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Using Workspaces in the Gnome GUI

What are Workspaces?

Workspaces are something the author hasn(t come across in Windows up until now (-but then, he gave up on that after XP)! Workspaces allow you to organise your windows so things don(t get too cluttered on your screen. In effect, Gnome gives you four virtual screens which you can switch between at the click of a mouse button. So, for example, you could put your office windows in one workspace and your home windows in another (-useful for when the boss comes round)!

In effect, Gnome gives you four virtual screens which you can switch between at the click of a mouse button

Workspaces are really useful for when you have several tasks you are switching between. One example the author can think of is if you have terminal sessions open to multiple servers (-or one where you are root and another where you are an unprivileged user), then to avoid confusion, you can keep them in different workspaces.


Using Workspaces in Ubuntu

The default position for the workspace icons is in the bottom right corner – just to the left of the Rubbish Bin – and they look just like blank rectangles, with the active workspace highlighted:

Workspace Icons

Here, the aura around the first rectangle shows that it is the first workspace that is active (-i.e. being displayed). Click on the second rectangle to switch to the second workspace (etc):

Current Workspace Icon

Applications / windows that you open within a workspace stay in that workspace; so, if you open a window then move to another workspace, that window will seem to disappear; when you go back to the original workspace, it will magically re-appear!

Another nice touch, is that Gnome puts a thumbnail of the open windows within the desktop icons themselves ..


Moving Windows between Workspaces

Another nice touch, is that Linux puts a thumbnail of the open windows within the desktop icons themselves, so you can immediately which workspaces contain open windows. In the following example, you can tell there are multiple windows open in workspace one, two smaller windows in workspace two and none in the remaining workspaces:

Workspace Icon Thumbnails

You can also move a window to a different workspace by right clicking on it(s icon in the panel and using one of the options there to move it to the desired location:

Move Window to another Workspace

The example above shows a text editor window being moved from workspace two (-greyed out) to workspace one. Alternatively, you can chose to have a window visible in all workspaces -for example, you may be expecting an important message and therefore want your email visible no matter which workspace you are in.


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