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From project home page:

The "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment" is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment. Maintained by an international community of developers, it comes with a beautiful interface, multi-language support, standard keyboard short cuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing. LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments. It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as, netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers.


LXDE requires at least lxde-common, lxsession and Openbox (or another window manager) to be installed. The lxde group contains the full desktop.

GTK 3 version

An experimental GTK 3 build of LXDE can be installed with the lxde-gtk3 group.

While it works mostly, there are some known issues with gpicview, lxappearance-obconf, lxlauncher and lxpanel.

Starting the desktop

Graphical log-in

LXDM is the default display manager for LXDE and is installed as part of the lxde group. See also Display manager.


To use startx, add to xinitrc:

exec startlxde

See also Start X at login.

Tips and tricks

Application menu editing

The application menu works by resolving the .desktop files located in /usr/share/applications/ and ~/.local/share/applications/. To add or edit a menu item, see desktop entries. Third party menu editors can be found in the AUR (e.g. lxmedAUR). There are also official ones like alacarte (GNOME), mozo (MATE), etc.


LXDE implements XDG Autostart. Applications can be automatically started in a couple of ways:

  • With .desktop files
  • Via LXsession

Each line in ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart represents a command to be executed. If a line starts with @, and the command following it crashes, the command is automatically re-executed. For example:

  • These commands do not end with a & symbol.
  • There is also a global autostart file at /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart. If both files are present, LXsession only executes the local file as of v0.4.9

Keyboard shortcuts

Mouse and key bindings (i.e. keyboard shortcuts) are implemented with Openbox. LXDE users should follow the Openbox wiki to edit ~/.config/openbox/lxde-rc.xml.

An optional GUI for editing the key bindings is provided by the obkeyAUR package. While it edits rc.xml by default, you can direct it to the LXDE configuration as follows:

$ obkey ~/.config/openbox/lxde-rc.xml

See [1] for more information.


lxappearance is a graphical tool to set GTK look and feel, including the cursor theme. Settings configured with LXAppearance are written to ~/.gtkrc-2.0, ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini and ~/.icons/default/index.theme. See also Cursor themes.

Digital clock applet time

You can right click on the digital clock applet on the panel and set how it displays the current time using the strftime format. See strftime(3) for details.

Font settings

lxappearance-obconf configures Openbox settings. See also Font configuration.

Keyboard layout

lxpanel includes a keyboard layout applet. See Keyboard configuration in Xorg for generic instructions and #Autostart to automatically start setxkbmap in LXDE.

Screen locking

LXDE does not come with a screen locker of its own. See List of applications/Security#Screen lockers and #Autostart on how to start them.

The Screen Lock icon executes a script (located at /usr/bin/lxlock) which searches for a number of well known screen lockers and uses the first one it finds to lock the screen. See lxlock on GitHub.

/etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart (from the lxde-common package) lists XScreenSaver which will be launched automatically.

See DPMS on how to control the screen saver without external programs.

LXPanel icons

To change default icons for applications, see Desktop entries#Icons.

LXPanel menus

The panel's menus can be configured in /etc/xdg/menus/lxde-applications.menu as per the xdg-menu format to work with applications from other sessions (notably MATE) to add some of the function-ability that LXDE lacks.

Use a different window manager

LXsession uses the window manager defined in ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/desktop.conf (Openbox by default). If this file does not exist, it searches in /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/desktop.conf instead.

Replace openbox-lxde in either file with a window manager of your choice:

For metacity:


For compiz:


Alternatively use WM --replace as defined in #Autostart, where WM is the name of the window manager executable being started. This means that openbox will be started first on each login and will then immediately be replaced. Note that Openbox and LXDE do not share the same rc.xml and keyboard shortcuts may differ. See xbindkeys.

Using a composite manager

LXDE does not enable compositing by default, which can lead to screen tearing problems. These can be remedied at the cost of a some graphical performance by installing a composite manager, such as picom.

Replicating the look of Lubuntu 18.04

The wallpaper, GTK theme, and icons from Lubuntu 18.04 can be used with LXDE to replicate the look of Lubuntu 18.04. The package lubuntu-artwork-18-04AUR provides the files necessary for this. Install the package, then open lxappearance. Select the "Widget" tab and choose "Lubuntu-default", then choose the "Icon Theme" tab and select "Lubuntu". Last, select "Window Border" and select "Lubuntu-default". Click "Apply" to save. Additionally, to theme the taskbar, right click the taskbar and select "Panel Settings". In the "Appearance" tab, select "System theme" and ensure the font custom color box is unchecked, then select the "Geometry" tab and ensure the "Height" is set to 24 pixels. Note that all of these settings may be adjusted as needed, but the above instructions should provide the default look of Lubuntu 18.04.


LXPanel crashes

With some GTK themes, launching lxpanel will lead to the following error:

lxpanel: cairo-scaled-font.c:459: _cairo_scaled_glyph_page_destroy: Assertion `!scaled_font->cache_frozen' failed.

In this case install ttf-dejavu.

If lxpanel crashes when browsing particular unicode web pages, install ttf-droid.

LXPanel Task Bar icon size

The icons of running applications do not match the set Icon size in Panel Settings > Geometry but are 4px smaller which makes some of them blurry. To have clear looking 32px icons in the Task Bar the set Icon size has to be 36px which would blur the icons of the rest of your active Panel Applets. To get around this create additional panel(s) and have them collectively make a single continuous looking panel by adjusting the Alignment and Margin in Panel Settings > Geometry.

Fake transparency in LXTerminal

Newer versions of the VTE terminal widget library require a compositing window manager for background transparency. The unmaintained, legacy GTK 2 version of VTE has fake transparency, where the desktop background image will show through the terminal. It you prefer fake transparency, the GTK 2 version of LXTerminal can be installed with the lxterminal-gtk2AUR package.

LibreOffice theming does not work

LXDE overrides the SAL_USE_VCLPLUGIN environment variable used for theming LibreOffice in /usr/bin/startlxde. Change the line in that file to set the theme. Upstream bug

See also