Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How can I get a vertical list of currently open files in the unity launcher as a quicklist (see mockup below)? This could be a list of files each application instance is editing, or in the case of browsers/terminals/other apps just a list of application instances, so that one can easily toggle between them without getting the visual expose-like view of all open files/apps. This is especially critical when you have 10+ instances open and want to navigate through them by name, not visually. In other words, similar to the way Win 7 stacks open instances of an application in one icon, where right-clicking brings up a list of open instances.

If this is not possible to achieve directly with the unity launcher, what is the next easiest way to mimic this functionality without installing new panels, changing desktop environments, etc? I'd like to leave unity the way it is, but just want this critical feature.

Mock-up of unity launcher quicklist of open files in gvim instances:

Mock-up of unity launcher quicklist of open files in gvim instances

Also see bug #817302 and task switching discussion on canonical design.

share|improve this question

Alan Bell has created a python script to do just this. There is a PPA available (currently only for Precise Pangolin). Hopefully we'll see this feature available as part of official Unity releases in the future.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:alanbell/unity
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-window-quicklists

Logout and login.

For more information see Alan Bell's blog post and PPA for Unity Window Quicklists

share|improve this answer
Would it be possible to use this script to obtain a list of all open files (and the programs associated with them?) I'm interested in using this script to create multiple persistent sessions, as described here: – Anderson Green Dec 29 '12 at 1:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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