I was wondering what use are the workspaces at all, if any. I notice that when I switch to another workspace, all the apps still show in the unity bar and all the icons are still present in the taskbar, and clicking on them takes me to the workspace with those windows. So really, why would I ever care to switch it, and for what purpose? It would have made sense if switching windows completely gave be an empty unity bar where I can start multiple, independent instances of various applications.

6 Answers 6


Workspaces serve this purpose for me: When I'm supposed to be working on homework but have other plans in mind, I keep my homework on the first workspace and my play on the second. Then, when parent comes by, Quick! Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow! Wow, William, you've made great progress! Keep up the good work! Then I feel guilty and actually do my schoolwork. Thought I should share a specific situation for using workspaces.


Workspaces have been around in Ubuntu well before the switch to Unity. They basically provide you a way to group windows related to similar tasks together, as well as get "additional" screenspace.

The Unity launcher is set to behave so that if you already have windows for an application open, it assumes that by clicking on its icon that you want to return to those open windows, where you may already have tabs or work open. If you want to launch new instances of an application using the icons, just middle-click them.

  • Nice answer. Explains the workspaces very well. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 17:29
  • Is there a way to not have these apps show at all in another workspace, just like it used to be earlier.
    – ste_kwr
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 19:28
  • 2
    @kniwor Unfortunately, no. (See also this answer, which links to a relevant bug report.) Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 19:37
  • @ste_kwr Yes, it's possible. Just install Dash to Dock shell extension, go to its settings, switch to the "Launchers" tab, and enable "Isolate workspaces." option. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 17:12

It is simply for convinience while doing diffrent works at a time


Avoiding jumping to Applications of other workspace

Go to New workspace. Now you have Some FireFox Browsers open in Old workspace. If you choose FireFox browser in New workspace, Ubuntu will take you to Old workspace FireFox. Actually you will be taken to Old workspace itself if you select any Application in New workspace that is already in Old workspace.

To avoid this and open any application in New workspace You have to open a Duplicate.

Middle Click the application in New workspace and you will not be taken to old workspace.



i want to have a good eye on every thing

  1. watching movie
  2. askubuntu page auto reloading
  3. Skype
  4. w8ing for important mail

enter image description here

  • 2
    I think their problem was not being able to launch another copy of an already existing application. For instance, imagine you are launching terminal from the bar. You have a terminal but your workspace gets too crowded and you decide to go to a new workspace. You click the terminal icon to start a new terminal. Immediately you are taken back to your older workspace, to the existing terminal. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 17:46
  • not with me .. i just did
    – One Zero
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 17:51
  • 1
    Eren, you are exactly right. Any solution to that? More specifically, I do not want the workspace to show these windows in any form at all.
    – ste_kwr
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 19:29
  • start a new terminal Immediately you are taken back to your older workspace <<<< i just did 3 4 time . when i open new terminal (2nd one) in 2nd workspace it remain on 2nd not go back to older workspace
    – One Zero
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 19:33
  • The behaviour of the Unity left bar is very similar to OSX dock and Windows 7 bottom bar. This is by design. You can right click the terminal icon and select New Terminal or you can Ctrl+N on an existing Terminal for instance. If you don't like this then you probably should consider using an alternative way to launch applications. (Dmenu, Gnome-do etc.) Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 15:40

You might be able to modify Unity launcher to open a new window of an application whenever an icon is clicked. Try checking out Compizconfig settings manager.

I do agree that if you are a person who launches applications via icons in the bar, there is little meaning in having workspaces.

You may also try launching applications by typing their name after pressing the windows key.

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