I3(1) i3 Manual I3(1)
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 developers.
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.
i3 keeps your layout in a tree data structure.
An X11 window, like the Firefox browser window or a terminal emulator.
A split container contains multiple other split containers or windows.
Containers can be used in various layouts. The default mode is called "default" and just resizes each client equally so that it fits.
A workspace is a set of containers. 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 cursor
Focus window in <direction>.
Move window 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.
Enable tabbed layout for the current container.
Toggle tiling/floating for the current container.
Select the first tiling container if the current container is floating and vice-versa.
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. Your layout will be preserved.
~/.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.
# i3 config file (v4)
# font for window titles. ISO 10646 = Unicode
# use Mouse+Mod1 to drag floating windows to their wanted position
# start a terminal
bindsym Mod1+Return exec /usr/bin/urxvt
# kill focused window
bindsym Mod1+Shift+q kill
# start dmenu (a program launcher)
bindsym Mod1+d exec /usr/bin/dmenu_run
# change focus
bindsym Mod1+j focus left
bindsym Mod1+k focus down
bindsym Mod1+l focus up
bindsym Mod1+semicolon focus right
# alternatively, you can use the cursor keys:
bindsym Mod1+Left focus left
bindsym Mod1+Down focus down
bindsym Mod1+Up focus up
bindsym Mod1+Right focus right
# move focused window
bindsym Mod1+Shift+j move left
bindsym Mod1+Shift+k move down
bindsym Mod1+Shift+l move up
bindsym Mod1+Shift+semicolon move right
# alternatively, you can use the cursor keys:
bindsym Mod1+Shift+Left move left
bindsym Mod1+Shift+Down move down
bindsym Mod1+Shift+Up move up
bindsym Mod1+Shift+Right move right
# split in horizontal orientation
bindsym Mod1+h split h
# split in vertical orientation
bindsym Mod1+v split v
# enter fullscreen mode for the focused container
bindsym Mod1+f fullscreen
# change container layout (stacked, tabbed, default)
bindsym Mod1+s layout stacking
bindsym Mod1+w layout tabbed
bindsym Mod1+e layout default
# toggle tiling / floating
bindsym Mod1+Shift+space floating toggle
# change focus between tiling / floating windows
bindsym Mod1+space focus mode_toggle
# focus the parent container
bindsym Mod1+a focus parent
# focus the child container
#bindsym Mod1+d focus child
# switch to workspace
bindsym Mod1+1 workspace 1
bindsym Mod1+2 workspace 2
# move focused container to workspace
bindsym Mod1+Shift+1 move workspace 1
bindsym Mod1+Shift+2 move workspace 2
# reload the configuration file
bindsym Mod1+Shift+c reload
# restart i3 inplace (preserves your layout/session, can be used to upgrade i3)
bindsym Mod1+Shift+r restart
# exit i3 (logs you out of your X session)
bindsym Mod1+Shift+e exit
# display workspace buttons plus a statusline generated by i3status
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 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
This variable overwrites the IPC socket path (placed in /tmp/i3-%u.XXXXXX/ipc-socket.%p by default, where %u is replaced with your UNIX
username, %p is replaced with i3's PID and XXXXXX is a string of random characters from the portable filename character set (see
mkdtemp(3))). The IPC socket is used by external programs like i3-msg(1) or i3bar(1).
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://i3wm.org/
i3-input(1), i3-msg(1), i3-wsbar(1), i3-nagbar(1), i3-config-wizard(1), i3-migrate-config-to-v4(1)
Michael Stapelberg and contributors
i3 4.1.2 01/01/2013 I3(1)