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I assume it creates multiple desktops (not workspaces - I know the difference) as the name so pragmatically implies. I set it to 2, and if it does create multiple desktops I cannot figure out how to switch between them. I've googled and checked AskUbuntu.

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The version of Ubuntu that you are using would be nice to know... –  Bruno Pereira Sep 9 '13 at 15:58
    
13.04. Sorry I should have known that. –  Jack Sep 9 '13 at 16:03

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In the previous version of my answer I mixed up the concepts of viewports and desktops. What I wrote below applies to viewports, not desktops. Desktops don't seem to be supported any more, the setting in CCSM is probably outdated and doesn't do anything useful anymore. I edited my answer accordingly.


There are several ways to switch between viewports:

Keyboard shortcuts

You can switch between your viewports by a variation of the cursor keys. For example, to go to the viewport that is located to the right of the viewport you currently are on, press Ctrl-Alt-Right. To go to the viewport that is located to the bottom of your current viewport, press Ctrl-Alt-Down, and so forth.

Button in Launcher

There is a button in the Unity launcher (the bar at the left side) that allows you to switch between viewports with your mouse. The symbol shows the 4 viewports (2 x 2) that were standard before Canonical decided that having multiple viewports activated by default was confusing for people. If you click on that button, you get a "bird's eye" view on all your viewports and can simply click on the one you'd like to go to.

Other ways

Switching between viewports with the keyboard shortcuts or the launcher button are the most common methods, but there are more. I, for example, have activated one of the "active corners" to show the "bird's eye" view described above. So, whenever I move the mouse cursor to the lower right corner of the current viewport, I can switch to another one. You can configure the "active corners" with tweaking tools like Unity Tweak Tool.

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I think you misunderstand... In compiz I can change the horizontal and vertical virtual size and there is a corresponding change in the number of workspaces (which I can switch between according to what you posted here). There is another option called "Number of Desktops" that defaults at 1 and if I change it it does not seem to change anything. –  Jack Sep 29 '13 at 4:24
    
I think it is outdated askubuntu.com/questions/40461/… –  Jack Sep 29 '13 at 4:27
    
Ah, sorry, you're right. I edited my answer accordingly. It won't probably really help you now, but maybe somebody else can use information on how to switch viewports ( :D ). –  Henning Kockerbeck Sep 29 '13 at 9:27

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