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Compton is a fork of xcompmgr-dana by chjj, where xcompmgr-dana is a fork of xcompmgr by Dana. It is therefore, like xcompmgr, a standalone composite manager and can be used as a companion to lightweight window managers which don't do composition on themselves.

This fork fixed many bugs, and is very usable by this time of writing.


Install the compton-gitAUR package, available in the AUR.


To start manually, just run:

$ compton

To use fancy shadows, you can run

$ compton -c

Additionally, -C can be used to avoid shadows on panels and docks, and -G can be used to avoid shadows on drag-and-drop objects (you probably want this).

If you want it started automatically, put this in xprofile:

compton -cGb

where -b means to daemonize after composite manager registered.

An example of a more customised command:

compton -cCGfF -o 0.38 -O 200 -I 200 -t 0.02 -l 0.02 -r 3.2 -D2 -m 0.88

You can also put your configuration in a file ~/.config/compton.conf or ~/.compton.conf.

A sample configuration file.

# Shadow
shadow = true;			# Enabled client-side shadows on windows.
no-dock-shadow = true;		# Avoid drawing shadows on dock/panel windows.
no-dnd-shadow = true;		# Don't draw shadows on DND windows.
clear-shadow = true;		# Zero the part of the shadow's mask behind the window (experimental).
shadow-radius = 7;		# The blur radius for shadows. (default 12)
shadow-offset-x = -7;		# The left offset for shadows. (default -15)
shadow-offset-y = -7;		# The top offset for shadows. (default -15)
# shadow-opacity = 0.7;		# The translucency for shadows. (default .75)
# shadow-red = 0.0;		# Red color value of shadow. (0.0 - 1.0, defaults to 0)
# shadow-green = 0.0;		# Green color value of shadow. (0.0 - 1.0, defaults to 0)
# shadow-blue = 0.0;		# Blue color value of shadow. (0.0 - 1.0, defaults to 0)
shadow-exclude = [ "n:e:Notification" ];	# Exclude conditions for shadows.
# shadow-exclude = "n:e:Notification";
shadow-ignore-shaped = true;

# Opacity
menu-opacity = 0.9;			# The opacity for menus. (default 1.0)
inactive-opacity = 0.9;			# Opacity of inactive windows. (0.1 - 1.0)
#frame-opacity = 0.8;			# Opacity of window titlebars and borders. (0.1 - 1.0)
inactive-opacity-override = true;	# Inactive opacity set by 'inactive-opacity' overrides value of _NET_WM_OPACITY.

# Fading
fading = true;			# Fade windows during opacity changes.
# fade-delta = 30;		# The time between steps in a fade in milliseconds. (default 10).
fade-in-step = 0.03;		# Opacity change between steps while fading in. (default 0.028).
fade-out-step = 0.03;		# Opacity change between steps while fading out. (default 0.03).
# no-fading-openclose = true;	# Fade windows in/out when opening/closing.

# Other
#inactive-dim = 0.5;		# Dim inactive windows. (0.0 - 1.0, defaults to 0).
mark-wmwin-focused = true;	# Try to detect WM windows and mark them as active.
mark-ovredir-focused = true;
detect-rounded-corners = true;

# Window type settings
  tooltip = { fade = true; shadow = false; opacity = 0.75; };

To run compton with config file:

$ compton --config ~/.compton.conf

To automatically start compton put following in any of your Startup files:

compton --config ~/.compton.conf -b


Besides what is provided in xcompmgr, compton introduces two new auto-transparency options:

      -i opacity
             Specifies inactive window transparency. (0.1 - 1.0)
      -e opacity
             Specifies window frame transparency. (0.1 - 1.0)

Try them out on your own.

Problem with slock

Note that inactive window transparency (-i option) will make all inactive window became transparent, and if you use slock it may not be a good result. Try this in config file instead:

inactive-dim = 0.2;

This will work with slock better.


If you use a multihead configuration without Xinerama, which means you start a X server with more than one screen, then compton will start on only one screen by default. You can start on all screen by starting multiple compton on all screens with -d. For example, if you have 4 monitors then you can start compton by:

seq 0 3 | xargs -l1 -I@ compton -b -d :0.@

Conky without shadows

If you use conky, there may be shadows, you don't want around conky's windows. To get rid of it, add this line to your conky configuration file:

own_window_class conky

then in your compton configuration file edit the following line

shadow-exclude = "class_g = 'conky'";