Ubuntu ships with a handy desktop environment feature I couldn’t live with out. It’s the Workspace Switcher Panel. It’s enabled on the default desktop, so you’re probably already familiar with it. I regularly work on many different projects that are very different in nature. The default settings for the panel aren’t optimal for me, so I changed them. While my settings aren’t going to be for everyone, I’ll explain how I have mine set for demonstrating the different options available to you. I encourage you to experiment to find what works best for you, as the defaults are definitely lame. It’s easy and only takes a second or two and the benefits are good forever. Let’s get started now.
To access the settings, simply right click on the Workspace Switcher on your panel, and select Preferences
Using the Workspace Switcher, I’m able to setup an array of works spaces, and label them. I’m able to see the labels when I’m sending to specific windows and I have it set so that the labels are visible on the Panel. It also allows me to use the keyboard to switch between them and provides a visual representation similar to the Task Switcher. I have them on one row, so I use Control-Alt-Left/Right to switch in the respective direction. Unfortunately, when labels are enabled, the outlines of the windows disappear from each visual workspace’s representation. And to that, I say “oh well. It’s a small price to pay for the benefits of a label.”
You may need more or less than the default. I found I definitely needed more. It may become too cluttered if you have too many, so I suggest adding 1 at a time as you need them. I’ve got one dedicated to the terminal, where I’ve got a few regularly defined terminal windows arranged. I’ve also got one dedicated to VNC that I keep the Terminal Server client connected to my Laptop for convenience. Another one lays host to my VMWare Console. I’ve also got one for “NET” which includes my browsers and and my chat clients, but I’m reconsidering that strategy. I find often I need browser windows on multiple Workspaces, so I should have just one workspace dedicated to Chat, and be more flexible with browser windows on multiple workspaces. While I was at it, I added a blogging workspace.
Go and try it out. Post any suggestions or questions here.