HomeTechnologyComputingHow to use the Pop!_OS Tiling feature (and why you should)

How to use the Pop!_OS Tiling feature (and why you should)

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All computer desktops are created equal, right?


Unless you’ve been around the desktop block a few times, you may not be aware that some desktop interfaces are much more efficient than others. And it’s not just about usability, it’s about everything working as seamlessly as possible and helping to create an environment for the user that is efficient and simple.

Linux has that in abundance. You will find one plethora of different desktops availablesome of which are instantly familiar and easy to use, while others offer more features and complications.

Also: How to choose the right Linux desktop distribution

There’s one type of window manager that’s like nothing you’ve ever used before, and that’s the tile window manager. I’ve already covered what the be best tile window managerswhich also explains exactly what a tile window manager is.

For those who don’t want to take the time to read the original piece, a tile window manager is one that intelligently places newly opened windows for you in such a way that all open windows are arranged with the most available screen space . desktop. With this type of window manager, you don’t have to worry about arranging and organizing the desktop so that you can work with applications side by side. It’s easy and efficient.

It’s also very different from any desktop you’ve ever used. So for the average user there is a bit of a learning curve involved.

That’s why the Pop!_OS solution is ideal. With System76’s Pop!_OS, you can easily switch between the regular Cosmic desktop or the tiled version. Everything you need to do this is included with the operating system, so it’s much easier than you might think.

How to Use the Pop!_OS Tiling Feature (and Why You Should)

How easy is it? Let me show you.


All you need is a computer (desktop or laptop) with Pop!_OS. I will be demonstrating on a System76 Thelio desktop computer running Pop!_OS 22.04.

Also: Pop!_OS may have a complicated name, but it’s what makes using Linux so easy

In the system tray of your desktop (the top right corner) you should see an icon that looks like three rectangles together. Click that icon to display the Tile Windows pop-up menu.

The Pop!_OS COSMIC Desktop system tray.

The tile window icon is the leftmost.

Image: Jack Wallen

In the Tile Windows popup, click the ON/OFF slider at the top until it is in the ON position. Once you enable Tile Windows, every open window on your desktop will be organized automatically.

Windows toggle bar tile

Image: Jack Wallen

It could be that all your windows are placed in tall columns. This can be a challenge in certain applications. Fortunately, you can arrange those windows as needed.

To do this, all you have to do is click and drag the title bar of the app. For example, say you have three applications open and the Tile Windows feature organizes them side by side, which can cause a window to be cramped horizontally. You could drag the center window to the bottom left corner so that the left half of the screen is occupied by a single application and the right half is occupied by two applications, splitting the space horizontally.

You can navigate between the tile panes by using the super key and arrow key combinations to move right, left, up, or down. You can also select a window with your mouse, but using the keyboard is always more efficient.

Three apps open with Pop!_OS Tile Windows enabled.

Apps can be easily arranged by dragging them to different positions.

Image: Jack Wallen

Add tile exceptions

You may have an application that you want to open in normal mode. For example, I prefer to have my email client open without tiles. That way I can move the window around as needed and resize it accordingly.

To add an exception, make sure the app is open, then click to open the Tile Windows popup again. In the popup, click Floating window exceptions. In the resulting window, click Select and then select the app you want to add as an exception from your desktop.

Also: The 3 Difficulty Levels of Linux Distribution

You will be prompted to select that current window or all windows associated with the app. Once you’re done, that app will appear on the screen as normal, where you can move it, resize it, and minimize it as needed.

The Gnome Workspaces overview.

Select the app you want to add a tile exception to.

Image: Jack Wallen

That, my friends, is all there is to using the Pop!_OS Tiling Window manager option in Pop!_OS. Some of you may not be comfortable with this feature, while others find it the most efficient PC interface available. The best thing about the Pop!_OS solution is that you can use it when you need it and disable it when you don’t. That way you get the best of both worlds at the touch of a button.

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