Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How can I get tiling windows in GNOME?

share|improve this question
please make your question a bit more specific... – Marcel Stimberg Aug 11 '10 at 16:36
I edited your tags. This is not a linux-specific question, but an X Window System specific question. – Eli Frey Aug 11 '10 at 17:13
@its : Isn't this a Gnome(and it's WM)-specific question, not an X-specific question? It's a fine question (but maybe flesh it out a bit), and I think it's fine to ask questions in a simple way, since that's how many people will ask this question in the future. – Stefan Lasiewski Aug 11 '10 at 18:17
@Stefan : doi, yeah, that is more accurate. My brain tried to replace classification with classification where there was no need for either. – Eli Frey Aug 11 '10 at 18:35
up vote 21 down vote accepted

It depends a bit what you mean by tiling: Permanently tiling or just temporary to get an overview and select a window? If you use compiz ("Desktop effects") the latter is possible by pressing Super+W (Super is normally the "Windows"-Key). For "permanent" tiling:

Tile windows with compiz:

Install the Compiz Settings manager (e.g. package compizconfig-settings-manager for Ubuntu) and the additional plugins (again for Ubuntu: compiz-fusion-plugins-extra). Then activate the Grid plugin -- then you can use Ctrl+Alt and a number on your keypad to move and resize the window so that it fits an imaginary grid. This allows very comfortable tiling.

Tile windows without compiz:

If you do not use compiz, there is a gnome applet that allows tiling: http://www.giuspen.com/x-tile/

share|improve this answer
X-tile works pretty fine if you are using just one monitor (if using two or more monitors, it gets tricky to configure it correctly) – jmoro Aug 11 '10 at 16:48
I didn't know X-tile. Seem what I need now. – Giacomo Tesio Aug 11 '10 at 21:34

As has been mentioned, Gnome is not a Window Manager, but a Desktop Environment. You can choose from many tiling window managers, such as StumpWM, wmii, or XMonad.

Here is how you use one to replace the default window manager.

From Mikael Jansson(with a little editing by me to make this more general).

If you, like me, use gnome-session 2.3 and earlier, you'll want to add this to your ~/.gnomerc:

export WINDOW_MANAGER=/path/to/your/favorite/window/manager

If on the other hand you run gnome-session 2.4 and later, you'll have to change a key in the registry:

gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager --type string "Window Manager Executable Name"

making sure the binary is in your path.

This will give you Gnome and default theme settings (such as fonts), but with your-favorite-window-manager instead of Metacity.

share|improve this answer

BlueTile is based on Xmonad but configured OOTB to work well with GNOME (to some degree, it's not as polished as Metacity or Compiz yet...).

share|improve this answer

GNOME is a desktop environment; it's not responsible for handling your windows. You need to change your window manager, which does handle that sort of thing. There are quite a few tiling window managers for X you can experiment with

share|improve this answer
I think what he meant is to get tiling with GNOME's default window manager, i.e. metacity or compiz… – Marcel Stimberg Aug 11 '10 at 15:47
@Marcel Oh, perhaps – Michael Mrozek Aug 11 '10 at 15:56
or perhaps not ;) The question is really vague... – Marcel Stimberg Aug 11 '10 at 17:00

As other folks have said, you can use whatever tiling window manager tickles your fancy. Xmonad, however, is one of the few - AFAIK - which advertises GNOME integration and is widely used with it. Well, for some definition of "widely" I suppose.

share|improve this answer

The applet 'X Tile' can tile your windows from the Gnome panel on demand. It's in Fedora at least and works nicely.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.