Cool tools: pinnable windows in Ubuntu | Apertura Designs

Cool tools: pinnable windows in Ubuntu

Our latest blog entry on tools and tips for boosting business productivity refers not to an add-on or third-party product, but an integral part of the Ubuntu operating system (OS). Ubuntu's beautiful user interface allows the customer to independently pin any open window so that it always appears on top of all other windows. Let's briefly look at why this is such a terrific feature for business use.

Other popular OS products such as Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows do not permit you to permanently pin (or float) a window on top of all other windows. In busy environments with many apps open, this quickly leads to an enormous amount of clutter; multiple windows fill up the desktop, leading to inordinate amounts of clicking and dragging simply to find the desired window. It's because of this basic user interface limitation that many businesses end up paying extra for multiple computer monitors, so at least the sprawl of windows can be spread across two screens.

Let's compare this with Ubuntu. Right-clicking on a window brings up a menu with a setting to always place the window on top of all other open windows. In this screenshot, a PDF opened in Adobe Reader is being pinned:

The PDF will now float above all other open windows, regardless of any clicking and dragging. This is incredibly useful for reading a document in one window while working in another—a common scenario when referring to online instruction manuals, for example. Without the ability to pin the window, the customer either has to laboriously resize windows side-by-side, or continuously switch from one window to another.

In this next screenshot, a PDF is open in a pinned Adobe Reader window while notes are simultaneously being made in LibreOffice Writer below it:

What's really neat is that this setting applies to all windows in Ubuntu, not just particular apps. While dual monitors are great if you have the budget and desk space, the ability to independently pin any open window in this way means that you can make the absolute most of limited screen space—especially on older displays and laptops. This is one of the many innovations present in Ubuntu, and it's not available on the major competing products. Once you try it, you might find it difficult to go back to an OS without it.