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Nikhil Kumar

A stylish blog on my code

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i3 tiling window manager

Why did I switch to a tiling window manager?

I am not going to say that a minimalistic environment such as i3 is better than a desktop manager such as KDE, GNOME, MATE, or Xfce, but a minimalistic environment has helped me improve my tactics. After switching to a tiling window manager, I have found myself more focused on my task at hand and more efficient with my screen usage. Before using a tiling window manager, I would often clutter up my windows on one workspace, even when I had workspace switching as an option.


I choose i3 tiling window manager. According to the i3 webpage:

i3 is a tiling window manager, completely written from scratch. The target platforms are GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems, our code is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) under the BSD license. i3 is primarily targeted at advanced users and developers.

Installing i3

sudo pacman -S i3 

Caution: If you are using startx, make sure to edit your ~/.xinitrc and add the line exec i3. I am using KDM, the login manager for kde to start i3.

Neat keybindings for i3

i3 has a special $mod key which you would use anytime when you are using i3’s special keybindings. You can decide which key this $mod is. It is usually alt or the windows key. Some of the most common used key bindings are:

  • $mod + Enter                    Open terminal
  • $mod + D                            Opens the dmenu
  • $mod + Shift + Q          Kills the current window
  • $mod + Shift + E          Exits i3
  • $mod + Shift + R          Restarts i3
  • $mod + #                            Goes to the # workspace