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My Openbox Config

My Openbox configuration files.

I try to keep things very minimal, with almost nothing but my windows on screen (not even a desktop background) and just using Openbox's features, not adding a lot of docks, panels, icons etc. Not even a desktop wallpaper. This minimalism is what I like about Openbox - there's less to distract me and there's also less to configure and manage and less to go wrong.

But I do add a handful of essentials, including a notifications daemon, a system tray, an application launcher and an Openbox theme, and my own Openbox configuration with my own keyboard shortcuts.

Requirements

  • Openbox (tested using Openbox 3.6.1 installed from the Ubuntu 16.10 package repositories).

  • Runs unity-settings-daemon on login. This assumes you're using Ubuntu, and it makes a whole bunch of stuff just work.

  • Dunst notification daemon (sudo apt install dunst on Ubuntu)

  • Stalonetray system tray (sudo apt install stalonetray)

  • Rofi application launcher (sudo apt install rofi)

  • tdc (sudo apt install tdc)

  • Arc Openbox theme

    Also recommended: Arc GTK theme (sudo apt install arc-theme) and Obsidian icon theme. You'll need Gnome Tweaks (sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool) to activate these.

  • Futura Bk BT font.

Default apps that are used by the menus and keyboard shortcuts (you can easily change these):

  • Gnome Terminal
  • gVim
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Nautilus file manager
  • Thunderbird email
  • Gedit
  • Gnome System Monitor

Installation

On Ubuntu:

$ git clone https://github.com/seanh/openbox.git ~/.config/openbox
$ sudo apt install openbox dunst stalonetray rofi tdc
$ ln -s ~/.config/openbox/dunst ~/.config/

Logout, and login selecting the openbox session.

Usage

Keyboard shortcuts

Menus and launchers

  • Right Super: show the root menu.

    Clicking the Left Mouse Button on an empty part of the desktop also shows this menu.

  • XF86Launch5: show the client list combined menu (menu of all open windows on all desktops).

    Clicking the Right Mouse Button on an empty part of the desktop also shows this menu.

  • Super+Space: show the client menu.

    This is the menu attached to the current window containing actions like minimizing and maximizing the window etc.

    There are also keyboard shortcuts for most of the actions in this menu, see below.

    Clicking on a window's title bar with the Right Mouse Button also shows this menu.

  • Super+t: open a new terminal window.

  • Super+i: open a new file manager window.

  • Super+p: open the application launcher (rofi).

  • Ctrl+Alt+Delete: open the system monitor.

  • Print Screen: take a screenshot.

Changing focused window

  • Alt+j and Alt+k: switch to next or previous window. (Alt+Tab and Alt+Shift+Tab also work.)

  • Super+, , or : change focus to the nearest window to the left, right, top or bottom of the current window.

Moving windows

  • Super+m: begin moving the current window with the keyboard. When in move mode use the arrow keys to move the window, and hit Enter to exit move mode.

    Shift+, , or while in move mode will jump the window all the way to the left, right, top or bottom screen edge.

    Moving the mouse while in move mode will also move the window.

    Escape cancels the move, putting the window back where it started.

    You can also pseudo-modally move the current window using the keyboard with Shift+Super+, , or .

    To move a window with the mouse just click and drag on its title bar using the Left Mouse Button or hold down Super and click and drag anywhere on the window with the Left Mouse Button.

Resizing windows

  • Super+x: maximize/restore the current window.

  • Super+z: begin resizing the current window with the keyboard. Works similarly to moving a window with the keyboard, including mouse support and Escape to cancel the resize.

    You can also pseudo-modally resize the current window from its left and bottom edges:

    • Alt+Super+: increase the width of the current window by extending its right edge.

    • Alt+Super+: decrease the width of the current window by retracting its right edge.

    • Alt+Super+: increase the height of the current window by extending its bottom edge.

    • Alt+Super+: decrease the height of the current window by retracting its bottom edge.

    You can resize a window with the mouse by clicking and dragging from its edges and corners but many Openbox themes (including the Arc one that I use) make this click target very tiny so alternatively you can hold down Super and click-and-drag anywhere on the window using the Right Mouse Button to resize it.

  • Super+Page Up: grow the window by extending its top edge upwards as far as the nearest other edge.

    This will grow the window upwards until it hits the bottom or top of another window or it hits the top screen edge. You can then hit Super+Page Up again to continue growing to the next edge.

    Once the top edge of the window hits the top of the screen, if you keep hitting Super+Page Up it will start shrinking the window by retracting its bottom edge to the nearest other edge (or just retracting it by a fixed amount, if there are no other edges to hit, eventually making the window very short).

  • Super+Page Down: grow the window by extending its bottom edge downwards to the nearest other edge.

  • Super+Home: grow the window by extending its left edge leftwards to the nearest other edge.

  • Super+End: grow the window by extending its right edge rightwards to the nearest other edge.

  • Super+Enter: grow the window by extending all four edges to the next edge in each direction.

    This will grow the window to fill all available screen space without overlapping any other windows that it doesn't already overlap.

    You can keep hitting Super+Enter to make it continue and cover up other windows. Eventually you can effectively maximize a window like this, though unlike with maximize there's no way to unmaximize it this way.

    Moving a smaller window on top of a bigger window then hitting Super+Enter will resize the small window to the same size as the bigger one.

    Moving two windows into the left and right sides of the screen and hitting Super+Enter on each will size each one to fill one side of the screen (not necessarily equally sized, depends on how you position the windows before hitting Super+Enter). This can be used to tile any number of windows into any number of screen areas.

Other window actions

  • Super+b: show/hide the current window's decorations (title bar and border).

  • Alt+F4 or Super+c: close the current window.

  • Alt+Escape: move the current window below all other windows and change focus to the previously focused window.

  • Super+r: roll/unroll the current window (when a window is rolled up only its title bar is visible).

    Also known as "shading"/unshading the window. Double-clicking on a window's title bar with the Left Mouse Button will also shade it, and single-clicking on a shaded window will unshade it.

  • Super+n: iconify (minimize) the current window.

Desktops

  • Ctrl+Alt+ and Ctrl+Alt+: go to next and previous desktop.

  • Shift+Alt+ and Shift+Alt+: go to next and previous desktop, taking the current window with you.

    You can also just drag a window against the edge of the screen using the mouse and hold it there for a second to move to the desktop left or right with it.

  • Super+F1, F2, F3 or F4: go to desktop 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Misc

  • Super+d: show the desktop (minimize all windows). Hit it again to restore all the windows.

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My Openbox config

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