fluxbox [-rc rcfile] [-no-slit] [-no-toolbar] [-log logfile] [-display display] [-screen all|scr,scr…] [-verbose] [-sync]

fluxbox [-v | -version] | [-h | -help] | [-i | -info] | [-list-commands]


fluxbox(1) is a window manager. As such it provides configurable window decorations, a root menu to launch applications and a toolbar that shows the current workspace name, a set of application names and the current time. There is also a workspace menu to add or remove workspaces.

Fluxbox can iconify (or minimize) windows to the toolbar One click and they reappear. A double-click on the titlebar of the window will shade it; i.e. the window will disappear, and only the titlebar will remain visible.

There are also two areas commonly used by small applets: the ‘slit’ can be used to dock small applications; e.g. most of the “bbtools” and “Window Maker dockapps” can use the slit, and the ‘systray’ which lives in the toolbar supports standard system tray icons provided by some applications.

Fluxbox uses its own graphics class to render its images on the fly. By using style files, you can determine in great detail how your desktop looks. fluxbox styles are compatible with those of Blackbox 0.65 or earlier versions, so users migrating can still use their current favourite themes.

Most of the default keyboard and mouse button actions mentioned in this manual can be changed and configured in the ‘keys’ file. This powerful configuration file can also be used to automate almost any action you may want to perform, from launching applications to moving windows around the screen. See fluxbox-keys(5) for details.

Fluxbox can also remember certain attributes of individual application windows and restore these settings the next time the window opens. See the fluxbox-apps(5) for details.

Fluxbox supports the majority of the Extended Window Manager Hints (EWMH) specification, as well as numerous other Window Hinting standards. This allows all compliant window managers to provide a common interface to standard features used by applications and desktop utilities.


-display display

Start fluxbox on the specified display. Programs started by fluxbox will share the DISPLAY environment variable also.

-h, -help

Display command line options.

-i, -info

Display useful information concerning the defaults and compiled-in options.

-log logfile

Starting fluxbox with this option will designate a file in which you want to log events to.


Do not use the container for DockApps (aka the Slit)


Do not use the toolbar

-rc rcfile

Use a different config file other than the default ~/.fluxbox/init.

-v, -version

The version of fluxbox installed.

-screen all|scr,scr

Run on specified screens only or all (by default).


Print more information in process.


Synchronize with the X server for debugging.


Lists all available internal commands.


fluxbox(1) comes with a program called startfluxbox(1) usually located wherever you installed fluxbox. This script provides you with many options and variables that can be set when starting fluxbox. To actually call fluxbox and begin using it, you should place “exec startfluxbox” in your ~/.xinitrc as the last executed command. This is assuming that the location of fluxbox(1) and startfluxbox(1) are in your shell’s $PATH. Also note that you may need to create the ~/.xinitrc file or your setup may use ~/.xsession instead, depending on your X setup. Some X login managers like gdm(1) or kdm(1) may simply provide a “Fluxbox” session for you without having to alter any settings.

By using fluxbox -i you’ll see the defaults used by fluxbox(1). These are what fluxbox looks for upon startup. In the list of “Defaults:” you’ll see a menu file location, this is where you can provide a system-wide menu file for your users.

On exit or restart, fluxbox will save user defaults in the file ~/.fluxbox/init. Resources in this file can also be edited by hand, see the RESOURCES section for more details. fluxbox(1) also has many tools to edit these; look through the main menu once fluxbox has started to find different ways of managing your session.


When using fluxbox for the first time, users who are more accustomed to full desktop environments such as KDE or Gnome may be a little surprised by the minimal screen content. fluxbox is designed to be fast and powerful, so it may take a bit of getting used to — however, the rewards are worthwhile.

In this section, we’ll give a quick summary of the common things. However, we recommend that you consult the referenced sections of this manual to further develop your understanding of what you can do with fluxbox.

Root Window (Main)

Looking at the fluxbox desktop immediately after startup you’ll generally see only one thing: the toolbar. If you right-click (mouse button 3) somewhere on the desktop, you can access the Root Menu. A middle-click (mouse button 2) on the desktop shows you the Workspace Menu.

Root Menu and Workspace Menu

From the RootMenu you can launch applications and configure fluxbox. The WorkspaceMenu shows all windows and on which workspaces they are. See section MENUS on how to customize these menus.


The toolbar contains any combination of the following tools, by default in this order:

  • Workspace Name: Name of the current visible workspace

  • Workspace Arrows: Previous/Next Workspace

  • Iconbar: List of windows managed by fluxbox

  • Window Arrows: Previous/Next Application Window

  • System Tray: Area for applets

  • Clock: Date and Time

The contents and behavior of the toolbar can be configured, see the TOOLBAR section for details.


Initially you won’t be able to see the slit. It is there, but it isn’t being used yet, which confuses some people initially. Think of it as a dock where you can place smaller programs. If you’ve looked at any screenshots on the official fluxbox web site, you will have noticed some small programs on the edge of some of the screens. These were more than likely docked programs in the slit. To learn more about the slit, we have an entire SLIT section below that goes into detail about the options you have.


fluxbox manages the following layers (from highest to lowest):

  • Above Dock

  • Dock

  • Top

  • Normal

  • Bottom

  • Desktop

Windows on a higher layer will always appear above those on a lower one. These layers can be used on application windows, the slit or the toolbar. You can assign applications to a certain layer by specifying it in the ‘apps’ file or through the WindowMenu. We discuss the ‘apps’ file in fluxbox-apps(5). We discuss the WindowMenu in the MENUS section. We discuss layers in more detail in the LAYERS section.

Focus Model

The window that has the focus is the one that receives key and mouse events. The focus model is selectable via the Configuration menu located in the root menu. We’ll discuss the different types of focus below in the FOCUS MODEL section.


A left-click (mouse button 1) on any part of the window’s border will raise it. Dragging then moves the window to another part of the desktop. A right click and drag on the border resizes the window. Dragging the resize grips at the left and right bottom corners also will resize the window. Middle clicking on a border or titlebar will immediately lower the window. Right clicking on the titlebar opens the Window menu. The commands unique to this menu are discussed in detail in the Window Menu section.


fluxbox allows windows to be ‘grouped’ by middle clicking and holding on a window’s tab and dragging it onto another window. This ‘tabbing’ allows you to put multiple applications in one location on the desktop and do several operations (for example, moving or resizing) to all windows in the group. By default, tabs are located just above the window, but they may be embedded in the titlebar or moved to other locations on the outside of the window. Configuration is discussed in TAB OPTIONS section.

You can also set up automatic grouping using the ‘apps’ file. See GROUP SECTIONS in fluxbox-apps(5) for details.

Key Bindings

There are a number of key bindings set up by default, which can be configured and extended to just about anything you can imagine with the keyboard. See fluxbox-keys(5) for details on how to do this.

The default bindings set up by fluxbox are as follows:

Mouse clicks on the empty desktop:

  • Left-click (Button 1): hides all fluxbox menus

  • Middle-click (Button 2): shows the Workspace Menu

  • Right-click (Button 3): shows the Root Menu

  • Scroll wheel (Buttons 4 and 5): jump to the previous/next workspace

Mouse gestures on a window:

  • ALT+Drag Left-click anywhere on a window moves the window.

  • ALT+Drag Right-click anywhere on a window resizes the window.

  • ALT+Middle-click anywhere on a window lowers the current window.

Mouse gestures on a window’s titlebar:

  • CTRL+Drag Left-click on a window’s titlebar lets you drag to attach the window to another’s tab group

  • Double Left-click on a window’s titlebar shades the window

  • Middle-click on a window’s titlebar lowers the window

  • Right-click on a window’s titlebar pops up the Window Menu

Mouse gestures on the toolbar:

  • Scroll wheel on the toolbar cycles through windows

Keyboard bindings:

  • ALT+Tab / ALT+Shift+Tab: Cycle through windows