What is subtle?

subtle is a manual tiling window manager with a rather uncommon approach of tiling: Instead of relying on predefined layouts, subtle divides the screen into a grid with customizeable slots (called gravities). For better understanding, the default config uses a 3x3 grid and maps each gravity to one key of the numpad. With those keys, windows can be moved directly to the desired gravity - the same can be done with tagging rules in the config.

Another unique concept is the strict tagging: Unlike other tiling window managers, subtle doesn't allow weak tagging and always maps windows to virtual desktops (called views) with matching tags, regardless of the current active view.


  • Builtin system tray
  • Extendable builtin panel (see sublets)
  • Customizeable key/mouse actions (see grabs)
  • Focus on scripting (Ruby - see rdoc and subtlext)
  • Commandline client (see subtler)
  • Extended window tagging
  • Compliance (EWMH / ICCCM / MWM / XDG Base Directory)
  • Multihead support (Xinerama / XRandR)

Where to start?

  • Problems?
  • Check the FAQ
  • Use the bugtracker
  • Ask in the forum
  • Join #subtle on irc.freenode.org (IRC)


In case you want to help but don't know how, please help with some documentation and improve the wiki or make a donation. Patches, suggestions and open discussions are always welcome.

Click here to lend your support to: subtle and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !


This code can be distributed under the terms of the GNU GPLv2. See the file COPYING for details.

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