View Full Version : How to best use multiple workspaces

April 3rd, 2010, 05:20 PM
Hi all, how do you use your multiple workspaces? Can anyone tell me their view on how to use them to get the most of this feature? What I mean is, e.g., what programs and how do you arrance them on which workspace etc.


p.s. I'm currently using 4 workspaces and have 1-2 programs running on each.

April 3rd, 2010, 05:29 PM
I distribute my applications among them, I don't have more than 1 application running in a workspace unless I have to.

April 3rd, 2010, 05:35 PM
I usually try and keep apps on the same workspace all the time, so web browser would always be on #2, email on #4 or whatever, obviously this helps.

Also, I remove the minimise button from titlebars and usually the task list off the taskbar. This helps with my occasional bad habit of minimising rather than using another workspace.

Good shortcut keys are important too.. I use Alt+num for each workspace and Shift+Alt+num to move an app to a different workspace.

April 3rd, 2010, 06:38 PM
Get a wm which supports good hotkeying.
Modified openbox default:
alt+<- or -> = go to left or right desktop
shift + alt+<- or -> = move application to left or right workspace
along with alt+Fbuttons to go to spesific you got all you need.

Naitsirhc Hsem
April 3rd, 2010, 08:05 PM
I think they should make a version of gnome that lets you merge all of the desktops and just shift back and forth.

April 3rd, 2010, 08:11 PM
Do you mean like when using Compiz effects? like the desktop cube which gives you the four different "desktop" screens? thats what i use. and ill have google chrome running on one and if im playing a game, ill have it on another, and if im downloading somthing (like from Ubuntu software center) ill have it on another. and i will switch quickly imbetween them using the Alt-(arrow keys to go left or right) that way i can easily multi-task while staying organized. i have yet to find a use for the fourth screen though :D

April 3rd, 2010, 08:19 PM
I'm usually keeping a webbrowser or two on the first, GIMP open on the second, music playing on the third and a clean surface for application screenshots on the fourth.

April 3rd, 2010, 08:23 PM
I found out today that even when running on two screens, you can play a dvd on the right screen and set it to show on all workspaces and then when you switch desktops the other apps slide past the video which stays in place. That's pretty impressive. I agree it (almost) make minimisation obsolete.

April 3rd, 2010, 09:47 PM
I use a tiling wm, and usually split my applications across workspaces according to category/task. For example, in workspace 1 I usually have my web browser (in a tiled array), while in workspace 2 I have 'work' applications such as R, Vim, etc. but also my music player :P, and workspace 3 usually contains my instant messenger stuff (Pidgin or Bitlbee).

For each workspace I'll usually have at least 1, and usually more, terminals; not only because many of the apps I use are CLI apps, but because I execute most tasks through the terminal, and find it handy to have one on hand, regardless of whether I'm browsing, working, or chatting.

That's a rough overview, anyway. In practice things often become a bit more chaotic than that :)

April 3rd, 2010, 10:29 PM
I dont have as much need for the extra workspaces on my Desktop with it`s 2 screens and even though i`m using a laptop most of the time i`ll generally just use Synergy so i still have access to the Desktop with the laptops mouse & keyboard.

That`s only possible if the laptops being used in my PC den along side the Desktop of course so i still keep 2 workspaces on the laptop/s for a Browser and whatever else i might be using.

April 3rd, 2010, 10:38 PM
I have 6 workspaces and open programs in the same workspace every time. Firefox in 1, tv player in the next, gedit, Nautilus, etc. I wrote a bash script, that spins my 6-sided cube to a chosen workspace and then opens a program, I use this in my launchers. I set my F5 through F10 keys to spin to workspaces 1 through 6 with compiz.

April 3rd, 2010, 10:49 PM
I mainly use multiple workspaces when I'm ripping CDs.

I'll have my ripping app and file browser on one workspace, Firefox on the next (hunting for album covers), my ID tagging app on another and Songbird on another.

I can kick off a CD to be ripped, then be sorting the tags of the last CD (adding cover and so on), then adding the tunes to Songbird with everything neat and separate.

I also use 'em if I've got lots of tabs open on Firefox then my wife/sons ask if they can use the machine. Click over to a new space, open a new Firefox, my tabs are safe from closure!


April 3rd, 2010, 11:15 PM
Thanks all for the replies, I got some good ideas from you. Keep it coming.

April 3rd, 2010, 11:45 PM
I run six workspaces. The first three dedicated as so:
2-Firefox (sometimes in other spaces too).

I use spaces 4-6 hold what ever projects I'm working on at the time (like a work plan going in one space, a backup project on another, and a research job on the other). This allows me to change my focus and attitude for what ever I'm working at the time.

I keep the workplace switcher in the lower right panel for a (right-hand) mouse switch, and hot keys for cube rotate or shift switcher on the left side of the keyboard for a left-hand switch. This allows me to switch with whatever hand is free.

April 3rd, 2010, 11:59 PM
I have five. Workspace one is named "Web" and has Opera and claws-mail running; two is named "Term" and has a urxvtc instance running with irssi and ncmpcpp (at the very least) running in dvtm sessions within a tmux session; three to five are named "Misc 1" to (unsurprisingly) "Misc 3", and contain whatever I happen to use them for at the time.

My shortcuts in StumpWM are "C-z <" and "C-z >" to change, with workspace 5 wrapping around to 1, so Misc 3 is the most used of my misc workspaces.

April 4th, 2010, 01:15 AM
I use only 2 workspaces.

I did have 2 monitors at some point, but now only one.

Desktop 1 is my normal desktop, where i browse the web, play games, etc.

Desktop 2 is for passive programs, programs that I keep running but I don't necessarily need to keep an eye on. Like Rhythmbox, or avidemux convering videos, or shoutcast.com's flash player for music.. etc

April 4th, 2010, 01:37 AM
On all of my computers I set my workspaces as follows:

1) Web Browse
2) File Browse (and applications: gnumeric, abiword)
3) Command (3 terminals typically)
4) Listen (vagalume, rhythmbox, mocp, skype)

April 4th, 2010, 02:25 AM
I mainly use multiple workspaces on my work machine.

The first workspace is where I keep email & IM client open. The last workspace is where I keep open documents that I use for reference. In the intermediate workspaces, I keep various stuff open grouped by context or project. New thing comes up, I open stuff up in a new workspace, etc.

April 4th, 2010, 03:13 AM
I only user another workspace when I fill up the panel on the first one. I use my browser the same way. When I fill up my tab bar, I open up another window. Opening GIMP usually forces me to the next workspace. I don't get why one application has to take up three panel buttons. :-?:roll: That's probably one reason why so many people hate it and why it's phasing out just when I've learned so much about it.

April 4th, 2010, 03:50 AM
I'm a light multitasker. Typically I only have a web browser, Rhythmbox, one or two OpenOffice windows, a couple Nautilus windows, and maybe a calculator. However, when I get into more serious multitasking, or ultra uni-tasking, here is how I use the multiple workspaces to my advantage:

1. Used to partition my work (probably the best way):
Let's say I'm working on a school assignment and then decide to start working on a second one. (Or maybe I'm goofing off and decide to start working.) However, I don't want to close all my windows from the first project. So, I switch to another workspace and, presto, a blank slate. I can then switch between two distinct workloads at will and keep all my work organized.

In this setup, I typically set my web-browser to be visible on all workspaces because it's tabs keep it organized enough on its own.

2. Window Overload!
When I do serious multitasking (20-40+ windows) that isn't organized into distinct, separate projects (and might just be one workload) I start to organize them like this so I can keep things straight:

Workspace 1: Web browsers (sometimes I'm forced into using Firefox due to poor Flash support in Opera, but I'll still have Opera open for anything non-flash related)
Workspace 2: OpenOffice windows (usually 3-5, occasionally up to 7-9)
Workspace 3: Rhythmbox (to get it out of the way)
Workspace 4: File browsers and/or terminal window(s)

I'll also probably have some calculators open, and those just go wherever I open them. In addition, I can have other tasks going on. Let's say I'm tweaking settings: those windows could go in Workspace 1 (so I can look up stuff online while I do it), Workspace 3 (so it is less cluttered), or Workspace 4 (if I'm using terminals or Nautilus at the same time that I'm working with the settings).

3. To Be Sneaky
Let's say I'm in class and I need to work on an assignment from another class (or maybe I want to browse the web...) but don't want my professor to get angry at me about it. I can then use the multiple workspaces to hide the other things I'm doing, so if the professor walks by I can switch back and it looks like I've been on task the whole time, even if I had 10 other windows open. This works because most people have never even heard of "Multiple Workspaces" on a computer and so wouldn't even notice or think to check that.

These are the main ways that I use multiple workspaces to my advantage. Do I use multiple workspaces every time I boot up? Hardly. I might use them once every ten logins, but I do like the fact that they are there, and make use of them as I need them.

April 4th, 2010, 08:39 AM
FYI, Rhythmbox can just be closed and minimized to the top panel. I do it all the time and open it from another workspace if I happen to switch after closing RB.

April 4th, 2010, 08:40 AM
Make gimp apps big. What i did.

April 4th, 2010, 08:44 AM
Make gimp apps big. What i did.

April 4th, 2010, 08:46 AM

Each tool bar just expand the size. Then you have 3 huge one. If you hav desktop effects on, and a scroll mouse, its so awesome switching!

April 4th, 2010, 07:06 PM
Even thought I don't use multiple workspaces at lot, I really miss them when I'm using my work laptop (XP).

They are a great example of something you didn't realise you needed until you've got it. And miss when it's not there.