What is it?

herbstluftwm is a manual tiling window manager for the X window system.

  • the entire configuration happens at runtime via the tool herbstclient. So the configuration file is just a script which is run on startup. All configuration options, window rules, virtual desktops, keybindings, … can be updated live without the need to restart the window manager.

  • every virtual desktop (called tag) consists of a tiling and a floating layer. Windows in the tiling layer fill up the screen space and the floating windows can be placed freely above them.

  • both tiling and floating windows can be moved, resized, focused using the keyboard only.

  • the tiling algorithm is based on splitting frames into subframes which can be split again or can be filled with windows.

  • the screen space can be freely divided into "monitors" which may or may not match the actual (multi-)monitor hardware configuration. If you have a monitor with a large resolution just divide it into two or more virtual monitors such that you can view two virtual desktops at a time.

  • all monitors share the same pool of tags. You can switch the contents of two monitors with a single keystroke.

How to get it?

Install it via the package manager, download tarballs, or clone the git repository:

git clone https://github.com/herbstluftwm/herbstluftwm

How to use it?

If you are new to herbstluftwm, the tutorial is the best place to start.

There are manpages for herbstluftwm and herbstclient in the doc/ directory. They also can be seen online.

Community & Support

You are welcome to join the IRC channel #herbstluftwm on irc.libera.chat for asking question or simply to hang out with fellow herbstluftwm users and developers. There is also a community on reddit r/herbstluftwm.

Feel free to ask questions on the github issue tracker. For bug reporting open an issue on github or contact the mailing list:


You can subscribe by sending a mail with the subject subscribe to hlwm-request@lists.herbstluftwm.org or by using the Mailman web interface.