Desktop Workspaces In Linux

Have you ever come across the term “desktop workspaces” around the Linux community? If you haven’t and are curious about what desktop workspaces are, then, you are at the right place reading this article 🙂 I’ll guide you on what workspaces are on Linux and how you can utilize them to increase your computing productivity.

Desktop workspaces

Desktop workspaces on Linux are like having a multi-monitor system on your single computer. Developers, artists, audio engineers, etc. would call this “workstation” because they prefer working on individual tasks concurrently through two or more display monitors, set up on their system. However, desktop workspaces quite vary with the “workstation” bit because all multiple displays are virtual and not physical. The desktops are simulated with software, usually your desktop environment.

So you must be wondering how they might be beneficial for any ordinary user who is not familiar with it. OK, here’s my opinion. Desktop workspaces are useful for multi-tasking purpose. Let me run it down with an example, suppose you are interacting with virtual friends on a social media platform and sometime later you decide to upload an image to update your status. But the image isn’t quite right to your taste so you launch multiple image editing software on another workspace.

You try them out by efficiently switching between windows while the social application is running on another workspace. Once you are done, you close all those image editing programs and finally upload the image to your social feed.

ubuntu desktop workspaces

​So if you had done the same task on one desktop you would have worried about switching to a window that’s not serving you for the moment (maybe a web browser or some word processor program). So you begin to cycle through multiple windows which is quite tedious if you happen to have some 15+ windows opened lying around one desktop.

Ways to switch between workspaces

On Ubuntu and GNOME Linux distros

Switch workspace up: Super key + pg up
Switch workspace down: Super key + pg dn

On LXDE, XFCE, and Cinnamon

Switch workspace left: ctrl + alt + left arrow key
Switch workspace right: ctrl + alt + right arrow key


Next time you wish to multitask on your Linux computer, try utilizing desktop workspaces by organizing windows around them. Most Linux distribution gives you a maximum of 4 desktop workspaces but this (maximum) limitation is not the de facto. Some would give you 2 while others even go up to 9 desktop workspaces. Hope you have you found this article insightful. Let me know what you think about workspaces in the comment section below.


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7 Comments Text
  • I’ve been looking to have multiple desktops, NOT multiple workspaces. Does anyone know of such a thing? For me the difference would be the ability to have different folders and launchers in each space so that when the system is started, each space desktop will have its own identity.

    Thank you.

    • AFAIK desktops and workspaces are synonyms – – – – – different names for the same beaties.

      Now hopefully some expert might correct this but this is what I’m finding today in 202207 in Devuan

  • Smile – – – you talk about a limit of maybe 4 desktops – – – – I’ve trying to figure out how to make my names for each more permanent so I don’t need to re-enter them after every reboot (rare but still happen!!!).
    I’ve been using twenty or more desktops for likely 5 or 6 years.
    Find them to be a great tool for working on a wide range of things over a period of time.

  • Thanks for the article. Which distro is best for providing multiple workspaces/places/virtual desktops?l in your opinion?
    And for me, most important would be to differently configured workplaces, different in terms of files, folders, starters/launchers etc (also background pic, but not so important). Is that possible at all, if yes which distro or flavour/desktop?

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