Setting the number of desktop workspaces for Xfce4


Last Updated on December 14, 2020 by David Both

I just learned something very cool.

Sometimes it is necessary to make remote modifications to a desktop using the command line. In this case I needed to reduce the number of workspaces on the Xfce panel from 4 to 3 at the request of the user. This is actually easy and only required about 20 minutes of searching on the Internet.

The xfconf-query command can be used by non-root users to query and set various attributes for the xfwm4 window manager. In the sample below I have first verified the current setting of 4 workspaces, then set the number to 2, and finally verified the new setting.

[user@test1 ~]# xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/workspace_count
[user@test1 ~]# xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/workspace_count -s 2
[user@test1 ~]# xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/workspace_count
[user@test1 ~]#

Also, the default workspace count and many other defaults for xfwm4 can be found and changed in the /usr/share/xfwm4/defaults file. So setting “workspace_count=4” to “workspace_count=2” changes the default for all users on the host.

Look for more details about remote Xfce desktop configuration and the xconf-query command here.