From ArchWiki

From the project's website:

Qtile is a full-featured, hackable tiling window manager written in Python. Qtile is simple, small, and extensible. It is easy to write your own layouts, widgets, and built-in commands. It is written and configured entirely in Python, which means you can leverage the full power and flexibility of the language to make it fit your needs.


Install one of the following packages:

  • qtile for the latest official release.
  • qtile-gitAUR for the development version.

In order to run Qtile as a Wayland compositor you will need to install python-pywlroots.



To run Qtile as an X11 window manager, run qtile start with xinit.


Start Qtile as a Wayland compositor by running qtile start -b wayland.

For the status of the Wayland development progress of Qtile, see https://github.com/qtile/qtile/discussions/2409.


Note: This chapter only explains the basics of the configuration of Qtile. For more complete information, look at the official documentation.

As described in Configuration Lookup, Qtile provides a default configuration file that will be used in absence of user-defined ones.

The default configuration includes the shortcut Super+Enter to open a new terminal (selected from a hardcoded list), and Super+Ctrl+q to quit Qtile.

In order to start customizing Qtile, copy it to ~/.config/qtile/config.py:

$ mkdir -p ~/.config/qtile/
$ cp /usr/share/doc/qtile_dir/default_config.py ~/.config/qtile/config.py

Where qtile_dir is the name of the package you installed.

Alternatively, the most recent default configuration file can be downloaded from the git repository at libqtile/resources/default_config.py.

Several more complete configuration file examples can be found in the qtile-examples repository.

The configuration is fully done in Python: for a very quick introduction to the language you can read this tutorial.

Before restarting Qtile you can test your configuration file for syntax errors using the command:

$ python -m py_compile ~/.config/qtile/config.py

If the command gives no output, your script is correct.


In Qtile, the workspaces (or views) are called Groups. They can be defined as following:

from libqtile.config import Group, Match
groups = [
    Group("web", matches=[Match(title=["Firefox"])]),


You can configure your shortcuts with the Key class. Here is an example of the shortcut Alt+Shift+q to quit the window manager.

from libqtile.config import Key
from libqtile.command import lazy
keys = [
        ["mod1", "shift"], "q",

You can find out which modX corresponds to which key with the command Xmodmap.


You can add shortcuts to easily control the sound volume and state by adding a user to the audio group and using the alsamixer command-line interface, which can be installed through the alsa-utils package.

keys= [
    # Sound
    Key([], "XF86AudioMute", lazy.spawn("amixer -q set Master toggle")),
    Key([], "XF86AudioLowerVolume", lazy.spawn("amixer -c 0 sset Master 1- unmute")),
    Key([], "XF86AudioRaiseVolume", lazy.spawn("amixer -c 0 sset Master 1+ unmute"))


You can add shortcuts to easily switch between keyboard layouts in different languages using setxkbmap for example :

keys= [
    # Language 
        Key([mod], "F1",
            lazy.spawn("setxkbmap us"), 
            desc= "Change to US layout"),
            lazy.spawn("setxkbmap gr"),
            desc= "Change to Greek layout"),


Create one Screen class for every monitor you have. The bars of Qtile are configured in the Screen class as in the following example:

from libqtile.config import Screen
from libqtile import bar, widget
screens = [
        bottom=bar.Bar([          # add a bar to the bottom of the screen
            widget.GroupBox(),    # display the current Group
            widget.WindowName()   # display the name of the window that currently has focus
            ], 30))

Bars and widgets

You can find a list of all the built-in widgets in the official documentation.

If you want to add a widget to your bar, just add it like in the example above (for the WindowName widget). For example, if we want to add a battery notification, we can use the Battery widget:

from libqtile.config import Screen
from libqtile import bar, widget
screens = [
        widget.GroupBox(),    # display the current Group
        widget.Battery()      # display the battery state
       ], 30))

Using Polybar as the main bar

To use Polybar instead of the default bar, you need to delete contents of the screen class:

from libqtile.config import Screen
from libqtile import bar, widget
screens = [

To restart Polybar with Qtile, add Polybar's launching script with spawn command to restart Key in #Keys class, for example:

keys = [
    Key([mod, "control"], "r", lazy.reload_config(), lazy.spawn("~/.config/polybar/launch.sh"),


You can start up applications using hooks, specifically the startup hook. For a list of available hooks see the documentation.

Here is an example where an application starts only once:

import os
import subprocess
from libqtile import hook

def autostart():
    home = os.path.expanduser('~')
    subprocess.Popen([home + '/.config/qtile/autostart.sh'])


Qtile writes its log into ~/.local/share/qtile/qtile.log


Starting Qtile on a different virtual screen can help diagnosing issues:

$ echo "exec qtile start" > /tmp/.start_qtile; xinit /tmp/.start_qtile -- :2


Qtile provides a Xephyr development script that can be easily modified to instantiate a system-installed package by replacing:

env DISPLAY=${XDISPLAY} QTILE_XEPHYR=1 ${PYTHON} "${HERE}"/../bin/qtile start -l ${LOG_LEVEL} $@ &


env DISPLAY=${XDISPLAY} QTILE_XEPHYR=1 qtile start -l ${LOG_LEVEL} $@ &

See also