A tiling WM maximizes the use of your screen real state by handling
the space as a grid where each window (or frame) gets a piece of it in
a non-overlapping way. An additional, but not exclusive, feature found
on most of this wm is that you can do almost everything using keyboard
I have a widescreen monitor and with the extra horizontal space I can
arrange two windows side-to-side without losing too much info, and if
you have some of those massive 20+ inches lcd monitors, you have a lot
of space. I still consider a 17 inches monitor to be big… I’ve
been using 14′ monitor for almost my entire life
They are a lot of tiling WM, check the Wikipedia article for a
list of the most common. I decided to try awesome 3 a couple of
months ago and I don’t regret a bit.
First step: don’t forget about that Windows(r) key
When you open awesome for the first time, all you get is a dark theme,
with a gray wallpaper. You will have a statusbar on the top with a
clock on the right, a weird icon next to it and some numbers on the
First thing first, the magic key here is the “Windows Key” that
almost all the PC keyboards have, and the behavior is based on Vi, the text editor. From now on the “Windows key” will be just
Open your apps
To create a new terminal window all you need to do is press
modkey+Enter. To open a different app you could create your own
shortcut (but we are not there yet) or press
modkey+F1. That will
create a prompt on the statusbar where you can insert your command
Now, if you have several windows open you can circle them using
modkey+k. If you want to move between “tags” use
modkey+right (arrow keys).
Changing window sizes
Using the default layout, there will be a “main window” on the left
that will take half of the screen and all the other windows will be
confined to the right. With
modkey+l you can change
how much space is dedicated for each of this “groups”.
What if you want a single window to take the whole screen temporarily?
I have some trouble getting starting with awesome (specially because
googling for awesome doesn’t help much), so I hope this would help
somebody else trying to use awesome for the first time.
Here is a screenshot of my desktop, click for a full size version.