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   >  The Fedora Gnome 3 GUI
   >  Using the Favourites List in Fedora
   >  Using the  Gnome 3.x Activities Area
   >  Using Workspaces in Gnome 3.x
   >  Adding  Applications to Gnome
   >  Customising the 3.x Desktop
   >  Using Gnome to View Folders
   >  The Linux Mint Gnome 3 GUI
   >  The Zorin OS Gnome 3 GUI


Using Workspaces in Gnome 3.x

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.

Switching Workspaces in Gnome 3.x

In Fedora (-and other Linux distros using Gnome 3 such as Linux Mint), you need to first enter the "Activities" display by either:

  • Clicking on the "Activities" link in the top left of the desktop
  • Clicking on the "Option" key (-aka the Windows key) on your keyboard

You should now see thumbnails of all the open windows in the current workspace displayed. On the extreme right of the screen, you should see the edge of a number of desktop thumbnails:

Activities Display

If you move your mouse pointer over them, the section will enlarge and display the full desktop thumbnail. A white outline indicates the workspace currently being displayed. Click on each thumbnail to switch to that workspace:

Workspace Icon Thumbnails

Another nice touch, is that Linux puts thumbnails of the open windows within the desktop display, so you can see immediately which workspaces contain open windows. In the preceeding example, you can tell there are six windows open in workspace one and none in the remaining (active) workspace.

Moving Windows between Workspaces

Sometimes, you might open up a window or application in one workspace, but later decide it would be better off in another. Gnome 3 allows you to switch the window to another workpace, by right-clicking in the window banner - the window menu should then display:

Workspace Switcher Menu

From here you select the following workspace options:

  • Only on this Workspace: lock the window to the currently active workspace
  • Always on Visible Workspace: show the window whichever workspace is active
  • Move to Workspace Up: move window to previous workspace (-if there is one)
  • Move to Workspace Down: move window to next workspace (-if there is one)

Note: Linux Mint refers to "Workspace Left" and "Workspace Right" instead of "Workspace Up" and "Workspace Down", but the terms are synonymous

Comment from Neo Mhacker (
Gnome 3 is awesome and it's very comfortable to work with. There is one small issue though. When I work, I usually assign windows to workspaces. For example, I always keep Thunderbird in the fourth workspace. It would be helpful if I can fix the number of workspaces, rather than dynamically adding then when Gnome 3 sees fit. I am sure there would be an option, but it was not obvious.

Comment from Devin J. Garman :
Don't forget about the keyboard shortcuts! This is were the workspaces really come into there own, allowing you to work with multiple workspaces without ever even having to take your hands off the keyboard. On most systems, you can use Ctr + Alt + Cursor to navigate between workspaces, and Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Cursor to move your current app to another workspace.

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