Gnome – multiple monitor taskbar window listing

How to/howto get gnome to show what’s running on a given monitor. After having linux installed for a while, leaving pretty much the default install running. I decided to venture out and find how to tweak some usability settings.
There is a program called utlramon for windows that already does this [mentioned above]. A Linux ultramon doesn’t exist, well not as a separate program, as the functionality already exists in gnome.
Just add a panel to each monitor you want, and add to that panel a window list. That’s it.
1.) Right click on anywhere on the launchbar, click “New Panel”
[UPDATE: 2010/05/02 added ALT]
2.) hold down ALT + Drag the new panel to any monitor/location.
3.) Right click on that panel, and click “Add to Panel”
4.) Select “Window List” under Desktop and Windows
5.) Click Add.
6.) Click Close, and you’re done.
Now I don’t have a cluster of ALL windows on my three head setup on one taskbar.
If this helps, please drop a line in the comments.

48 thoughts on “Gnome – multiple monitor taskbar window listing

  1. Thanks ! I found the tip very useful. It was exactly was I was looking for. I used to use ultramon on my Windows installation. I’m trying to switch over to Linux (Ubuntu distro), and a monitor specific taskbar is a must for me (my brain just works that way).

  2. Good tip lloyd. I was wondering about that. On my windows install I use ultramon mostly for wallpaper management since the nvidia drivers handle multiple monitors pretty well. For my taskbars I use ObjectDock plus at the moment, which makes the desktop kind of “mac-ish” with enlarging-on-mouseover 3d icons on toolbars and taskbars. It also has tabs that open into ‘drawer’ panels of icon shortcuts. I like how you can set it up so that the open apps show up as 3d icons with transparent background – showing no ‘bar’ on the taskbar at all, just a cluster of little app icons. I’m pretty sure a linux desktop can be set up like that pretty easily.
    In addition to multiple monitor taskbars in linux, I also need to research how to manage fullscreen per pixel movie playback when using multiple monitors, since I use my system more as a multimedia/gaming powerhouse. I don’t like how some multiple monitor setups make the movie span all of the screens when you maxmize the playback window. I need to find a way to lock the fullscreen movie playback to one monitor per pixel, with the option of switching it to another monitor (in ubuntu linux, possibly with XGL).
    Speaking of multi-monitor multimedia playback – I did some research on tv-tuner and tv-recorder hardware. The reason I started investigating this is that I wanted to be able to play 1080i (preferable 1080p content but no tuner cards do that yet)in a window that I could move around on any of my monitors and also have the ability to play the content fullscreen 1080 on either monitor – mostly so that I could have discovery HD programming, etc, displayed on my 24″ crt instead of using the PiP on my main lcd monitor when I’m doing other things. I don’t think tuners and pc-dvr cards have come far enough in display quality and functionality yet. Additionally my dish network is changing over to mpeg4 slowly also so some of the current hardware will be outdated as well.
    As you know I have one big 1080p lcd monitor with PiP and one ‘small’ 24″ widescreen 1920×1200 crt monitor at the moment. I may make it three in the future, one per segment of my chamfered L-Desk. So I will have to keep an eye out for a deal on an LCD monitor that is 1080p and has enough inputs. Even smaller 1080p lcds are pricey and I don’t feel like spending that much money right now. A sub-$200 tuner card would have worked but their display quality is kinda sucky like I said. 🙁

  3. Elvn,
    Are you using twin view, instead of the xinerama?
    Twin view will make your monitors behave as one desktop, where as xinerama will be multiple monitors, with connected desktops.

  4. Yeah xinerama sounded better. The only prob with that is I don’t think you can drag windows between monitors. I don’t think it will remember where an app was used last the next time you open it either. However you can set it up so that any new window opens on the monitor that the mouse is in, or you can also manually configure each application to open on a specific monitor.
    Still I’d miss dragging between monitors very much. Is there a way to send a window to a different monitor on the fly?

  5. elvn,
    xinerama doesn’t have any of those limitations. At least not since I’ve started using it.
    Try it out, it’s not too hard to setup… if you have difficulty, you know to find me on msn. 🙂
    nvidia has a great tool that helps setup multiple monitors with xinerama. As for ATI, I did it manually.

  6. Thanks for this tip – just what I was looking for!
    elvnmagi: If you use nVidia’s TwinView both monitors will become the same screen, however when you maximise a window it is maximised to the current _monitor_, it doesn’t break across the monitor boundary. Of course you can still drag windows between monitors etc
    It’s actually quite fun to drag a maximised window from one monitor to another in Compiz with wobbly-windows enables 🙂
    (My site has an example xorg.conf with TwinView setup, might be useful if you have trouble with an HDTV as one of the monitors like I was)

  7. Perfect. I’ve had had dual monitors in gnome for the last 2 or 3 years without knowing this. It always bothered me. Thanks!

  8. Do you realize how much I had to google to find this …

  9. Thanks for the tip. I just got a new nvidia card and I love it compared to ATI. I have always had a second panel on my right monitor. The panel on the right monitor with Twinview would not load the “Window List” applet or display the applications I place on that monitor but with Xinerama works great. I hope that nvidia can solve this one day since I would love to continue playing with compiz-fusion.
    Thanks again,

  10. Ops, Spoke too soon. Installing “xserver-xgl” solved the problem. Now I can have Xinerana and compiz working together. I just wish that when i maximize and application, it would not stretch it across both screens. Oh well, perhaps there is a work around.

  11. FYI : On Ubuntu 9.04, this solution works only when holding Left Alt key down while draging de panel to the other screen with your mouse.

  12. I struggled with this until I found “pplevesque”‘s comment about Ubuntu 9.04. Thanks buddy!

  13. Excellent! Just what I was looking for.
    On Ubuntu Jaunty holding Left Alt key down, as pointed out, helps with dragging the panel to the other monitor.
    The alternative to holding Left Alt is to right-click on the new panel, uncheck Expand – this would allow you to take it to the other monitor. Then repeat the steps, orient it and expand it 🙂

  14. Hi! – It worked perfectly here, but just a doubt: there are 2 mouse pointers (each one in the 2 monitors – can you explain how to “kill” one of them? 🙂
    Tks in advance!

  15. This technique used to work well for me until Fedora 11. Now Gnome no longer lets me drag panels. The options only move panels on the same monitor. Even worse the window listing is only for windows on that monitor.
    So here is what happened. I accidentally logged in once without switching my kvm for my right monitor. So now the right monitor panel shows up on the left monitor. I have no way of moving it back. If I drag a window to my right monitor, then it no longer appears in my window listing. If I minimize a window on the right monitor, then there is no icon and I can not restore the window.
    Yuck. As a quick hack so I can work normally, I activated xinerama. This “works”, but is annoying, as now I frequently have windows open up that span the two inch gap between monitors. That makes reading the contents of those windows very difficult.

  16. This still didn’t work for me.
    8800GT, Xinerama, Ubuntu 9.10.
    I’ve recently been informed of another way though, bare in mind it’s heaps “hacky”. Just spawn gnome-panels (Right click -> New panel) until the one monitor fills up, then it’ll loop onto the 2nd. Delete the ones you don’t need.
    Voila, 2nd gnome-panel. You can then dump w/e you need on it.

  17. Excellent, I upgraded to Linux Mint today and wanted to find out how to emulate Ultramon, seems Linux happily accommodates for this. Brilliant tip, after searching I found you needed to old the “alt” key when dragging the new “panel” excellent! Thank you!

  18. Success! That is brilliant!
    Now if only I could draw maximized windows between monitors my life would be complete. I have figured out a way to do it in TwinView that is almost perfect, but not quite:
    1) Grab the title bar so that the mouse pointer changes to a hand.
    2) Drag DOWN so that the window de-maximizes, and the UP onto the other monitor. Voila, now maximized on the other monitor.
    This is OK as-is, but would be much better if you could just directly grab and drag sideways, and the window moved instantly without the distracting intermediate visual motion. This was the behaviour on my old Windows box and it was perfect. Anyone know if it is possible to recreate that behaviour with TwinView?

  19. Porra, do caralho!!! Tudo que eu precisava.. cada vez mais apaixonado pelo Ubuntu. =D
    Fuck yeah!!! Thanks a lot dude… all what I needed!!

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