When multiple windows are opened the desktop can soon become a mess, fulfilled with many windows covering the others and to find your application can be really frustrating. The GNOME Shell offers multiple possibilities to help the user to handle multiple windows.
The absence of a classic windows list like in others desktop environments could initially make you feel lost, it’s never easy to change your habits. After years of MS Windows, Apple OS X, GNOME and KDE the new GNOME Shell solution will surely appear unfriendly to adopt but after the initial approach it should you result really simple and natural.
When you open the Activities overview, in the left side you can see the dash, a dock bar for your favorite applications and to offer a place for your running applications.
Every icon in the dash can be removed or moved and of course you can also add new icons in the dash. It’s usage is pretty straight, just to click upon the icon and the corresponding application will be started.
When an application is running, its icon on the dash will present a light white glow (in the left picture you could see it under the Firefox and Shotwell icons). Whenever you click the icon of a running application the existing window will be moved in the foreground and made visible again.
In contrast to the old GNOME 2 panel, clicking the icon of an application already visible it will not hide or minimize the visible window, it will simply show it again and close the activities overview.
While it’s surely the most important part of the GNOME Shell I left it at the last to give it more attention as it needs. I’m obviously talking about the Activities button, located in the upper left corner of the panel.
You can click upon it but you can also simply move the mouse pointer in the upper left corner of the screen to make it react as it was effectively pressed. In such case, a light blue animation (called ripple) is shown to help the user understand why the Activities screen was shown.
With the default keyboard configuration, the left Win key also works like to press the Activities button.