Is there some equivalent of Windows' "Tile Windows" in Ubuntu?

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  • The answer to this question is XMonad. It really really is and XMonad rocks, just look at the screenshots: xmonad.org Oct 17, 2010 at 0:21
  • You raise an interesting question. I have to wonder why this feature wasn't part of the XWindows framework as a keystroke sequence or something, from several years ago. Like duh, right? And not everyone is going to have Compiz or a WM that supports this feature. Luckily my graphics card supports Compiz effects.
    – Volomike
    Oct 17, 2010 at 7:00
  • @RobertMassaioli xmonad looks hard to install. And maybe if I start it I lose the windows I have open? Sep 28, 2014 at 3:46
  • @isomorphismes Of course, you will need to install a different window manager...but then you just open the windows up again. At any rate, if you are worried about that then maybe XMonad is not for you, stick with the default Gnome windows because they will provide a very familiar experience. But they will not solve the problem asked in this question. Sep 28, 2014 at 22:19
  • @RobertMassaioli I see your point. But Compiz does seem to have some tiling options too. Also it looks like xmonad is not just a tiling window manager, but the hardest of the tiling window managers. (Maybe.) I used awesome for a while and found it relatively easy to configure (and this is a selling point of it above xmonad). Anyway, I'm not sure xmonad is the best answer to this question: that seems to only be true for those with a high tolerance for yak-shaving (which is not indicated in the question). Sep 29, 2014 at 0:11

8 Answers 8


If you're using compiz, you can enable the "Grid" plugin to use keyboard shortcuts to move windows around the screen in a tiling sort of way.

You'll need to make sure compiz-fusion-plugins-extra is installed (sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra or use synaptic - probably software center too).

I got the tip from here: http://www.webupd8.org/2009/12/linux-w-compiz-tile-position-and-resize.html

You can do something similar without compiz using this: https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/08/python-window-organizer-organize-your-windows-using-the-keyboard

I don't think either of these options have an auto tile feature though. Using a default install, I'm not sure this option is anywhere (not anywhere that I know of anyway). In that case, some of the other answers already posted might be more useful.

  • No idea what <kbd>KP2</kbd> or <kbd>Primary</kbd> are… Sep 28, 2014 at 3:52
  • KP refers to the "keypad" or the number pad usually found on the right side of a standard keyboard (however, many laptops lack a number pad). KP2 refers to the "2" on the number pad. Not sure about "Primary" though.
    – gregghz
    Sep 29, 2014 at 15:52

You could use a tiling window manager. There are many options (ion3, scrotwm, dwm, etc, etc). Search google for "tiling window manager", or search for "tiling" in synaptic.


There is also an unsupported compiz plugin called Tile. It's in the compiz-fusion-plugins-unsupported package which can be obtained e.g. from this PPA (update of compiz from this ppa needed too)

You can watch it in action in this video (starting at 1:44)

  • does that ppa introduce a new version of compiz as well?
    – gregghz
    Oct 16, 2010 at 23:18
  • Yes, but you could choose to just install the plugin and then disable the source
    – Lincoln
    Oct 16, 2010 at 23:35
  • good idea, so the plugin doesn't require the newer version of compiz as a dependency? Sorry to keep bugging you, it's just a very interesting and possibly good solution, but upgrading compiz could be dangerous. Do you know if it's a testing ppa or if it's just latest stable version?
    – gregghz
    Oct 17, 2010 at 0:00
  • 1
    Hmm...just did a quick test and got this message on lucid: compiz (core) - Error: Plugin 'core' has ABI version '20090619', expected ABI version '20091102'. So I guess you need the newer compiz version from the ppa...But this ppa is from the official compiz guys and the last update was on 2010-04-28. So I'd say it's safe to use it.
    – Lincoln
    Oct 17, 2010 at 0:06
  • awesome, good to know. and yeah, a stable version is probably fine :)
    – gregghz
    Oct 17, 2010 at 1:34

X Tile

X-tile is an application that allows you to select a number of windows and tile them in different ways.

X-tile works on any X desktop (gnome, kde, xfce, lxde…).

The main features are: many tiling geometries, undo tiling, invert tiling order, optional system tray docking and menu, filter to avoid listing some windows, filter to check some windows by default, command line interface.


How-to: Set up XMonad & XMobar on Ubuntu



Having looked at all the answers above, the answer (without either completely dumping your existing Window Manager) seems to be "You can't".

  • xMonad is a completely different Window Manager to the one you're probably using
  • the compiz plugins all seem to be out of date
  • as are most of the other answers

The only sensible option seems to be https://help.ubuntu.com/stable/ubuntu-help/shell-windows-tiled.html which isn't quite automatic but seems to be as good as it gets.


You can use Super(Win)+W with lastest Ubuntu. Press and hold Super button, you will see the hotkey tutorial

  • 3
    For the record, I didn't down vote you; but please put some more research into this answer. Super+W shows the spread. It's a very useful feature, but it's not at all the same as tiling the windows. Also, Super+W doesn't seem to appear in the list of shortcuts shown when you hold Super. And, that list doesn't popup for every users: the screen has to be a certain size. I don't remember the cutoff, but it won't show for 10.1 inch netbooks.
    – chaskes
    Nov 22, 2013 at 22:45

I think you can use wmtile for your case: http://ostatic.com/wmtile/home/1


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