Last week we wrote about a nifty new tool that lets you see a floating preview of one workspace while using another.

That tool, created by Jacob Vlijm of Indicator Spaceview fame, has been updated with neat new features, picks up a new name (‘WindowSpy’), and gains a PPA to make installing it far less of a hassle.

WindowSpy for Ubuntu


WindowSpy lets you add “…a floating window (with live updates) in the corner of whichever workspace [you’re using]”.

It’s super handy for those times when you want to keep an eye on a specific application as work on something else, on a different workspace.

It works (to cut a long story short) by taking a series of screenshots of the application you choose every 4 seconds. This is regular enough to be useful but not so regular that your CPU starts spiking.

The preview window is made ‘sticky’ and appears on all workspaces. You can move the preview window by pressing the Alt key and then click-dragging the floating box.

If you’ve been longing for the ability to preview an app running on one workspace without switching to or focusing that app on a mother, WindowsSpy is ideal.

WindowSpy is now an indicator applet

WindowSpy gains an indicator menu (the earlier version relied on keyboard shortcuts) in its “polished” form. This makes it infinitely easier to use:

  1. Focus the application window you want to preview
  2. Select ‘Represent active window elsewhere’ in the WindowSpy indicator applet
  3. Move to a different workspace
  4. Select “Show preview on this viewport” in the WindowSpy indicator applet.

To close the preview simply open the indicator menu again and select the wordy ‘Close preview and move to original viewport’ option.

A small set of preference settings are available. These let you set the window border size, border color, window size, and window position.

Install WindowSpy on Ubuntu

You can install WindowSpy on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and above by running the following commands in a new Terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/windowspy
sudo apt update && sudo apt install windowspy

Don’t want to add a PPA? You don’t have to. You can download an installer for the package directly from the PPA:

Download WindowSpy for Ubuntu 16.10 (64-bit)

Download WindowSpy for Ubuntu (32-bit)

Thanks Rinzwind

Apps indicator-applets Trusty Tahr windowspy