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Openbox configuration is made essentially by modifying just one file called rc.xml. Default configuration file can by default be found in /etc/xdg/openbox/ and a user specific file can be placed in ~/.config/openbox/. By default there is also menu.xml which is for menu configuration. Menu configuration is separated from rest of the configs. rc.xml is separated into different sections. All the options are discussed below with examples (unfinished).




strength Tells Openbox how much resistance (in pixels) there is between two windows before it lets them overlap.
screen_edge_strength Basically the same as strength but between window and the screen edge.



focusNew Openbox will automatically give focus to new windows when they are created, otherwise the focus will stay as it is.
followMouse Makes focus follow mouse. e.g. when the mouse is being moved the focus will be given to window under the mouse cursor.
focusLast When switching desktops, focus the last focused window on that desktop again, regardless of where the mouse is. Only applies followMouse is set.
focusDelay The time (in milliseconds) Openbox will wait before giving focus to the window under mouse cursor. Only applies if followMouse is set.
underMouse Focus windows under the mouse not only when the mouse moves, but also when it enters another window due to other reasons (e.g. the window the mouse was in moved/closed/iconified etc). Only applies if followMouse is set.
raiseOnFocus Also raises windows to top when they are focused. Only applies if followMouse is set.



policy can be either Smart or UnderMouse.

  • Smart will cause new windows to be placed automatically by Openbox.
  • UnderMouse makes new windows to be placed under the mouse cursor.


  <font place="ActiveWindow">
  <font place="InactiveWindow">
  <font place="MenuHeader">
  <font place="MenuItem">
  <font place="OnScreenDisplay">

name The name of the Openbox theme to use.

titleLayout tells in which order and what buttons should be in a window's titlebar. The following letters can be used, each only once.
titleLayout example using <titleLayout>MSLDNI</titleLayout>
another titleLayout example using <titleLayout>CLIM</titleLayout>
  • N :window icon
  • L :window label (aka. title)
  • I: iconify
  • M: maximize
  • C: close
  • S: shade (roll up/down)
  • D: omnipresent (on all desktops).

keepBorder tells if windows should keep the border drawn by Openbox when window decorations are turned off.
animateIconify adds a little iconification animation if enabled.



number The number of virtual desktops to use.
firstdesk The number of the desktop to use when first started.
popupTime Time (in milliseconds) to show the popup when switching desktops. Can be set to 0 to disable the popup completely.
names Each name tag names your desktops, in ascending order. Unnamed desktops will be named automatically depending on the locale. You can name more desktops than specified in number if you want.

Resize (and move)


drawContents Resize the program inside the window while resizing. When disabled the unused space will be filled with a uniform color during a resize.
popupShow When to show the move/resize popup. Always always shows it, Never never shows it, Nonpixel shows it only when resizing windows that have specified they are resized in increments larger than one pixel, usually terminals.
popupPosition Where to show the popup.

  • Top shows the popup above the titlebar of the window.
  • Center shows it centered on the window.
  • Fixed shows it in a fixed location on the screen specified by popupFixedPosition.

popupFixedPosition Specifies where on the screen to show the position when Fixed. Both x and y take coordinates as described here.


This section sets specific settings for applications, and is quite complicated, so it has its own page.


Many places in openbox that take a coordinate supports a slightly extended format. Most simply it can be just a number such as 300. Such a coordinate will be left- or top-aligned depending on which coordinate it is. To align to the opposite edge, use -300. To specify a negative offset, a - is also used, so you have to use +-10 to offset 10 pixels negatively to the left/top and --10 for the right/bottom edge. Some things enforce being onscreen though, such as the move/resize popup.

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