#polybar #wms #bspwm #i3wm #xwindow

app ixwindow

Iconized xwindow module for Polybar (for bspwm and i3wm)

3 releases

0.1.2 Mar 30, 2023
0.1.1 Mar 29, 2023
0.1.0 Mar 29, 2023

#204 in Unix APIs

MIT license


Ixwindow – iconized xwindow



Ixwindow is an improved version of the standard xwindow polybar module. The main feature is that ixwindow displays not only info about active window, but also an icon for it. It also allows you more customization of printing window info, than regular xwindow polybar module. Below is represented a demonstration of what ixwindow looks like in action:


Note: basically, it doesn't really depend on polybar itself, it can be used with any other bar as well, you just need to implement the same behavior, as polybar's tail = true.


  • Because it is written in Rust, it is blazingly fast
  • Automatic icon generation
  • High quality of displayed icons
  • Flexible configuration of what gets printed
  • Native support for bspwm via bspc-rs library, which was started with the need for this project


Cargo Installation

You can install it using cargo install as such:

cargo install ixwindow

But in this case you will have to create config file yourself (see examples/ixwindow.toml for example configuration).

Install Script

Another way to install ixwindow is from github repository. First you have to clone it:

git clone git@github.com:andreykaere/ixwindow.git && cd ixwindow

If you want the bleeding edge version, switch to dev branch.

To install it to your system you just have to run ./install. To see installation options run ./install --help.

Setting up polybar

After you have installed ixwindow on your system and created a config file for it, you need to set up ixwindow module in your polybar config. To do that, you have to add the following to your polybar config file:

type = custom/script
exec = /path/to/ixwindow
tail = true

Now you have to put it somewhere on bar: for example, you can add it right next to your window manager module like that: modules-left = <wm> ixwindow.

If you have multi monitors setup, then you need to have distinct bar for each of them and create modules like this:

type = custom/script
exec = /path/to/ixwindow <name_of_monitor_1>
tail = true

type = custom/script
exec = /path/to/ixwindow <name_of_monitor_2>
tail = true

and then put these modules on respective bars:

; Bar for monitor1
modules-left = <wm> ixwindow1

; Bar for monitor2
modules-left = <wm> ixwindow2


You will also need a config file for ixwindow. Example of this file you may find in examples/ixwindow.toml. For more info see the section below.


Default configuration file is supposed to be located at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/ixwindow/ixwindow.toml. If you want it to be located somewhere else, you should specify that in environmental variable IXWINDOW_CONFIG_PATH, or run ixwindow script with --config=<path_to_config> option.

In config file, there are various options, that can be modified (example of configuration file can be found in examples/ixwindow.toml), such as:

# Path to folder for the cached icons 
# Note: it makes sense to keep it around `.config/polybar` folder, so you won't
# lose your custom icons, if you have them
cache_dir = "path/to/cache/directory"

# This represents the size of the icon in pixels, for example:
size = 24

# This represents background color of the polybar bar. Color should be
# specified in hex format:
color = "#RRGGBB"

# Absolute coordinates of the icon in pixels, for example: 
x = 270
y = 6

# Amound of spaces in the output of the `ixwindow`. This is needed to add
# space between previous module and the title of the window
# It's recommended to be configured together with the coordinates of the icon 
# to achieve the best result
gap = "<spaces>"

# For i3 (but if there will be request, can be easily added for bspwm as
# well). 
# This variable is used for calculation of the position of the icon, when the number 
# of active desktops is dynamic, i.e. is not constant and can be changed when
# new nodes are added. This setting is optional and if it is not set, it
# means, that the icon position will be static.
# For more accurate configuration, floating numbers are acceptable. For
# example:
gap_per_desk = 24.0

To change your configuration, just edit your config file. For new settings to take affect, you have to restart polybar (for example with polybar-msg cmd restart).

Generating icons

ixwindow uses the X11 atom _NEW_WM_ICON for generating icons automatically. Most of the times it works, but for some applications, this field may be empty and there is no way to generate it automatically. In this case, if you want to have an icon for these applications, you have to add them manually.

Known issues & limitations

  • Lack of png support, but replacing jpg with png would require compositor as the dependency as well
  • Manual specification, but seems to be unfixable at this point, since polybar doesn't support inserting images into bar for now

Feel free to open issue if you have any questions or you've noticed a bug. Also pull requests are welcome; don't hesitate to crate one, if you have a solution to any of the issues, stated above.


  • Add png support (maybe make it an option, if user doesn't use compositor)

  • Rewrite ixwindow-convert in Rust. It was removed for now, because with Rust implementation there is no much need in it. However I think it would be nice to have it anyway

  • Add options for print_info function, i.e. print different information. Maybe add support for xwindow options (in polybar).


Inspired by

I got inspired to start this project, when I saw similar feature in awesome-wm. I thought it would be hard to simulate the exact same behavior on polybar, however I came across this project and I thought, that I can just improve the default xwindow, by formatting its output a bit and adding icon of the focused application.

With a great help of

I would like to thank psychon for helping me understand x11rb and xorg in general, which made it possible to rewrite code in rust and drastically improve that project.


~259K SLoC