Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Create a Virtual Split Screen on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 17

In this article, we will explore how to create a virtual split screen on Ubuntu. This can be incredibly useful for multitasking and managing your workspace effectively. We will discuss three methods: using CompizConfig-Settings-Manager (CCSM), PyGrid, and gTile.

Quick Answer

To create a virtual split screen on Ubuntu, you can use tools like CompizConfig-Settings-Manager (CCSM), PyGrid, or gTile. These tools allow you to configure screen divisions and manage your workspace effectively for multitasking.

Method 1: Using CompizConfig-Settings-Manager (CCSM)

CCSM is a powerful tool that allows you to configure the Compiz desktop effects engine. It’s available in Ubuntu 16.04 and can be used to split your screen into multiple areas.


To install CCSM, open your terminal and type the following command:

sudo apt install compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-plugins-extra

This command installs both the CompizConfig-Settings-Manager and some extra plugins that we will need.


After installation, open CCSM. Navigate to the “General” plugin, then click on the “Display Settings” tab. Here, un-check the “Detect Outputs” checkbox. In the “Outputs” box, you can set up the desired areas and offsets.

The parameters in the “Outputs” box define the size and position of each screen division. For example, 1920x1080+0+0 would define a screen area that is 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels tall, starting at the top left corner of the screen.

Method 2: Using PyGrid

PyGrid is a command-line tool for X11-based desktops that allows you to set up a grid-like split screen. It requires Python3 to be installed on your system.


You can find the installation instructions and usage details on the PyGrid GitHub page.


Once installed, you can use PyGrid from the command line to define your screen divisions. For example, the command pygrid 2x2 would split your screen into a 2 by 2 grid.

Method 3: Using gTile

gTile is a Gnome extension that provides a user-friendly UI for configuring screen divisions and shortcuts. It offers more flexibility in setting up your split screen layout.


You can install gTile from the Gnome Extensions website.


After installation, you can access gTile’s settings through the Gnome Tweak Tool. Here, you can define your desired screen divisions and set up keyboard shortcuts for quick access.

Each of these methods offers a different approach to achieving a virtual split screen setup in Ubuntu. Choose the one that suits your needs and preferences. Remember to always be careful when installing and configuring system tools, as incorrect settings can sometimes cause issues. Happy multitasking!

Can I use these methods to create a virtual split screen on other Linux distributions?

These methods are specifically tailored for Ubuntu and may not work on other Linux distributions. However, you can explore similar tools and extensions that are compatible with your specific distribution.

Is it possible to resize or move the screen divisions after they are set up?

Yes, with CCSM and gTile, you can easily resize or move the screen divisions by accessing their respective settings and adjusting the parameters or using the UI interface. With PyGrid, you will need to rerun the command with the desired grid configuration.

Can I have different applications or windows open in each screen division?

Yes, you can have different applications or windows open in each screen division. Once the split screen is set up, you can simply open and arrange your desired applications or windows in each division.

Will these methods affect the performance of my system?

These methods should not significantly affect the performance of your system. However, it’s always a good practice to monitor your system resources and close any unnecessary applications or windows to optimize performance.

Can I switch between split screen and full screen mode easily?

Yes, you can switch between split screen and full screen mode easily. With CCSM and gTile, you can configure keyboard shortcuts for switching between different screen layouts. With PyGrid, you can rerun the command with the desired grid configuration.

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