Keys

The keys variable defines Qtile’s key bindings. Individual key bindings are defined with libqtile.config.Key as demonstrated in the following example. Note that you may specify more than one callback functions.

from libqtile.config import Key

keys = [
   # Pressing "Meta + Shift + a".
   Key(["mod4", "shift"], "a", callback, ...),

   # Pressing "Control + p".
   Key(["control"], "p", callback, ...),

   # Pressing "Meta + Tab".
   Key(["mod4", "mod1"], "Tab", callback, ...),
]

The above may also be written more concisely with the help of the libqtile.config.EzKey helper class. The following example is functionally equivalent to the above:

from libqtile.config import EzKey as Key

keys = [
   Key("M-S-a", callback, ...),
   Key("C-p",   callback, ...),
   Key("M-A-<Tab>", callback, ...),
]

The EzKey modifier keys (i.e. MASC) can be overwritten through the EzKey.modifier_keys dictionary. The defaults are:

modifier_keys = {
   'M': 'mod4',
   'A': 'mod1',
   'S': 'shift',
   'C': 'control',
}

KeyChords

Qtile also allows sequences of keys to trigger callbacks. In Qtile, these sequences are known as chords and are defined with libqtile.config.KeyChord. Chords are added to the keys section of the config file.

from libqtile.config import Key, KeyChord

keys = [
    KeyChord([mod], "z", [
        Key([], "x", lazy.spawn("xterm"))
    ])
]

The above code will launch xterm when the user presses Mod + z, followed by x.

Warning

Users should note that key chords are aborted by pressing <escape>. In the above example, if the user presses Mod + z, any following key presses will still be sent to the currently focussed window. If <escape> has not been pressed, the next press of x will launch xterm.

Modes

Chords can optionally specify a “mode”. When this is done, the mode will remain active until the user presses <escape>. This can be useful for configuring a subset of commands for a particular situations (i.e. similar to vim modes).

from libqtile.config import Key, KeyChord

keys = [
    KeyChord([mod], "z", [
        Key([], "g", lazy.layout.grow()),
        Key([], "s", lazy.layout.shrink()),
        Key([], "n", lazy.layout.normalize()),
        Key([], "m", lazy.layout.maximize())],
        mode="Windows"
    )
]

In the above example, pressing Mod + z triggers the “Windows” mode. Users can then resize windows by just pressing g (to grow the window), s to shrink it etc. as many times as needed. To exit the mode, press <escape>.

Note

If using modes, users may also wish to use the Chord widget (libqtile.widget.chord.Chord) as this will display the name of the currently active mode on the bar.

Chains

Chords can also be chained to make even longer sequences.

from libqtile.config import Key, KeyChord

keys = [
    KeyChord([mod], "z", [
        KeyChord([], "x", [
            Key([], "c", lazy.spawn("xterm"))
        ])
    ])
]

Modes can also be added to chains if required. The following example demonstrates the behaviour when using the mode argument in chains:

from libqtile.config import Key, KeyChord

keys = [
    KeyChord([mod], "z", [
        KeyChord([], "y", [
            KeyChord([], "x", [
                Key([], "c", lazy.spawn("xterm"))
            ], mode="inner")
        ])
    ], mode="outer")
]

After pressing Mod+z y x c, the “inner” mode will remain active. When pressing <escape>, the “inner” mode is exited. Since the mode in between does not have mode set, it is also left. Arriving at the “outer” mode (which has this argument set) stops the “leave” action and “outer” now becomes the active mode.

Note

If you want to bind a custom key to leave the current mode (e.g. Control + G in addition to <escape>), you can specify lazy.ungrab_chord() as the key action. To leave all modes and return to the root bindings, use lazy.ungrab_all_chords().

Modifiers

On most systems mod1 is the Alt key - you can see which modifiers, which are enclosed in a list, map to which keys on your system by running the xmodmap command. This example binds Alt-k to the “down” command on the current layout. This command is standard on all the included layouts, and switches to the next window (where “next” is defined differently in different layouts). The matching “up” command switches to the previous window.

Modifiers include: “shift”, “lock”, “control”, “mod1”, “mod2”, “mod3”, “mod4”, and “mod5”. They can be used in combination by appending more than one modifier to the list:

Key(
    ["mod1", "control"], "k",
    lazy.layout.shuffle_down()
)

Special keys

These are most commonly used special keys. For complete list please see the code. You can create bindings on them just like for the regular keys. For example Key(["mod1"], "F4", lazy.window.kill()).

Return

BackSpace

Tab

space

Home, End

Left, Up, Right, Down

F1, F2, F3, …

XF86AudioRaiseVolume

XF86AudioLowerVolume

XF86AudioMute

XF86AudioNext

XF86AudioPrev

XF86MonBrightnessUp

XF86MonBrightnessDown

Reference

Key

class libqtile.config.Key(modifiers: List[str], key: str, *commands, desc: str = '')[source]

Defines a keybinding.

Parameters
modifiers:

A list of modifier specifications. Modifier specifications are one of: “shift”, “lock”, “control”, “mod1”, “mod2”, “mod3”, “mod4”, “mod5”.

key:

A key specification, e.g. “a”, “Tab”, “Return”, “space”.

commands:

A list of lazy command objects generated with the lazy.lazy helper. If multiple Call objects are specified, they are run in sequence.

desc:

description to be added to the key binding

KeyChord

class libqtile.config.KeyChord(modifiers: List[str], key: str, submappings: List[Union[libqtile.config.Key, libqtile.config.KeyChord]], mode: str = '')[source]

Define a key chord aka vim like mode

Parameters
modifiers:

A list of modifier specifications. Modifier specifications are one of: “shift”, “lock”, “control”, “mod1”, “mod2”, “mod3”, “mod4”, “mod5”.

key:

A key specification, e.g. “a”, “Tab”, “Return”, “space”.

submappings:

A list of Key or KeyChord declarations to bind in this chord.

mode:

A string with vim like mode name. If it’s set, the chord mode will not be left after a keystroke (except for Esc which always leaves the current chord/mode).

EzConfig

class libqtile.config.EzConfig[source]

Helper class for defining key and button bindings in an emacs-like format. Inspired by Xmonad’s XMonad.Util.EZConfig.