I am experimenting with having a large number of workspaces (9). I tend to create a number of different views on a project so it is useful to separate these views into workspaces -- as well as keeping a number of projects up.

In this context, it is useful to keep a larger number of workspaces but I have difficulty remembering what I have running in each workspace. A predictable problem I know I know, but anyway...

So it would be useful for me if the panel's workspace switcher displayed the workspace names. However when I select 'Show workspace names', the workspace switcher shows only the names. This is not the outcome I am hoping for and seems to me the wrong effect.It would be better to have a name displayed if there are no windows open in the workspace, otherwise to display the usual window icons.

Is there another configuration option? Is this a bug? Must I go back to a manageable number of workspaces?

  • I can confirm your issue on 16.04 LTS with MATE with default 4 workspaces. If I check Show workspace names in switcher - I see only names as you wrote. I can recommend to ask on ubuntu-mate.community for better feedback and results. I'll check this on my Gentoo box with GNOME 2.32.
    – N0rbert
    Sep 9, 2018 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


Let's start with four workspaces example - Coding (1), Browsing (2), Office (3), Auxilary (4):


  • with Show workspace names in switcher checked it do not show application windows and icons.

For me it seems that we can use possible workaround - see hints on mouse over Workspace Switcher applet. With Show workspace names in switcher unchecked you will see application icons and hints on mouse over:

  1. Coding (1)
  2. Browsing (2)
  3. Office (3)
  4. Auxilary (4)

Also workspace names will be shown after right click on window title in MATE Panel:

move to workspace

1. I have checked Workspace Switcher 2.32.1 in Ubuntu 11.04, its functionality is the same. So this behavior is inherited by MATE from GNOME.
2. From my personal point of view this Workspace Switcher is more intuitive and user friendly than GNOME Shell. On GNOME 2.32 I have set-up 2x5 grid of workspaces and after some practice did not have any problems with its numbering and naming after remembering.

  • 1
    Ah yes. I hadn't noticed that. It makes things easier, but it is not really what I am hoping for. Also thanks for mentioning the grid. That creates a level of order that will be easier to manage. Sep 9, 2018 at 18:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.