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   >  Introducing the Unity Desktop
   >  Using the Unity Desktop
   >  Customizing the Unity Desktop
   >  Using Workspaces in Unity
   >  Disabling Unity
   >  Unity Keyboard Shortcuts

 

The Unity Desktop in Use

Accessing Applications with the Unity Launcher

As mentioned in the introduction, the main difference you will notice is that applications are now listed in a scrollable bar on the left hand side of the screen (-known as the Launcher) under Unity. Here is an example icon (-for the command line terminal) which is not currently running:

Unity Application Icon (not running)

As you launch an application, it's icon appears within this bar (-if it's not already there) and an arrow to the left of the icon denotes that the application is running:

Unity Application Icon (running)

Note: an arrow to the right of the icon denotes that the application is the currently active one (-i.e. the one which receive any input if you were to start typing)

Left-clicking any icon without a window already open (i.e. with no arrow to it's left) will open a new window for that application. Left-clicking any icon with a window already open (i.e. with an arrow to it's left) will make that window the currently active one (-e.g. will unminimize it or bring it to the fore). Left-clicking on the icon for the currently active window will show you a reduced size display of all the currently open windows for that application (-assuming there are more than one):

Unity App Windows

Just click on the window you desire and that one will assume full size and become the currently active one.


Adding Applications to the Unity Launcher

If you wish to access an application whose icon is not yet in the left hand bar, then you will need to left-click the Ubuntu icon (Ubuntu Icon) in the top left hand corner of the screen and type the name in the search button:

Note: from Ubuntu 12.04 onwards, Canonical moved the Ubuntu Menu into the Unity Launcher itself, as the first icon:
Ubuntu Menu in Launcher

Unity Search

Alternatively (-for example, if you can't remember the name) you can navigate to it using the icons given underneath the search facility (-for example, to look through all internet applications, to find the one you are looking for):

Unity App Navigation


Dockable Menu Bars

Another change in Unity is that the menu bar for the current (active) application is now displayed at the top of the desktop (-i.e. the top line of the screen) rather than the top line of the application window itself:

Dockable Menu in Firefox

This is apparently to save space - albeit at the expense of having to move the mouse up and down between the top of the screen and the active window, which can be a little wearing. Note that the LibreOffice suite was an exception to this rule (-i.e. it's menu bar is anchored to the active window) up until Ubuntu 11.x -and you may well come across other non-conformant applications.


Keyboard Shortcuts

When using Unity, there are many keyboard shortcuts you can use to save yourself time. The full set can be viewed by holding down the Super (-aka the Option or Windows) key:

Unity Keyboard Shortcut Display

Here are some of the most useful:

ShortcutAreaUsage
Super (hold)HelpList the most common keyboard shortcuts (-see above)
Super + WWindowsDisplay an overlay of thumbnails of all open windows
CTRL + Super + DWindowsMinimize all open windows
CTRL + Super + Up ArrowWindowsMaximize the current window
CTRL + Super + Down ArrowWindowsRestore the current window size
CTRL + Super + Left ArrowWindowsSize the current window to fit the left half of the screen
CTRL + Super + Right ArrowWindowsSize the current window to fit the right half of the screen
Super + TabApplicationsScroll through the Launcher icons and run/activate the selected application
Alt + TabApplicationsSwitch between open applications
Alt + Tab + `ApplicationsSwitch between open applications using a preview window
Super + SWorkpacesDisplay the workspace switcher
CTRL + Alt + Arrow KeyWorkpacesSwitch to a different workspace
Super (tap)DashboardOpens the Dash home
Super + ADashboardSearch for applications
Super + FDashboardSearch for files
Super + MDashboardSearch for music
Super + VDashboardSearch for videos

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