Gnome with multiple displays - workspace only switches on primary

This document (7018840) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 12
More than one display
Gnome is configured for multiple workspaces


Two displays are attached to the system and the Gnome desktop is being displayed across both as an extended monitor (xinerama).

When using multiple workspaces and switching between them, only the primary display is switched.  The secondary display remains on workspace 1.  The desired result is for both displays to switch.


The setting can be changed in 2 ways.   The change must be made by the logged in user.

1.  Use the gsettings command to modify the setting.  As the logged in user run this command:

gsettings set workspaces-only-on-primary false

The change is immediate.  Test switching workspaces and both monitors should now respond.  Be sure to have something opened on both monitors so the switch can be seen.

2.  Use the graphical tool "dconf-editor" to make the change.

As the logged in user open a terminal while in the Gnome desktop and run the command "dconf-editor".

Expand the path "" and highlight the setting for "workspaces-only-on-primary". 

Turn off "Use default value" then click on False in the "Custom value" setting.  Click the "Apply" button at the top.

The change will be immediate.  Test your workspace switching as described above.


Additional Information

There is a setting in the Gnome Tweak Tool under the "Workspaces" selection for "Workspaces only on primary display".  Changing this selection will have no affect.  This is due to the custom sle-classic desktop configuration done by SUSE.  The entry modified by the Tweak Tool is: workspaces-only-on-primary

However, the entry used by sle-classic is here: workspaces-only-on-primary

A bug report has been created have the Tweak Tool setting modify both entries.  When corrected the fix will go out as a maintenance update to the current release (12 SP2 at the time of this writing).


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7018840
  • Creation Date: 27-Apr-2017
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

< Back to Support Search

For questions or concerns with the SUSE Knowledgebase please contact: tidfeedback[at]

SUSE Support Forums

Get your questions answered by experienced Sys Ops or interact with other SUSE community experts.

Join Our Community

Support Resources

Learn how to get the most from the technical support you receive with your SUSE Subscription, Premium Support, Academic Program, or Partner Program.

SUSE Customer Support Quick Reference Guide SUSE Technical Support Handbook Update Advisories
Support FAQ

Open an Incident

Open an incident with SUSE Technical Support, manage your subscriptions, download patches, or manage user access.

Go to Customer Center