i3 - an improved dynamic, tiling window manager
i3 [-a] [-c configfile] [-C] [-d <loglevel>] [-v] [-V]
Specifies an alternate configuration file path.
Check the configuration file for validity and exit.
Specifies the debug loglevel. To see the most output, use -d all.
Display version number (and date of the last commit).
i3 was created because wmii, our favorite window manager at the time,
didn’t provide some features we wanted (multi-monitor done right, for
example), had some bugs, didn’t progress since quite some time and
wasn’t easy to hack at all (source code comments/documentation
completely lacking). Still, we think the wmii developers and
contributors did a great job. Thank you for inspiring us to create i3.
Please be aware that i3 is primarily targeted at advanced users and
IMPORTANT NOTE TO nVidia BINARY DRIVER USERS
If you are using the nVidia binary graphics driver (also known as blob)
you need to use the --force-xinerama flag (in your .xsession) when
starting i3, like so:
exec i3 --force-xinerama -V >>~/.i3/i3log 2>&1
See also docs/multi-monitor for the full explanation.
A client is X11-speak for a window.
Your workspace is managed using a table. You can move windows
around and create new columns (move a client to the right) or rows
(move it to the bottom) implicitly.
By "snapping" a client in a specific direction, you increase its
A container contains a variable number of clients. Each cell of the
table is a container.
Containers can be used in various modes. The default mode is called
"default" and just resizes each client equally so that it fits.
A workspace is a set of clients (technically speaking, it’s just a
table). Other window managers call this "Virtual Desktops".
In i3, each workspace is assigned to a specific virtual screen. By
default, screen 1 has workspace 1, screen 2 has workspace 2 and so
on... However, when you create a new workspace (by simply switching
to it), it’ll be assigned the screen you are currently on.
Using XRandR, you can have an X11 screen spanning multiple real
monitors. Furthermore, you can set them up in cloning mode or with
positions (monitor 1 is left of monitor 2).
i3 uses the RandR API to query which outputs are available and
which screens are connected to these outputs.
Here is a short overview of the default keybindings:
Direction keys (left, down, up, right). They are on your homerow
(see the mark on your "j" key). Alternatively, you can use the
Focus window in <direction>.
Focus container in <direction>.
Move window to <direction>.
Move container to <direction>.
Snap container to <direction>.
Switch to workspace <number>.
Move window to workspace <number>.
Toggle fullscreen mode.
Enable stacking layout for the current container.
Enable default layout for the current container.
Toggle tiling/floating for the current window.
Select the first tiling window if the current window is floating
Kills the current window. This is equivalent to "clicking on the
close button", meaning a polite request to the application to close
this window. For example, Firefox will save its session upon such a
request. If the application does not support that, the window will
be killed and it depends on the application what happens.
Restarts i3 in place (without losing any windows, but at this time,
the layout and placement of windows is not retained).
~/.i3/config (or ~/.config/i3/config)
When starting, i3 looks for configuration files in the following order:
1. ~/.config/i3/config (or $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/i3/config if set)
2. /etc/xdg/i3/config (or $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/i3/config if set)
You can specify a custom path using the -c option.
# Start terminal (Mod1+Enter)
bind Mod1+36 exec /usr/bin/urxvt
# Start dmenu (Mod1+v)
bind Mod1+55 exec /usr/bin/dmenu_run
# Kill current client (Mod1+Shift+q)
bind Mod1+Shift+24 kill
# Beamer on/off
bind Mod1+73 exec /home/michael/toggle_beamer.sh
# Screen locking
bind Mod1+68 exec /usr/bin/i3lock
# Restart i3 inplace (Mod1+Shift+r)
bind Mod1+Shift+27 restart
# Exit i3 (Mod1+Shift+e)
bind Mod1+Shift+26 exit
bind Mod1+97 exec sudo sh -c "echo up > /proc/acpi/ibm/brightness"
bind Mod1+103 exec sudo sh -c "echo down > /proc/acpi/ibm/brightness"
# Fullscreen (Mod1+f)
bind Mod1+41 f
# Stacking (Mod1+h)
bind Mod1+43 s
# Default (Mod1+e)
bind Mod1+26 d
# Toggle tiling/floating of the current window (Mod1+Shift+Space)
bind Mod1+Shift+65 t
# Go into the tiling layer / floating layer, depending on whether
# the current window is tiling / floating (Mod1+t)
bind Mod1+28 focus ft
# Focus (Mod1+j/k/l/;)
bind Mod1+44 h
bind Mod1+45 j
bind Mod1+46 k
bind Mod1+47 l
# Focus Container (Mod3+j/k/l/;)
bind Mod3+44 wch
bind Mod3+45 wcj
bind Mod3+46 wck
bind Mod3+47 wcl
# Snap (Mod1+Control+j/k/l/;)
bind Mod1+Control+44 sh
bind Mod1+Control+45 sj
bind Mod1+Control+46 sk
bind Mod1+Control+47 sl
# Move (Mod1+Shift+j/k/l/;)
bind Mod1+Shift+44 mh
bind Mod1+Shift+45 mj
bind Mod1+Shift+46 mk
bind Mod1+Shift+47 ml
# Move Container (Mod3+Shift+j/k/l/;)
bind Mod3+Shift+44 wcmh
bind Mod3+Shift+45 wcmj
bind Mod3+Shift+46 wcmk
bind Mod3+Shift+47 wcml
bind Mod1+10 1
bind Mod1+11 2
# Move to Workspace
bind Mod1+Shift+10 1
bind Mod1+Shift+11 2
This file is where you should configure your locales and start i3. It
is run by your login manager (xdm, slim, gdm, ...) as soon as you
# Disable DPMS turning off the screen
xset dpms force on
xset s off
# Disable bell
# Enable zapping (C-A-<Bksp> kills X)
setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp
# Enforce correct locales from the beginning
# Use XToolkit in java applications
# Set background color
xsetroot -solid "#333333"
# Enable core dumps in case something goes wrong
ulimit -c unlimited
# Start i3 and log to ~/.i3/logfile
echo "Starting at $(date)" >> ~/.i3/logfile
exec /usr/bin/i3 -V -d all >> ~/.i3/logfile
There is still lot of work to do. Please check our bugtracker for
up-to-date information about tasks which are still not finished.
You should have a copy of the userguide (featuring nice
screenshots/graphics which is why this is not integrated into this
manpage), the debugging guide, and the "how to hack" guide. If you are
building from source, run: make -C docs
You can also access these documents online at http://i3.zekjur.net/
i3-input(1), i3-msg(1), i3-wsbar(1)
Michael Stapelberg and contributors