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    0.2.2 • Public • Published


    Highly customizable and extendable bar for the i3 window manager.

    npm version Node.js CI

    Table of content

    • About
      • i3-status
    • Quickstart
      • Installation
      • Configuration
      • A note on security
        • Enabling encryption in i3-status
        • Encrypting values
      • Add to i3wm
      • Labels
      • Reporters
    • Bugs, Contributing


    i3-status basic idea is basicly the same as i3blocks. The major difference is that with i3blocks you use shell scripts or other commands to generate the information for your bar. With i3-status most of the blocks are generated from the same nodejs instance and therefore need less spawning of child processes.


    • is written in node.js
    • provides buildin block types for common use cases
    • allows you to create custom modules in javascript which can use all the great packages on npm
    • can use i3-status modules provided by others.


    Since you found i3-status you will most likely use node.js and have npm installed. If you don't you need to install node.js and npm first.

    After the next three steps your i3 bar will look like this: i3status


    The easiest way to install i3-status is using npm install -g i3-status and install it globally. This is only recommended if you don't plan to use custom or third-party modules. The recommended way is to create a directory for i3-status, create a package.json and add i3-status as a dependency.

    mkdir ~/my-i3-status
    cd my-i3-status
    echo '{ "name": "my-i3-status", "version": "0.1.0" }' > package.json
    npm install --save i3-status


    The configuration is written in YAML. Save this example configuration in your installation folder as config.yml. Your i3-bar will show the current date/time and your username.

      color: '#FFFFFF'
      - name: date    # show the current date/time e.g. Dec 19 12:34:56
        type: date    # use the builtin type date
        label: 📆      # label for the block
        interval: 1   # update interval in seconds
        format: MMM DD HH:mm:ss  # format string, see
        click: gnome-calendar # open the gnome calendar on mouse clicks
      - name: user      # name the block user
        type: username  # builtin type username
        label: 👤        # label for the block
        interval: 600    # update interval in seconds
        color: '#FF0000' # show username in red

    If you want to display the hostname, free/used memory, cpu load, uptime or free disk space you can use the buildin block types.

    You can extend i3-status with third-party or custom modules. To learn how to do this follow the guide to custom modules.

    For more advanced configurations have a look at the configuration reference.

    A note on security

    Some block modules need security sensitive data like access tokens or passwords. If you don't want to provide the values in plain text in your config file you can encode them using aes256.

    Enabling encryption in i3-status

    Provide the --secret <secret> option to the i3-status binary. e.g.

    bar {
            status_command /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/node_modules/.bin/i3-status -c /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/config.yml --secret <secret>

    If you want to mangage your i3 and i3-status configuration in a SCM like git you should encrypt all sensible data. To prevent the secret to be published you can create a file .secret with the secret and use it with i3-status:

    bar {
            status_command /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/node_modules/.bin/i3-status -c /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/config.yml --secret `cat /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/.secret`

    Encrypting values

    To encrypt a value you can use the i3-status binary too:

    /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/node_modules/.bin/i3-status --secret <secret> --encrypt <value>

    The output can be used in the config instead of the plain value.

    Note: if you want to change your secret you have to re-encrypt all values.

    You can decrypt the encrypted values from your config using:

    /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/node_modules/.bin/i3-status --secret <secret> --decrypt <value>

    Add to i3wm

    Add this to your i3 config file to show the bar in the i3 wm.

    bar {
            status_command /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/node_modules/.bin/i3-status -c /home/<yourname>/my-i3-status/config.yml --secret <secret>

    After reloading i3 there should be a bar with the date/time and your username. If you get an error have a look at the i3 log or the i3-status log in ~/.i3status.log.


    You can use utf-8 symbols for your lables. Another option is to install Font Awesome and use the icons from the cheet sheet as a label. Just copy the icon, not the html code.


    Some modules provide additional information besides the output in the i3-bar. A reporter displays the additional information e.g. in a popup window. The reporter reference shows you how to choose and customize a reporter.

    Reporter in action

    If you want to develop your own modules and want to use a reporter have a look at the i3-status-starter documentation.

    Bugs, Contributing

    Please report bugs only on github.

    Feel free to fix bugs or add features to i3-status by forking it and create pull requests. Your pull request should contain the code, tests for the code with a decent coverage and the documentation needed for end-users to use the feature. If you want to develop a new type of buildin please write a module for that.

    If you want to build your own module have a look at the i3-status-starter. If you add i3-status-module as a keyword to your own module people can find it more easily.


    npm i i3-status

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