The i3 FAQ has migrated to All content here is read-only.
Ask Your Question

True transparency in floating windows

asked 2012-11-27 19:17:52 +0000

anonymous user


updated 2012-11-28 13:14:12 +0000

Since i3 always places floating windows on top of tiled windows, it would be very useful to be able to render floating windows transparent. How could we inform a composition manager such as xcompmgr which windows are floating and thus make them transparent?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Edit: Please note that goal here is not eye candy. It can be very convenient to be able to see through floating windows in a cluttered and small screen to see the content of the tiled layer. Admittedly the purpose of a tiling window manager is to avoid window overlap, but there are always popup windows and the occasional "legitimate" use of floating windows.

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

3 answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2014-11-13 10:48:37 +0000


I'm using Xcompmgr with transset-df !!! And guess what it works !!! Btw a fork called Compton is better can can be install from the AUR of linux

sudo yaourt -S compton-git (don't forget to install transset-df, it's very usefull)

I love it: shadows and true transparency is working very well !!!

Best regards, kursion

edit flag offensive delete link more

answered 2012-11-28 10:50:50 +0000

Michael gravatar image

i3 does not support transparency at all.

edit flag offensive delete link more


This is not completely accurate: I'm using true transparent terminals (mrxvt) in i3 right now using xcompmrg. But I don't know how to set up transparency based on window/container properties instead of per application.

João gravatar imageJoão ( 2012-11-28 13:08:24 +0000 )edit

It is accurate. i3 does not support it. Anything that works is by chance, not intended, and not supported.

Michael gravatar imageMichael ( 2012-11-28 17:59:10 +0000 )edit

Crystal clear. Thank you for the clarification, and for the very nice piece of software.

João gravatar imageJoão ( 2012-11-28 19:04:56 +0000 )edit

answered 2015-01-22 14:22:15 +0000

If i3 does not support transparency it does not support transparency. The use of third party compositing libraries should explicitly indicate the fact. i3 simply manages screen real estate letting xorg or whatever desktop manager the user has running deal with layout and composition per the application. The way i3 manages everything maintains a really small foot-print and provides a credible amount of versatility.

Compton is actually managing the transparency and/or making the necessary desktop manager calls. i3 will not accidentally offer transparency as a service due to a bug. i3 could however, one day, add an option to interface with other desktop managers present on the users system concerning composition, but that will require time if it happens and a great deal of beta testing.

Third party plugins like that Compton transparency manager sound like the way to go with i3. Keeps everything light weight, modular and survivable where a module crashes it does not affect i3 or any other stable module.

I smell a community plugins opportunity if there isn't already one floating about.

edit flag offensive delete link more

Question Tools


Asked: 2012-11-27 19:17:52 +0000

Seen: 4,560 times

Last updated: Jan 22