Set default desktops for applications in Openbox


I need everything to be just where it’s supposed to be, when I’m working on my CrunchBang netbook. I use the Openbox version and absolutely love it for it’s light weight and high configurability.

With any given window manager or any given desktop environment I like to have my daily used apps and windows always on the same desktop/workspace. Usually, I’ve got at least four desktops. Right now I use three desktops in Openbox on my netbook.

On the first desktop I always have Zim, my main xfce4-terminal, my work-related Iceweasel window, Icedove.  My second desktop is usually empty, unless I’m watching a movie with VLC or image editing with GIMP. I keep this window free for “random” apps. The third desktop is home to my personal-use apps and windows, Choqok, Pidgin, more Iceweasel.

All these apps I’ve just mentioned, wouldn’t it be cool if every time I launched them, they automatically went to the right desktop? Here’s how I use this feature in Openbox.

Open the ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml file with your favourite text editor.

I use three desktops in Openbox. Find the block. The relevant parts of my rc.xml look like this:

<!– this stuff is only used at startup, pagers allow you to change them during a session  these are default values to use when other ones are not already set by other applications, or saved in your session use obconf if you want to change these without having to log out and back in –>


Now, in the following block I set per application settings for Iceweasel (firefox-bin), Choqok, Pidgin, Icedove and Zim. Per application settings belong in theblock. Go forth and find them.

<application name=”choqok”>
<application name=”Pidgin”>
<application name=”icedove*”>
<application name=”zim”>

You can see from the tags that when I launch Choqok and Pidgin they get put in Desktop 3, while Icedove and Zim are put in Desktop 1.

Be sure to use the proper application names. More info on this can be found in the applications section of the Openbox wiki.


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