Xfce: Stop workspace hopping by browser

I’ve been using the Xfce desktop environment again lately, for the first time in years, because I was curious to see how it has changed over time.

As an overall, I’ve been enjoying this experiment; I was never very satisfied with it before for a variety of reasons, but its flexibility and stability are still attractive to me, and I’ve discovered that it’s better this time around than when I last gave it a shot.

That said, I’ve encountered an annoyance or two, and in figuring out the solution to one of the biggest ones, I thought I’d do a which howto and share it for reference.

Click a link, watch your browser hop

I make great use of multiple workspaces in whatever Linux desktop environment I happen to be using. I typically keep my browser in one, my chat client in another, et cetera. One of the default behaviors in Xfce I found immediately puzzling was this tendency to cause my browser window to suddenly “hop” from one workspace to another.

In paying closer attention, I discovered that it was happening when I’d click a hyperlink in my chat client in a different workspace. It would open the link in my already open browser, but it would move that browser from the other workspace to the one in which my chat client was residing.

I found this behavior annoying, and it took me a lot of digging to get it to stop doing that.


Fixing this behavior isn’t difficult if you know where to look. One of the nice things I’ve discovered about Xfce is that if a way it behaves bothers you, chances are there’s a setting you can change to correct it. This is no exception.

In the Xfce menu (or the Whisker menu, which I’m using now) go to the Xfce Settings:


From there, click on “Window Manager Tweaks”, and then the “Focus” tab.


You’ll notice immediately (like I did, but it took me a while to find this) there is an option to handle how windows behave with regard to workspace switching in focus changes.

Simply select “Switch to window’s workspace”, and now Xfce will behave like most other window managers and desktop environments you’ve used.

No more workspace shifting by your browser!

Hopefully somebody else finds this useful. I know at some point I’ll probably forget what I did to fix this behavior, so in the very least, I’m sure I will end up referencing it again someday. 🙂


One thought on “Xfce: Stop workspace hopping by browser

  1. Pingback: My Choices of Applications Lately | The Linux Critic

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