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How to set separator in i3bar?

asked 2015-04-02 21:31:24 +0000

hes gravatar image

updated 2015-04-02 22:41:53 +0000

I can't seem to figure out how to change the separator symbol from the default of '|'. Docs have a small section on it and give this example:

bar {
    separator_symbol ":|:"

It says you may need to change the sep_block_width property, but gives no example of how. (I gather that is a measure of pixels between each setting.)

Nothing I've tried has worked. If I use that 'separator_symbol' line to change to anything other than a single bar it gives me 3 tiny dots in place of separator. I'm using v4.10.1. Can someone clue me in on how this is supposed to work? Thanks

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My version of i3 must be too old, because separator_symbol doesn't work here. In any case, I believe that `sep_block_width` must be related to `separator_block_width` in `` .

i3convert gravatar imagei3convert ( 2015-04-03 15:14:16 +0000 )edit

Thanks. I'm curious what you mean by "doesn't work"? Do you get an error with that in your config, or does it simply not change the separator? Or does it show tiny three dots like mine does?

hes gravatar imagehes ( 2015-04-03 19:25:20 +0000 )edit

I implemented this feature and it's quite recent (only available since v4.10). Can you please provide a screenshot of what it looks like when you use that directive?

airblader gravatar imageairblader ( 2015-04-03 20:38:08 +0000 )edit

by the way, the dots you see are an ellipsis that is used because the separator doesn't have enough space. So I'm really confident that setting `sep_block_width` to a higher value will make it work correctly.

airblader gravatar imageairblader ( 2015-04-03 20:42:21 +0000 )edit

Thanks, I have image but don't see any way to attach it directly and have no site to upload to at the moment. It is just the little ellipsis (which itself is cut off a little bit) and it happens even if I just include line 'separator_symbol "|"', although the bar shows okay if I remove that line.

hes gravatar imagehes ( 2015-04-03 21:37:11 +0000 )edit

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answered 2015-04-03 20:59:13 +0000

Airblader gravatar image

As pointed out by i3convert in the comments, sep_block_width is a property in the i3bar protocol. If you use i3status, you can put it in the general config there. If you use tools such as i3blocks, i3pystatus and the like, you have to add it there (see the tools' documentation).

The reason you are seeing three dots is because the separator is too long for the space it has and thus gets abbreviated to an ellipsis ("…"). Increasing sep_block_width will fix this.

I've submitted a PR ( to provide a reasonable default right away, then you don't have to go through the awkward process of adjusting sep_block_width. If it gets merged, you'd have to wait for the next release, though (which probably won't be very long). In the meantime, just set the property to a higher value.

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Thanks. I"ve tried to edit my i3status config directly but can't get it to worked. Bombs with message that sep_block_width is unknown. I've tried to add, eg., ' sep_block_width = 15' line in general block, outside of any block, and in the indvidual blocks, same error. This is with i3status v.2.9

hes gravatar imagehes ( 2015-04-03 21:47:43 +0000 )edit

@hes I just looked, it seems like i3status doesn't actually support changing that property. I'll open an issue for this at i3status. This puts you in a bit of an awkward position though. I'd recommend waiting on my PR to be merged. I'll ask Michael to backport it so it can make it into the bugfix[…]

airblader gravatar imageairblader ( 2015-04-03 22:11:05 +0000 )edit

[…] that is probably going to come rather soon (I don't know his plans). Edit: I've submitted a PR to fix the issue in i3status. If either PR against i3 or i3status gets merged, you could also compile one of them from source to get it to work right away.

airblader gravatar imageairblader ( 2015-04-03 22:11:29 +0000 )edit

By the way, `sep_block_width` was wrong, that's just the code-internal name. The property is actually called `separator_block_width`. Doesn't change anything though, i3status doesn't support it (yet).

airblader gravatar imageairblader ( 2015-04-03 22:48:25 +0000 )edit

Thanks for all the info. No big rush needed for me, the default works fine, was just trying to make things a little prettier/more my taste.

hes gravatar imagehes ( 2015-04-03 22:53:10 +0000 )edit

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Asked: 2015-04-02 21:31:24 +0000

Seen: 717 times

Last updated: Apr 03