Feh

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feh is a lightweight and powerful image viewer that can also be used to manage the desktop wallpaper for standalone window managers lacking such features.

Installation

Install the feh package.

Usage

feh is highly configurable. For a full list of options, run feh --help.

As an image viewer

To quickly browse images in a specific directory, you can launch feh with the following arguments:

$ feh -g 640x480 -d -S filename /path/to/directory
  • The -g flag forces the images to appear no larger than 640x480
  • The -d flag draws the file name
  • The -S filename flag sorts the images by file name

This is just one example; there are many more options available should you desire more flexibility.

File browser image launcher

The following script is useful for file browsers. It will display your selected image in feh, but it will enable you to browse all other images in the directory as well, in their default order, i.e. as if you had run "feh *" and cycled through to the selected image.

The script assumes the first argument is the filename, with other arguments passed on to feh.

feh_browser.sh
#!/bin/bash
shopt -s nullglob
feh_args=(--draw-filename --draw-exif --magick-timeout 10 --image-bg black -g 800x600)

if [[ ! -f $1 ]]; then
  printf '%s\n' "$0: first argument is not a file" >&2
  exit 1
fi

file=$(basename -- "$1")
dir=$(dirname -- "$1")
shift

cd -- "$dir" || exit
IFS=$'\n\b'

for i in ./*.{png,jpg,jpeg,gif} ; do
  if [[ ! -f $i ]]; then
    continue
  else
    arr+=("$i")
  fi

  if [[ $i == "$file" ]]; then
    c=$((${#arr[@]} - 1))
  fi
done

feh "${feh_args[@]}" "$@" -- "${arr[@]:c}" "${arr[@]:0:c}" >/dev/null 2>&1

Invoke the script with the selected image's path, followed by any additional arguments to feh. Here is an example of a launcher that you can use in a file browser:

$ /path/to/script/feh_browser.sh %f -F -Z

-F and -Z are feh arguments. -F opens the image in fullscreen mode, and -Z automatically zooms the image. Adding the -q flag (quiet) suppresses error messages to the terminal when feh tries loading non-image files from the current folder.

A simple but less versatile alternative is

feh_browser.sh
#! /bin/sh
feh -. "$(dirname "$1")" --start-at "$1"

This one does not seem to accept options.

As a desktop wallpaper manager

feh can be used to manage the desktop wallpaper for window managers that lack desktop features, such as Openbox, Fluxbox, and xmonad.

The following command is an example of how to set the initial background:

$ feh --bg-scale /path/to/image.file

Other scaling options include:

--bg-tile FILE
--bg-center FILE
--bg-max FILE
--bg-fill FILE

To restore the background on the next session, add the following to your startup file (e.g. ~/.xinitrc, ~/.config/openbox/autostart, etc.):

$ sh ~/.fehbg &

To change the background image, edit the file ~/.fehbg which gets created after running the command feh --bg-scale /path/to/image.file mentioned above.

Tips and tricks

Open SVG images

$ feh --magick-timeout 1 file.svg

Note that you need imagemagick

Random background image

You can have feh set a random wallpaper using the --randomize option with one of the --bg-foo options, for example:

$ feh --randomize --bg-fill ~/.wallpaper/*

The above command tells feh to randomize the list of files in the ~/.wallpaper/ directory and set the backgrounds for all available desktops to whichever images are at the front of the randomized list (one unique image for each desktop). You can also do this recursively, if you have your wallpapers divided into subfolders:

$ feh --recursive --randomize --bg-fill ~/.wallpaper

To set a different random wallpaper from ~/.wallpaper each session, add the following to your .xinitrc:

$ feh --bg-max --randomize ~/.wallpaper/* &

Another way to set a random wallpaper on each x.org session is to edit your .fehbg as following.

$HOME/.fehbg
 feh --bg-max --randomize --no-fehbg ~/.wallpaper/* 

To change wallpapers periodically, use a script, cron job, or systemd service to execute the command at the desired interval.

Using a script

To rotate the wallpaper randomly, create a script with the code below (e.g. wallpaper.sh). Make the script executable:

$ chmod +x wallpaper.sh

and call it from ~/.xinitrc. You can also put the source directly in ~/.xinitrc instead of in a separate file.

Change the ~/.wallpaper directory to fit your setup and the 15m delay as you please (see man sleep for options).

wallpaper.sh
#!/bin/sh

while true; do
	find ~/.wallpaper -type f \( -name '*.jpg' -o -name '*.png' \) -print0 |
		shuf -n1 -z | xargs -0 feh --bg-max
	sleep 15m
done

You may have to change find ~/.wallpaper to find ~/.wallpaper/ to make the above work.

This version does not fork as much, but this version does not recurse through directories:

wallpaper.sh
#!/bin/bash

shopt -s nullglob
cd ~/.wallpaper

while true; do
	files=()
	for i in ./*.jpg ./*.png; do
		[[ -f $i ]] && files+=("$i")
	done
	range=${#files[@]}

	((range)) && feh --bg-scale "${files[RANDOM % range]}"

	sleep 15m
done
For dual screen no-xinerama

This script replace the call to feh for add a wallpaper on systems with dual screen nvidia twinview (for example).

wallpaper.sh
#!/bin/sh
exec feh --bg-max --no-xinerama "$@"

Using a cron job

Using a cron job, you can get a similar result, and it does not require having a script constantly sleeping.

Just do $ crontab -e and add:

* * * * *  DISPLAY=:0.0 feh --bg-max "$(find ~/.wallpaper/|shuf -n1)"

Using systemd user session

Note: This is useful only if you are using systemd user session. Read Systemd/User for more details.

Create the unit service file:

$HOME/.config/systemd/user/feh-wallpaper.service
[Unit]
Description=Random wallpaper with feh

[Service]
Type=oneshot
EnvironmentFile=%h/.wallpaper
ExecStart=/bin/bash -c '/usr/bin/feh --bg-max "$(find ${WALLPATH}|shuf|head -n 1)"'

[Install]
WantedBy=default.target

Now create the timer file. Change the time as necessary. In this example is 15 seconds.

$HOME/.config/systemd/user/feh-wallpaper.timer
[Unit]
Description=Random wallpaper with feh

[Timer]
OnUnitActiveSec=15s
Unit=feh-wallpaper.service

[Install]
WantedBy=default.target

In this example the configuration is one hidden file on the home directory with the path of the directory where the images are stored

$HOME/.wallpaper
WALLPATH=/home/user/.wallpaper/

To activate the feh-wallpaper.timer see Systemd/Timers#Management.

Note: Remember that under systemd user session, you should use the --user flag on systemctl.

See also