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Is there a way to set the number of rows for desktop workspaces without using the xfce-panel applet "Workspace Switcher"?

I don’t run xfce-panel at all, preferring to use cairo-dock.

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2 Answers 2

It's possible to manually set the _NET_DESKTOP_LAYOUT property using the xprop command.

For example, to get 4 columns x 2 rows, issue this:

xprop -root -f _NET_DESKTOP_LAYOUT 32cccc -set _NET_DESKTOP_LAYOUT 0,4,2,0

And to change the number of workspaces/desktops to 8:

xprop -root -f _NET_NUMBER_OF_DESKTOPS 32c -set _NET_NUMBER_OF_DESKTOPS 8

Further information regarding the _NET_DESKTOP_LAYOUT property (among others) can be found here

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Building off of Pierre's answer, once you've found the right layout, you should add the line to the end of your ~/.profile.

For instance, I prefer to have a 2x2 grid of workspaces, so I added this line to the end of my .profile:

xprop -root -f _NET_DESKTOP_LAYOUT 32cccc -set _NET_DESKTOP_LAYOUT 0,2,2,0

Now the grid should persist between logins.

I'm running Xubuntu 14.04, and I've got to say it's so frustrating that they've removed easy access to this feature from the workspace settings.

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