pakage that is available in Manjaro’s official repo.

Once installed, you just need to tell it what to display, and how:

An Image

  1. After moving the extension where you want it in your Panel, right-click and open its Properties.
  2. In the Appearance section, select No rotation in the dropdown.
  3. Next to this dropdown, check the Show lines vertically.
  4. This is also where you will select the font used, and its size.
    The main issue I had regarding fonts was to find one that would remain readable while still fitting in my relatively narrow vertical Panel (avoid fancy fonts, and don’t be afraid to use bold or heavier fonts that can be much more readable at small size). What I ended up getting is not perfect but it’s good enough — it’s not like I’m constantly checking what day or date it is, either.
  5. You might want to change the space between lines too. To do so, check set height and give it some value.
  6. Finally, use the Clock Options section to specify what to display.
    By default, it shows too much stuff to my liking. So I deleted everything and now use two lines (once again, for space constraints but you can use more or less by pressing the dropdown arrow on the right side of an existing line) that are showing: the shortened name of the day (%a), the day number (%d) and finally the shortened month (%b). No, I don’t need to be reminded of the year we’re in — for now at least — but thank you for asking.
    BTW, Orage clock uses the standard Bash date format.

And that’s about it.