Desktop Effects are a way of enhancing the way that your desktop is displayed, and can make it more fun and easier to use.

Some of the available desktop effects are:

  • Translucent windows
  • 3D desktop capabilities
  • Shadow effects
  • Motion effects and animations

Desktop effects are optional, and it is not necessary to have them turned on. In addition, users of computers with certain graphics cards may find that desktop effects do not work well on their computer, or cause the computer to operate more slowly than it would with the effects turned off.


Desktop effects require your graphics card to be working properly with 3D acceleration enabled. Most modern video cards support this.

If you are having problems with your graphics under desktop effects, refer to the Video page for more information.


Desktop effects in Ubuntu are handled through the Compiz Settings Manager, by default this is ""not"" installed in Ubuntu and thus will have to be manually installed, this can be done by opening terminal (ctrl+alt+t) and executing the commands as shown below. You will now need to enter your password and hit Y to confirm the download.

The application should now be installed, it will show as an entry in your Dash labeled "CompizConfig Settings Manager".

In the vast majority of cases the installation should complete succesfully, if not ensure your copy of Ubuntu is up to date. No further dependencies are required on Ubuntu 15.10.

Enabling and Configuring Effects

Within the CompizConfig applications the subheading "Effects" can be found by scrolling down, under this you will see a number of effects listed, to enable and configure this effects you can click on their icons. Within the application a vast number of options exist but these will not be covered on this page.

Effects can be enabled and disabled with their respective toggle buttons, these effects can be further configured by clicking on the icons, as an example I will enable and configure "Wobbly Windows". Upon clicking the "Wobbly Windows" icon the following screen will appear, this screen shows all the options available for this effect.

First ensure that the effect is enabling by the checkbox in the bottom left of the window labelled "Enable Wobbly Windows", then we can begin the fun stuff - tweaking and testing our effects!

We can change the values as shown in this window to change how the effect behaves, the most important being

  • Friction - The lower the value the more the window "Wobbles" when being dragged around
  • Spring K - the lower the value the longer it takes for the window to spring back to its normal location

The outcome of our changes can be shown below when moving windows. These steps can be applied to each effect, however the options and their effect will change for each Desktop Effect. You are now able to enable and configure effects to your liking!

Enabling and Configuring Effects

If you manage to break your configuration, or simply wanted to quickly and easily revert your desktop effects, it can be done by a console command as shown below - please not that this will not only reset your Desktop Effects but all your non-default settings the CompizConfig application.


  1. CompositeManager - information about how to enable Compiz (if it isn't already)

whosdaz/DesktopEffects (last edited 2016-01-01 16:22:22 by whosdaz)