labwc-config - Man Page

configuration files


Labwc uses openbox-3.6 specification for configuration and theming, but does not support all options. The following files form the basis of the labwc configuration: rc.xml, menu.xml, autostart and environment.

No configuration files are needed to start and run labwc.

In accordance with XDG Base Directory Specification, configuration files are searched for in the following order:

  • ${XDG_CONFIG_HOME:-$HOME/.config}/labwc
  • ${XDG_CONFIG_DIRS:-/etc/xdg}/labwc

The configuration directory location can be override with the -C command line option.

All configuration and theme files except autostart are re-loaded on receiving signal SIGHUP.

The autostart file is executed as a shell script. This is the place for executing clients for handling background images, panels and similar.

The environment file is parsed as variable=value and sets environment variables accordingly. It is recommended to specify keyboard layout settings and cursor size/theme here; see environment variable section below for details. Note that the environment file is treated differently by openbox where it is simply sourced prior to running openbox. Note: Tilde (~) and environment variables in the value are expanded, but subshell syntax and apostrophes are ignored.

The menu.xml file defines the context/root-menus and is described in labwc-menu(5).

There is a small <theme> section in rc.xml, for example to set rounded corners, but the remainder of the theme specification and associated files are described in labwc-theme(5).

rc.xml is the main configuration file and all its options are described in detail below.


This section describes rc.xml configuration options.


Configuration must be wrapped in a <labwc_config> root-element like this:

  <?xml version="1.0"?>

<!-- settings -->


labwc parses XML in an element/attribute agnostic way. This is a design decision to increase config file flexibility and keep code simple. In practical terms, this means that `<a><b>c</b></a>` is equivalent to `<a b="c" />`.

The following three are therefore treated the same:

  <action name="Execute">
  <action name="Execute" command="foot" />

The benefit of the final one is brevity whereas the advantage of the first two is that you can add ' and " within the `<command>` block, for example:

  <command>sh -c 'grim -g "`slurp`"'</command>

Elements at the same level can have the same name whereas attributes cannot. Therefore, where multiple objects of the same kind are required (for example <action> and <keybind>) the top-node of the object has to be an element.


Note that in this manual, Boolean values are listed as [yes|no] for simplicity, but it's also possible to use [true|false] and/or [on|off]; this is for compatibility with Openbox.


<core><decoration> [server|client]

Specify server or client side decorations for xdg-shell views. Note that it is not always possible to turn off client side decorations. Default is server.


The distance in pixels between views and output edges when using movement actions, for example MoveToEdge. Default is 0.

<core><adaptiveSync> [yes|no]

Enable adaptive sync. Default is no.

<core><reuseOutputMode> [yes|no]

Try to re-use the existing output mode (resolution / refresh rate). This may prevent unnecessary screenblank delays when starting labwc (also known as flicker free boot). If the existing output mode can not be used with labwc the preferred mode of the monitor is used instead. Default is no.

Window Switcher

<windowSwitcher show="" preview="" outlines="">

show [yes|no] Draw the OnScreenDisplay when switching between windows. Default is yes.

preview [yes|no] Preview the contents of the selected window when switching between windows. Default is yes.

outlines [yes|no] Draw an outline around the selected window when switching between windows. Default is yes.

<windowSwitcher><fields><field content="" width="%">

Define window switcher fields.

content defines what the field shows and can be any of:

  • type Show view type ("xdg-shell" or "xwayland")
  • identifier Show identifier (app_id for native Wayland windows and WM_CLASS for XWayland clients)
  • title Show window title if different to app_id

width defines the width of the field expressed as a percentage of the overall window switcher width. The "%" character is required.



Screen Edge Strength is how far past the screen's edge your cursor must move before the window will move with it. Resistance is counted in pixels. Default is 20 pixels.


<focus><followMouse> [yes|no]

Make focus follow mouse, i.e. focus is given to window under mouse cursor. Default is no.

<focus><followMouseRequiresMovement> [yes|no]

Requires cursor movement if followMouse is enabled. It is the same as the "underMouse" setting in Openbox. If set to "no", labwc will additionally focus the window under the cursor in all situations which change the position of a window (e.g. switching workspaces, opening/closing windows). Focusing a different window via A-Tab is still possible, even with this setting set to "no". Default is yes.

<focus><raiseOnFocus> [yes|no]

Raise window to top when focused. Default is no.

Window Snapping

The following two options relate to triggering window actions when moving windows using the mouse.


The distance in pixels from the edge of an output for window Move operations to trigger SnapToEdge. A range of 0 disables window snapping. Default is 1.

<snapping><topMaximize> [yes|no]

Maximize window if Move operation ends on the top edge. Default is yes.


<regions><region name="snap-1" x="10%" y="10%" width="80%" height="80%">

Define snap regions. The regions are calculated based on the usable area of each output. Usable area in this context means space not exclusively used by layershell clients like panels. The "%" character is required. Windows can either be snapped to regions by keeping a keyboard modifier pressed while moving a window (Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Logo) or by using the SnapToRegion action. By default there are no regions defined.


<desktops number=""><names><name>

Define workspaces. A workspace covers all outputs. The OSD only shows windows on the current workspace. Workspaces can be switched to with GoToDesktop and windows can be moved with SendToDesktop. See labwc-actions(5) for more information about their arguments.

The number attribute defines the minimum number of workspaces. Default is 1.  The number attribute is optional. If the number attribute is specified, is not required.


Define the timeout after which to hide the workspace OSD. A setting of 0 disables the OSD. Default is 1000 ms.



The name of the Openbox theme to use. It is not set by default.


The radius of server side decoration top corners. Default is 8.

<theme><keepBorder> [yes|no]

Even when disabling server side decorations via ToggleDecorations, keep a small border (and resize area) around the window. Default is yes.

<theme><font place="">

The font to use for a specific element of a window, menu or OSD. Places can be any of:

  • ActiveWindow - titlebar of active window
  • InactiveWindow - titlebar of all windows that aren't focused by the cursor
  • MenuItem - menu item (currently only root menu)
  • OnScreenDisplay - items in the on screen display

If no place attribute is provided, the setting will be applied to all


<theme><font place=""><name>

Describes font name. Default is sans.

<theme><font place=""><size>

Font size in pixels. Default is 10.

<theme><font place=""><slant>

Font slant (normal or italic). Default is normal.

<theme><font place=""><weight>

Font weight (normal or bold). Default is normal.


<margin top="" bottom="" left="" right="" output="" />

Specify the number of pixels to reserve at the edges of an output (typically a dislay/screen/monitor). New, maximized and tiled windows will not be placed in these areas. The use-case for <margin> is as a workaround for clients such as panels that do NOT support the wlr-layer-shell protocol.

output is optional; if this attribute is not provided (rather than leaving it an empty string) the margin will be applied to all outputs.


<resize><popupShow> [Never|Always|Nonpixel]

Show a small indicator on top of the window when resizing or moving. When the application sets size-hints (usually X11 terminal emulators), the indicator will show the dimensions divided by size hints instead. In the case of terminal emulators this usually means columns x rows.

The different values mean:

  • Never Do not render the indicator
  • Always Render the indicator while moving and resizing windows
  • Nonpixel Only render the indicator during resize for windows using size-hints

Default is Never.


<keyboard><numlock> [on|off]

When recognizing a new keyboard enable or disable Num Lock. Default is on.

<keyboard layoutScope=""> [global|window]

Stores the keyboard layout either globally or per window and restores it when switching back to the window. Default is global.

<keyboard><keybind key="" layoutDependent="">

Define a key binding in the format modifier-key, where supported modifiers are:

  • S (shift)
  • C (control)
  • A or Mod1 (alt)
  • H or Mod3 (hyper)
  • W or Mod4 (super / logo)
  • M or Mod5 (meta)

Multiple modifiers can be combined like A-S-f for Alt-Shift-f. The key itself can be any unicode character or a keyname like Return.

Unlike Openbox, multiple space-separated key combinations and key-chains are not supported. The application "wev" (wayland event viewer) is packaged in a lot of distributions and can be used to view all available keynames.

layoutDependent [yes|no] Make this specific keybind depend on the currently active keyboard layout. If enabled, a keybind using a key which does not exist in the currently active layout will not be executed. The physical key to trigger a keybind may also change along with the active layout. If set to "no" (or is absent) the keybind will be layout agnostic. Default is no.

<keyboard><keybind key=""><action name="">

Keybind action. See labwc-action(5)

<keyboard><default />

Load the default keybinds listed below. This is an addition to the openbox specification and provides a way to keep config files simpler whilst allowing your specific keybinds. Note that if no rc.xml is found, or if no <keyboard><keybind> entries exist, the same default keybinds will be loaded even if the <default /> element is not provided.

    A-Tab - next window
    W-Return - alacritty
    A-F3 - run bemenu
    A-F4 - close window
    W-a - toggle maximize
    A-<arrow> - move window to edge
    W-<arrow> - resize window to fill half the output

Audio and MonBrightness keys are also bound to amixer and brightnessctl respectively


Set the rate at which keypresses are repeated per second. Default is 25.


Set the delay before keypresses are repeated in milliseconds. Default is 600.



Set double click time in milliseconds. Default is 500.


Set scroll factor. Default is 1.0.

<mouse><context name=""><mousebind button="" direction="" action=""><action>

Multiple <mousebind> can exist within one <context>; and multiple <action> can exist within one <mousebind>

Define a mouse binding. Supported context-names include:

  • TitleBar: The decoration on top of the window, where the window buttons and the window title are shown.
  • Title: The area of the titlebar (including blank space) between the window buttons, where the window title is displayed.
  • WindowMenu: The button on the left.
  • Iconify: The button that looks like an underline.
  • Maximize: The button that looks like a box.
  • Close: The button that looks like an X.
  • Top: The top edge of the window's border.
  • Bottom: The bottom edge of the window's border.
  • Left: The left edge of the window's border.
  • Right: The right edge of the window's border.
  • TRCorner: The top-right corner of the window's border.
  • TLCorner: The top-left corner of the window's border.
  • BLCorner: The bottom-left corner of the window's border.
  • BRCorner: The bottom-right edge of the window's border.
  • Client: The client area of a window, inside its decorations. Events bound to Client are also passed to applications.
  • Frame: Any part of a window, but events bound to Frame are not passed through to the application.
  • Desktop: The desktop background, where no windows are present.
  • Root: A synonym for Desktop (for compatibility).

Supported mouse buttons are:

  • Left
  • Middle
  • Right

Supported scroll directions are:

  • Up
  • Down
  • Left
  • Right

Mouse buttons and directions can be combined with modifier-keys (shift (S), super/logo (W), control (C), alt (A), meta (M) and hyper (H)), for example: <mousebind button="A-Right" action="Press">

Supported mouse actions include:

  • Press: Pressing the specified button down in the context.
  • Release: Releasing the specified button in the context.
  • Click: Pressing and then releasing inside of the the context.
  • DoubleClick: Two presses within the doubleClickTime.
  • Drag: Pressing the button within the context, then moving the cursor.
  • Scroll: Scrolling in specified direction in the context.
<mouse><default />

Load default mousebinds. This is an addition to the openbox specification and provides a way to keep config files simpler whilst allowing user specific binds.  Note that if no rc.xml is found, or if no <mouse><mousebind> entries exist, the same default mousebinds will be loaded even if the <default /> element is not provided.


<libinput><device category="">

Define a category of devices to use the configuration values that follow. The category can be set to touch (devices that define a width and height), non-touch, default, or the name of a device. You can obtain your devices name by running libinput list-devices (you may need to be root or a part of the input group to perform this.) Any members of this category that are not set use the default for the device. With the exception of tap-to-click, which is enabled by default.

<libinput><device category=""><naturalScroll> [yes|no]

Use natural scrolling for this category if available.

<libinput><device category=""><leftHanded> [yes|no]

Use your devices left-handed mode if available.

<libinput><device category=""><pointerSpeed> [-1.0 to 1.0]

Set the pointer speed for this category. The speed is a number between -1.0 and 1.0, with 0.0 being the default in most cases, and 1.0 being the fastest.

<libinput><device category=""><accelProfile> [flat|adaptive]

Set the pointer's acceleration profile for this category. Flat applies no acceleration (the pointers velocity is constant), while adaptive changes the pointers speed based the actual speed of your mouse or finger on your touchpad.

<libinput><device category=""><tap> [yes|no]

Enable or disable tap-to-click for this category. This is enabled by default for all categories.

<libinput><device category=""><tapButtonMap> [lrm|lmr]

Set the buttons mapped to one-, two-, and three-finger taps to the left button, right button, and middle button, respectively (lrm) (the default), or to left button, middle button, and right button (lmr).

<libinput><device category=""><tapAndDrag> [yes|no]

Enable or disable tap-and-drag for this category. Tap-and-drag processes a tap immediately followed by a finger down as the start of a drag.

<libinput><device category=""><dragLock> [yes|no]

Enable or disable drag lock for this category. Drag lock ignores a momentary release of a finger during tap-and-dragging.

<libinput><device category=""><middleEmulation> [yes|no]

Enable or disable middle button emulation for this category. Middle emulation processes a simultaneous left and right click as a press of the middle mouse button (scroll wheel).

<libinput><device category=""><disableWhileTyping> [yes|no]

Enable or disable disable while typing for this category. DWT ignores any motion events while a keyboard is typing, and for a short while after as well.

Window Rules

Two types of window rules are supported, actions and properties. They are defined as shown below.


  <!-- Action -->
  <windowRule identifier="" title="">
    <action name=""/>

  <!-- Property -->
  <windowRule identifier="" serverDecoration="" />



<windowRules><windowRule identifier="" title="" matchOnce="">

Define a window rule for any window which matches the criteria defined by the attributes identifier or title. If both are defined, AND logic is used, so both have to match. Matching against patterns with '*' (wildcard) and '?' (joker) is supported. Pattern matching is case-insensitive.

identifier relates to app_id for native Wayland windows and WM_CLASS for XWayland clients.

title is the title of the window.

matchOnce can be true|false. If true, the rule will only apply to the first instance of the window with the specified identifier or title.


Property values can be yes, no or default.

If a window matches criteria for multiple rules which set the same property, later config entries have higher priority. default can be useful in this situation.

<windowRules><windowRule serverDecoration=""> [yes|no|default]

serverDecoration over-rules any other setting for server-side window decoration on first map.

<windowRules><windowRule skipTaskbar=""> [yes|no|default]

skipTaskbar removes window foreign-toplevel protocol handle so that it does not appear in clients such as panels and taskbars using that protocol.

<windowRules><windowRule skipWindowSwitcher=""> [yes|no|default]

skipWindowSwitcher removes window from the Window Switcher (alt-tab on-screen-display)

<windowRules><windowRule ignoreFocusRequest=""> [yes|no|default]

ignoreFocusRequest prevent window to activate itself.

<windowRules><windowRule fixedPosition=""> [yes|no|default]

fixedPosition disallows interactive move/resize and prevents re-positioning in response to changes in reserved output space, which can be caused by <margin> settings or exclusive layer-shell clients such as panels.

Environment Variables

XCURSOR_THEME and XCURSOR_SIZE are supported to set cursor theme and size respectively. The default size is 24. System cursor themes can typically be found with a command such as:

  find /usr/share/icons/ -type d -name "cursors"

The following keyboard-configuration variables are supported: XKB_DEFAULT_RULES, XKB_DEFAULT_MODEL, XKB_DEFAULT_LAYOUT, XKB_DEFAULT_VARIANT and XKB_DEFAULT_OPTIONS.

See xkeyboard-config(7) for details.

See Also

labwc(1), labwc-actions(5), labwc-theme(5)

Referenced By

labwc(1), labwc-actions(5), labwc-menu(5), labwc-theme(5).