Window-List: application indicator to display a list of open windows in Ubuntu Unity

June 2, 2012 by · 27 Comments 

Window-list displays a list of current open desktop windows. Windows can be activated by selecting them from the menu list.

After switching to Unity from Gnome, I immediately missed the bottom showing all the current open windows. In Unity, it’s easy to lose windows behind others. While you can retrieve them by clicking on the programs icon on the Unity dash, it can be cumbersome if you have multiple windows of the same program open.

I developed Window-List to solve this problem, by displaying a list of all open windows via an icon on the Unity top-panel indicator area.

Installation

Window-List is available for all versions of Ubuntu running Unity (Natty 11.04 onwards).

install via ppa:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jwigley/window-list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install window-list

Window-List can also be installed via deb package, which is also available from the launchpad repository.

run the window-list application by:
window-list

License

Window-List is released under the GPL 3.

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

More information on the GNU General Public License is available here.

  • Frank

    Great! That was the thing I most missed after switching from Gnome 2 to Unity. Thanks!

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  • Josmar

    Well done!
    Your utility now makes Unity usefull for me.
    Thanks!

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  • Conor O’Leary

    Thanks a million, it’s little tweaks like this that brighten up my day!

  • AnthraxBass

    Where do I report bug? I had my Ubuntu 12.04 suspended for a couple of hours, and after I have logged in, the application did not reflects actual amount of windows opened. What kind of information you could use to fix it?

    • http://jwigley.com James Wigley

      Thanks for letting me know. There seems to be an issue with start up/resuming from suspend, in the latest release. I’m able to recreate it, so I that should be enough info for me to go on. I’ll look into it and hopefully get a fix out soon. Thanks.

      • AnthraxBass

        Thank you for a great application :)

  • AnthraxBass

    That would be great, if you could add child windows to the list.

    • http://jwigley.com James Wigley

      Could you please elaborate a bit more on this?

      • AnthraxBass

        For instance: firefox is open, and downloading some file; window-list only shows the main browser window, but not the downloader.

  • Guest

    This is awesome. I just switched to 12.04 and this was one of the things bugging me until I found this. I’d like to be able to sort by application type so it’s easier to read. This shouldn’t be too hard right? I’m going to look through the code later and see what I can find, but are there any suggestions of where to look to do this? Thanks again for an awesome little feature.

    • http://jwigley.com James Wigley

      I’m glad you’ve found it helpful. :)

      Sorting by application type should be easy enough. Have a look in /usr/bin/window-list and search for ‘# find matching wnck window’, to get to where we loop through the window list.

      Each ‘wnck window’ object (http://developer.gnome.org/libwnck/stable/WnckWindow.html) has a ‘wnck application’ object (http://developer.gnome.org/libwnck/stable/WnckApplication.html). You could then grab the name of the application, store it and use it for sorting.

      Let me know how you go. I could probably add as an option for the next version, as it sounds pretty useful.

  • Simone Morini

    Thank you very much. It works like a charm!

  • Pattabhi Nanduri

    Hi,

    I installed it in 12.04 and I see the windows list . But beyond that I am not able to switch windows. If I click on a different window nothing happens. The current open window stays.

    • http://jwigley.com James Wigley

      I’m sorry to hear it’s not working for you. I’ve just sent you an email
      so I can get some additional information. Hopefully work out a fix
      for you. Thanks.

      • Pattabhi Nanduri

        Hi James,

        It worked fine after a restart. I would think its Unity on my installation of 12.04 thats misbehaving. This is a very nice and useful applet and thanks for this.
        Keep up the good work.

  • Jim Bosch

    Thanks for a simple, clean solution to my biggest complaint about Unity! This singlehandedly reduces my grumbling about upgrading to 12.04 by about 50%.

  • http://www.bookelves.com/ Carson Fire

    Just what I needed! Been trying to make better use of workspaces, but keeping track of which *number* my app is on is an unnecessary nightmare. This makes for a more sane workplace-switcher.

  • Nathan Hulse

    Magnifico! I’m pleasantly surprised to find that someone (you!) has implemented this as an indicator, as it seems very much to be a niche thing. I dislike both unity and gnome-shell and have been using my own cobbled together mix of gnome and unity under arch linux. I’ve moved to Ubuntu now that Arch has gone the down the Systemd railroad and am finding it so much quicker to get the desktop I want; i.e. unity-2d-panel, compiz and synapse. Your indicator completes the picture as an alternative to the scale plugin. I might even fork unity-2d and strip out everything but the panel to implement this all properly…

    Thank you!

  • guest

    Thanks so much for this! Keep up the good work!

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  • http://msanjay.in Sanjay M

    wow this is not useful – its SUPER USEFUL! Thanks a ton!

  • John Doe

    would be useful in trusty 14.04 but alas no joy

    • Brian

      I’m also using 14.04, and I found it necessary to replace the string ‘com.canonical.Unity.Panel.Service’ with
      ‘com.canonical.Unity.Panel.Service.Desktop’ in the window-list script, to eliminate some error messages. I’m not familiar enough with Ubuntu and Unity to know if this is just some duck tape on a bug or represents a reasonable fix to accomodate a change in the API.

      • http://www.jameswigley.com James Wigley

        Thanks Brian. I’ll try and confirm this when I next get a chance and hopefully put out an update.