Use the material shell GNOME extension to tile the GNOME desktop

The tiled windows are somewhat attractive to many people. If you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts in Linux, it may look good or save time. Maybe this is the challenge of using unusual tiled windows.

Tile Windows in Linux Image Source

From i3 to Sway, there are many tiling window managers available for the Linux desktop. Configuring the tiling window manager itself requires a steep learning curve.

This is why projects such as Regolith Desktop exist to provide you with pre-configured tiled desktops so that you can start using tiled windows more easily.

Let me introduce you to a similar project called Material Shell, which is much easier than using the tiling function. Regalis.

Material Shell GNOME Extension: Convert the GNOME desktop to a tiled window manager

Material shell It is a GNOME extension, which is the best thing. This means you don’t have to log out and log in to another desktop environment or window manager. You can enable or disable it in the current session.

I will list the features of Material Shell, but it will be easier to actually use:

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The project is called Material Shell because it follows Material design Guide to provide a beautiful interface for the application. Its main functions are as follows:

Intuitive interface

Material Shell adds a left panel for quick access. On this panel, you can find the system tray at the bottom and the search and workspace at the top.

All new applications are added to the current workspace. You can create a new workspace and switch to it to classify the running applications. In any case, this is the basic concept of workspace.

In Material Shell, each workspace can be displayed as a line with multiple applications instead of a box containing multiple applications.

Tiled windows

In the workspace, you can always see all open applications at the top. By default, the application will be opened as in the GNOME desktop to display the entire screen. You can use the layout changer in the upper right corner to change the layout to divide it into halves or more columns, or divide the application into several cells.

This video shows all the above features at a glance:

Durable layout and work space

not this. Material Shell also remembers the workspace and windows you open, so you don’t need to reorganize the layout again. This is a great feature because it can save time if you pay special attention to which application is where.

Hotkeys/Keyboard Shortcuts

Like any tiling window manager, you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate between applications and workspaces.

  • Super+W Navigate to the upper workspace.
  • Super+S Navigate to the lower work area.
  • Super+A Focus the window on the left side of the current window.
  • Super+D Focus the window on the right side of the current window.
  • Super+1, Super+2Super+0 Navigate to a specific workspace
  • Super+Q Kill the currently focused window.
  • Super+[MouseDrag] Move the window.
  • Super+Shift+A Move the current window to the left.
  • Super+Shift+D Move the current window to the right.
  • Super+Shift+W Move the current window to the upper working area.
  • Super+Shift+S Move the current window to the lower working area.

Installation material shell


Tiled windows can confuse many users. You should be familiar with the GNOME extension to use it. If you are definitely not a Linux beginner, or if there are any changes to the system and it is easy to panic, avoid trying.

Material Shell is a GNOME extension. So please check your desktop environment to make sure you are running GNOME 3.34 or higher.

Let me add that for many users, tiled windows can be confusing.

In addition, I noticed that when Material Shell is disabled, it will delete the top bar of Firefox and Ubuntu docking stations. You can regain the dock by disabling/enabling the Ubuntu dock from the “Extensions” application in GNOME. I haven’t tried it, but I guess these problems should disappear after the system restarts.

Hope you know how to use GNOME extensions. The easiest way is Open this link in your browser, Install the GNOME extension, and then enable the Material Shell extension.

Installation material shell

If you don’t like it, you can disable it from the same extension link you used before, or you can use the GNOME extension application:

Material shell dwarf extension

Should it be tiled or not?

I used multiple screens, but found that Material Shell cannot be used with multiple monitors. This is something that developers can improve in the future.

In addition, using Material Shell to tile windows is very easy to use. If you try and like Material Shell, please enjoy the project in the following ways Give it a star or sponsor on GitHub.

For some reasons, tiled windows have become more and more popular. The recently released Pop OS 20.04 also added a tiled window function.

However, as I mentioned before, tiled layouts are not for everyone and may confuse many people.

What about you Do you prefer tiled windows or traditional desktop layout?