icewm-keys - Man Page

icewm keys configuration file




Global keybindings to launch applications, which need not be window manager related. If you are looking for ways to disable icewm's grabbing of default key combinations, please read icewm-preferences(5) instead.

Each non-empty line starts with the word key. After one or more spaces follows a double-quoted string of the bound X11 key combination like Alt+Ctrl+Shift+X.  Then after at least one space follows a shell command line which will be executed by icewm whenever this key combination is pressed.  For example, the following line creates a hotkey to reload the icewm configuration:

    key "Ctrl+Shift+r"      icesh restart

See the output of xmodmap -pk for a list of keystroke names. To bind the mouse use Pointer_Button1 for button 1, and so on. The command icesh keys instructs icewm to reload this file.


The syntax of the keys file is as follows:

key “key_combination program options



The literal string keyword.


The literal string keyword, used as alternative to key to build menu-like quickswitch popups.


A combination of modifiers and a key, separated by plus-sign (+).

program options

program is the name of the executable or full path to the executable file that will be run in response to selecting the menu item.  When used with the switchkey keyword, the program must print on standard output the contents of the popup like it would be used for dynamic menus.

options is the options and arguments passed to the program verbatim.


Following is the example keys file that ships with icewm(1):

    # This is an example for IceWM's hotkey definition file.
    # Place your variants in /etc/icewm or in $HOME/.icewm
    # since modifications to this file will be discarded when
    # you (re)install icewm.
    # A list of all valid keyboard symbols can be found in
    # /usr/include/X11/keysym.h, keysymdefs.h, XF86keysym.h,
    # ...  You'll have to omit XK_ prefixs and to replace
    # XF86XK_ prefixes by XF86. Valid modifiers are Alt,
    # Ctrl, Shift, Meta, Super and Hyper.
    key "Alt+Ctrl+t" xterm
    key "Alt+Ctrl+b" xdg-open about:blank
    key "Alt+Ctrl+s" xdg-open

    key "Super+KP_Subtract" amixer sset PCM 5%-
    key "Super+KP_Add" amixer sset PCM 5%+

    # "Multimedia key" bindings for XFree86. Gather the
    # keycodes of your advanced function keys by watching the
    # output of the xev command whilest pressing those keys
    # and map those symbols by using xmodmap.

    key "XF86AudioLowerVolume" amixer sset PCM 5%-
    key "XF86AudioRaiseVolume" amixer sset PCM 5%+
    key "XF86AudioMute" amixer sset PCM 0%
    key "XF86HomePage" xdg-open about:blank
    key "XF86Search" xdg-open
    key "XF86Eject" eject

    # display and select monitor setup configurations
    switchkey "Super+p" icewm-menu-xrandr


Locations for the keys file are as follows:


The locations are searched in the order listed; the first file found is read and the remainder ignored.

See Also



Brian Bidulock <>.


IceWM is licensed under the GNU Library General Public License. See the COPYING file in the distribution.

Referenced By

icesh(1), icewm(1), icewm-menu-xrandr(1).

2022-01-20 icewm 2.9.5 Standards, Environments and Macros