xmonad-contrib-0.13: Third party extensions for xmonad

Copyright(C) 2007 Andrea Rossato
Safe HaskellSafe




This module documents the xmonad-contrib library and how to use it to extend the capabilities of xmonad.

Reading this document should not require a deep knowledge of Haskell; the examples are intended to be useful and understandable for those users who do not know Haskell and don't want to have to learn it just to configure xmonad. You should be able to get by just fine by ignoring anything you don't understand and using the provided examples as templates. However, relevant Haskell features are discussed when appropriate, so this document will hopefully be useful for more advanced Haskell users as well.

Those wishing to be totally hardcore and develop their own xmonad extensions (it's easier than it sounds, we promise!) should read the documentation in XMonad.Doc.Developing.

More configuration examples may be found on the Haskell wiki:



The xmonad-contrib library

The xmonad-contrib (xmc) library is a set of extension modules contributed by xmonad hackers and users, which provide additional xmonad features. Examples include various layout modes (tabbed, spiral, three-column...), prompts, program launchers, the ability to manipulate windows and workspaces in various ways, alternate navigation modes, and much more. There are also "meta-modules" which make it easier to write new modules and extensions.

This is a concise yet complete overview of the xmonad-contrib modules. For more information about any particular module, just click on its name to view its Haddock documentation; each module should come with extensive documentation. If you find a module that could be better documented, or has incorrect documentation, please report it as a bug (https://github.com/xmonad/xmonad/issues)!


In the XMonad.Actions namespace you can find modules exporting various functions that are usually intended to be bound to key combinations or mouse actions, in order to provide functionality beyond the standard keybindings provided by xmonad.

See XMonad.Doc.Extending for instructions on how to edit your key bindings.


In the XMonad.Config namespace you can find modules exporting the configurations used by some of the xmonad and xmonad-contrib developers. You can look at them for examples while creating your own configuration; you can also simply import them and use them as your own configuration, possibly with some modifications.

  • XMonad.Config.Arossato: This module specifies my xmonad defaults.
  • XMonad.Config.Azerty: Fixes some keybindings for users of French keyboard layouts.
  • XMonad.Config.Bepo: This module fixes some of the keybindings for the francophone among you who use a BEPO keyboard layout. Based on XMonad.Config.Azerty.
  • XMonad.Config.Bluetile: This is the default configuration of Bluetile. If you are migrating from Bluetile to xmonad or want to create a similar setup, then this will give you pretty much the same thing, except for Bluetile's helper applications such as the dock.
  • XMonad.Config.Desktop: This module provides core desktop environment settings used in the Gnome, Kde, and Xfce config configs. It is also useful for people using other environments such as lxde, or using tray or panel applications without full desktop environments.
  • XMonad.Config.Dmwit: dmwit's xmonad configs and helpers.
  • XMonad.Config.Droundy: Droundy's xmonad config.
  • XMonad.Config.Gnome: This module provides a config suitable for use with the GNOME desktop environment.
  • XMonad.Config.Kde: This module provides a config suitable for use with the KDE desktop environment.
  • XMonad.Config.Mate: This module provides a config suitable for use with the MATE desktop environment.
  • XMonad.Config.Prime: This is a draft of a brand new config syntax for xmonad. It aims to be 1) easier to copy/paste snippets from the docs 2) easier to get the gist for what's going on, for you imperative programmers. It's brand new, so it's pretty much guaranteed to break or change syntax. But what's the worst that could happen? Xmonad crashes and logs you out? It probably won't do that. Give it a try.
  • XMonad.Config.Sjanssen: spencerjanssen's xmonad configs.
  • XMonad.Config.Xfce: This module provides a config suitable for use with the Xfce desktop environment.


In the XMonad.Hooks namespace you can find modules exporting hooks. Hooks are actions that xmonad performs when certain events occur. The two most important hooks are:

  • manageHook: this hook is called when a new window xmonad must take care of is created. This is a very powerful hook, since it lets us examine the new window's properties and act accordingly. For instance, we can configure xmonad to put windows belonging to a given application in the float layer, not to manage dock applications, or open them in a given workspace. See XMonad.Doc.Extending for more information on customizing manageHook.
  • logHook: this hook is called when the stack of windows managed by xmonad has been changed, by calling the windows function. For instance XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog will produce a string (whose format can be configured) to be printed to the standard output. This can be used to display some information about the xmonad state in a status bar. See XMonad.Doc.Extending for more information.
  • handleEventHook: this hook is called on all events handled by xmonad, thus it is extremely powerful. See Graphics.X11.Xlib.Extras and xmonad source and development documentation for more details.

Here is a list of the modules found in XMonad.Hooks:

  • XMonad.Hooks.CurrentWorkspaceOnTop: Ensures that the windows of the current workspace are always in front of windows that are located on other visible screens. This becomes important if you use decoration and drag windows from one screen to another. Using this module, the dragged window will always be in front of other windows.
  • XMonad.Hooks.DebugEvents: Module to dump diagnostic information about X11 events received by xmonad. This is incomplete due to Event being incomplete and not providing information about a number of events, and enforcing artificial constraints on others (for example ClientMessage); the X11 package will require a number of changes to fix these problems.
  • XMonad.Hooks.DebugKeyEvents: A debugging module to track key events, useful when you can't tell whether xmonad is processing some or all key events.
  • XMonad.Hooks.DebugStack: Dump the state of the StackSet. A logHook and handleEventHook are also provided.
  • Xmonad.Hooks.DynamicBars: Manage per-screen status bars.
  • XMonad.Hooks.DynamicHooks: One-shot and permanent ManageHooks that can be updated at runtime.
  • XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog: for use with logHook; send information about xmonad's state to standard output, suitable for putting in a status bar of some sort. See XMonad.Doc.Extending.
  • XMonad.Hooks.EwmhDesktops: Makes xmonad use the EWMH hints to tell panel applications about its workspaces and the windows therein. It also allows the user to interact with xmonad by clicking on panels and window lists.
  • XMonad.Hooks.FadeInactive: Makes XMonad set the _NET_WM_WINDOW_OPACITY atom for inactive windows, which causes those windows to become slightly translucent if something like xcompmgr is running
  • XMonad.Hooks.FadeWindows: A more flexible and general compositing interface than FadeInactive. Windows can be selected and opacity specified by means of FadeHooks, which are very similar to ManageHooks and use the same machinery.
  • XMonad.Hooks.FloatNext: Hook and keybindings for automatically sending the next spawned window(s) to the floating layer.
  • XMonad.Hooks.ICCCMFocus: Deprecated.
  • XMonad.Hooks.InsertPosition: Configure where new windows should be added and which window should be focused.
  • XMonad.Hooks.ManageDebug: A manageHook and associated logHook for debugging ManageHooks. Simplest usage: wrap your xmonad config in the debugManageHook combinator. Or use debugManageHookOn for a triggerable version, specifying the triggering key sequence in EZConfig syntax. Or use the individual hooks in whatever way you see fit.
  • XMonad.Hooks.ManageDocks: This module provides tools to automatically manage dock type programs, such as gnome-panel, kicker, dzen, and xmobar.
  • XMonad.Hooks.ManageHelpers: provide helper functions to be used in manageHook.
  • XMonad.Hooks.Minimize: Handles window manager hints to minimize and restore windows. Use this with XMonad.Layout.Minimize.
  • XMonad.Hooks.Place: Automatic placement of floating windows.
  • XMonad.Hooks.PositionStoreHooks: This module contains two hooks for the PositionStore (see XMonad.Util.PositionStore) - a ManageHook and an EventHook. The ManageHook can be used to fill the PositionStore with position and size information about new windows. The advantage of using this hook is, that the information is recorded independent of the currently active layout. So the floating shape of the window can later be restored even if it was opened in a tiled layout initially. The EventHook makes sure that windows are deleted from the PositionStore when they are closed.
  • XMonad.Hooks.RestoreMinimized: (Deprecated: Use XMonad.Hooks.Minimize) Lets you restore minimized windows (see XMonad.Layout.Minimize) by selecting them on a taskbar (listens for _NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW and WM_CHANGE_STATE).
  • XMonad.Hooks.ScreenCorners: Run X () actions by touching the edge of your screen with your mouse.
  • XMonad.Hooks.Script: Provides a simple interface for running a ~/.xmonad/hooks script with the name of a hook.
  • XMonad.Hooks.ServerMode: Allows sending commands to a running xmonad process.
  • XMonad.Hooks.SetWMName: Sets the WM name to a given string, so that it could be detected using _NET_SUPPORTING_WM_CHECK protocol. May be useful for making Java GUI programs work.
  • XMonad.Hooks.ToggleHook: Hook and keybindings for toggling hook behavior.
  • XMonad.Hooks.UrgencyHook: UrgencyHook lets you configure an action to occur when a window demands your attention. (In traditional WMs, this takes the form of "flashing" on your "taskbar." Blech.)
  • XMonad.Hooks.WallpaperSetter: Log hook which changes the wallpapers depending on visible workspaces.
  • XMonad.Hooks.WorkspaceByPos: Useful in a dual-head setup: Looks at the requested geometry of new windows and moves them to the workspace of the non-focused screen if necessary.
  • XMonad.Hooks.WorkspaceHistory: Keeps track of workspace viewing order.
  • XMonad.Hooks.XPropManage: A ManageHook matching on XProperties.


In the XMonad.Layout namespace you can find modules exporting contributed tiling algorithms, such as a tabbed layout, a circle, a spiral, three columns, and so on.

You will also find modules which provide facilities for combining different layouts, such as XMonad.Layout.Combo, XMonad.Layout.ComboP, XMonad.Layout.LayoutBuilder, XMonad.Layout.SubLayouts, or XMonad.Layout.LayoutCombinators.

Layouts can be also modified with layout modifiers. A general interface for writing layout modifiers is implemented in XMonad.Layout.LayoutModifier.

For more information on using those modules for customizing your layoutHook see XMonad.Doc.Extending.

  • XMonad.Layout.Accordion: LayoutClass that puts non-focused windows in ribbons at the top and bottom of the screen.
  • XMonad.Layout.AutoMaster: Provides layout modifier AutoMaster. It separates screen in two parts - master and slave. Size of slave area automatically changes depending on number of slave windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.AvoidFloats: Find a maximum empty rectangle around floating windows and use that area to display non-floating windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.BinarySpacePartition: Layout where new windows will split the focused window in half, based off of BSPWM.
  • XMonad.Layout.BorderResize: This layout modifier will allow to resize windows by dragging their borders with the mouse. However, it only works in layouts or modified layouts that react to the SetGeometry message. XMonad.Layout.WindowArranger can be used to create such a setup. BorderResize is probably most useful in floating layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.BoringWindows: BoringWindows is an extension to allow windows to be marked boring
  • XMonad.Layout.ButtonDecoration: A decoration that includes small buttons on both ends which invoke various actions when clicked on: Show a window menu (see XMonad.Actions.WindowMenu), minimize, maximize or close the window.
  • XMonad.Layout.CenteredMaster: Two layout modifiers. centerMaster places master window at center, on top of all other windows, which are managed by base layout. topRightMaster is similar, but places master window in top right corner instead of center.
  • XMonad.Layout.Circle: Circle is an elliptical, overlapping layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.Column: Provides Column layout that places all windows in one column. Windows heights are calculated from equation: H1H2 = H2H3 = ... = q, where q is given. With Shrink/Expand messages you can change the q value.
  • XMonad.Layout.Combo: A layout that combines multiple layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.ComboP: A layout that combines multiple layouts and allows to specify where to put new windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.Cross: A Cross Layout with the main window in the center.
  • XMonad.Layout.Decoration: A layout modifier and a class for easily creating decorated layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.DecorationAddons: Various stuff that can be added to the decoration. Most of it is intended to be used by other modules. See XMonad.Layout.ButtonDecoration for a module that makes use of this.
  • XMonad.Layout.DecorationMadness: A collection of decorated layouts: some of them may be nice, some usable, others just funny.
  • XMonad.Layout.Dishes: Dishes is a layout that stacks extra windows underneath the master windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.DragPane: Layouts that splits the screen either horizontally or vertically and shows two windows. The first window is always the master window, and the other is either the currently focused window or the second window in layout order. See also XMonad.Layout.MouseResizableTall
  • XMonad.Layout.DraggingVisualizer: A helper module to visualize the process of dragging a window by making it follow the mouse cursor. See XMonad.Layout.WindowSwitcherDecoration for a module that makes use of this.
  • XMonad.Layout.Drawer: A layout modifier that puts some windows in a "drawer" which retracts and expands depending on whether any window in it has focus. Useful for music players, tool palettes, etc.
  • XMonad.Layout.Dwindle: Three layouts: The first, Spiral, is a reimplementation of spiral with, at least to me, more intuitive semantics. The second, Dwindle, is inspired by a similar layout in awesome and produces the same sequence of decreasing window sizes as Spiral but pushes the smallest windows into a screen corner rather than the centre. The third, Squeeze arranges all windows in one row or in one column, with geometrically decreasing sizes.
  • XMonad.Layout.DwmStyle: A layout modifier for decorating windows in a dwm like style.
  • XMonad.Layout.FixedColumn: A layout much like Tall, but using a multiple of a window's minimum resize amount instead of a percentage of screen to decide where to split. This is useful when you usually leave a text editor or terminal in the master pane and like it to be 80 columns wide.
  • XMonad.Layout.Fullscreen: Hooks for sending messages about fullscreen windows to layouts, and a few example layout modifier that implement fullscreen windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.Gaps: Create manually-sized gaps along edges of the screen which will not be used for tiling, along with support for toggling gaps on and off. You probably want XMonad.Hooks.ManageDocks.
  • XMonad.Layout.Grid: A simple layout that attempts to put all windows in a square grid.
  • XMonad.Layout.GridVariants: Two layouts: one is a variant of the Grid layout that allows the desired aspect ratio of windows to be specified. The other is like Tall but places a grid with fixed number of rows and columns in the master area and uses an aspect-ratio-specified layout for the slaves.
  • XMonad.Layout.Groups: Two-level layout with windows split in individual layout groups, themselves managed by a user-provided layout.
  • * XMonad.Layout.Groups.Examples: Example layouts for XMonad.Layout.Groups.
  • * XMonad.Layout.Groups.Helpers: Utility functions for XMonad.Layout.Groups.
  • * XMonad.Layout.Groups.Wmii: A wmii-like layout algorithm.
  • XMonad.Layout.Hidden: Similar to XMonad.Layout.Minimize but completely removes windows from the window set so XMonad.Layout.BoringWindows isn't necessary. Perfect companion to XMonad.Layout.BinarySpacePartition since it can be used to move windows to another part of the BSP tree.
  • XMonad.Layout.HintedGrid: A not so simple layout that attempts to put all windows in a square grid while obeying their size hints.
  • XMonad.Layout.HintedTile: A gapless tiled layout that attempts to obey window size hints, rather than simply ignoring them.
  • XMonad.Layout.IM: Layout modfier suitable for workspace with multi-windowed instant messenger (like Psi or Tkabber).
  • XMonad.Layout.IfMax: Provides IfMax layout, which will run one layout if there are maximum N windows on workspace, and another layout, when number of windows is greater than N.
  • XMonad.Layout.ImageButtonDecoration: A decoration that includes small image buttons on both ends which invoke various actions when clicked on: Show a window menu (see XMonad.Actions.WindowMenu), minimize, maximize or close the window.
  • XMonad.Layout.IndependentScreens: Utility functions for simulating independent sets of workspaces on each screen (like dwm's workspace model), using internal tags to distinguish workspaces associated with each screen.
  • XMonad.Layout.LayoutBuilder: A layout combinator that sends a specified number of windows to one rectangle and the rest to another.
  • XMonad.Layout.LayoutCombinators: The XMonad.Layout.LayoutCombinators module provides combinators for easily combining multiple layouts into one composite layout, as well as a way to jump directly to any particular layout (say, with a keybinding) without having to cycle through other layouts to get to it.
  • XMonad.Layout.LayoutHints: Make layouts respect size hints.
  • XMonad.Layout.LayoutModifier: A module for writing easy layout modifiers, which do not define a layout in and of themselves, but modify the behavior of or add new functionality to other layouts. If you ever find yourself writing a layout which takes another layout as a parameter, chances are you should be writing a LayoutModifier instead!

    In case it is not clear, this module is not intended to help you configure xmonad, it is to help you write other extension modules. So get hacking!

  • XMonad.Layout.LayoutScreens: Divide a single screen into multiple screens.
  • XMonad.Layout.LimitWindows: A layout modifier that limits the number of windows that can be shown.
  • XMonad.Layout.MagicFocus: Automagically put the focused window in the master area.
  • XMonad.Layout.Magnifier: Screenshot : http://caladan.rave.org/magnifier.png This is a layout modifier that will make a layout increase the size of the window that has focus.
  • XMonad.Layout.Master: Layout modfier that adds a master window to another layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.Maximize: Temporarily yanks the focused window out of the layout to mostly fill the screen.
  • XMonad.Layout.MessageControl: Provides message escaping and filtering facilities which help control complex nested layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.Minimize: Makes it possible to minimize windows, temporarily removing them from the layout until they are restored.
  • XMonad.Layout.Monitor: Layout modfier for displaying some window (monitor) above other windows
  • XMonad.Layout.Mosaic: Based on MosaicAlt, but aspect ratio messages always change the aspect ratios, and rearranging the window stack changes the window sizes.
  • XMonad.Layout.MosaicAlt: A layout which gives each window a specified amount of screen space relative to the others. Compared to the Mosaic layout, this one divides the space in a more balanced way.
  • XMonad.Layout.MouseResizableTile: A layout in the spirit of XMonad.Layout.ResizableTile, but with the option to use the mouse to adjust the layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.MultiColumns: This layout tiles windows in a growing number of columns. The number of windows in each column can be controlled by messages.
  • XMonad.Layout.MultiToggle: Dynamically apply and unapply transformers to your window layout. This can be used to rotate your window layout by 90 degrees, or to make the currently focused window occupy the whole screen ("zoom in") then undo the transformation ("zoom out").
  • * XMonad.Layout.MultiToggle.Instances: Some convenient common instances of the Transformer class, for use with XMonad.Layout.MultiToggle.
  • XMonad.Layout.Named: A module for assigning a name to a given layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.NoBorders: Make a given layout display without borders. This is useful for full-screen or tabbed layouts, where you don't really want to waste a couple of pixels of real estate just to inform yourself that the visible window has focus.
  • XMonad.Layout.NoFrillsDecoration: Most basic version of decoration for windows without any additional modifications. In contrast to XMonad.Layout.SimpleDecoration this will result in title bars that span the entire window instead of being only the length of the window title.
  • XMonad.Layout.OnHost: Configure layouts on a per-host basis: use layouts and apply layout modifiers selectively, depending on the host. Heavily based on XMonad.Layout.PerWorkspace by Brent Yorgey.
  • XMonad.Layout.OneBig: Places one (master) window at top left corner of screen, and other (slave) windows at the top.
  • XMonad.Layout.PerScreen: Configure layouts based on the width of your screen; use your favorite multi-column layout for wide screens and a full-screen layout for small ones.
  • XMonad.Layout.PerWorkspace: Configure layouts on a per-workspace basis: use layouts and apply layout modifiers selectively, depending on the workspace.
  • XMonad.Layout.PositionStoreFloat: A floating layout which has been designed with a dual-head setup in mind. It makes use of XMonad.Util.PositionStore as well as XMonad.Hooks.PositionStoreHooks. Since there is currently no way to move or resize windows with the keyboard alone in this layout, it is adviced to use it in combination with a decoration such as XMonad.Layout.NoFrillsDecoration (to move windows) and the layout modifier XMonad.Layout.BorderResize (to resize windows).
  • XMonad.Layout.Reflect: Reflect a layout horizontally or vertically.
  • XMonad.Layout.Renamed: Layout modifier that can modify the description of its underlying layout on a (hopefully) flexible way.
  • XMonad.Layout.ResizableTile: More useful tiled layout that allows you to change a width/height of window. See also XMonad.Layout.MouseResizableTile.
  • XMonad.Layout.ResizeScreen: A layout transformer to have a layout respect a given screen geometry. Mostly used with Decoration (the Horizontal and the Vertical version will react to SetTheme and change their dimension accordingly.
  • XMonad.Layout.Roledex: This is a completely pointless layout which acts like Microsoft's Flip 3D
  • XMonad.Layout.ShowWName: This is a layout modifier that will show the workspace name
  • XMonad.Layout.SimpleDecoration: A layout modifier for adding simple decorations to the windows of a given layout. The decorations are in the form of ion-like tabs for window titles.
  • XMonad.Layout.SimpleFloat: A basic floating layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.Simplest: A very simple layout. The simplest, afaik. Used as a base for decorated layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.SimplestFloat: A basic floating layout like SimpleFloat but without the decoration.
  • XMonad.Layout.SortedLayout: A new LayoutModifier that sorts a given layout by a list of properties. The order of properties in the list determines the order of windows in the final layout. Any unmatched windows go to the end of the order.
  • XMonad.Layout.Spacing: Add a configurable amount of space around windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.Spiral: A spiral tiling layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.Square: A layout that splits the screen into a square area and the rest of the screen. This is probably only ever useful in combination with XMonad.Layout.Combo. It sticks one window in a square region, and makes the rest of the windows live with what's left (in a full-screen sense).
  • XMonad.Layout.StackTile: A stacking layout, like dishes but with the ability to resize master pane. Mostly useful on small screens.
  • XMonad.Layout.Stoppable: This module implements a special kind of layout modifier, which when applied to a layout, causes xmonad to stop all non-visible processes. In a way, this is a sledge-hammer for applications that drain power. For example, given a web browser on a stoppable workspace, once the workspace is hidden the web browser will be stopped.
  • XMonad.Layout.SubLayouts: A layout combinator that allows layouts to be nested.
  • XMonad.Layout.TabBarDecoration: A layout modifier to add a bar of tabs to your layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.Tabbed: A tabbed layout for the Xmonad Window Manager
  • XMonad.Layout.ThreeColumns: A layout similar to tall but with three columns. With 2560x1600 pixels this layout can be used for a huge main window and up to six reasonable sized slave windows.
  • XMonad.Layout.ToggleLayouts: A module to toggle between two layouts.
  • XMonad.Layout.TwoPane: A layout that splits the screen horizontally and shows two windows. The left window is always the master window, and the right is either the currently focused window or the second window in layout order.
  • XMonad.Layout.WindowArranger: This is a pure layout modifier that will let you move and resize windows with the keyboard in any layout.
  • XMonad.Layout.WindowNavigation: WindowNavigation is an extension to allow easy navigation of a workspace. See also XMonad.Actions.WindowNavigation.
  • XMonad.Layout.WindowSwitcherDecoration: A decoration that allows to switch the position of windows by dragging them onto each other.
  • XMonad.Layout.WorkspaceDir: WorkspaceDir is an extension to set the current directory in a workspace. Actually, it sets the current directory in a layout, since there's no way I know of to attach a behavior to a workspace. This means that any terminals (or other programs) pulled up in that workspace (with that layout) will execute in that working directory. Sort of handy, I think. Note this extension requires the directory package to be installed.


In the XMonad.Prompt name space you can find modules providing graphical prompts for getting user input and using it to perform various actions.

The XMonad.Prompt provides a library for easily writing new prompt modules.

These are the available prompts:

  • XMonad.Prompt.AppLauncher: A module for launch applicationes that receive parameters in the command line. The launcher call a prompt to get the parameters.
  • XMonad.Prompt.AppendFile: A prompt for appending a single line of text to a file. Useful for keeping a file of notes, things to remember for later, and so on--- using a keybinding, you can write things down just about as quickly as you think of them, so it doesn't have to interrupt whatever else you're doing. Who knows, it might be useful for other purposes as well!
  • XMonad.Prompt.ConfirmPrompt: A module for setting up simple confirmation prompts for keybindings.
  • XMonad.Prompt.DirExec: A directory file executables prompt for XMonad. This might be useful if you don't want to have scripts in your PATH environment variable (same executable names, different behavior) - otherwise you might want to use XMonad.Prompt.Shell instead - but you want to have easy access to these executables through the xmonad's prompt.
  • XMonad.Prompt.Directory: A directory prompt for XMonad
  • XMonad.Prompt.Email: A prompt for sending quick, one-line emails, via the standard GNU 'mail' utility (which must be in your $PATH). This module is intended mostly as an example of using XMonad.Prompt.Input to build an action requiring user input.
  • XMonad.Prompt.Input: A generic framework for prompting the user for input and passing it along to some other action.
  • XMonad.Prompt.Layout: A layout-selection prompt for XMonad
  • XMonad.Prompt.Man: A manual page prompt for XMonad window manager. TODO
  • narrow completions by section number, if the one is specified (like /etc/bash_completion does)
  • XMonad.Prompt.Pass: This module provides 3 combinators for ease passwords manipulation (generate, read, remove): 1) one to lookup passwords in the password-storage. 2) one to generate a password for a given password label that the user inputs. 3) one to delete a stored password for a given password label that the user inputs.
  • XMonad.Prompt.RunOrRaise: A prompt for XMonad which will run a program, open a file, or raise an already running program, depending on context.
  • XMonad.Prompt.Shell: A shell prompt for XMonad
  • XMonad.Prompt.Ssh: A ssh prompt for XMonad
  • XMonad.Prompt.Theme: A prompt for changing the theme of the current workspace
  • XMonad.Prompt.Window: xprompt operations to bring windows to you, and bring you to windows.
  • XMonad.Prompt.Workspace: A workspace prompt for XMonad
  • XMonad.Prompt.XMonad: A prompt for running XMonad commands

Usually a prompt is called by some key binding. See XMonad.Doc.Extending, which includes examples of adding some prompts.


In the XMonad.Util namespace you can find modules exporting various utility functions that are used by the other modules of the xmonad-contrib library.

There are also utilities for helping in configuring xmonad or using external utilities.

A non complete list with a brief description:

Extending xmonad

Since the xmonad.hs file is just another Haskell module, you may import and use any Haskell code or libraries you wish, such as extensions from the xmonad-contrib library, or other code you write yourself.

Editing key bindings

Editing key bindings means changing the keys field of the XConfig record used by xmonad. For example, you could write:

   import XMonad

   main = xmonad $ def { keys = myKeys }

and provide an appropriate definition of myKeys, such as:

myKeys conf@(XConfig {XMonad.modMask = modm}) = M.fromList
            [ ((modm, xK_F12), xmonadPrompt def)
            , ((modm, xK_F3 ), shellPrompt  def)

This particular definition also requires importing XMonad.Prompt, XMonad.Prompt.Shell, XMonad.Prompt.XMonad, and Data.Map:

import qualified Data.Map as M
import XMonad.Prompt
import XMonad.Prompt.Shell
import XMonad.Prompt.XMonad

For a list of the names of particular keys (such as xK_F12, and so on), see http://hackage.haskell.org/packages/archive/X11/latest/doc/html/Graphics-X11-Types.html

Usually, rather than completely redefining the key bindings, as we did above, we want to simply add some new bindings and/or remove existing ones.

Adding key bindings

Adding key bindings can be done in different ways. See the end of this section for the easiest ways. The type signature of keys is:

   keys :: XConfig Layout -> M.Map (ButtonMask,KeySym) (X ())

In order to add new key bindings, you need to first create an appropriate Map from a list of key bindings using fromList. This Map of new key bindings then needs to be joined to a Map of existing bindings using union.

Since we are going to need some of the functions of the Data.Map module, before starting we must first import this modules:

   import qualified Data.Map as M

For instance, if you have defined some additional key bindings like these:

   myKeys conf@(XConfig {XMonad.modMask = modm}) = M.fromList
            [ ((modm, xK_F12), xmonadPrompt def)
            , ((modm, xK_F3 ), shellPrompt  def)

then you can create a new key bindings map by joining the default one with yours:

   newKeys x  = myKeys x `M.union` keys def x

Finally, you can use newKeys in the keys field of the configuration:

   main = xmonad $ def { keys = newKeys }

Alternatively, the <+> operator can be used which in this usage does exactly the same as the explicit usage of union and propagation of the config argument, thanks to appropriate instances in Data.Monoid.

   main = xmonad $ def { keys = myKeys <+> keys def }

All together, your ~/.xmonad/xmonad.hs would now look like this:

   module Main (main) where

   import XMonad

   import qualified Data.Map as M
   import Graphics.X11.Xlib
   import XMonad.Prompt
   import XMonad.Prompt.Shell
   import XMonad.Prompt.XMonad

   main :: IO ()
   main = xmonad $ def { keys = myKeys <+> keys def }

   myKeys conf@(XConfig {XMonad.modMask = modm}) = M.fromList
            [ ((modm, xK_F12), xmonadPrompt def)
            , ((modm, xK_F3 ), shellPrompt  def)

There are much simpler ways to accomplish this, however, if you are willing to use an extension module to help you configure your keys. For instance, XMonad.Util.EZConfig and XMonad.Util.CustomKeys both provide useful functions for editing your key bindings; XMonad.Util.EZConfig even lets you use emacs-style keybinding descriptions like "M-C-F12".

Removing key bindings

Removing key bindings requires modifying the Map which stores the key bindings. This can be done with difference or with delete.

For example, suppose you want to get rid of mod-q and mod-shift-q (you just want to leave xmonad running forever). To do this you need to define newKeys as a difference between the default map and the map of the key bindings you want to remove. Like so:

   newKeys x = keys def x `M.difference` keysToRemove x

   keysToRemove :: XConfig Layout ->    M.Map (KeyMask, KeySym) (X ())
   keysToRemove x = M.fromList
            [ ((modm              , xK_q ), return ())
            , ((modm .|. shiftMask, xK_q ), return ())

As you can see, it doesn't matter what actions we associate with the keys listed in keysToRemove, so we just use return () (the "null" action).

It is also possible to simply define a list of keys we want to unbind and then use delete to remove them. In that case we would write something like:

   newKeys x = foldr M.delete (keys def x) (keysToRemove x)

   keysToRemove :: XConfig Layout -> [(KeyMask, KeySym)]
   keysToRemove x =
            [ (modm              , xK_q )
            , (modm .|. shiftMask, xK_q )

Another even simpler possibility is the use of some of the utilities provided by the xmonad-contrib library. Look, for instance, at removeKeys.

Adding and removing key bindings

Adding and removing key bindings requires simply combining the steps for removing and adding. Here is an example from XMonad.Config.Arossato:

   defKeys    = keys def
   delKeys x  = foldr M.delete           (defKeys x) (toRemove x)
   newKeys x  = foldr (uncurry M.insert) (delKeys x) (toAdd    x)
   -- remove some of the default key bindings
   toRemove XConfig{modMask = modm} =
       [ (modm              , xK_j     )
       , (modm              , xK_k     )
       , (modm              , xK_p     )
       , (modm .|. shiftMask, xK_p     )
       , (modm .|. shiftMask, xK_q     )
       , (modm              , xK_q     )
       ] ++
       -- I want modm .|. shiftMask 1-9 to be free!
       [(shiftMask .|. modm, k) | k <- [xK_1 .. xK_9]]
   -- These are my personal key bindings
   toAdd XConfig{modMask = modm} =
       [ ((modm              , xK_F12   ), xmonadPrompt def )
       , ((modm              , xK_F3    ), shellPrompt  def )
       ] ++
       -- Use modm .|. shiftMask .|. controlMask 1-9 instead
       [( (m .|. modm, k), windows $ f i)
        | (i, k) <- zip (workspaces x) [xK_1 .. xK_9]
       ,  (f, m) <- [(W.greedyView, 0), (W.shift, shiftMask .|. controlMask)]

You can achieve the same result using the XMonad.Util.CustomKeys module; take a look at the customKeys function in particular.

NOTE: modm is defined as the modMask you defined (or left as the default) in your config.

Editing mouse bindings

Most of the previous discussion of key bindings applies to mouse bindings as well. For example, you could configure button4 to close the window you click on like so:

   import qualified Data.Map as M

   myMouse x  = [ (0, button4), (\w -> focus w >> kill) ]

   newMouse x = M.union (mouseBindings def x) (M.fromList (myMouse x))

   main = xmonad $ def { ..., mouseBindings = newMouse, ... }

Overriding or deleting mouse bindings works similarly. You can also configure mouse bindings much more easily using the additionalMouseBindings and removeMouseBindings functions from the XMonad.Util.EZConfig module.

Editing the layout hook

When you start an application that opens a new window, when you change the focused window, or move it to another workspace, or change that workspace's layout, xmonad will use the layoutHook for reordering the visible windows on the visible workspace(s).

Since different layouts may be attached to different workspaces, and you can change them, xmonad needs to know which one to use. In this sense the layoutHook may be thought as the list of layouts that xmonad will use for laying out windows on the screen(s).

The problem is that the layout subsystem is implemented with an advanced feature of the Haskell programming language: type classes. This allows us to very easily write new layouts, combine or modify existing layouts, create layouts with internal state, etc. See XMonad.Doc.Extending for more information. This means that we cannot simply have a list of layouts as we used to have before the 0.5 release: a list requires every member to belong to the same type!

Instead the combination of layouts to be used by xmonad is created with a specific layout combinator: |||.

Suppose we want a list with the Full, tabbed and Accordion layouts. First we import, in our ~/.xmonad/xmonad.hs, all the needed modules:

   import XMonad

   import XMonad.Layout.Tabbed
   import XMonad.Layout.Accordion

Then we create the combination of layouts we need:

   mylayoutHook = Full ||| tabbed shrinkText def ||| Accordion

Now, all we need to do is change the layoutHook field of the XConfig record, like so:

   main = xmonad $ def { layoutHook = mylayoutHook }

Thanks to the new combinator, we can apply a layout modifier to a whole combination of layouts, instead of applying it to each one. For example, suppose we want to use the noBorders layout modifier, from the XMonad.Layout.NoBorders module (which must be imported):

   mylayoutHook = noBorders (Full ||| tabbed shrinkText def ||| Accordion)

If we want only the tabbed layout without borders, then we may write:

   mylayoutHook = Full ||| noBorders (tabbed shrinkText def) ||| Accordion

Our ~/.xmonad/xmonad.hs will now look like this:

   import XMonad

   import XMonad.Layout.Tabbed
   import XMonad.Layout.Accordion
   import XMonad.Layout.NoBorders

   mylayoutHook = Full ||| noBorders (tabbed shrinkText def) ||| Accordion

   main = xmonad $ def { layoutHook = mylayoutHook }

That's it!

Editing the manage hook

The manageHook is a very powerful tool for customizing the behavior of xmonad with regard to new windows. Whenever a new window is created, xmonad calls the manageHook, which can thus be used to perform certain actions on the new window, such as placing it in a specific workspace, ignoring it, or placing it in the float layer.

The default manageHook causes xmonad to float MPlayer and Gimp, and to ignore gnome-panel, desktop_window, kicker, and kdesktop.

The XMonad.ManageHook module provides some simple combinators that can be used to alter the manageHook by replacing or adding to the default actions.

Let's start by analyzing the default manageHook, defined in XMonad.Config:

   manageHook :: ManageHook
   manageHook = composeAll
                   [ className =? "MPlayer"        --> doFloat
                   , className =? "Gimp"           --> doFloat
                   , resource  =? "desktop_window" --> doIgnore
                   , resource  =? "kdesktop"       --> doIgnore ]

composeAll can be used to compose a list of different ManageHooks. In this example we have a list of ManageHooks formed by the following commands: the Mplayer's and the Gimp's windows, whose className are, respectively "Mplayer" and "Gimp", are to be placed in the float layer with the doFloat function; the windows whose resource names are respectively "desktop_window" and kdesktop" are to be ignored with the doIgnore function.

This is another example of manageHook, taken from XMonad.Config.Arossato:

   myManageHook  = composeAll [ resource =? "realplay.bin" --> doFloat
                              , resource =? "win"          --> doF (W.shift "doc") -- xpdf
                              , resource =? "firefox-bin"  --> doF (W.shift "web")
   newManageHook = myManageHook <+> manageHook def

Again we use composeAll to compose a list of different ManageHooks. The first one will put RealPlayer on the float layer, the second one will put the xpdf windows in the workspace named "doc", with doF and shift functions, and the third one will put all firefox windows on the workspace called "web". Then we use the <+> combinator to compose myManageHook with the default manageHook to form newManageHook.

Each ManageHook has the form:

   property =? match --> action

Where property can be:

(You can retrieve the needed information using the X utility named xprop; for example, to find the resource class name, you can type

xprop | grep WM_CLASS

at a prompt, then click on the window whose resource class you want to know.)

match is the string that will match the property value (for instance the one you retrieved with xprop).

An action can be:

  • doFloat: to place the window in the float layer;
  • doIgnore: to ignore the window;
  • doF: to execute a function with the window as argument.

For example, suppose we want to add a manageHook to float RealPlayer, which usually has a resource name of "realplay.bin".

First we need to import XMonad.ManageHook:

   import XMonad.ManageHook

Then we create our own manageHook:

   myManageHook = resource =? "realplay.bin" --> doFloat

We can now use the <+> combinator to add our manageHook to the default one:

   newManageHook = myManageHook <+> manageHook def

(Of course, if we wanted to completely replace the default manageHook, this step would not be necessary.) Now, all we need to do is change the manageHook field of the XConfig record, like so:

   main = xmonad def { ..., manageHook = newManageHook, ... }

And we are done.

Obviously, we may wish to add more then one manageHook. In this case we can use a list of hooks, compose them all with composeAll, and add the composed to the default one.

For instance, if we want RealPlayer to float and thunderbird always opened in the workspace named "mail", we can do so like this:

   myManageHook = composeAll [ resource =? "realplay.bin"    --> doFloat
                             , resource =? "thunderbird-bin" --> doF (W.shift "mail")

Remember to import the module that defines the shift function, XMonad.StackSet, like this:

   import qualified XMonad.StackSet as W

And then we can add myManageHook to the default one to create newManageHook as we did in the previous example.

One more thing to note about this system is that if a window matches multiple rules in a manageHook, all of the corresponding actions will be run (in the order in which they are defined). This is a change from versions before 0.5, when only the first rule that matched was run.

Finally, for additional rules and actions you can use in your manageHook, check out the contrib module XMonad.Hooks.ManageHelpers.

The log hook and external status bars

When the stack of the windows managed by xmonad changes for any reason, xmonad will call logHook, which can be used to output some information about the internal state of xmonad, such as the layout that is presently in use, the workspace we are in, the focused window's title, and so on.

Extracting information about the internal xmonad state can be somewhat difficult if you are not familiar with the source code. Therefore, it's usually easiest to use a module that has been designed specifically for logging some of the most interesting information about the internal state of xmonad: XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog. This module can be used with an external status bar to print the produced logs in a convenient way; the most commonly used status bars are dzen and xmobar.

By default the logHook doesn't produce anything. To enable it you need first to import XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog:

   import XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog

Then you just need to update the logHook field of the XConfig record with one of the provided functions. For example:

   main = xmonad def { logHook = dynamicLog }

More interesting configurations are also possible; see the XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog module for more possibilities.

You may now enjoy your extended xmonad experience.

Have fun!