I would like to have some applications always appear in a specific workspace. For example: I would like my mp3 player on the bottom left workspace, and terminal application on the bottom right one;

I am new to Ubuntu, so tried using wmctrl but it looks to me as desktop wall works by creating one big desktop and then splitting it up into 4 pieces.


3 Answers 3


Note: This answer was written for systems running the Compiz window manager (default in Ubuntu 7.04 to 17.04). For versions of Ubuntu using Gnome Shell see this answer.

  1. Install compizconfig-settings-manager:

    sudo apt install compizconfig-settings-manager
  2. Go to Window Management -> Place Windows -> Fixed Window Placement

  3. Under Windows with fixed viewport click on new

    • class=NameOfYourProgram (Here the spelling is important. Better use the green plus sign and "Grab" this parameter in the resulting window)
    • Position : {1,1}top left; {1,2}bottom left, ...
    • example opens Gnome-terminal in bottom right workspace : enter image description here

More information on wiki.compiz.org

  • 3
    It works so far - but how can i make unity to automatically switch to the specified workspace when opening the program? Right now I always how to manually switch to the workspace the program has been opened in.
    – gucki
    May 27, 2013 at 17:41
  • @gucki you could edit the .desktop file to launch the program, then switch.
    – Tim
    Jun 23, 2014 at 16:14
  • does anyone know why this doesn't work for skype? Dec 10, 2015 at 18:29
  • This didn*t work for me on 14.04
    – mace
    Mar 8, 2016 at 10:31
  • does anyone know why this doesn't work for steam or discord? (works on chrome tho)
    – Jason
    Nov 25, 2017 at 13:32

Install the Gnome extension "Auto Move Windows".

  1. The package should come with Ubuntu, otherwise sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
  2. Open Tweaks
  3. Go to Extensions
  4. Configure and Activate Auto Move Windows
  • Using Auto Move Windows still works in 19.04, you just need to install it from Ubuntu Software because it is no more available inside gnome-tweak-tool
    – Pierre C.
    Jul 10, 2019 at 14:47
  • This is already something but when connecting/disconnecting an external monitor it still scrambles windows all over workspaces
    – wranvaud
    Nov 22, 2019 at 19:14

Devilspie does a wonderful job of controlling how your windows launch, no matter what.

  • I'll try this in the morning, but is this the same in Compiz (through CCSM) under place windows? As that didn't work when I first tried it.
    – jfy133
    Nov 3, 2011 at 22:30
  • Works now! Although '0' on the X axis isn't completely on the left...
    – jfy133
    Nov 10, 2011 at 21:23
  • 1
    I'd love an example of how to make it open on a specific space Jan 27, 2020 at 19:24

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