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Welcome to the community maintained documentation for Openbox! Please help out and add your own articles or improve the ones that are already here.


Getting started

The compiling guide details what you need to build the latest version of Openbox, and how to install it correctly.

The upgrading to 3.4 guide walks through all the changes made since version 3.3, and there is a lot of them. Some of them mean new configuration options and features available to you, that you need to update your configuration to access.

This guide to using Openbox in GNOME has instructions for running Openbox in the GNOME desktop environment and getting things to work how you want.

This guide to using Openbox in KDE has instructions for running Openbox in K Desktop Environment.

This guide to using Openbox in XFCE has instructions for running Openbox in the XFCE desktop enviroment.

The details of the default configuration page lists all the default key bindings.

A list of some features found in Openbox.

This guide to using Git shows how to get the latest and greatest Openbox code for testing or developing with.


Frequently asked questions.


The Configuration Guide has details on the various options you can set in rc.xml.

ObConf provides a simple interface to configuring much of Openbox.

The autostart guide gives instructions on how to launch programs with Openbox at startup (when not running Openbox inside KDE or GNOME).

The key and mouse bindings guide shows how to bind actions to keys and mouse buttons.

The actions documentation lists all of the actions available for key and mouse bindings and the options which can affect their behavior.

Per-app settings let you set properties such as borderless or omnipresent on specific apps.


A configuration file for focus-follows-mouse. This configuration is similar to the default configuration, but has more suitable mouse bindings for focus-follows-mouse that won't interfere with your windows' stacking order.

A configuration file for vi-styled bindings (by Clay Barnes).

How to use Irssi-style window switching.


The complete theme specification details all of the elements found in an Openbox theme.

Theme file changes in Openbox 3.4.

A tool to help with converting blackbox/fluxbox themes to Openbox themes. (For non-xpm-based themes.)


The menu documentation decribes how to set up your own menus in Openbox.

The actions documentation lists all of the actions available for use in Openbox menus.

Pipe menus are menus that are generated dynamically when you open them. There are a number of pipe menus available for download through here.

Generating an Applications Menu

There are a number of pipe menus that can generate your applications menu from what packages are installed on the system. See this section for a complete list.

Other resources

Many Openbox questions have been answered in forums around the internet. Trying a search may be fruitful.

See Openbox:Community portal for other community resources and related projects.

Cool programs to run with Openbox

Menu Generation

Pipe menus are applications that dynamically generate your Openbox menu. They can provide a dynamic applications menu, system information, amongst other fun things. See here for more information, and to download them.

Panels, Widgets, Desktops, Pagers, etc..

Besides the programs included in GNOME and KDE...

  • Avant Window Navigator "(AWN/Awn) is a dock-like navigation bar for the linux desktop that positions itself at the bottom of the screen. It can be used to keep track of open windows and behaves like a normal window list."
  • BBDock "BBDock is an application launcher for Blackbox (and others) that allows you to create application buttons in the slit/dock. It works with PNG files rather than XPM images. It supports alpha blending at 16, 24 and 32 bits color-depth. Also, the raise-window function is available to window managers which implement the EWMH specification." (untested. EWMH capable) Tested by CrossWind, Fully operational!
  • bbtools "BB-tools are a number of simple X-Window programs to display the status of different resources. The style and part of the code is copied from Blackbox a small and extremely fast X11-Windowmanager."
  • bmpanel2 "Nice NETWM-compatible panel for X11."
  • conky "Conky is a free, light-weight system monitor for X, that displays any information on your desktop. Conky is licensed under the GPL and runs on Linux and BSD."
  • fbpanel "fbpanel is a lightweight, NETWM compliant desktop panel. It works with any NETWM compliant window manager (e.g. xfwm4, sawfish, openbox, metacity, kde wm)"
  • feh An image viewer with many features.
  • flauncher "The project is intendent to replace the common panels (top panel and bottom panel in Gnome). It gives speedup of application management reducing the distance of mouse movements." (An attempt to get the panel functionality into a separate window.)
  • gDesklets "gDesklets is a system for bringing mini programs (desklets), such as weather forecasts, news tickers, system information displays, or music player controls, onto your desktop, where they are sitting there in a symbiotic relationship of eye candy and usefulness. The possibilities are really endless and they are always there to serve you whenever you need them, just one key-press away. The system is not restricted to one desktop environment, but currently works on most of the modern Unix desktops (including GNOME, KDE, Xfce)."
  • iDesk "iDesk gives users of minimal wm's (fluxbox, blackbox, openbox, windowmaker...) icons on their desktop. The icon graphics are either from a png or svg (vector) file and support some eyecandy effects like transparency. Each icon can be confgured to run one or more shell commands and the actions which run those commands are completely configurable. In a nutshell if you want icons on your desktop and you don't have or dont't want KDE or gnome doing it, you can use iDesk."
  • kooldock "A kool dock for KDE. It attemps to resemble the Mac OSX dock."
  • nitrogen "Nitrogen is a background browser and setter for X windows. It is written in C++ using the gtkmm toolkit. It can be used in two modes: browser and recall. Nitrogen has been in development for over 2 years, due to real life and laziness. For more info, check out the features section."
  • Oboinus "X11 background previewer and setter."
  • ObPager "OBPager is a lightweight pager designed to be used with NetWM-compliant window managers like OpenBox. Unlike many other pagers out there, OBPager has very few dependencies, requiring only Xlib and glibc++ (no Gnome or KDE necessary)."
  • perlpanel "PerlPanel is an attempt to build a useable, lean panel program (like Gnome's gnome-panel and KDE's Kicker) in Perl, using GTK 2. It has an object-oriented design for easy customisation and extension, and an applet architecture that means that you can create an applet in a matter of minutes."
  • pypanel "PyPanel is a lightweight panel/taskbar written in Python and C for X11 window managers. It can be easily customized to match any desktop theme or taste. PyPanel works with EWMH compliant WMs (Openbox, PekWM, FVWM, etc.) and is distributed under the GNU General Public License v2."
  • PyTyle "PyTyle is a manual tiling manager that can slide into any EWMH compliant window manager, inspired by XMonad. It will allow you to enable/disable tiling on a per screen per workspace basis, and continually tile your windows."
  • ROX Desktop "ROX is a fast, user friendly desktop which makes extensive use of drag-and-drop. The interface revolves around the file manager, or filer, following the traditional Unix view that `everything is a file' rather than trying to hide the filesystem beneath start menus, wizards, or druids. The aim is to make a system that is well designed and clearly presented. The ROX style favours using several small programs together instead of creating all-in-one mega-applications."
  • Screenlets "Screenlets are small owner-drawn applications (written in Python) that can be described as "the virtual representation of things lying/standing around on your desk". Sticknotes, clocks, rulers, ... the possibilities are endless."
  • Screenpager "Screenpager is a screenwise pager for X workstations running Xinerama. It works like a desktop pager, but acts at the level of screens. Instead of paging the desktop as a whole, it can page each screen independently, or move pages from screen to screen."
  • Set Layout A small program to set your desktops into a grid if you do not use a pager.
  • stalonetray "Stalonetray is a stand-alone and KDE system tray (notification area) for X Window System/X11 (e.g. X.Org or XFree86). It has full XEMBED support and minimal dependencies: an X11 lib only. Stalonetray works with virtually any EWMH-compliant window manager."
  • Super Karamba "SuperKaramba is, in simple terms, a tool that allows you to easily create interactive eye-candy on your KDE desktop."
  • SuperSwitcher "SuperSwitcher is a (more feature-ful) replacement for the Alt-Tab window switching behavior and Ctrl-Alt-Left/Right/Up/Down workspace switching behavior that is currently provided by Metacity."
  • tint2 panel/taskbar "tint2 is a simple panel/taskbar unintrusive and light (memory / cpu / aestetic)."
  • visibility-python "gtk2 x11 pager / window list." (click snapshot to download a .tar.gz)
  • wbar "wbar is a quick launch bar. It's developed with speed in mind and is highly tweakable."
  • xfce4-panel "The Xfce Panel supports multiple panels, with many options for their position, appearance, transparency and behavior. There are many items available by default to customize your panels, like application launchers with detachable menus, a graphical pager, a tasklist, a clock, a system tray, a show/hide desktop switcher, and even more."

You can find lots of dockapps at Some nice ones are wmCalClock, wmnd, wmix and wmpinboard.

There are other programs of interest in the Community portal.

Installing Openbox on Foresight Linux

To install the latest version of Openbox on Foresight Linux, from the command line, execute:

sudo conary update openbox obconf obmenu

Here's a nice user-contributed tutorial, which includes advice on setting up your Openbox desktop: Installing Openbox in Foresight Linux

Installing Openbox on PCLinuxOS

To install the latest version of Openbox on PCLinuxOS, from the command line, execute:

apt-get install openbox
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