What Are Workspaces and How to Use them on Ubuntu 18.04 ?

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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been released. and this gave me a lot of time to do some testing. below is a brief description of Workspaces on Ubuntu and how to use them. if you need some tips, this post should be a great place to start.

Like Windows 10 virtual desktops feature, Ubuntu also comes with its own virtual desktops called Workspaces. This feature allows you to group apps conveniently to stay organized. You can create multiple workspaces, which act like virtual desktops.

Workspaces can be used to organize your work which reduces clutter and make your desktop easier to navigate. If you keep a lots of apps open at once and you want to separate them by tasks, using virtual desktop or workspaces may be useful.

For example, you could have all your communication windows, such as e-mail and your chat program, on one workspace, and the work you are doing on a different workspace

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to use workspaces on Ubuntu 18.04 desktop and organize your apps.

To use workspaces, click Activities on above the vertical bar (dock), then move your move to the right of your screen to show the workspaces in used plus one empty one.

ubuntu workspaces

To add a workspace, drag and drop a window from an existing workspace onto the empty workspace in the workspace selector. This workspace now contains the app you have dropped, and a new empty workspace will appear below it.

To remove a workspace, simple close all its windows or move them to other workspaces. there is always at least one workspace. This is the workspace selector.

You can also move apps from one workspace to another by simply dragging and dropping the apps onto the other workspace. This workspace now contains the apps you have dropped, and a new empty workspace appears at the bottom of the workspace selector.

ubuntu workspaces 1

This is how one uses workspaces to keep applications and files organized on Ubuntu 18.04 desktop.  Hope this helps you get your desktop organize.


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  1. Please give me a break. It seems like this is first version of Ubuntu that you downloaded. For your knowledge Ubuntu had workspaces long before windows. So please correct your facts and not infer that “Like Windows 10 virtual desktops feature, Ubuntu also comes with its own virtual desktops called Workspaces.”

  2. simply just hold ALT + SHIT + (UP OR DOWN)

    1. On my keyboard it’s ctrl+alt+ (up or down)

    2. Unfortunately, I don’t have a “SHIT” key on my keyboard 😉

    3. Excuse me, i’m new in Ubuntu, hope u could help me. How can i add a workspace? i had 4 but made a mistake and deleted them

      1. You need to drag and drop a workspace to the gray panel underneath, as the author mentioned.

  3. Thanks, being a Newbie this was very useful to me. I find Gnome quite a bit different to Windows and am often scratching my head when trying to navigate this desktop.

  4. “Like Windows 10…” That’s the worst comparative to do!!!

    1. Indeed… Linux desktops have had workspaces and virtual desktops (they aren’t quite the same thing) in Compiz and KDE since the early 2000’s. But new users today are as ignorant of that as they are about “new” Windows 10 features.

      Most users open Firefox and maybe a file manager or LibreOffice — and that’s the end of their exploration.

      1. And what the problem is? It looks like linux users always trying to say that this is the best OS. But a most amount of customers that don’t involve to programming or servers management don’t need Linux.
        It it strange behavior saying that this instrument is the best for the users that don’t need it.
        Windows is much more better in the area of user experience and software support.
        Linux made a great hit last couple of years but it is still far from the point when it will satisfy competitive amount of people.
        P.S. It doesn’t matter when this feature was introduced first.

        1. I know that User XP is a delicated matter, but I don’t agree when you say that “a most amount of customers that don’t involve to programming or servers management don’t need Linux.”. I have had very good feedback from people which I recommended to install linux on their machines. Take for example my mother-in-law. She was having so manu trouble with windows and she just needed a browser to navigate. I installed Linux and she never complained again. My wife hates windows since I put Linux on her machine.
          While there a lot of good software on the open source community I agree that Linux still lacks some of the software that used by some professionals. But like zxq9 said the common people just like to navigate the internet, watch some movie, and maybe edit one or another document.

  5. Thank you very much. I don’t really seen the sense of setting up separate workspaces when all I have to do is click on the app I want to use on my taskbar.

  6. I don’t know what the heck is going on with these Windoze fans, they say Windows did it first! … the other day I watch TV and there was a stupid guy saying that Steve Jobs “copied” Windows to Mac! This crazy world!!!

    1. Exactly!…

    2. Nope, Steve Jobs copied Xerox PARC’s window to Mac.

  7. Linux Distros (including ubuntu) has it long before windows. I’ve started using ubuntu in 2007 or 2008 this feature was already there in those days.

  8. Hello. I am a new user of Linux and I am as such because I am trying to escape Windows. I am into astro imaging and have had to partition my Mac to have a Windows 10 Pro on it so that I can remotely manage my astronomy computers that also require Windows 10 pro just so they can be remoted in. Imagine Windows 10 Pro on a little PC Stick.

    I am happy that Linux has a GUI, but the GUI may be the reason some users are getting lazy about “knowing Linux” operations that are now under the hood of the GUI.

    I ran across this blog because I am trying to see how I can configure a “headless” remote host for remote access using Rammina or similar tools.

  9. Thanks. is there a shortcut for Activities?

  10. As with most things written for students this is completely unhelpful. Ubuntu 18.04 has no “activities menu” nor is any such creature outlined in the documentation. There is only one menu: not mutliple named menus.
    Without this no way to open additional Workspaces is given. A lot of writing leading to nothing.

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