I3 xfce


Update! - April 2021

See the Lubuntu version of this here.

The idea of this setup is to achieve the best of both worlds from convenient desktop features and essential i3 features. This walkthrough assumes that you are already familiar with using i3, but you do not have to be in order to complete it. An altered default i3 config file is part of the walkthrough, which adapts default i3 keystrokes to XFCE components. (New and replaced sections of the config file are designated in the file.)

  • Use the familiar i3 keystrokes and config file for window tiling.
  • Utilize normal application names instead of binaries'. (dmenu still available)
  • Desktop notifications/indicators (not typically easy to find for i3)
  • Fixes the administrator authentication problem when using i3 in Ubuntu.
    • Software Center
    • Updater
    • Users and Groups
  • Elegant color scheme and icons

As usual, i3 is brought to you by the letter i and by the number 3 . . . and by Dexter.

For this guide, you will need to enter terminal commands, but you should not expect to remember them. Conversely, you will always want to understand the i3 config file. The last step will be to create a link to the i3 configuration file on you XFCE panel - to provide a visual reminder that it is central to your user experience, and conveniently available to open and edit.

The i3 site provides the best source about editing the configuration file.

I. Install Xubuntu on your system

Install the Xubuntu desktop in another Ubuntu variant by entering the following in a terminal:

(The general idea of this walkthrough should work for XFCE and Mint XFCE as well.)


 II. Create a Spare User

Especially if you are already using Xubuntu, creating a spare user account ensures that you can easily return to Xubuntu's default desktop.
  1. Open 'Users and Groups'
  2. Click button: 'Add'
  3. Type in your current admin password
  4. Enter a Name title
  5. Enter the official username
  6. Click button: 'OK'
  7. Enter the new user's password
  8. Click button: 'OK'
  9. Click 'Change...', next to 'Account type'
  10. Change the account type to 'Administrator
  11. Click button: 'OK'
  12. Click button: 'Close'
  13. Log out
  14. Select the Xubuntu desktop 
  15. Log in to the new user

III. Install a new background image manager

Xubuntu's desktop settings manager will not work with this setup, but luckily you can install "nitrogen" to change background images. Only remove xfdesktop4 if you (Unfortunately wallch does not work with i3.)

Nitrogen is simple and plays well with i3. It has the ability to set different wallpapers for different monitors or to expand one wallpaper between them.

  1. Open Nitrogen.
  2. Click "Preferences"
  3. Click "Add"
  4. Add any folders you use for background images
    • /usr/share/backgrounds
    • /usr/share/xfce4/backdrop

IV. Install the i3 Window Manager

Enter the following in a terminal to install the i3 window manager:

V. Install i3ipc-GLib and i3 Workspaces Plugin


 Section V UPDATE


This alternative installation method might be required for section V: Ubuntu 20.10 installation straight from the GitHub repos.


i3ipc-glib is a prerequisite for being able to switch between i3 workspaces in XFCE.

Open a terminal and enter the following:

(The details of this source are found here.)

  • Installing individual sources like this should be done rarely. There is a slight security risk, and it can slow down apt updates 


This wonderful plugin allows you to place an i3-compatible workspace switcher on your XFCE panel.

Open a terminal and enter the following:

(The details of this source are found here.)
  • Installing individual sources like this should be done rarely. There is a slight security risk, and it can slow down apt updates

VI. Deactivate Xubuntu's window manager

  1. Open 'Session and Startup', and go to the 'Session' tab.
  2. Note xfwm4 and xfdesktop. These processes will be replaced by the i3 Window Manager.
  3. For xfwm4, click 'Immediately' and change it to the  'Never' option.
  4. For xfdesktop, click 'Immediately' and change it to the 'Never' option.
  5. Click the button: 'Save Session'.
  6. Go to the 'Application Autostart' tab to activate the i3 window manager in the next stage.

Note that you leave the xfce4-panel and Xfsettingsd as they are.

VII. Activate the i3 window manager

  1.  In the 'Session and Startup' window, make sure you are in the 'Application Autostart' tab.
  2. Click the button 'Add' to add i3 to the list of startup applications.
  3. Fill out the form:
    • Name: i3 (or whatever you want to call i3)
    • Description: Tiling Window Manager (or whatever you want)
    • Command: i3 (must be "i3", as below)
  4. Click the button: OK
  5. You should scroll down to the bottom of the list and verify that i3 is listed and checked.
    • (Yes, the intimidating terminal command to start i3 is . . . i3.)
  6. Click the button: Close

VIII. Remove non-i3 Keyboard Shortcuts

Disabling the shortcuts here is about letting i3 take over in this regard, utilizing the i3 config file. Although my general philosophy is to avoid getting technical wherever possible (ie: avoid using a config file when a GUI is available), managing keyboard shortcuts through the i3 config file is inevitable if you want to use i3 at all. For the sake of peace-of-mind, as well as avoiding strange conflicts, I say avoid using 2 different applications for managing keyboard shortcuts. In this guide, ALL keyboard shortcuts are defined by the i3 config, rather than some here and some there. bleh.

  1. Open the 'Keyboard' dialogue.
  2. Go to the 'Application Shortcuts' tab as above.
  3. Remove all keyboard shortcuts
    • You can shift-select all of them and click the button: 'Remove
  4. Click the button: Close

IX. Paste i3 config

Let's get down to brass tacks and just do this thing.
  1. Create a directory in your user's home directory named '.i3'
    • The file path will be like: /home/<yourusername>/.i3/
  2. Create a new file in the .i3 directory named 'config'
    • the file path will be like: /home/<yourusername>/.i3/config
  3. Open the config file in a text editor and save the following in the file:

The i3 site provides the best source for editing the configuration file.

Here is the magic moment when you can restart your computer and log in with i3 as your window manager.

i3 cheat sheet

The mod key is the 'super key', also called the 'windows key' (left of the space-bar.)

mod+Enter opens a terminal
mod+d opens Xubuntu's whisker menu (in place of the dmenu)
mod+Shift+d opens the dmenu

mod+Shift+e initiates Xubuntu's session logout dialogue

X. Configure the XFCE Panel

  1. Right-click the XFCE Panel at the top of the screen.
  2. Select the menu option 'Panel >' and then 'Panel Preferences'
    • The panel preferences dialogue should open
    • This looks different in Xubuntu 16.04.
  3. Click on the plus button to add the i3 workspaces plugin you installed earlier.
  4. Use the arrows to place the i3 workspaces plugin where you want it on the panel.
  5. Click the gear button, and configure the i3 workspaces plugin with colors that will show up on the panel.
    • I like to incorporate the i3 window color, which is #285577
  6. Remove the 'Window Buttons' from the panel items by selecting it and clicking the minus button.
  7. You can change the icon on the 'Whisker Menu' so that it is not an infantile mouse icon.
  8. Add or remove any application launchers to the panel.

XI. Create a launcher for i3's config file

  1. In the XFCE Panel items list, add a launcher next to the clock in order to create convenient access to the i3 config file.
  2. Edit the launcher details to be as below
    • Click the icon to change it. (The icon above is included with xubuntu-desktop)
    • Name: i3 Config
    • Command: mousepad config
    • Working Directory: /home/<yourusername>/.i3

The i3 site provides the best source about editing the configuration file.

Sours: https://feeblenerd.blogspot.com/2015/11/pretty-i3-with-xfce.html

How to combine xfce desktop enviroment and i3wm

Good morning gnuaboos, I really like xfce, and I also really like i3, so i thought to my self, why not combine them? I mean, xfce is a DE, and i3 is a window manager, so it could work right?
If you said yes,




It works so well, i'm glad I did it, but what if you want to do it? where do you start?


Back up your files
you can seriously screw up your system if you mess up, I had to reinstall Manjaro twice after I messed up.

Next, you should install i3, obviously. You can do this by opening a terminal and entering:

sudo pacman -S i3

Enter your password when prompted, and hit enter when it asks you what i3 packages to install, it should install all as default.

Next, you should generate an i3 config, this can either be done by importing a preexisting config file to ~/.config/i3/ with the filename config. If you want to start with the default i3 config, just log out of your xfce session, and next to the power option in the bottom left corner, click that and change from xfce to i3.

Once in the i3 desktop, follow its instructions, then reboot and log into xfce.

Next, you'll need to install nitrogen:

sudo pacman -S nitrogen

Then, open nitrogen and configure it, choosing which directories to use for wallpaper choosing,
I'd recommend at least /usr/share/backgrounds/

Next, youll need to install
You can install it from the aur with your aur helper, I use trizen, so my syntax would be:

trizen -S xfce4-i3-workspaces-plugin-git

This program replaces xfce workspace plugin and allows you switch i3 workspaces using the xfce panel.

next, you'll have to remove all xfce keybinds, this can be obtained by going settings> Keyboard >shortcuts. Then remove all of the shortcuts, you'll use i3's shortcuts from now on.

Next you'll have to uninstall `xfdesktop' with this command:

sudo pacman -Rc xfdesktop

This wont remove the entire xfce desktop environment, so don't worry!

I know this seems long, but your almost there! once you uninstall , all you need to do is enter one command:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-session -p /sessions/Failsafe/Client0_Command -t string -sa i3

this command replaces xfwm4 with i3.

Final step: reboot and enjoy i3 + xfce!

Note To get transperency on the terminals, you will need a compositor like Compton installed and configured.
My desktop
Gtop, neofetch and my config file open in vim
htop, neofetch, pfetch, cava, and peaclock all open
A fully functioning whisker menu!

where did my (battery, wifi, bluetooth) icons go? they aren't on my panel!

this happens when i3bar essentially hijacks the xfce notification center and is actually a pretty simple fix, if you don't mind getting rid of the i3 bar, that is. (there's no purpose in having it when i3 is in tandem with xfce anyway.)
Simply comment out the i3bar section in your config file, it should look something like:
Remember to comment out everything in this section, including the curly brackets.

Tell me what you think, did i do a good job explaining?

Share screenshots if you follow this!


Sours: https://archived.forum.manjaro.org/t/how-to-combine-xfce-desktop-enviroment-and-i3wm/111364
  1. Veranda railings design
  2. Fulper pottery lamp
  3. Neon yellow contacts

[Tutorial] Easy Setup: Endeavour XFCE + i3 tiling window manager

updated to coincide with the latest iso August 28, 2021

As per a request: EASY setup of XFCE while using the i3 window manager in place of xfce4. @nate - give it a go, maybe it’s what you’re looking for.

I’m sure there’s more than one way to do this. I’m sure you can do it by adding in i3 later. This is a walk through from fresh install to a nice usable setup the way I do it. Please pour yourself a drink and let’s go!

Alright, so we have our live USB. It’s time to install! It’s VERY important you select both XFCE and i3 now at the same time. This will very easily put all of the i3 config files in the correct place for you, and give you all of the EOS keybindings and such to go with it.

You will need to de-select the EOS themeing and install the vanilla XFCE for this tutorial

I would also strongly suggest installing the LTS kernel at the same time.
For simplicity of this installation - I will be using ext4 filesystem and no swap - please configure your installation to your liking.

Now that we’re done, it’s time to log into your XFCE user space.

As you can see, XFCE and XFCE4 window manager. Pull up your terminal though, and you’ll notice if you pull we in fact also already have a nice preset i3 config file with preset keybindings ready to roll for you.

But we’re not here to install XFCE and then i3. We’re here to use both at the same time

So here we go.

The next step from here is to open up your startup session. We need to kill off xfwm4 and xfdesktop. We won’t need them, those are what we will be replacing with i3. You need to switch them from “Immediately” to “Never.” and then click on and Save Session

After saving your session you will need to click over to Application Autostart, this is where we will put in i3 as a startup application. The name and command are both i3, but you can put whatever you want as the description. Click ok and notice that i3 now shows up as an Autostart application.

Next up, XFCE is super nice to provide us with keybinding shortcuts. But, it would be a shame to have i3 and not use the i3 keybindings. So, the next step is to pull up the XFCE shortcuts and remove ALL of them. Don’t save any, even if you think you need it, you don’t. We will be using the i3 config file and to make life easier, you will want to nix the whole lot of them.

And that’s that, Log Out and Log back in to see your nice new fancy XFCE system with i3 as it’s window manager! We’re not done, but we’re getting close! At this point everything works! Maybe a bit too well. At this point you can choose to lose xfce4-panel - which I didn’t want to do, it’s what originally brought me to look into this, or you can lose i3bar (I guess if you really wanted you could keep both, but that’s up to you).

I apologize for the old photo - I forgot to screenshot in the process.

Pull up the i3 config with

We are now searching for the area where i3 bar has been setup for us. we need to # out ALL of the highlighted area. Every single line where I have highlighed here. Your i3bar config section should now look like this.

By now you have probably been prompted by and have seen this warning about dex. So, we will need to edit that out next:

At this point. Write out the config with and restart i3 with

You now have a fully functioning xfce system with i3 wm using a proper xfce-panel - which comes with 2 panels out of the box. Due to i3wm tiling windows, the bottom panel diverts everything to the left, I just right click on the panel preferences and remove Panel 2, leaving you with the top bar.

You should now have a nice empty, xfce4-panel, and a beautiful background. You’re now prepared to take on the world with XFCE+i3!

At this point the tutorial is over. Opening a bunch of terminals, they will open at will to the right as many times as you want as per the config file. mod+h for horizonal and mod+v for a verticle split. I personally prefer that action to occur automatically @Pudge - this is for you buddy.

Once installed we will need to put it into our config file again at

I highlighed where I added it in. You’ll need to insert the command:

Write out and restart and profit! This is now AUTOMATIC window management for you in alternating horizonal/vertical splitting.

On that note, this completely concludes my tutorial. You (should) now have Endeavour XFCE+i3 or as I’m officially calling it the “Bender DE.” There’s no implied warranties, things may not work, this may be complete trash for you. All complaints will be handled by my QC department - and since my dog doesn’t have thumbs, he’s really REALLY bad at replying to your emails.

If you’d like to make a donation to me for my time - please make it to the Endeavour Devs, they do more than I ever could. Plus I’ll probably just blow it on beer anyway.

Anyway, this is all in fun, I hope if nothing else this was entertaining for you.



TIPS & Tricks (Will update as questions/comments come up)

  • How do I set a new wallpaper?!

You won’t be able to use xfce settings to change your wallpaper. As per your config file you will now need to use Nitrogen!

You must first add whatever photo to the applicable file location

I suggest using the terminal program since it’s easy and save to run as su. Once your wallpaper is saved in that folder, Nitrogen will now be able to see it, and it’s as simple as click and apply!

  • The Windows key doesn’t open the whisker menu anymore! Help!

I added this in the config to the section that says

You can really use whatever keybinding you wanted. But since I usually have my right hand on the mouse, this was an available combo that was very easy to do with only my left hand. Whatever you want is up to you, The best part of i3, is it’s your computer.

  • Use xfce4-screenshooter for screenshots:

Under I have commented out Print exec scrot and added a line for xfce4-screenshooter:

  • The “Welcome App” shows up on every login even after I told it to go away - thanks @Christopher67

You can either uncheck it during initial setup if you know you don’t want to see the welcome app anymore. If you’ve already gotten this far and you don’t want to see it anymore, you will need to go into the settings menu and over to “Session and Startup” again. It’s the same place we added in i3wm for startup. The box for the welcome app will need to be unchecked and the session saved again. From henceforth, you should no longer see it upon startup. *Note - you can always open this manually from the whisker menu at any point, and can be re-enabled by re-checking the box in Session Startup again.

Disclaimer - as of Aug 30, Rofi has theming issues - we’re working on it. Everything else about it seems to be working so far on xfce-i3 though.


Sours: https://forum.endeavouros.com/t/tutorial-easy-setup-endeavour-xfce-i3-tiling-window-manager/13171
XFCE best DE to go with i3WM

Xfce4 with i3

by Marco Cadete|Sun, Feb 14, 2021|
Xfce4 with i3

Xfce4 and i3, a match made in heaven.

Did you ever wish you could enjoy using your favorite desktop environment with your favorite tiling window manager? Well, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Now, Xfce4 and i3 might not be your favorites, and in that case, this might not be interesting to you. But for those who are interested, I will show you how I got these two working in harmony together.

What I’ll be covering in this article:
  1. Why I decided to combine Xfce4 with i3.
  2. Steps to get i3 working in Xfce4.
  3. My experience using this setup.
So why use Xfce4 with i3?

I’ve always liked Xfce, but after trying a tiling window manager I couldn’t go back to stacking window managers. I enjoyed using i3, but it quickly became apparent that I was missing a lot of cool built-in functionality that a desktop environment such as Xfce4 provides.

So after a few “hacks” (basically, me just trying various options), I managed to get it working quite harmoniously.

Steps to get it working.
1. Install Xfce4, i3, Nitrogen and Picom

I would suggest you install a distro that has Xfce4. Or, if you have a base install of your preferred distro, then you’d need to install Xfce4 and i3. I installed i3-gaps, as I like having the options of gaps between my windows.

Additional software you might want is Nitrogen, which will allow you to select wallpapers for your desktop. You will probably also want a compositor, I recommend Picom, a standalone compositor for Xorg, suitable for use with window managers. This will allow you to set background opacity on terminals.

Once you have Xfce4, i3 and Nitrogen installed, then login to Xfce4.

2. Disabling xfwm4 and xfdesktop

You will be replacing xfwm4 (Xfce window manager) with i3, and xfdesktop (desktop manager) with Nitrogen.

Open your Xfce4 settings window and select Session and Startup.

Xfce4 Session and Startup

Select Current Session, and locate the programs xfwm4 and xfdesktop. Make sure you change their settings to Never restart.

Xfce4 Current Session

3. Creating Startup applications

Select Application Autostart

Xfce4 Startup Applications

Click on the “+” add button, an Add application window will open.

In the name input, enter “i3wm”, and in the description enter “i3 window manager”. The name and description can be whatever you want, It’s not that important. The command input is important and has to be the command you would run in the CLI (command line interface) to start i3. So in my case, I would enter “i3”. Make sure that Trigger is set to on login.

Add more applications as needed to have them auto-start on startup. I added Nitrogen and Picom.

Xfce4 Startup Application Nitrogen

4. Removing default Xfce4 key bindings.

Remove Xfce4’s default key bindings, so that they don’t conflict with i3’s key bindings.

  • Open your Keyboard options in Xfce4 settings.
  • Select Application Shortcuts.
  • Remove all shortcuts.

Xfce4 Keyboard Shortcuts

5. Reboot!

That’s it. You should be able to login to Xfce4 with i3 as your window manager.

6. i3 Config

Once you have logged in, the i3 setup runs and you can select your preferred options. You will need to disable the i3 bar, so that it won’t display, because you want the xfce4-panel instead.

Open the i3 config file which should be located in your home directory, and locate bar. Remove or comment it out. Then restart i3 by pressing mod+Shift+r or logout of your desktop environment. That should remove the i3 bar.

My experience so far

I have been using Xfce4 with i3-gaps for a week now and I have no complaints. It has been really rewarding and my productivity has benefited substantially.

If you have any questions or need help, feel free to send me an email.

Sours: https://blog.marcocadete.com/xfce4-with-i3wm/

Xfce i3


Build Status This tool will install packages and scripts in order to use i3 with xfce. Amongst other things, it replaces the builtin windows manager (xfwm4) and disable the builtin desktop (xfdesktop). It has been designed to work with deb packages system and more specifically with ubuntu flavor. It has been successfully tested with ubuntu 15.04/15.10/16.04 and xubuntu 15.04/15.10/16.04.


  • *Ubuntu 15.04/15.10/16.04
  • Python2 >=2.7.0
  • python-yaml
  • python-progressbar
  • python-ansible

Install dependencies

Installl pip and python using the package manager tool of your distribution. For ubuntu the command to execute is:

Then install the i3-xfce dependencies:

Install and configure



Install all
Install parts
Install help
Uninstall all
Uninstall parts
Uninstall help


alt tag



Sours: https://github.com/aacebedo/i3-xfce
XFCE best DE to go with i3WM

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