i3 Window Manager

2 minute read

I3 is a dynamic tiling window manager for improved efficiency on your linux desktop environment. I recently started using the window manager on a fresh install of Endeavour OS. It is an Arch based distribution, with a close to vanilla Arch installation. Ricing the window manager has not only been comprehensive, but incredibly customizable. As a programmer, my screens are always split, and a window manager just makes it 10 times more efficient.

Type of Layouts

The first type of i3 layout is a split. This is your standard side by side view of windows, and can be done vertically or horizontally. Next is the stack view, this enables you to cycle through windows with [super + ArrowKey]. The benefit of this layout is a quickly changeable full screen view. If neither of these layouts are appealing, the benefit of i3 is its customizability. You can either create your own, or use someone else’s script to set up your workspace to your liking.


All of your configurations for the window manager are in your .config file. Specifically in i3, everything is customizable. This ranges from border colors, thickness, and style. In other forks of i3, such as i3 gaps, you can add rounded edges to your windows. Furthermore, the installation of a compositor such as Picom enables transparent backgrounds in the terminal.

Changing your keybinds is something that promotes personal customization and simplicity. There are basic keybinds that I mentioned below, but you can set anything up. If you want to setup a keybind to set up your programming environment, write a script, and link a keybind to that script. Additionally, simple tasks such as opening a web browser can take just seconds with the right keybinds.


I3 utilizes multiple workspaces that are accessed by their corresponding keybinds (mentioned below). In the configuration you can configure certain apps to open to different workspaces. For my layout, I have my file-browser automatically open in the third workspace and my terminal open into the first. This can take some getting used to at first, but it will help you stay organized. It integrates well with i3 blocks, but I will elaborate on that more at a different time.

Basic Keybinds

[super + Enter] = new terminal

[super + Shift + Space] = toggle floating mode

[super + Shift + R] = reload i3

[super + Shift + ArrowKey] = move a window

[super + d] = app launcher

[super + Shift + Number] = change workspace


Switching to Endeavour OS was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Especially with the i3 window manager. At the beginning it definitely took some getting used to. I was constantly looking up the keybinds, and it felt weird that I was barely touching my mouse. However, after some time, it was incredibly fast and efficient, and I do not think I could revert to a standard desktop environment anytime soon. As a note, all of the dot files are linked on my github, if anyone would like to use them.