You’re a busy professional, right? And all day you have to work with multiple applications at once. A Web browser for doing research, an email client for keeping in constant contact with colleagues, an office suite, a graphics program, and the list goes on. All of these applications take up valuable desktop space. Since you are now familiar with managing desktop application windows, things couldn’t get any easier right? Wrong! The Linux desktop offers an added feature called virtual desktops to ease your multitasking woes. Let’s take a closer look. 

Virtual desktops are multiple desktop areas. This is much like having multiple computers. Applications can be sorted by running them on separate desktop areas. For example, you can set up a virtual desktop for each group. You can set up a separate virtual desktop for Office applications, email, graphics, etc. Then, to move between applications, simply switch desktops without the need to minimize, maximize, or shade the application windows. (Read more)

A colleague recently asked, “How can I switch between virtual desktops, like you did earlier?” The process is one I usually stumble upon when working, not being a big user of virtual desktops myself…so, accidental use is what she saw.

However, as far as I can remember, there have been virtual desktops on GNU/Linux distributions. Peppermint ICE, which I happen to use quite a bit, requires you to add the button to your panel by right clicking on the panel (or menu bar that runs across the bottom of your screen) and choose PANEL SETTINGS.
Choosing PANEL SETTINGS will reveal the following choices (left window) where you can choose PANEL APPLETS and then click on ADD plugin to panel. The one you want is entitled DESKTOP PAGER, which will allow you to switch at will between virtual desktops.

When successful, your panel will look like the one shown below (on the right side of the screen):
Notice that I have the usual sound, internet connection, updates, Dropbox, Shutter (Screencapture), the time, shutdown red button, and then 4 blank boxes, the first of which (from left to right) appears to be selected. Those are the virtual desktops.
Some virtual desktop managers for Windows and Mac can also be found.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure