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Translation(s): English - Français

(!) ?Discussion


What is is about:

Wmii (Window Manager Improved) is a « tiling WM » : a window manager which automagically places windows without overlapping. This is done with a view to them covering as large a surface as possible. Further, to allow you to efficiently organise your desktop screen, you can navigate it using the keyboard only.


If you don't have xorg installed, you should install it before :

aptitude install xserver-xorg xterm xinit

For wmii, you need the package :

aptitude install wmii



When we don't know tiling, it's not realy easy to begin with it. We have to learn hotkeys to launch programs and deplace or resize windows. By default, the "Mod" touch is Alt. See the "Configuration" part of this page to change it, if you need. The hotkeys to learn at beginning are :

  • Mod+Enter -> Terminal

  • Mod+p -> menu : a menu appears, just tape the beginning of the name of the application to open it

  • Mod+d -> default layout : windows are divised on screen

  • Mod+s -> stacked layout : the selected window take all the screen, we just see the title bar of the others

  • Mod+j -> select the window below

  • Mod+k -> select the window above

  • Shift+Mod+j -> move the window down

  • Shift+Mod+k -> move the window up

  • Mod+a -> Actions menu : choose "quit" to quit


By default, only one column is used by the desktop. It's possible to use several columns with h and l :

  • Mod+Shift+h : move the selected window left
  • Mod+Shift+l : move the selected window right
  • Mod+h : selected column at left
  • Mod+l : select the column at right

Columns are created automatically, in fonction of your placements of the windows. You can make them bigger or smaller, clicking beetween two columns.


You begin in "default" layout : all windows take the same space. You can make them bigger or smaller, clicking in the little square in the title bar of a window.

  • "stacked" layout (Mod+s) : the selected window take all the column, you see just the title bar of the others
  • "maximum" layout (Mod+m) : the selected window take all the column, you don't see other windows.
  • "fullscreen" layout (Mod+f) : the selected window take all the screen.

Floating layout

You can place your windows like a classic window manager. It's called floating layout. It's useful for some applications, like the Gimp.

  • Mod+Shift+Space : Move selected window in floating layout.
  • Mod+Space : swich between floating layout and normal layout.

In floating layout, we select window with Mod+j and Mod+k. We can change dimensions of the window, by clicking on the corner, like in a classic window manager. But we can use hotkeys for that :

  • Mod+Left click : move window
  • Mod+Right click : change dimensions of the window (you can use it in other layouts too)


The views is the principle of desktops in others window managers. They are automatically created when you move a window in. Hotkeys follow the same principle :

  • Mod+Shift+2 : move selected window to the view "2"
  • Mod+2 : go to view "2"

It's the same thing for all numbers, from 0 to 9. But we can use name too :

  • Mod+t : views menu : you can select a view with right and left keys, or type the name of the view (or just a part of the name, if it was created)
  • Mod+Shift+t : Same thing, but we move with the selected window.


Per-user configuration

The configuration file is /etc/X11/wmii-3.5/wmiirc. If you want a personnal configuration, just copy it in the .wmii-3.5 in your personnal folder :

cp /etc/X11/wmii-3.5/wmiirc /home/<login>/.wmii-3.5/

Basic configuration

You just need to edit the wmiirc file


# Configuration Variables

Change Mod1 to Mod4 if you want to use Windows touch and not Alt. You can also change h, j, k, l if you want.

Windows colors

# Colors tuples: "<text> <background> <border>"
WMII_NORMCOLORS='#ffffff #000000 #ffffff'
WMII_FOCUSCOLORS='#ffffff #5c0000 #ffffff'


Colors of unselected window are in NORMCOLORS variable. Colors of selected window are in FOCUSCOLOR variable. You can see the hexadecimal code of a color with the Gimp (just click in the black and white squares in the tools window), for example. You can change the background color (if you use transparent terminal) with the WMII_BACKGROUND variable.


CategoryProposedDeletion : duplicate the package description.