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Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

dwm - dynamic window manager

dwm is a dynamic window manager made by suckless for the X11 windowing system that supports organization of windows in tiled, floating, and monocle layouts. Windows are grouped together on tags where they can be reorganized and modified.

minimally patched build of dwm6.2.

dwm Installation

You can install dwm from SlackBuilds. Alternatively you may clone the source with git clone https://git.suckless.org/dwm and build via the instructions in the README text file.

dwm Dependencies

The dependencies required for building dwm version 6.2 are included in a base slackware64-current install. You may need to choose an older version of dwm if using versions of Slackware 14.2 or less.

  • X11
  • FreeType

Starting dwm

The SlackBuilds dwm will create a xinit script for you. If you build dwm yourself you will need to create a file named xinitrc.dwm in the /etc/X11/xinit/ directory. A typical xinitrc for dwm might look as such:

# /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.dwm
# set wallpaper or resolution

# dunst & # start notification daemon
# dwmblocks & # start statusbar program
# xcompmgr -CFn & # start composito

exec dwm # start dwm

With that in place run xwmconfig in your terminal to switch to your configuration file.


dwm configuration is done through the C source code instead of a runtime configuration file. The config.h file contains all of the configuration options.

You will need to run make and sudo make install in your source directory after each change.


Patches(submitted user modifications that add useful features) are available directly from the suckless website: dwm Patches. You can find detailed instructions on patching here: How to Apply Patches. If you experience difficulty applying patches you may want to switch to the release tarball that can be found on the dwm Homepage under Download.

Using dwm

Using dwm is fairly simple. Try pressing Alt+Shift+Enter to open a terminal emulator. By default this will be set to st (simple terminal), but you can symbolically link your terminal emulator of choice to st. Now open a few more terminal windows. You should notice the tiling effect. To change focus simply hover your mouse cursor over another window or press Alt+J/k.

To change the master window in the tiled layout change focus to it and press Alt+Enter. Press Alt+H/l to shrink/grow the master window. To reorganize the tiled layout press Alt+D/i.
Try switch between floating Alt+F and monocle Alt+M mode. Use Alt+Left Click(while holding) to move windows around and Alt+Right Click(also while holding) to resize windows.

Now switch back to tiled Alt+T and press Alt+Shift+Space on any floating windows to return them to tiled mode.

Key Shortcuts


Alt+Left Mouse Button move clicked window
Alt+Middle Mouse Button switch clicked window between floating and tiled layout
Alt+Right Mouse Button resize clicked window
Alt+Shift+Enter launch st(suckless terminal)
Alt+B toggle top bar
Alt+H/l shrink or grow the master window
Alt+Shift+C close the currently focused window
Alt+Shift+Q quit dwm cleanly


Alt+T switch to tiled mode
Alt+F switch to floating mode
Alt+M switch to monocle mode
Alt+Space switch between the two most currently used layouts
Alt+Shift+Space toggle focused window between tiled and floating mode
Alt+Enter set currently focused window as master
Alt+I/d shift windows through stack area in tiled mode


Alt+J/k cycle focus to different windows on the current tag
Alt+1/9 change to window tags 1 through 9
Alt+Shift+1/9 switch currently focused window to tags 1 through 9
Ctrl+Shift+1/9 show windows on tag 1 through 9 on the currently focused tag
Alt+0 view windows from all tags at once
Alt+Tab cycle through the most recent tags
Right Click when right clicked windows from a tag will be visible

Multiple Screens

Alt+./, switch focus between screens
Alt+Shift+./, switch window to between screens

Program Menu

dmenu is the preferred program launcher/menu for dwm. It spawns a simple, intractable search bar that you can use to search for a program installed on your system. If you also installed dmenu you can press Alt+P and type the program name or use the arrow keys then press enter. This will execute the selected program. You may also press the escape key to cancel the search.
To install dmenu visit dmenu - suckless tools


 howtos:window_managers:dwm_-_dynamic_window_manager ()