Dual monitor setup on Ubuntu 18.04; when I hit activities only the left monitor switches workspaces while the right monitor just keeps whatever is on its screen. Is there a way to make the workspace span both monitors so that when I switch from one workspace to another both monitors switch?

  • Does this work for both gnome and unity? – Ross Feb 6 '19 at 19:09
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    Does anyone know how to do the exact opposite of this? How can I have independent workspaces that do not span the monitors? To be clear, I want workspaces to be per-display, as you find with macOS Spaces, for example. – Benjamin R Jun 10 '19 at 13:56

Had the same problem. Turned out it was super easy to fix.

Install the GNOME Tweaks app. Go to "Workspaces" and set "Display handling" to "Workspaces span displays". Done!

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    nice, simple and effective ! – Lefi Tarik Oct 29 '18 at 9:23
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    see also askubuntu.com/a/1125322/16985 for additional fixes, e.g. Activities still showing windows from all workspaces on secondary display – törzsmókus Mar 13 '19 at 14:04
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    I had a different problem that this solution fixed. When switching from a single laptop display to a single external display, all the windows were merged into the top workspace, emptying the other workspace. Makes the worksspaces concept useless. Thanks. – AlikElzin-kilaka Jun 26 '19 at 12:22
  • This fixes workspaces but the "window key" dash on additional monitors shows all apps across all workspaces for Ubuntu 18. In Fedora 31, this works. – wilsotc Dec 29 '19 at 15:01
  • worked on ubuntu 19.10 as expected – ErkanA Jan 1 at 16:06

You can change this behaviour by executing:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.mutter workspaces-only-on-primary false
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    This works on Ubuntu 18.04 – elvis.dukaj Nov 20 '18 at 14:13
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    This worked on my Budgie desktop as well. – Scotty C. Mar 26 '19 at 18:29
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    This is the only thing that worked for me on 19.10 – ben.bourdin Mar 8 at 11:40
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    This should be the selected answer, simple and no extra apps required – Steven Apr 29 at 8:45
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    This work on ubuntu 20.04 – NekoOs May 19 at 22:39

You can install gnome-tweak-tool via sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool.

Then go to Workspaces > Display Handling > And choose Workspaces span displays

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    I believe this answer is better explained than the most voted. – Dazag Oct 23 '19 at 9:57
  • I don't know where do I find Workspaces :( – webpreneur Jul 16 at 12:13

Install dconf-editor

sudo apt install dconf-editor

Disable following settings:

dconf write /org/gnome/mutter/workspaces-only-on-primary false
dconf write /org/gnome/shell/overrides/workspaces-only-on-primary false
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  • This is the only solution here that worked for me. – Sean Lynch Oct 11 '18 at 17:48
  • nothing worked for me – leoschet Dec 13 '18 at 15:20
  • @leoschet I suggest you reset dconf settings first. (dconf reset -f /) – Shantanu Saha Dec 18 '18 at 7:43
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    I don't think you need to install dconf-editor (it's for the GUI application) first in order to run the dconf write ... commands. Also it's preferable to use gsettings instead of the dconf commands (see here). – pomsky Nov 12 '19 at 10:55

I recommend to you to use the Multi Monitos Add-on extension, available in GNOME Extensions, it is pretty easy to use, and also it gives you te ability to add a panel in the second monitor.

To get up and running all the gnome extensions config directly in your browser, you only need the following.

  1. Install the gnome-shell-extensions package:

    $ sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions

  2. Install the host connector:

    $ sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell

  3. Install the GNOME Shell integration extension (Chrome) or add-on (Firefox)

  4. Find and install the Multi Monitos Add-on extension.
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