Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For example, I ran Firefox and opened Askubuntu. Then opened some link in a new window. As a result, I have two windows of Firefox and one icon of Firefox on the launcher. I want to have an icon for each opened window.

How do I do?

share|improve this question
add comment

6 Answers 6

This is by no means a solution to what is asked but may be helpful

Research shows there are a lot of people asking and wanting this feature that is being asked about. There is bound to be a working solution. Searching related questions here on Ask Ubuntu gives reference to gnome environment or others which may give useful building blocks for working it out for Unity. May be time to accept there is not an easy solution for ungrouping windows in Unity launcher icon.

"Alt and `" (Button above Tab) switches windows of app as does "Super and w" All credit to Jo-Erland Skinstad who answered this Ask Ubuntu question. Depending on the mouse (if any)being used any keyboard shortcuts can be easily mapped to one button whether it be on mouse or keyboard which would give one click to show open windows and then one more left click to select which would make window switching slightly easier. To remap keys look here or xboxdrv would be another option- "It is also possible for xboxdrv to read input data directly from an event device, this allows the use of the configurability of xboxdrv on regular PC joysticks, keyboards and mice and thus lets xboxdrv serve a similar purpose as joy2key. See the option --evdev below for more information." as long as hotkey is not part of shortcut. Sure is doable with a little research.

Additionally an Ubuntu Forums user has filed a request for what you ask using Brainstorm. Other Ask Ubuntu questions mentioning editing or making quicklist menu/icon for application may be possible for an advanced user but can only find working examples for gnome environment and not unity like shown here and they do not use Firefox as a working example. The Ubuntu Forums question that is referred to can be found here and the Brainstorm request/idea can be found here So go get voting!


share|improve this answer
add comment

I don't know if that's possible. However, each additional window of an application will add a new tick to the left side of that application's icon in the launcher (up to three ticks I believe). enter image description here

Clicking the icon will bring up a screen of all the open application windows for you to select which one you want. enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Thank you, James. I did not know that it is possible to click ticks. But I need a taskbar. For example, the same as in gnome 2. To see all the windows and switch between them with one click. Why is it impossible if I have free space on the launcher? –  Dimitrijj Feb 19 '12 at 8:45
@dimitrijj If you have Compiz and Ubuntu Tweak installed, go into Ubuntu Tweak and Select Compiz Settings. On Workplace Edge settings set one of the corners for "Show Windows" ( I have mine set for top left). Now, whenever you move the mouse to that corner it will show a screen with all open applications. –  James Feb 19 '12 at 17:38
thank you. I know it. Hotkey "super + w" give the same result. –  Dimitrijj Feb 19 '12 at 20:38
add comment

If you want a taskbar you could try tint2. works great for me.

Tint2 Website : http://code.google.com/p/tint2/

From Webupd8 : Tint2 is a lightweight panel/taskbar intentionally made for Openbox3, but should also work with other window managers such as Gnome.

enter image description here

You can install tint2 by issuing the command sudo apt-get install tint2 Then launch it through ALT+F2 and typing tint2

If you'd like to customize the position and the look and feel, there's an article on WebUpd8 with a GUI customizing tool here : http://www.webupd8.org/2009/09/how-to-install-and-configure-tint2.html

share|improve this answer
Will I still be able to have Unity at the same time? I want to keep the "dash home": the kind of start menu where I can search for applications as well as search for menu commands using single press on alt key. –  qwertzguy Apr 10 '13 at 13:19
Yeah it runs as a separate app in any Desktop Environment . You can try it out and see if it fancies your taste. –  Balraj McCoy Apr 10 '13 at 14:33
Ok, so I tried it and it works well and is easy to configure using code.google.com/p/tintwizard/downloads/…. However I'm missing two important features: the ability to have shortcuts to launch apps and the middle click to duplicate an app. I can't seem to find a way to do it with tint. –  qwertzguy Apr 10 '13 at 14:58
So I think I will settle with avant window navigator (AWN) which has the option to ungroup windows and is very powerful and customizable. –  qwertzguy Apr 10 '13 at 14:59
AWN is a wise choice. Glad to see you found yourself an alternative :) –  Balraj McCoy Apr 10 '13 at 15:10
add comment

The reason why this feature is not available is because of a productive (and actually not counter-productive) reason. Please give me a second to explain so you can also understand. Follow me on this one for the reasons behind this:

Imagine you need to open not 2 Firefox Windows, or 4, but 10 or 20. Now imagine having the Unity Launcher with the common icons it has plus 10 to 20 firefox icons there. You would see 10-20 firefox icons, all the same, and would first have to guess which one takes you to the webpage you wanted to go. Secondly, if you wanted to close them you would have to go, one by one and start closing them manually.

So we have 3 issues:

  • If a user wants to open many windows of the same program.
  • If a user wishes to switch easily between all opened windows of the same program.
  • If a user wants to close many windows of the same program.

With this 3 issues an idea came to mind. Group them together in a single icon in the Launcher that represents the application in use and offer in a one right click solution, all the options needed to cover the rest of the issues.

Between 12.04 and the soon to be release 13.04, there has been much work put out to not only solve this 3 issues, but to help the end user work faster and easily, with just a minor learning curve. The end result (For 13.04 for example) is an icon that can deliver many windows of the same application and offers the possibility to change between them in an almost one click solution.

Some of this images can show you an example:


In this example, I have Nautilus opened 4 times, one Nautilus is left opened on a folder called Docs. Another is opened pointing to HOME. Yet another is opened showing the Documents folder. One last Nautilus window is opened on a movie I have. By right clicking on the Nautilus icon I can easily switch between them by simply clicking on them. The window will maximize and gain focus, leaving me with a Window I can start working immediately.

enter image description here


Here you can see the same example. Many Chrome Windows opened. Each with several tabs and each one showing the exact webpage where I left them:

enter image description here


Lastly, your example, Firefox. Here you can see several Firefox Windows opened. And each Window is shown when I right click on the Firefox launcher icon:

enter image description here

Not only can I manage several windows of the same app quickly, but if the need arises, I can close them all with the "Quit" option in the launcher icon's context menu. Saving me time in case I had 20 Firefox Windows opened.

I also felt the pain when I could not access my multiple windows in an easier manner, but after using this method, I found it was easier, quicker to search in, since I did not have to go through many launcher icons to guess which one is the one I was looking for, neither did I have to scroll down the Unity launcher between 20 Firefox Windows, 30 Chrome ones and 40 Nautilus ones just to get to the one I needed. Overall, it saved me time when I needed to find the correct one and work on it.

As you can see, it focused itself to be more productive to the end user, with just a slight touch in the learning curve.

Now, if you actually wanted to have the option to ungroup them, it would involve, downloading the Unity source and any dependencies related to it. Modifying the code so you could actually ungroup them, by default or as an option, compile this and install it on the system, making your Unity be able to ungroup them as you wish. But in this case, I would ask, is it better than the solution provided by the Unity Development Team?.

This of course is left to each person to decide on how they like to use their system. In my humble and honest opinion, I feel the change made by the Unity team, solves several issues I had on 11.10 or even on 12.04 related to this, and the way it works on 13.04 is much better than I anticipated.

I am sorry there is no straight and specially, easy answer and I really hope you can take a moment and test out the behavior of this feature as it is on the latest Ubuntu version (Specially 13.04 if you have the time).

share|improve this answer
Also using one icon per window, I can set my own custom order of the windows and they will not change regarding to the z-order or the title changes. (I guess it is not possible to change the order of the windows on ubuntu 13.04's Unity). Also Windows for example allows to have windows ungrouped and then automatically group them after a certain number of windows of the same app is opened. So no, honestly I feel that Unity is very unporductive, especially in Ubuntu 12.04 where the spreading order and scaling is not consistent and it even swaps two windows (left/right) sometimes ! –  qwertzguy Apr 12 '13 at 13:15
Also, I already started modifying the source code of unity for ungrouping windows and I am using it right now. It works pretty well but still suffers some bugs (due to the usage of BAMF and the fact that icons can be sticky (locked ot launcher)). I will of course make the source available once I'm done. –  qwertzguy Apr 12 '13 at 13:18
Just to follow up, I have stopped working on it. I had too many problems handle new opened windows, closing of windows and windows locked to the launcher so it basically was not really usable. I was using the Unity 5 source code (which is in Ubuntu 12.04) and which is quite confusing. The source code for Unity 6 is much much clearer and I will probably look into it when I have time. –  qwertzguy Jun 4 '13 at 22:21
@Luis Alvarado : The problem with Unity is options. They may offer whatever solution they think is best, yet, there will -always- be a subset of users who will feel/need otherwise, and willing to develop their unique solution. The not cool part is not giving an option to do it their way if the need arises. Option is the soul of open source development, wouldn't it had been easier to create an interface, offer a list of open/running apps/windows and build an official plugin to display them in the 'default' bar plugin, which, in turn is the way you feel should fit most users. It's the healthier –  Rha7 Mar 25 at 8:24
What is more productive for you is not necessarily more productive for me. After having used 14.04 for a month, I've found that - as I did in Windows - that I strongly dislike the grouping of windows and that it makes me less productive. –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen May 5 at 10:50
show 5 more comments

If you need a taskbar icon/item per opened window, then solution could be to use gnome classic or Xubuntu components, not unity. For example Xubuntu (Xfce) works pretty well this way. Solution for you would be to install Xfce and start Xfce session instead of unity session.

On the other hand you will lost a lot of unity functionalities via alt and master keys, lot of keyboard shortcuts, etc.

Additionally, if you follow this question: How can i install XFCE along side unity? , you will find how to install xfce and additionally, there should not be any conflict between unity and xfce, so you can configure a new xfce vertical panel (just tested on Xubuntu) which contain just icons not names of the opened windows ad place it to the right corner for example.

It is not exactly what you need, but I think Ubuntu launcher does not support such functionality - this is a real life.

share|improve this answer
The bounty seems to be for solutions within Unity. –  user25656 Apr 10 '13 at 10:48
@vasa1 can you not run xfce4-panel from within Unity –  Mateo Apr 12 '13 at 2:15
@mateo_salta, the impression I have is that this answer is suggesting installing and logging into an Xfce session. I don't know what will happen if just xfce4-panel is installed instead of Xfce itself and then what happens when one tries to run xfce4-panel within a Unity session... –  user25656 Apr 12 '13 at 2:24
add comment

Turning my comment into an answer:
I think I will settle with avant window navigator (AWN) which has the option to ungroup windows and is very powerful and customizable.

However it is not very stable (some window icons disappear after changing settings or relaunching and some of the launchers icons gets doubled when relaunching). Also it is not matching some windows correctly, such as eclipse and thus leaves a launcher icon at the same time as adding a task icon. Same for shortcuts to Virtual Box VMs.

If anyone knows a better alternative or if someone can tell me if patching unity for this would be a huge work or not, I would be glad to know ;)

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by Community Sep 17 '13 at 17:46

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.