Absolute element positioning for conkyrc
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.conkyrc compiler

Free-form conky layout

Conky is a great tool, but its text-flow positioning model makes it really hard to do anything beyond a single-column vertical layout. However, it gives you the low-level tools to do better, assuming you can predict where it will put things. The conkyrc compiler does this and gives you two modifications that make it possible to use flexible spatial positioning:

  1. It removes all vertical space produced by line breaks.
  2. It introduces a positioning command, @x,y, that supports either absolute or relative coordinates.

x and y each take the form \+?-?\d+, where a + prefix indicates a relative movement (the last set position is always the base, so unfortunately you can't have relative movements that are parameterized on text width).


$ ./conkyc conkyrc > ~/.conkyrc
$ DPI=112 LINE_SPACING=1.4 ./conkyc conkyrc > ~/.conkyrc

DPI and, more rarely, LINE_SPACING, may need to be tuned depending on your display settings.

See the included conkyrc for a fairly complete example (it's the one I used for the screenshot).


  • Fails miserably if you use conky's conditionals in certain ways.
  • Some edge cases that happen if you change font sizes in the middle your conkyrc. (These can usually be worked around by some relative adjustment.)
  • conkyc loses track of vertical space if you draw graphs/bars taller than the tallest font's line height. Ideally it would look for such commands and figure this out.