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 :


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

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.

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.

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 :


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 :

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


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.


WMII_MENU="dmenu -b -fn '$WMII_FONT' -nf '$1' -nb '$2' -sf '$4' -sb '$5'"
WMII_9MENU="wmii9menu -font '$WMII_FONT' -nf '$1' -nb '$2' -sf '$4' -sb '$5' -br '$6'"

See man dmenu if you want to change the menu. The WMII_TERM variable set the command of the terminal opened with Mod+Enter

The Plan9 system

Wmii use a pseudo file-system (like /proc), for its configuration. We can read and write into with wmiir : we use "ls" to see files and folders :

$ wmiir ls /

We can read files with "read" :

$ wmiir read /colrules
/.*/ -> 58+42

We can create an file with "write" and write into an existing file with "xwrite". For example :

wmiir xwrite /ctl view 5

will write "view 5" in ctl, this place the desktop in the view "5".

We will see others example in the wmiirc :


Columns size

In the #Column Rules section, you can replace "58+42" by the size of the columns (in percent of the size of the screen) that you want.

Windows disposition

The #Tagging Rules section allow to put rules to windows, in function of their title bar. We select windows from a regular expression ( and we put a tag (the name or number of a view) or a tilde (~) for the floating layer. For example :

# Tagging Rules
wmiir write /tagrules <<!
/XMMS.*/ -> ~
/MPlayer.*/ -> ~
/VLC.*/ -> ~
/Gajim.*/ -> ~+jabber
/Téléchargements.*/ -> sel+download
/.*/ -> sel
/.*/ -> 1

All windows whose have the title bar beginning by XMMS, MPlayer or VLC will be automaticly in the floating layer. Gajim will be launched in the floating layer of the view named "jabber" and the iceweasel downloading window will be launched simultaneously in the selected view and the view "download". The two last lines put any other windows in the selected view, and begin the environment in the view "1".

We can use wmii in floating layer exclusively :

# Tagging Rules
wmiir write /tagrules <<!
/.*/ -> ~+sel
/.*/ -> 1

CategoryProposedDeletion : duplicate the package description.