icesh man page

 icesh — control window properties and the IceWM window manager


icesh Options|Actions+


icesh provides 83 commands to change or query a window's state, and to interact with the icewm(1) window manager. Command arguments are called actions. Window actions operate on a selection of windows. icesh has several options to select and filter windows.  Options and actions can be interspersed. They are processed and evaluated one after another from left to right. Therefore, an option can only affect a subsequent action, but not a previous one. Because of this, an action can operate on a different selection of windows than a previous action, if it is preceded by a new select option. In combination with filter options, this gives icesh its expressive power. Use it in icewm-keys(5) to define your own window management hotkeys.


icesh recognizes the following options:

Select Options

Select options specify the window or windows to which subsequent actions apply. If none is given, but an action does require a window, then a selection crossbar is invoked to select the desired window interactively. The manager actions do not require window options.

The following five options select one or more client windows. If needed, they can be repeated for successive actions.

-w, -window WINDOW_ID

Specifies the identifier of the window, WINDOW_ID, for which the action applies.  Special identifiers are root for the root window and focus for the currently focused window.

-r, -root

Is equivalent to -window root and selects the root window.

-f, -focus

Is equivalent to -window focus and selects the focused window.

-a, -all

Selects all clients of the window manager.

-s, -shown

Selects all currently visible clients of the window manager.

-t, -top

Selects all toplevel windows from the display unconditionally.

Filter Options

The following options filter the currently selected set of windows. If no previous select option was given then a -all option is implicitly assumed to filter all client windows.

-c, -class WM_CLASS

Filters the set of windows on window manager class, WM_CLASS.  If WM_CLASS contains a period, only windows with exactly the same WM_CLASS property are matched.  If there is no period, windows of the same class and windows of the same instance (aka. -name) are selected.

-l, -last

Filter clients and keep only the most recent client.

-m, -machine HOST

Filters clients by host name. Clients with a WM_CLIENT_MACHINE property equal to HOST are selected.

-n, -name NAME

Filters clients by _NET_WM_NAME or WM_NAME. NAME matches any part of the property value. To match at the beginning use a ^ prefix. To match at the end use a $ suffix.

-p, -pid PID

Filters clients by process ID. Clients with a _NET_WM_PID property equal to PID are selected.

-G, -Gravity GRAVITY

Filters clients by the window gravity field of the WM_NORMAL_HINTS property.  Clients with a gravity equal to GRAVITY are selected. If GRAVITY starts with an exclamation mark then the filtering is inverted.

-L, -Layer LAYER

Filters clients by GNOME window layer, which can either be a layer name (see below) or a layer number.  If LAYER starts with an exclamation mark then the filtering is inverted.

-S, -State STATE

Filters clients by GNOME window state. Clients which have at least a state of STATE are selected.  The window state refers to details like minized or maximized and is explained below.  If STATE starts with an exclamation mark then the filtering is inverted. A question mark ? filters clients with any bit set in STATE.

-W, -Workspace WORKSPACE

Filter clients by workspace. Workspace WORKSPACE is either a workspace name or a workspace number counting from zero. If WORKSPACE starts with an exclamation mark then the filtering is inverted.

-X, -Xinerama MONITOR

Limit clients by RandR/Xinerama monitor. Only operate on clients which are displayed on MONITOR, where MONITOR can be All for all monitors, this for the monitor where the active window is displayed, or a monitor number starting from zero. See the output of randr or xinerama below.

General Options

The following options are identical for every IceWM command.

-d, -display DISPLAY

Specifies the X11 DISPLAY.  If unspecified, defaults to $DISPLAY.

-h, --help

Print a brief usage statement to stdout and exit.

-V, --version

Print the program version to stdout and exit.

-C, --copying

Print copying permissions to stdout for the program and exit.


icesh expects one or more action arguments.  There are two kinds of actions: window actions and manager actions. The first operates on the selected windows. The second directly interacts with the icewm window manager.

Window Actions

The following actions affect the selected window or windows.


Activate the window, aka. to focus.


Close the window.


Terminate the window.


Print window identifiers for the selected windows.


Print process identifiers for the selected windows.


Show window details, like geometry and names.


Lower the window.


Raise the window.


Stack the window above others.


Stack the window below others.


Rollup the specified window.


Set the window to fullscreen.


Maximize the window.


Maximize the window only horizontally.


Maximize the window only vertically.


Minimize the window.


Restore the window to normal.


Make window hidden.


Undo window hidden.


Don't show window on taskbar.


Do show window on taskbar.


Resize window to WIDTH by HEIGHT window units.


Resize window to WIDTH by HEIGHT pixels. If WIDTH or HEIGHT ends with a percent sign %, then they refer to a percentage of the desktop work area. For instance, sizeto 50% 100%a resizes to half the desktop width and whatever height is available above or below the taskbar.

move X Y

Move the selected window or windows to the screen position X Y. To specify X or Y values relative to the right side or bottom side precede the value with an extra minus sign, like in move -+10 --20.

moveby X Y

Displace window by X Y pixels.


Position window in the center of the desktop work area.


Position window against the left side of the desktop work area.


Position window against the right side of the desktop work area.


Position window against the top side of the desktop work area.


Position window against the bottom side of the desktop work area.

setIconTitle TITLE

Set the icon title to TITLE.


Print the icon title.

setWindowTitle TITLE

Set the window title to TITLE.


Print the window title.

setGeometry GEOMETRY

Set the window geometry to GEOMETRY.


Print the window geometry.


Set the GNOME window state to STATE.  Only bits selected by MASK are affected.  See below for STATE and MASK symbols.

toggleState STATE

Toggle the GNOME window state bits specified by the STATE expression.  See below for STATE symbols.


Print the GNOME window state for the specified window.

setHints HINTS

Set the GNOME window hints to HINTS. See below for symbols.


Print the GNOME window hints for the specified window.

setLayer LAYER

Move the specified window to another GNOME window layer. See below for LAYER symbols.


Print the GNOME window layer for the specified window.

setWorkspace WORKSPACE

Move the specified window to another workspace.  Select the root window to change the current workspace. If WORKSPACE is All then the specified window becomes visible on all workspaces. Specify this for the current workspace.


Print the workspace for the specified window.

opacity [OPACITY]

Print the window opacity if OPACITY is not given, otherwise set the window opacity to OPACITY.

setTrayOption TRAYOPTION

Set the IceWM tray option for the specified window to TRAYOPTION. See IceWM tray options, below, for TRAYOPTION symbols.


Print the IceWM tray option for the specified window.

setNormalGravity GRAVITY

Set the window gravity field in the WM_NORMAL_HINTS property for the specified window to GRAVITY.  See below for GRAVITY symbols.


Print the window gravity from the WM_NORMAL_HINTS property for the specified window.

setWindowGravity GRAVITY

Set the window gravity for the specified window to GRAVITY. See below for GRAVITY symbols.


Print the window gravity for the specified window.

setBitGravity GRAVITY

Set the bit gravity> for the specified window to GRAVITY. See below for GRAVITY symbols.


Print the bit gravity for the specified window.

motif [funcs FUNCTIONS | decor DECORATIONS | remove]

Query, set or modify the _MOTIF_WM_HINTS property for the specified window.  Without arguments motif will show the current value, but only if the window has such a property. The property can be removed or reset with the remove argument. With funcs and decor individual fields of this property can be enabled or disabled. If FUNCTIONS or DECORATIONS starts with a minus or plus sign then the existing value is modified, otherwise it is set to the new value. Note that if All is set, then other set fields will be disabled and cleared fields will be enabled.

Manager Actions

The following actions control the IceWM window manager and therefore do not require a window select or filter option:


List the names of all workspaces.


Change the current workspace to WORKSPACE.

workspaces [COUNT]

Print the number of workspaces if COUNT is not given, otherwise set the number of workspaces to COUNT.

setWorkspaceName INDEX NAME

Change the name of the workspace INDEX to NAME, where INDEX is a workspace number starting from zero.

setWorkspaceNames NAME [NAME]*

Change the workspace names to the list of NAMEs.

desktop [SHOWING]

If SHOWING is 1 then set showing the desktop mode. If SHOWING is 0 then turn off showing the desktop. Print the current mode if SHOWING is not given.


Summarize the RandR configuration.


Summarize the Xinerama configuration.


Print information about the current window manager, like name, version, class, locale, command, host name and pid.


List all managed client windows, their titles and geometries.


List all mapped client windows for the current desktop, their titles and geometries.


List all toplevel windows, their titles and geometries.


List applications which are managed by the IceWM system tray.


List application windows which are embedded using the XEMBED protocol. This is another way to discover system tray applications.


Let icewm execute the LogoutCommand.


Let icewm execute the RebootCommand.


Let icewm execute the ShutdownCommand.


Let icewm cancel the logout/reboot/shutdown.


Let icewm show the about window.


Let icewm show the window list window.


Let icewm restart itself.


Let icewm execute the SuspendCommand.


Let icewm reload the winoptions.


Monitor the ICEWM_GUI_EVENT property and report all changes.


Monitor which colormap is installed.

runonce program [arguments...]

This action is meant to be used together with the -class option. Only if no window is matched by WM_CLASS then program [arguments...] is executed.


Synchronize with the IceWM window manager. That is, wait for icewm to process all previous actions.


List all named symbols.


Some of the window actions require one or two EXPRESSION arguments.


Each SYMBOL may be from one of the following applicable domains:

GNOME window state

Named symbols of the domain GNOME window state (numeric range: 0-1023):

    AllWorkspaces          (1)
    Sticky                 (1)
    Minimized              (2)
    Maximized             (12)
    MaximizedVert          (4)
    MaximizedVertical      (4)
    MaximizedHoriz         (8)
    MaximizedHorizontal    (8)
    Hidden                (16)
    Rollup                (32)
    All                 (1023)

These symbols are used with the MASK and STATE arguments to the setState and toggleState actions. Some additional states include: Above, Below, Urgent and Fullscreen.

GNOME window hint

Named symbols of the domain GNOME window hint (numeric range: 0-63):

    SkipFocus              (1)
    SkipWindowMenu         (2)
    SkipTaskBar            (4)
    FocusOnClick          (16)
    DoNotCover            (32)
    All                   (63)

These symbols are used with the HINTS argument to the setHints action.

GNOME window layer

Named symbols of the domain GNOME window layer (numeric range: 0-15):

    Desktop                (0)
    Below                  (2)
    Normal                 (4)
    OnTop                  (6)
    Dock                   (8)
    AboveDock             (10)
    Menu                  (12)

These symbols are used with the LAYER argument to the setLayer action.

IceWM tray option

Named symbols of the domain IceWM tray option (numeric range: 0-2):

    Ignore                 (0)
    Minimized              (1)
    Exclusive              (2)

These symbols are used with the TRAYOPTION argument to the setTrayOption action.

Gravity symbols

Named symbols for window and bit gravity (numeric range: 0-10):

    ForgetGravity         (0)
    NorthWestGravity      (1)
    NorthGravity          (2)
    NorthEastGravity      (3)
    WestGravity           (4)
    CenterGravity         (5)
    EastGravity           (6)
    SouthWestGravity      (7)
    SouthGravity          (8)
    SouthEastGravity      (9)
    StaticGravity         (10)
Motif functions
    All                  (1)
    Resize               (2)
    Move                 (4)
    Minimize             (8)
    Maximize             (16)
    Close                (32)
Motif decorations
    All                  (1)
    Border               (2)
    Resize               (4)
    Title                (8)
    Menu                 (16)
    Minimize             (32)
    Maximize             (64)


List all workspace names:

    icesh listWorkspaces

Example output:

    workspace #0: `main'
    workspace #1: `web'
    workspace #2: `doc'
    workspace #3: `dev'

Close terminal work and activate terminal fun.

    icesh -c work.XTerm close -a -c fun.XTerm activate

Print opacity for all xterms.

    icesh -c XTerm opacity

Change opacity for all xterms.

    icesh -c XTerm opacity 84

Move all windows on workspace “Top” to the current workspace.

    icesh -W "Top" setWorkspace "this"

Restore all hidden clients, minimize all clients on the current workspace and activate Firefox.

    icesh -S hidden restore -a -W "this" minimize -a -c Firefox activate

Resize the focused window to occupy the right half of the desktop area.

    icesh -f sizeto 49% 100% sync top sync right sync raise activate


The following environment variables are examined by icesh:


The display to use if the -display option is unspecified.


While icesh is largely compliant with the GNOME WinWM/WMH specification, it only minimally supports NetWM/EWMH. Some commands, like tray options and manager actions, are specific to IceWM.

See Also

icewm(1), wmctrl(1), xdotool(1), xprop(1), xwininfo(1).


icesh had no known bugs at the time of release.  Please report bugs for current versions to the source code repository at <>.


Brian Bidulock <>.

See --copying for full copyright notice and copying permissions.


IceWM is licensed under the GNU Library General Public License. See the COPYING file in the distribution or use the --copying flag to display copying permissions.

Referenced By

icewm(1), icewm-winoptions(5).

2019-09-12 icewm 1.4.2 User Commands