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Short: Maybe a Gnome shell and macOS Expose like dashboard for Xfce

Longer: xfdashboard provides a GNOME shell dashboard and macOS Mission Control (Exposé and Spaces) like interface for use with the Xfce desktop. It can be configured to run with any keyboard shortcut and when executed provides an overview of applications currently open enabling the user to switch between different applications. The search feature works like Xfce's app finder which makes it convenient to search for and start applications.


Required packages

  • libwnck >= 3.0
  • clutter >= 1.12
  • glib >= 2.38
  • gio >= 2.38
  • gio-unix-2.0 >= 2.38
  • xfconf >= 4.10.0
  • garcon >= 0.2.0
  • gtk+ >= 3.2
  • libxfce4util >= 4.10.0
  • libxfce4ui >= 4.10.0

… and the dependencies of these libraries of course ;)

The following libraries are semi-optional:

  • dbus-glib >= 0.98 (required if xfconf < 4.13)

The following libraries are optional and configurable:

  • libXcomposite >= 0.2 (for live windows)
  • libXdamage (for live windows)
  • libXinerama (for multi-monitor support)

On debian based distros, all requirements are installed with:

    apt-get install xfce4-dev-tools build-essential glib2.0 libglib2.0-dev 
    xorg-dev libwnck-3-dev libclutter-1.0-dev libgarcon-1-0-dev 
    libxfconf-0-dev libxfce4util-dev libxfce4ui-2-dev libxcomposite-dev 
    libxdamage-dev libxinerama-dev

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Latest Release

  • xfdashboard 0.8.0 released (2020/12/23 10:36)
    xfdashboard 0.8.0 is now available for download from
    What is xfdashboard?
    xfdashboard provides a GNOME shell dashboard like interface for use with
    Xfce desktop. It can be configured to run to any keyboard shortcut and
    when executed provides an overview of applications currently open
    enabling the user to switch between different applications. The search
    feature works like Xfce's app finder which makes it convenient to search
    for and start applications.
    Release notes for 0.8.0
    xfdashboard-0.8.0 "Xfce 4.16 is out ... and me too :)" was released on
    This is a stable release.
    * NOTE: Raised minimum version of Glib to 2.38 for replacements
      of deprecated function g_type_class_add_private()
    * New feature: New application icon which follows rDNS naming
    * New feature: Implement pop-up menu which is currently only used by
      icons in quicklaunch when right-clicking at them.
    * New feature: The windows in windows view gained support to show also
      child windows, e.g. open/save dialogs etc. This feature is themable
    and enabled
      by default in default theme. But it can also be disabled at all by the
      in xfdashboard settings application, e.g. for performance reasons. The
      decision to disable this feature in the settings overrides anything
      at the theme used. (GH #132)
    * New feature: All windows can now be drag'n'drop from any actor to any
      other window-related actor. So it is now possible to move a window
      from a workspace to another workspace directly via the workspace
      selector without the need to change the workspace to the one
      the window first. You can also drag'n'drop windows from workspace to
      windows view to move a window to the current workspace. (GH #79)
    * New feature: The window tracker and all other related classes are now
      interfaces to support multiple window systems, like X11, GDK and
      Currently only X11 is support as it did all the time but preparation
      work is done to support GDK as well and maybe wayland some day. (GH
    * New feature: Added a fine-grained controllable debug system. If debug
      enabled in configure script the user can use the environment variable
      XFDASHBOARD_DEBUG to enable categories to debug. But also classes
      XfdashboardActor can be set in this environment variable to debug a
      specific class. Classes are case-sensitive and must be in camel-case.
      You can mix categories and classes in enviroment variable. You can
      multiple categories and/or classes to debug by separating them by
    * New feature: At a theme's layout xml file you can now specify which
      actor of the focusable ones should be selected on theme load.
      a new optional attribute to , a sub-node of , was
      added which is called "selected". This attribute "selected" is a
      attribute and expects to be set to either "true" or "false". If set
      "true" this actor will be selected instead of the search box which is
      the default. If set to "false" it has no impact and handled as this
      attribute does not exist. This new attribute should only be used once
      over all layout xml files. A warning will be printed if it used more
      than once but the theme will load successfully. The user can also
      configure in the setting if this selected focus should be re-selected
      also when the application resumes at daemon mode (GH #144)
    * New feature: New actions "selection-move-next",
      "focus-move-first", "focus-move-last" and "focus-move-to" for use at
      custom key bindings were added. They are not bound at the default key
      bindings file installed. (GH #144, GH #145)
    * New feature: Window tracker interface now supports a new experimental
      backend for GDK. The backend to use can be controlled with the new
      environment variable XFDASHBOARD_BACKEND. It can be either set to
      "x11" or "gdk". If this environment variable does not exists or is
      not set then the X11 backend is enforced as it is the known default
      behaviour of xfdashboard and GDK backend is marked as experimental.
      (GH #129)
    * New feature: Allow user to override CSS files of themes to apply
      user favourite settings. This cChanged the way and order how CSS
      files of themes are loaded: First the CSS resources defined in
      theme's theme file (xfdashboard.theme) are loaded, then user's
      global stylesheet ($HOME/.config/xfdashboard/themes/global.css) is
      loaded if it exists and at last user's theme related stylesheet
      ($HOME/.config/xfdashboard/themes/user-[THEME_NAME].css) is loaded
      if it exists. This should make user changes to themes more
      convinient as the user does not need to copy the whole theme to
      $HOME/.themes or $HOME/.local/themes and then make his changes.
      The user also does not need to update its theme each time the
      origin theme changes and re-copy and re-apply its changes. (GH #152)
    * New feature: Big sorry to all translators who did all the hard
      work to translate xfdashboard to their language but their hard
      work was never included. It was my fault as I was to stupid to
      use Transifex client tool correctly :( Now I do not only update
      all locales already included but I will also fetch new ones. So
      the number of supported languages raised from 8 to 13. New ones
      are: da, de, kk, pl and tr (GH #155)
    * New feature: GDK backend is now optional and it will be enabled
      automatically if Clutter backend is available, i.e. FreeBSD does
      not install Clutter with GDK backend. (#13766, #13860)
    * New feature: Support also current xfconf versions (4.13.x).
      New xfconf version support native GPtrArray (from glib) for
      string lists and make dbus-glib deprecated. dbus-glib is only
      needed (and checked by configure script) if current stable xfconf
      (4.12.x) is used as its GPtrArray is still needed in this case.
    * New feature: Support for touch screen which supports "clicking"
      buttons for now. Thanks to TheToq2 (GH #157)
    * New feature: Support of application actions defines at desktop
      entries which get listed in the pop-up menus of application
      buttons. These application actions are already known as action
      in so-called "Jumplists" or "Quicklists" (GH #158, GH #160)
    * New feature: Support of "Keywords" of desktop entries which
      are taken into account when searching (GH #159)
    * New feature: Support for animations. Currently only one actor
      (XfdashboardCollapseBox) trigger an animation signal to open
      or close the collapsed area. All default themes of xfdashboard
      will slide in or out the collapsed area smoothly when animation
      is enabled (which is enabled by default).
    * New feature: The user can turn on or off animations in the
      settings application.
    * New feature: Support of more animations. So an actor can
      request an animation when a class or pseudo-class is added
      or was removed. Also an actor requests an animation when
      it was created and shown for the first time. Currently at last
      an animation is requested when the actor was moved and or resized.
    * New feature: Support of animation if an actor is destroyed. It
      will be marked as destroyed by adding a CSS pseudo class 
      "destroying". The actor will be destroyed finally when animation
    * New feature: Introduced a new signal 'actor-created' emitted at stage
      where a newly created actor was placed on. Plugins can connect to
      signal to detect new actors they are interested in and to modify
    * New feature: Introduced a new signal "initialized" in
      which is emitted when primary instance is fully initialized, that
      all managers and the stage were set up successfully.
    * New plugin 'middle-click-window-close' which allows the user
      to close windows in windows view with a middle click. This plugin
      is not configurable. (GH #128)
    * New plugin: Added dummy example search provider plugin. It's
      main purpose is to provide a skeleton for creating new search
      provider plugins.
    * Enhancement: Changed loading key bindings to one-or-nothing to
      incremental loading. The default behaviour how bindings are loaded
      has been changed. Previsouly it tried to the first bindings
      configuration file from these location (in this order): The full path
      defined at environment variable XFDASHBOARD_BINDINGS_POOL_FILE (if
      debug mode was enable at configure script), the user's configuration
      folder (usually $HOME/.config/xfdashboard) and at last the
      system-wide folder. Now it tries to load the system-wide one
      first, then the one at user's configuration folder and merges
      all bindings loaded from there to the one already loaded. At
      last it check if the environment variable is set (no need for
      debug mode anymore) and loads the bindings from this file and
      merges them too. (GH #167)
    * Enhancement: Added '--version' command-line parameter to determine
      the version of xfdashboard running.
    * Enhancement: Followed main Xfce project by switching to
      "foreign" mode at automake
    * Enhancement: Added blue theme screenshot. Thanks to gsantner (GH
    * Enhancement: The plugin 'hot corner' support also additional monitors
      and not primary monitor only. This option is configurable by user.
    * Enhancement: Use xfce library function instead of implementing own
    * Enhancement: Enviroment varible XFDASHBOARD_PLUGINS_PATH supports now
      more than one additional path with a colon-seperated list
    * Enhancement: Improved loading performance of images and icons at
      XfdashboardImageContent as it will only start loading when the actor
      using this icon or image is mapped. Previously the image or icon
      might have been loaded before the actor is mapped resulting in
      it multiple time as the size of the actor and/or icon or image
      a lot before mapping the actor. The performance was improved to stop
      loading images or icons unneccessaryly. All actor will benefit of
      change automatically, like XfdashboardLabel.
    * Enhancement: Improved CSS parser to determine recursion at theme CSS
      which causes the application to crash due to run out of memory (GH
    * Changed themes/CSS: Rewrote XfdashboardButton by splitting it into a
      XfdashboardLabel class and make XfdashboardButton a sub-class of it.
      XfdashboardLabel is exactly the same what XfdashboardButton was but
      it does not emit the "click" signal.
    * Changed themes/CSS: Splitted XfdashboardLiveWindow into two classes.
      XfdashboardLiveWindowSimple just shows a live preview of a window
      possible and XfdashboardLiveWindow is a sub-class of it but adds a
      title and controls layer (close button) on top of it.
    * Changed themes/CSS: Remove themable property 'show-window-content'
      from XfdashboardLiveWorkspace. Just replace the following CSS:
          show-window-content: ;
        XfdashboardLiveWorkspace XfdashboardLiveWindowSimple
          display-type: ;
    * Changed themes/CSS: The CSS class "primary-monitor" will be added to
      or removed from XfdashboardStageInterface depending on the primary
      state of associated monitor. With this CSS class the stage interface
      of the primary monitor could be themed different as the other
      (secondary) ones.
    * Changed themes/CSS: Made XfdashboardDynamicTableLayout stylable
      and added a new stylable property named "fixed-columns" to
      disable dynamic allocation of columns depending on largest width
      of a visible child found and enforce a fixed number of columns.
      Setting this property to 0 (default) will disable this feature.
      (GH #168)
    * Changed themes/CSS: Properties 'margin-top', 'margin-bottom',
      and 'margin-right' of ClutterActor are now themable.
    * Changed themes/CSS: Allow windows view to filter windows which are at
      current workspace via a new themable property called
      'filter-workspace-windows'. This new option is set to TRUE by default
      so that all themes will still work as they did before. (GH #126)
    * Replace URLs from goodies.xfce.org to docs.xfce.org (#16229)
    * Lots of larger and smaller bug-fixes
    * Lots of new API documentation
    * Translation: Reduced number of translatable strings drastically
    * Translation: New translations for bg, ca, el, id, ja, nb, nl,
      pt, pt_BR, sl, sq, sv, zh_CN
    * Translation: Updated translations for da, de, es, fr, gl, he,
      it_IT, kk, lt, pl, ru, sr, tr
    * Thanks to all translators and contributors

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Source code repository

The latest development version is hosted on Xfce Git. You can browse it using the web interface at the following URL:https://gitlab.xfce.org/apps/xfdashboard

Here you find the documentation for theming and settings of the latest development version.

For older development releases or stable releases look at the release archive.

Reporting Bugs

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