How to use Picture in Picture in elementary OS

Elementary OS is the only Linux distribution that offers a true picture in picture mode. In this post, I will show you how to use the picture in picture in Elementary OS.

I showed how to get the picture in picture effect in different desktop environments like Plasma, Gnome, XFCE, etc. However, the only desktop environment that achieves a true picture in picture effect is Pantheon in Elementary OS. So, let’s see how to use it.

Enabling picture in picture in elementary OS

To enable picture in picture just press the ⌘+F shortcut (⌘ is known as Super Key, or Windows Key). Once you have done that, the mouse cursor will turn into a cross. Use it to select the area you want to be in the picture in picture mode:

Select an area for the picture in picture mode in elementary OS
Select an area for the picture in picture window

Once you have done that, you will see a small window mirroring your selected area in the lower right corner. This micro window will always be in front no matter if you open another window or switch a desktop. You can move it around the desktop and resize it. If you no longer want to continue in the picture in picture mode, just close the window by clicking on the X button.

picture in picture mode in elementary OS
Picture in picture mode in elementary OS

Picture in picture in elementary OS is not perfect

While it is true that the picture in picture mode in Elementary OS is the best one on Linux, it is not perfect. For example, when you play a YouTube video in the picture in picture mode and you decide to change the tab in your browser, the picture in picture window will switch to that new tab instead of staying the YouTube video. This not want I would expect. Of course, it is not a critical issue, but you will need some time to get used to this behavior.

Conclusion

I like that the picture in picture mode in elementary OS is part of the desktop environment. It is easy to activate and it works well. However, I find it to be better suited for entertainment than work. For work, I prefer to use the Keep Above mode.

Average Linux User
Average Linux User I am the founder of the Average Linux User project, which is a hobby I work on at night. During the day I am a scientist who uses computers to analyze genetic data.