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Reason: Lots of useless config dumps and unneeded complexity (Discuss in Talk:Conky#)

Conky is a system monitor software for the X Window System. It is available for GNU/Linux and FreeBSD. It is free software released under the terms of the GPL license. Conky is able to monitor many system variables including CPU, memory, swap, disk space, temperature, top, upload, download, system messages, and much more. It is extremely configurable, however, the configuration can be a little hard to understand. Conky is a fork of torsmo.


Installation and configuration

Install the conky package. For alternative packages with more features, see #AUR packages.

Create a local configuration file:

$ mkdir -p ~/.config/conky
$ conky -C > ~/.config/conky/conky.conf

Now you can edit ~/.config/conky/conky.conf to customize conky as you wish. For a few example configuration files, see this page.

When editing your config file, you will see immediately the effect of any change as soon as you save it. There is no need to log out/log in your X session. So best is to test all kind of options, one by one, save the configuration file and see the change on your conky window, and correct if your change is inappropriate.

One of the nice features of conky is to pipe to your desktop some /var/log/ files to read all kinds of log messages. Most of these files can only be read by root, but running conky as root is not recommended, so you will need to add username to the log group:

# usermod -aG log username

AUR packages

In addition to the basic conky package, there are various AUR packages available with extra compile options enabled:

  • conky-cliConky without X11 dependencies
|| conky-cliAUR
  • conky-luaConky with Lua support
|| conky-luaAUR
  • conky-lua-nvConky with both Lua and Nvidia support
|| conky-lua-nvAUR
  • conky-nvidiaConky with Nvidia support
|| conky-nvidiaAUR

Tips and tricks

Config file syntax changed

Since Conky 1.10, configuration files have been written with Lua syntax, like so:

 conky.config = {
   -- Comments start with a double dash
   bool_value = true,
   string_value = 'foo',
   int_value = 42,
 conky.text = [[
 ${evaluated variable}

Some examples below may still use the old syntax, which looks like this:

 bool_value yes
 string_value 'foo'
 int_value 42

A Lua script is available to convert from the old syntax to the new Lua syntax here.

If in doubt, or something doesn't work at all, you can start with the default config file:

 $ conky -C > conky.conf.default

Enable real transparency in KDE4 and Xfce4

Since version 1.8.0 conky supports real transparency. To enable it add this line to conky.conf:

own_window_transparent = true,

The above option is not desired with the OWN_WINDOW_ARGB_VISUAL yes option. This replaces the feh method described below.

Note: Xfce requires enabled compositing, see [1].

Autostart with Xfce4

In conky.conf file:

background = true,

This variable will fork conky to your background. If you want to make your window always visible on your desktop, sticky across all workspaces and not showing in your taskbar, add these arguments:

own_window = true,
own_window_type = 'override',

The override takes conky out of the control of your window manager.

Add a ~/.config/autostart/conky.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=conky -d

You may want to add -p 10 to the Exec parameter so that it starts drawing conky after the desktop is up (-p 10 means pause for 10 seconds at startup before doing anything).

Prevent flickering

Conky needs Double Buffer Extension (DBE) support from the X server to prevent flickering because it cannot update the window fast enough without it. It can be enabled in /etc/X11/xorg.conf with Load "dbe" line in "Module" section. The xorg.conf file has been replaced (1.8.x patch upwards) by /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d which contains the particular configuration files. DBE is loaded automatically.

To enable double buffering, add the option

 double_buffer = true,

to your conky.conf.

Custom colors

Aside the classic preset colors (white, black, yellow...), you can set your own custom color using the color name code. To determine the code of a color, use a color selector app. The basic gcolor2 package in the official repositories will give you the color name. It is made of six hexadecimal digits (0-9, A-F). Add this line in your configuration file for a custom color:

 color0 = 'white', --convention for standard named colors
 color1 = '00CC00', --convention for hex colors: no pound sign

Then, when editing the TEXT section, use custom color number previously defined, for example ${color3} .

Dual Screen

When using a dual screen configuration, you will need to play with two options to place your conky window. Let's say you are running a 1680X1050 pixels resolution, and you want the window on middle top of your left monitor, you will use this:

alignment = 'top_left',
gap_X = 840,

The alignment option is trivial, and gap_X option is the distance, in pixels, from the left border of your screen.

The xinerama_head option might also need to be set.

Do not minimize on Show Desktop

Using Compiz: If the 'Show Desktop' button or key-binding minimizes Conky along with all other windows, start the Compiz configuration settings manager, go to "General Options" and uncheck the "Hide Skip Taskbar Windows" option.

If you do not use Compiz, try editing conky.conf and adding/changing the following line:

own_window_type = 'override',


own_window_type = 'desktop',

Refer to conkys man page for the exact differences. But the latter option enables you to snap windows to conkys border using resize key-binds in e.g. Openbox, which the first one does not.

Integrate with GNOME

Some have experienced problems with conky showing up under GNOME.

  • Add these lines to conky.conf:
own_window yes
own_window_type conky
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager

If you still experience problems with transparency. You could add these lines.

own_window_argb_visual yes
own_window_argb_value 255

Integrate with Razor-qt

With conky's default configuration, its window might disappear from the desktop when you click on the latter. Add these lines to:

own_window yes
own_window_class Conky
own_window_type normal
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
own_window_transparent yes

Display package update information

  • Pacman provides its own script called checkupdates which displays package updates from the official repos. Use ${execpi 3600 checkupdates | wc -l} to display the total number of packages.
  • Paconky - Displays package update information in a user-defined format. The output of this program can be included in Conky with the ${execpi} command.
  • Scrolling Notifications - Prints scrolling update notifications. From the author of paconky.
  • Perl Script - Simpler and earlier script from the author of paconky. Prints only the number of packages needing an update.
  • Python Script - Fairly configurable update notification program in Python.
  • Bash Script - Bash script for users that have enabled ShowSize.

Display weather forecast

See this thread.

Display a countdown timer

ConkyTimer is a simple countdown timer that displays the remaining time of a defined task.

Start the timer using conkytimer "<task description>" <min>.

Display RSS feeds

Conky has the ability to display RSS feeds natively without the need for an outside script to run and output into Conky. For example, to display the titles of the ten most recent Planet Arch updates and refresh the feed every minute, you would put this into your conky.conf in the TEXT section:

${rss https://planet.archlinux.org/rss20.xml 1 item_titles 10 }

If you want to display Arch Forum rss feed, add this line:

${rss https://bbs.archlinux.org/extern.php?action=feed&type=rss 1 item_titles 4}

where 1 is in minutes the refresh interval (15 mn is default),4 the number of items you wish to show.

Display rTorrent stats

See this thread.

Display your WordPress blog stats

This can be achieved by using the in python written extension named ConkyPress.

Display number of new emails


method 1

Create a file named gmail.py in a convenient location (this example uses ~/.scripts/) with the following Python code:

#!/usr/bin/env python

from urllib.request import FancyURLopener

email = 'your email' # @gmail.com can be left out
password  = 'your password'

url = 'https://%s:%s@mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom' % (email, password)

opener = FancyURLopener()
page = opener.open(url)

contents = page.read().decode('utf-8')

ifrom = contents.index('<fullcount>') + 11
ito   = contents.index('</fullcount>')

fullcount = contents[ifrom:ito]

print(fullcount + ' new')
method 2

The following script does less "by hand", and uses more of the capabilities of Python.

#! /usr/bin/env python

import urllib.request
from xml.etree import ElementTree as etree

# Enter your username and password below within quotes below, in place of ****.
# Set up authentication for gmail
auth_handler = urllib.request.HTTPBasicAuthHandler()
                          user= '****',
                          passwd= '****')
opener = urllib.request.build_opener(auth_handler)
# ...and install it globally so it can be used with urlopen.

gmail = 'https://mail.google.com/gmail/feed/atom'
NS = '{http://purl.org/atom/ns#}'
with urllib.request.urlopen(gmail) as source:
    tree = etree.parse(source)
fullcount = tree.find(NS + 'fullcount').text

print(fullcount + ' new')

Add the following string to your conky.conf in order the check your Gmail account for new email every five minutes (300 seconds) and display:

${execpi 300 python ~/.scripts/gmail.py}
method 3

The same way, but with using curl, grep and sed:

$ curl -s -u '''email''':'''password''' https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom | grep fullcount | sed 's/<[^0-9]*>//g'

replace email and password with your data.

method 4

Alternatively, you can use stunnel which is provided by the stunnel package.

The following configuration is taken from Conky's FAQ

Modify /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf as follows, and then start stunnel.service:

# Service-level configuration for TLS server
client = yes
accept  = 143
connect = imap.gmail.com:143
protocol = imap
sslVersion = TLSv1
# Service-level configuration for SSL server
client = yes
accept  = 993
connect = imap.gmail.com:993

The only thing left is our conky.conf:

imap localhost username * -i 120 -p 993
Inbox: ${imap_unseen}/${imap_messages}

Here I used * as the password for conky to ask for it at start, but you do not have to do it.

IMAP + SSL using Perl

Conky has built in support for IMAP accounts but does not support SSL. This can be provided using this script from this forum post. This requires the Perl/CPAN Modules Mail::IMAPClient and IO::Socket::SSL which are in the perl-mail-imapclientAUR and perl-io-socket-ssl packages

Create a file named imap.pl in a location to be read by conky. In this file, add (with the appropriate changes):


# gimap.pl by gxmsgx
# description: get the count of unread messages on imap

use strict;
use Mail::IMAPClient;
use IO::Socket::SSL;

my $username = 'example.username'; 
my $password = 'password123'; 

my $socket = IO::Socket::SSL->new(
  PeerAddr => 'imap.server',
  PeerPort => 993
 or die "socket(): $@";

my $client = Mail::IMAPClient->new(
  Socket   => $socket,
  User     => $username,
  Password => $password,
 or die "new(): $@";

if ($client->IsAuthenticated()) {
   my $msgct;

   $msgct = $client->unseen_count||'0';
   print "$msgct\n";


Add to conky.conf:

${execpi 300 ~/.conky/imap.pl} 

or wherever you saved the file.

If you use Gmail you might need to generate an application specific password.

Alternatively, you can use stunnel as shown above: #Gmail

IMAP using PHP

Another alternative using PHP. PHP needs to be installed and extension=imap.so must be uncommented in /etc/php/php.ini.

Then create a file named imap.php in a location to be read by conky. Make the file executable:

$ chmod +x imap.php

In this file, add (with the appropriate changes):

// See http://php.net/manual/function.imap-open.php for more information about
// the mailbox string in the first parameter of imap_open.
// This example is ready to use with Office 365 Exchange Mails,
// just replace your username (=email address) and the password.
$mbox = imap_open("{outlook.office365.com:993/imap/ssl/novalidate-cert}", "username", "password");

// Total number of emails
$nrTotal = imap_num_msg($mbox);

// Number of unseen emails. There are other ways using imap_status to count
// unseen messages, but they don't work with Office 365 Exchange. This one does.
$unseen = imap_search($mbox, 'UNSEEN');
$nrUnseen = $unseen ? count($unseen) : 0;

// Display the result, format as you like.
echo $nrUnseen.'/'.$nrTotal;

// Not needed, because the connection is closed after the script end.
// For the sake of clean public available scripts, we are nice to
// the imap server and close the connection manually.

Add to conky.conf:

${execpi 300 ~/.conky/imap.php} 

or wherever you saved the file.

This script displays A/B where A is the number of unseen emails and B is the total number of mails in the mailbox. There are a lot of other informations available through a lot of PHP functions like with imap_Status (http://php.net/manual/function.imap-status.php). Just see the PHP docs about IMAP: http://php.net/manual/ref.imap.php.

Show graphic of active network interface

To test if a network inferface is currently active, you can use the test conky variable if_existing on the operstate of the interface. Here's an example for wlo1 :

draw_graph_borders yes 
${if_existing /sys/class/net/wlo1/operstate up}
${color #0077ff}Net Down:$color ${downspeed wlo1}      ${color #0077ff}Net Up:$color ${upspeed wlo1}
${color #0077ff}${downspeedgraph wlo1 32,155 104E8B 0077ff} $alignr${color #0077ff}${upspeedgraph wlo1 32,155 104E8B 0077ff}

This is the expected result :


Fix scrolling with UTF-8 multibyte characters

The current version of conky (1.9.0) suffers from a bug where scrolling text increments by byte, not by character, resulting in text containing multibyte characters to disappear and reappear while scrolling. A package with a patch fixing this bug can be found in the AUR: conky-utfscrollAUR

User-contributed configuration examples

A sample rings script with nvidia support

See [2].

A note about symbolic fonts

Many of the more decorated conky.conf's use the fonts PizzaDude Bullets and Pie Charts for Maps. They are available from the AUR as ttf-pizzadude-bulletsAUR and ttf-piechartsformapsAUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror] respectively, or they can be found and downloaded with a quick search and manually installed using the instructions in Fonts.

Universal method to enable true transparency

Transparency is a strange beast in conky, but there is a way to universally apply true transparency with any environment or window manager by using xcompmgr and transset-df. Install xcompmgr and transset-df.

Note: This may conflict with any other compositing manager you are already using.

Check xcompmgr documentation to help you decide which compositing options you would like to enable. The following is a common standard command.

$ xcompmgr -c -t-5 -l-5 -r4.2 -o.55 &

Make sure conky is running with conky &. Use transset-df to enable transparency on the conky window. Set '.5' to any value in the range 0 - 1.

$ transset-df .5 -n Conky

This should give your conky window true transparency. If you get an error like:

No Window matching Conky exists!

verify that conky is running, and use xprop and click on the conky window to find the name you should pass to transset-df.

$ xprop | grep WM_NAME
WM_NAME(STRING) = "Conky (ArchitectLinux)"

In this case, conky is right, but for you it may be different, so be sure to use your output instead. If conky.conf has an option own_window_type set to panel, then this xprop invocation may show no output. Try using dock, normal, override or desktop instead.

Use this in ~/.xinitrc to have transparent conky after X starts up:

xcompmgr -c -t-5 -l-5 -r4.2 -o.55 &
conky -d; sleep 1 && transset-df .5 -n Conky

See also