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I want to know why to use workspaces. I have seen many people using it but I don't know why to use it. Can anyone tell me why?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I use it when I want to see two windows together at time, then I put this two windows in one desktop and when I click one, I see both. For example, Skype, I need to see the chat window and the video window at the same time, so I don't click one and the another one after, just I go to that desktop.

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Workspaces help by uncluttering your main desktop and allowing you to run programs on each workspace instead... Imagine web browsing on your main workspace while workspace 2 has your music player and workspace 3 has an important spreadsheet on screen ready for you...

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I'm sure everybody has their own ways of using workspaces. As for me, if I'm making a presentation or typing a document, I like to open documents/pictures in one workspace, play music through Banshee in another workspace, and have Chrome ready in a third workspace in case I need to look up some information. I felt that workspaces were useless/overkill for a long time, but once I started using them, I realised they're actually quite handy.

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I've been using workspaces since the mid 90s and I can tell you that if you are using them to simply separate different apps you are doing it wrong. You already have dock icons to switch between apps.

Workspaces are a killer features when you organise them by projects or tasks. Usually I keep the first workspace for Skype, e-mail and general web browsing. The other workspaces are used for one task or project each. I usually have a web browser window in each workspace containing all the browser tabs related to the task. Along with this browser window there are the other apps such as development environment, text editors, nautilus folders and terminals related to the task.

If I'm doing some image editing for example, I open in a workspace, the image editing programs, nautilus folders and a web browser window containing tabs with research related to the artwork I'm making. If I need to switch to programming, I just change workspace and I get all my programming related apps and browser tabs. I can then come back to my image editing stuff by changing workspace again.

Sometimes I put a project aside for a few days and I keep all the related programs and browser tabs opened. If someone calls me to ask a question about the project I set aside, I can switch to its workspace, lookup some stuff for them, and go back to what I was doing before in a few seconds.

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I use them for switching from one application to another with shortcuts. Instead of scrolling through open apps with Alt+tab, I can just switch to the workspace where the desired app is supposed to be. For example, when I am working with the browser and want to write an e-mail, I know (or rather: my fingertips know, because it is hardly a cognitive process anymore) that my e-mail app is in the workspace on the left of the browser's so I just switch there.

However, that would not seem advantageous to me if I used the default shortcut for switching workspaces (Ctrl+Alt+arrow) since I would have to use both hands for that. That is why I changed it to Ctrl+arrow. My right hand got so used to it that it moves me around the workspaces very fast.

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It is a great tool for multitasking

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Can you expand this to explain how it helps for multitasking? – Eliah Kagan Oct 3 '12 at 0:33

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