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A python utility to quickly change to and locate windows in i3
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quickswitch for i3


This utility for i3, inspired by Pentadactyl's :buffers command, allows you to quickly switch to and locate windows on all your workspaces, using an interactive dmenu prompt. It has since gained a lot of other functionality to make working with i3 even more efficient.


Finding windows

The core functionality of quickswitch is still finding windows and jumping to them, and this is what it does when you call it without any options.

Here's how it looks in action:

However, sometimes you may want to grab a window and move it to your current workspace. This can be done with the -m/--move flag.

Conversely, you might want to send the current window or container on a -j/--journey to another workspace. If your current workspace becomes empty without that container, you'll be glad you added the -F/--followifempty switch, which will change your current workspace to the one where your container went. If you use -f/--follow, you'll be following along whether your workspace becomes empty or not.

A similiar feature is the -s/--scratchpad flag, which searches your scratchpad, and does a scratchpad show on the window you choose.

You can also search and jump (or move) via regular expression using the -r/--regex flag, without using dmenu. This could be useful for scripting, or if you are a regex wizard who feels limited by dmenu. This works in conjunction with the -m and -j commands.

To make your regex case insensitive, use -i/--insensitive.

If any windows have the urgency hint set, you can jump to the first one with the -u/--urgent flag. You can also use something like this in i3's own config: $mod+a [urgent="latest"] focus.

If the window list contains useless, such as desktop panels in a mixed environment (i3+mate, i3+KDE…), you can ignore them with -C/--ignore-classes followed by a comma separated list of window classes to ignore. To find out which window class a window has, you can use xprop.

Finally, to have your input to dmenu be interpreted as a shell command if it doesn't match any of the windows or workspaces, use the -l/--launch argument.


quickswitch also provides a few functions to manage workspaces. First of all, it allows you to search workspaces in the same fashion as windows with the -w/--workspaces flag. This is extremely useful for working with many named workspaces without having them bound to any particular key.

Another useful feature is to quickly get an empty workspace. This is what the -e/--empty flag does: it will jump you to the first empty, numbered workspace. If used with -j/--journey, it will send the currently selected container/window to a new empty workspace.

Those who have configured i3 to display workspaces on specific monitors can use -E/--nextempty to go to the first empty workspace with a number higher than the workspace they are currently on.

If you use this excessively, then your numbered workspaces might fragment a lot. You can fix this easily with -g/--degap, which "defragments" your workspaces, without affecting their order (eg, [1, 4, 7] becomes [1, 2, 3] by renaming 4 to 2 and 7 to 3). This argument cannot be combined with other arguments.

While on numbered workspaces, it can be pretty handy to jump to the next or previous numbered workspace ("cycle" them). -p/--previous and -n/--next do just that. You can combine them with the -m/--move flag to move the currently focused container to the respective workspace instead. Note that -n and -p will only jump to existing workspaces, and if you go beyond the beginning or end of the numbered workspace list, it will wrap around. Also be aware that similar functionality is provided by i3 natively. See workspace {next,previous}_on_output and workspace {next,previous}.


You can influence how dmenu is called with the -d/--dmenu flag, which expects a complete dmenu command. The default is dmenu -b -i -l 20 (which makes dmenu appear on the bottom of your screen (-b) in a vertical manner with at most 20 lines (-l 20), and matches case insensitively (-i). See the man page for dmenu for a list of options.

Note: The versions of quickswitch before 2.0 used explicit flags for changing dmenu's behavior. This was rather inflexible, because it needed an explicit flag for every dmenu option, and it hardcoded the dmenu command. For most people, the default should be fine, but if you want to change anything, this allows you to go wild.


quickswitch-i3 requires dmenu (which you likely already have installed), and i3-py, which you can install with pip install i3-py if you're using python 2.7, or pip3 install i3-py if you're using pyton 3.

quickswitch-i3 was tested in Python 2.7.3 and 3.2.3. It will not work in version prior to 2.7 due to the usage of argparse.


If you are an Arch user, you can install it from the AUR. The package is called quickswitch-i3. The PKGBUILD is also included here.

Otherwise you can simply clone the repository and use the file from there. The i3-py package is a required dependency, as noted above

NOTE: The PIP package is no longer maintained. If you wish to maintain it, contact @OliverUv. The PyPI installation notes below are also outdated and may not work. Sorry.

quickswitch-i3 has a PyPI entry, so you can install it with pip install quickswitch-i3. Alternatively, you can always manually run the setup file with python install.


...are obviously welcome. Pretty much every feature in quickswitch originated because someone (not just me) thought "hey, this would be useful". Just shoot a Pull Request.


Disclaimer: quickswitch-i3 is a third party script and in no way affiliated with the i3 project.

This program is free software under the terms of the Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License. It comes without any warranty, to the extent permitted by applicable law. For a copy of the license, see COPYING or head to

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