Notes on i3

Good 3-video playlist that shows i3 window manager from the start:

Install i3 on Ubuntu

  1. Log in
  2. Open Terminal
  3. sudo apt-get install i3; enter passowrd
  4. log out
  5. in menu, choose i3 to be your desktop environment
  6. Press enter to generate a config file
  7. Select mod key (think we want the "windows" key)

Basic, Default Keybindings

  • open a new instance of terminal (hope it's GNOME...): mod + Enter

  • Close window: mod + shift + q

  • app launcher: mod + d

    • change it to synapse by adding this line to the i3 cofig: bindsym $mod+d exec synapse
  • new vertical window: just open a new window

  • new horizontal window: mod + v, then open a new window

    • one question is how I get out of this mode
  • move between windows in current workspace: mod + arrow keys (or mouse)

  • move or swap a window within the current workspace: mod + shift + arrow keys

  • log out with mod + shift + e

  • lock out: enter in terminal i3lock

  • refresh your i3 config: mod + shift + r


"There is no maximize key in i3. What you want to do is move it to a different workspace."

  • move current window to a different workspace: mod + shift + number

Resizing Windows

First, enter resize mode with mod + r. Red box appears. Escape to exit resize mode.

Now can use the arrow keys to resize the current window.

Stacking and Tab mode (as opposed to tiling mode)

  • enter stacking mode with mod + s
  • navigate the stack with mod + arrows
  • return to tiling mode with mod + e

mod + w enters "tab" mode

Customization Basics


  1. How do I open a file manager window?
  • just launch dmenu or synapse and open documents or file manager
  1. How do I set it so KeePassXC as a floating window by default (at least initially?)