With distros rolling out releases using the latest versions of GNOME 3, more and more users are coming back to GNOME and finding that it’s much improved since the GNOME project first released it. Performance is better, features around customization and integration are more numerous, and there is nowhere near as many rough edges. However, there are still some major GNOME-isms that can grate on users. A great example is the way that workspaces are managed – GNOME creates and destroys workspaces dynamically, but many users prefer to have a set number of virtual workspaces that don’t change when windows are added. Here we show you how to disable automatic workspaces in GNOME.
Installing The GNOME Tweak Tool
The GNOME Tweak tools is essential for anybody who wants to change the default settings in GNOME, right down to things like setting a dark theme and including minimize/maximize buttons. The GNOME Tweak Tool is in most repos, so you can just use your package manager of choice.
Once it’s installed, you’ll be able to find it in your “Utilities” folder by default.
Disabling Automatic Workspaces
To disable automatic Workspaces, open the GNOME Tweaks tool and navigate to “Workspaces.”
At the very top, click on “Static Workspaces.” You should be able to set the number of workspaces you’d like, from four to many more. Then, when you go into your Activities Overview, you’ll see all your workspaces laid out for you.
The GNOME Tweak tool has much to offer in addition to setting static workspaces. Some to note are in “Window Titlebars,” where you can add minimize and maximize buttons and also shift the buttons from a Windows-like layout on the right to a macOS-like layout on the left.
Also, in “Top Bar,” you can turn off the Activities Overview Hot Corner in the upper-left corner of the screen. This is super-helpful if you’re not a hot-corners kind of user.
Extensions are community-developed additions to GNOME Shell that bring back or add new functionality that users are looking for. I would not hesitate to say that Extensions are one of the primary ways that make GNOME usable for me, as the ones I use are simple but drastically change the workflow of GNOME on my system.
To get started with GNOME Shell Extensions, go to https://extensions.gnome.org and start to look around. If there’s something to install (most distros have extensions on by default, so you should be squared away), the page will tell you how to get that going.
To manage your extensions, I highly recommend the Extensions App. This should be in the repos for most distros, but if you’re using a version of GNOME Shell before 3.36, you can manage it from the Tweaks Tool.
To install the Extensions app, use one of the following commands:
It’s a much more intuitive interface for managing your extensions than previous iterations, and it’s what’s recommended for managing them.