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Shell 3.8 Features: Ctrl will Never Escape Overview!

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overview: Keep open when a Control key is held

What that means? Simply when we are in Overview while we keeping Ctrl Pressed, we can open as many as application we want without escaping it (overview)!


For the people that don’t know it, in GNOME 3.6 pressing Ctrl will open a new instance of the App in the current Workspace. With middle-click will open a new instance in a new Workspace. In GNOME 3.8 by holding Ctrl we can open several Apps in the Current or Next Free Workspace (by pressing MiddleMouse) without exiting Overview.

One small issue there is that Workspaces are not visible in AppsOverview, and therefore we cannot drag Apps to the desired Workspace. That is a small detail though.

Mullner says | commit#686984

It is useful at times to perform several actions that would usually close the overview (for instance launching an application) at once. Currently we allow this by dragging items to a workspace rather than just clicking it, but it’s an odd metaphor with its own set of problems. Introduce an alternative approach (inspired by file selection in file managers) by keeping the overview open if a Control key is held down.

workspace: Remove zooming of window previews

Another nice addition by Florian. Being at the Overview the Scroll-Wheel would Zoom on Windows while being “on” Workspaces on the right, Scroll-Wheel will let us to switch Workspace. In GNOME 3.8, zoom was removed and we can change Workspace in all space.


Mullner says | commit | #686639

Using the scroll wheel to switch workspaces makes sense, but it is currently only supported on the workspace switcher, as it conflicts with window zooming in the picker. As changing workspaces is far more useful than the zoom feature, remove the latter in order to “free” the scroll wheel for workspace switching.

Change Pressure Sensitivity in Message Tray

Probably one of  the worst bugs in GNOME 3.6. Well, it is finally gone (GNOME 3.8 changes the way you access Notifications Panel).  I am just referring it because someone asked how he can change the default behavior.

If you check at:

You will find these two constants. The code is pretty explainable.


However this might not be final, and Pressure Sensitivity may become dynamic depending on your Screen Resolution.


Unfortunately I haven’t time to apply the patches and try them but.. These are just some more cool things that are going to come.. (I guess!).

  • Bug 643111: allow using volume hardware keys / shortcuts to take screenshots in th
  • Bug 661156: alt-tab: Ignore workspaces in popups
  • Bug 680083: Hide the events pane when its empty
  • Bug 657923: Hotplug notification annoyance: Those notifications doesn’t disappear

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  • Brandon Watkins

    been waiting for something like this for a while, should make the overview much more usable

    • alex285

      I can imagine a huge 3.8.*1* release for you ;)

    • Michael Mistretta

      The memory leak fix is the #1 reason i want to upgrade to 3.8 …….. my gnome-shell hits 600mb very quickly, ALT-F2 restarting gnome shell causes weird font artifacts and the only fix is logging out and back in. I will get getting 3.8 the second I can.

  • Bastian Hougaard

    I am very grateful to Florian! We discussed this thing about Ctrl-Click in overview in #gnome-design and I have had my hopes high since then. So glad to hear my workflow has been saved. That is, if this has been confirmed in 3.8 :-)

    • alex285

      yeap, that is in master. I have the commit links next to these ;)

  • Remjg

    I’ll miss the zoom feature, I use it quite often when some windows look alike. Would have been better for me to allow workspace switching when the mouse is not on a window, of course I don’t know how difficult that is to implement!

    On the other hand, opening multiple applications without leaving the overview mode is a nice improvement. I had never imagine, neither expected a feature like this. I might become addicted to it very quickly when 3.8 is out ;-)

    • alex285

      About the zoom, I also have the same thinking, although I wasn’t using it at all. Technically was possible to be implemented, but it was more a “design” decision to don’t have different mouse-scrolling functionality over different elements in Overview.

      • jsnj

        I’m not sure I understand. In my v3.6 in the Overview, scrolling over the workspace windows(on the right) changes workspaces. Scrolling over the open windows zooms the appropriate app window. What is the bug that required removing zoom?

        • alex285

          You need to check here maybe: Not only comment 15, but this is the most explainable.

          • jsnj

            It’s not a major problem for me since I use the Window Overlay Icon extension, but it’s going to go down as another feature removal in the guise of improvement. Each new version of Gnome seems to remove features users have gotten use to. A simple fix would be to switch workspaces while scrolling on the dash/dock. That way the user doesn’t have to move the mouse all the way to the right to change workspaces, but still allows zooming windows. The dash to dock extension allows this. I guess v3.8 users who like the zooming will have to wait for another extension.

          • alex285

            In my POV they have to remove everything and to just give us extensions. All I want to say is that extensions is a significant part of GNOME. If you don’t like something, an extension will be there for you; this is what extensions are meant for. Default experience ofc is also important, but overall in 3.8 they do great.

          • Remjg

            Displaying application’s icons on the top of windows thumbnails in overview mode is helping a lot, except when you have multiple instances of a same application (multiple Gedit windows for example).

            Anyway, I can live with that until a new extension appears or better until they implement a kind of automatic zoom feature (see link above).

          • alex285

            Just to mention that this particular issue is identified in Gnome Shell Annoyances page
            And I totally agree, overlay icons is a must-have extension. It should go in default.

      • Remjg

        I understand a decision like this, It will be easy to discover this feature for new comers (better than the “Desktop scroller” extension in overview mode).

        With this simple change, switching between workspaces will be way faster than with GNOME 2, another good point for GNOME 3 adoption ;-)

  • Marcos V.F.

    Better than Unity, IMO. Anyway, i miss Global Menu on Gnome Shell, because the crazy gnome plans to port everything to Gmenu.

  • P. Ferro

    > removing the zoom feature
    -___- How about making desktop scroll work when you’re **NOT** hovering over a window, and still keeping the zoom feature for hovered windows?

    …oh, but that might take more than 19 lines of JS code.

    I wonder if I could work at GNOME.

  • kamilprusko

    I’m anticipating mentioned “Bug 643111: allow using hardware keys in the overview”… which means that volume keys (and maybe brightness and suspend) will finally work in overview or even in the lock screen. Can’t wait to try it out! :)

  • majkl

    What do you mean by phrase: “Another nice addition by Florian”. Actually, what is so nice on removing functionality? It’s not nice, it sucks. We’ve got again dumber environment. Would it hurt to leav the functionality for example with some modification key? Like CTRL+mouse_scroll or something like that.