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polybar - Man Page

configuration file for polybar(1)


The polybar configuration file defines the behavior and look of polybar. It uses a variant of the INI file format. The exact syntax is described below but first a small snippet to get familiar with the syntax:

; A comment
# Another comment

background = #ff992a
width = 90%
monitor = HDMI-0

screenchange-reload = false

; Use double quotes if you want to keep the surrounding space.
text = " Some text "

When started polybar will search for the config file in one of several places in the following order:


The entire config is line-based so everything is constrained to a single line. This means there are no multiline values or other multiline constructs (except for sections). Each line has one of four types:

Spaces at the beginning and end of each line will be ignored.


In this context "spaces" include the regular space character as well as the tab character and any other character for which isspace(3) returns true (e.g. \r).

Any line that doesn't fit into one of these four types is a syntax error.


It is recommended that section header names and key names only use alphanumeric characters as well as dashes (-), underscores (_) and forward slashes (/).

In practice all characters are allowed except for spaces and any of these: "'=;#[](){}:.$\%

Section Headers

Sections are used to group config options together. For example each module is defined in its own section.

A section is defined by placing the name of the section in square brackets ([ and ]). For example:


This declares a section with the name module/wm and all keys defined after this line will belong to that section until a new section is declared.


The first non-empty and non-comment line in the main config file must be a section header. It cannot be a key because that key would not belong to any section.


The following section names are reserved and cannot be used inside the config: self, root, and BAR.


Keys are defined by assigning a value to a name like this:

name = value

This assigns value to the key name in whatever section this line is in. Key names need to be unique per section. If the value is enclosed by double-quotes ("), the quotes will be ignored. So the following still assigns value to name:

name = "value"

Spaces around the equal sign are ignored, the following are all equivalent:

name = value
name =      value

Because spaces at the beginning and end of the line are also ignored, if you want your value to begin and/or end with a space, the value needs to be enclosed in double-quotes:

name = " value "

Here the value of the name key has a leading and trailing whitespace.

To treat characters with special meaning as literal characters, you need to prepend them with the backslash (\) escape character:

name = "value\\value\\value"

Value of this key name results in value\value\value.


The only character with a special meaning right now is the backslash character (\), which serves as the escape character. More will be added in the future.

Empty Lines & Comments

Empty lines and comment lines are ignored when reading the config file, they do not affect polybar's behavior. Comment lines start with either the ; or the # character.


Inline comments are not supported. For example the following line does not end with a comment, the value of name is actually set to value ; comment:

name = value ; comment


Polybar was created by Michael Carlberg and is currently maintained by Patrick Ziegler.
Contributors can be listed on GitHub.

See Also

polybar(1), polybar-msg(1)

Referenced By

polybar(1), polybar-msg(1).

Jan 25, 2024 3.7.1 Polybar User Manual