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

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

A woman uses a laptop computer at a sunny cafe table.

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All desktops are created equal, right?


Unless you’ve walked through the desktop block a few times, you might not know that some desktop interfaces are much more efficient than others. And it’s not just about usability, it’s also about making everything work as seamlessly as possible and helping to create an environment for the user that is efficient and simple.

Linux has that in spades. You’ll find a plethora of different desktops available, some of which will be instantly familiar and simple to use, and others that offer more features and complications.

Also: How to Choose the Right Linux Desktop Distribution

There is a type of window manager that is unlike anything you have used before, namely the tiled window manager. I’ve already covered what the best tiled window managers are, which also explains exactly what a tiled window manager is.

For those who don’t want to take the time to read the original piece, a tiled window manager is one that intelligently places newly opened windows for you, so that all open windows are arranged using the most available space on office. With this type of window manager, you don’t have to worry about arranging and arranging 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 computer you’ve ever used. So for the average user there is a bit of a learning curve.

This is why the Pop!_OS solution is ideal. With System76’s Pop!_OS, you can easily switch between the standard Cosmic desktop or the tiled version. Everything you need for this is included in the operating system, so it’s a lot easier than you might think.

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

Is it easy? Let me show you.


The only thing you will need is a computer (desktop or laptop) running Pop!_OS. I will demonstrate on a System76 Thelio desktop, running Pop!_OS 22.04.

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

In your desktop’s system tray (the upper right corner), you should see an icon that looks like three rectangles together. Click this icon to display the Tile Windows context menu.

The Pop!_OS COSMIC Desktop system tray.

The tiled window icon is furthest to the left.

Image: Jack Wallen

In the Tile Windows pop-up window, click the ON/OFF slider at the top until it is in the ON position. As soon as you activate Tile Windows, every open window on your desktop will be automatically organized.

Tiled window toggle bar

Image: Jack Wallen

You may find that all of your windows are placed in tall columns. With some applications that might be difficult. Luckily, you can arrange these windows as needed.

To do this, you just need to click and drag the title bar of the application. Say, for example, you have three apps open and the Tile Windows feature arranges them side by side, which can block a window horizontally. You can drag the center window to the lower left corner so that the left half of the screen is occupied by a single app and the right half by two apps, dividing the space horizontally.

You can navigate between tiled windows 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 open apps with Pop!_OS Tile Windows enabled.

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

Image: Jack Wallen

How to add tiling exceptions

You may have an app that you would like to open in normal mode. For example, I prefer my email client to be open without being tiled. This way I can move the window 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 pop-up window, click Floating Window Exceptions. In the resulting window, click Select, then select the application you want to add as an exception from your desktop.

Also: The 3 difficulty levels of the Linux distribution

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

Introducing Gnome workspaces.

Select the application to which you want to add a tile exception.

Photo: Jack Wallen

That, my friends, is all there is to the Pop!_OS Tiling Window manager option in Pop!_OS. Some of you may not feel comfortable with this feature, while others will find it to be the most efficient PC interface available. The best thing about the Pop!_OS solution is that you can use it when needed and turn it off when not. This way you get the best of both worlds at the flick of a switch.

#Pop_OS #Tile #Feature

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