Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Unless you've been around the desktop block a few times, you might not be aware that some desktop interfaces are far more efficient than others. And it's not only about usability, it's also about making everything work as seamlessly as possible and helping create an environment for the user that is efficient and simple.
There's one type of window manager that is like nothing you've ever used before, which is the tiling window manager. I've already covered what the best tiling window managers are, which also explains exactly what a tiling window manager is.
For those that don't want to take the time to read the original piece, a tiling window manager is one that intelligently places newly opened windows for you, in such a way as to lay out all open windows using the most space available on the desktop. With this type of window manager, you don't have to worry about arranging and organizing the desktop such that you can work with applications side by side. It's easy and efficient.
It's also very different than 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 tiling version. Everything you need to do this is included with the operating system, so it's far easier than you might have thought.
How to use the Pop!_OS Tiling feature (and why you should)
How easy is it? Let me show you.
The only thing you'll need is a computer (desktop or laptop) running Pop!_OS. I'll be demonstrating on a System76 Thelio desktop computer, running Pop!_OS 22.04.
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 reveal the Tile Windows popup menu.
2. Enable Tile Windows
From the Tile Windows popup, click the ON/OFF slider at the top until it's in the ON position. As soon as you turn Tile Windows on, every open window on your desktop will automatically be organized.
3. Get better organized
You might find all of your windows are placed in tall columns. With certain applications that could be challenging. Fortunately, you can arrange those windows as needed.
To do so, you only need to click and drag the app title bar. Say, for example, you have three applications open and the Tile Windows feature organizes them side by side, which might cramp a window horizontally.
You could drag the center window to the bottom left corner such that the left half of the screen is taken up by a single application and the right half is taken up by two applications, splitting the space horizontally.
You can navigate between the 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.
How to add tiling exceptions
You may have an application you'd like to open in regular mode. For example, I prefer to have my email client open without being tiled. That way, I can move the window as needed and resize it accordingly.
To add an exception, make sure the app is open and then click to open the Tile Windows popup again. From 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.
You will be prompted to either select that current window or all windows associated with the app. When you're done, that app will appear as normal on the screen, where you can move it, resize it, and minimize it as needed.
That, my friends, is all there is to using the Pop!_OS Tiling Window manager option in Pop!_OS. Some of you might not feel at home with this feature, while others will find it 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. That way, you get the best of both worlds at the flip of a switch.