Customize i3 Configuration

How to work with Regolith’s defaults #

The default configurations are stored in /usr/share/regolith/i3/config.d. These are loaded alphabetically. Then user configurations in ~/.config/regolith3/i3/config.d are loaded, also in alphabetical order. Regolith’s default configuration is built to be customized by setting Xresources variables, adding user configuration, and adding or removing default configurations via apt. For this reason, there are several approaches to customization of i3 in Regolith that can be used separately or in combination to achieve your configuration cleanly:

  • Use Xresources to override variables, e.g. keybindings, strings, program names, colors, etc.
  • Add or remove Regolith default configuration files with apt
  • Add your own user configuration files
  • Replace Regolith’s configuration wholesale

How to set an Xresources variable #

The following configuration example (from /usr/share/regolith/i3/config.d/80_compositor) can be customized to load whatever compositor you want, without editing or overriding the existing i3 configuration file, by setting $wm.program.compositor.

Regolith version 3.0 onward replaces “i3-wm” with “wm” in Xresource keys. The content on this page has been updated for Regolith 3.0+. If you are using an earlier version, use “i3-wm” instead of “wm” in the key names below. For example changes to for Regolith 1.x and 2.x.
set_from_resource $wm.program.compositor wm.program.compositor /usr/share/regolith-compositor/init
exec_always --no-startup-id $wm.program.compositor

To do this, simply add a line to ~/.config/regolith3/Xresources like:

# Use my own home-made compositor
wm.program.compositor: /usr/local/bin/my-compositor

Similarly, you can override other i3 options with Xresources based on the variable names found in /usr/share/regolith/i3/config.d files:

## Gap configuration
wm.gaps.inner.size: 1

## Border configuration
wm.window.border.size: 3
wm.client.focused.color.child_border: #AAD3E9

## Workspace names 1:FOO

For more, please read a more in-depth discussion on Xresources

How to uninstall a default partial #

If you want to wholly replace or remove settings provided by a default partial, you can use apt to remove the package which provides that partial.

To identify the name of the package that provides the partial you want to remove:

dpkg -S /usr/share/doc/regolith-i3-workspace-config

The output contains the name of the package:

regolith-i3-workspace-config: /usr/share/doc/regolith-i3-workspace-config

Validate the full list of files provided by this package so you know what you’re removing:

dpkg -L regolith-i3-workspace-config

Remove the partial:

sudo apt remove regolith-i3-workspace-config

How to customize a default partial #

WARNING: To customize only one of Regolith’s default partials, you must first ensure that the file ~/.config/regolith3/i3/config does not exist. This overrides Regolith’s defaults entirely, which is incompatible with this how-to.

First, ensure that a directory exists for user config partials.

mkdir -p ~/.config/regolith3/i3/config.d

Then, copy the default configuration into your user configuration directory:

cp /usr/share/regolith/i3/config.d/40_workspace-config ~/.config/regolith3/i3/config.d/

Make your desired changes:

vim ~/.config/regolith3/i3/config.d/40_workspace-config

Clean up the package containing the defaults:

sudo apt remove regolith-i3-workspace-config

Finally, restart i3 or log out and back in.

Change Regolith’s defaults outside of Xresources options #

If you need more configuration than the above article provides please visit Staging Config Files

How to replace Regolith’s defaults completely #

If you don’t want to keep any of Regolith’s defaults (for example, you’re an experienced i3 user with a complete personal config you want to use), you can either uninstall all of Regolith’s config partials, and/or create your own root config at ~/.config/regolith3/i3/config.