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Preview One Workspace While Using Another

Not everyone has room (or the attention span) for a multiple monitor set-up, and even if you do there are times when you may want to keep an eye on a workspace while working in another.

This app has been updated and is now easier to install. See this post for more details.

You want, in effect, a preview window for a workspace — “…a floating window (with live updates) in the top right corner of whichever workspace happens to be current.”

Like this:

workspace preview

Well, thanks to some ingenious tinkering by the resourceful Jacob Vlijm — yes, he of Indicator Spaceview fame — you can.

He writes: “To my own (big) surprise, it can be effectively done, be it with trickery and deceit; have an updated representation of a window on another workspace. Not fit to watch a movie, definitely good enough to keep an eye on a window elsewhere (example: my tv-card screen)”.

I’ll skip the technical detail of how it all works — it’s a bit smoke and mirrors, and involves importing an updated screenshot of a minimised window — just to say that it does.

You go to the workspace with the app window you wish to monitor and, with it in focus, press a keyboard shortcut. The app window minimises and, back on your primary workspace, you press the keyboard shortcut again and a preview window appears.

When you’re done, trigger the keyboard shortcut you’ve assigned and the preview window will close, you’ll be taken to its workspace, and the app you tracked will appear again, unminimized.

The preview window is 300px wide by default (this can be changed) and updates every 4 seconds (regular enough to be useful, but not so regular that your CPU starts spiking).

Jacob stresses that his scripts, which you’ll find at the link below, are a ‘rough first attempt’, and that ‘tweaking, among other things, has yet to start, so improvements are to be expected.’

Preview Windows for Workspaces on Ask Ubuntu

H/T Rinzwind