#wallpaper #background #desktop #wayland #sway

app multibg-sway

Set a different wallpaper for the background of each Sway workspace

5 releases

0.1.4 Aug 31, 2023
0.1.3 May 5, 2023
0.1.2 Apr 27, 2023
0.1.1 Apr 8, 2023
0.1.0 Apr 7, 2023

#62 in Images

42 downloads per month


863 lines


Set a different wallpaper for the background of each Sway workspace


$ multibg-sway <WALLPAPER_DIR>

Wallpapers should be arranged in the following directory structure:




In more detail:

  • wallpaper_dir: A directory, this will be the argument for the multibg-sway command

  • output: A directory with the same name as a sway output eg. eDP-1, HDMI-A-1

    • If one has multiple outputs with the same resolution this can be a symlink to the directory of the other output.

    • To get the name of current outputs from sway one may run:

      $ swaymsg -t get_outputs
  • workspace_name: The name of the sway workspace, by sway defaults: 1, 2, 3, ..., 10

    • Can be a manually defined workspace name (eg. in sway config), but renaming workspaces while multibg-sway is running is not supported currently
    • Can define a fallback wallpaper with the special name: _default
    • Can be a symlink to use a wallpaper image for multiple workspaces

Wallpaper images are now automatically resized at startup to fill the output. Still it is better to have wallpaper images the same resolution as the output, which automatically avoids resizing operations and decreases startup time.


For one having a laptop with a built-in display eDP-1 and an external monitor HDMI-A-1, wallpapers can be arranged such as:

    ├─ eDP-1
    │    ├─ _default.jpg
    │    ├─ 1.jpg
    │    ├─ 2.png
    │    └─ browser.jpg
    └─ HDMI-A-1
         ├─ 1.jpg
         └─ 3.png

Then start multibg_sway:

$ multibg-sway ~/my_wallpapers

It is recommended to edit the wallpaper images in a dedicated image editor. Nevertheless the contrast and brightness might be adjusted here:

$ multibg-sway --contrast=-25 --brightness=-60 ~/my_wallpapers

In case of errors multibg-sway logs to stderr and tries to continue. One may wish to redirect stderr if multibg-sway is being run as a daemon.

Resource usage

Loaded wallpapers are stored uncompressed to enable fast wallpaper switching with nearly zero CPU use. For example for 10 full HD wallpaper this means 1019201080*4 = 83 MB graphics memory use.

Because multibg-sway doesn't have its own GPU context and manages graphics memory through sway, all this usage might be reported as additional memory used by the sway process.




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