General instructions

There is more than one way to start subtle, the probably easiest way is to add exec subtle to your ~/.xinitrc and simply start your X session. If you are using some kind of session or display management it's also possible to let subtle replace your current window manager if capable. In this case start subtle like this in your X session:

subtle --replace

First steps in subtle

Once inside of subtle you see the top panel with the names of the views on the left side and a blank root window. Now press W-Return (windows key + return key) to launch a terminal. By default, subtle is configured to launch urxvt, if nothing happens that just means you don't have rxvt-unicode installed. You can either install rxvt-unicode (recommended), or edit the config file ($XDG_CONFIG_DIR/subtle.rb) and replace urxvt with xterm. Once the terminal is launched, it should fill the screen in the terms view, which is the default behavior of an untagged window. Both the size and placement of the terminal can be changed with the gravity option in the config. If you start another terminal it will overlap the first which is intended - remember subtle is a manual tiling window manager after all. With W-l (windows key + l key) you can cycle through both windows.

Now it's time for gravities: In case you haven't read about it yet, gravities are slots inside of a custom grid. Per default the grid positions are mapped to the numbers of the numpad (or keypad in xorg notation). Whereas 7 is the upper left border, 9 the upper right border and so on. If you press W-KP_7 (windows key + keypad 7 key) on one of our terminals it will move into the upper left border and still overlap the other terminal window. The mouse always follows moved windows in this way.

To select our other terminal, just press W-Left (windows key + left cursor key) and focus jumps to this window. We can move it like the previous with e.g. W-KP_9 (windows key + keypad 9 key) to the upper right border. This will leave the lower half of the screen unused which is again intended. All the window movement would be troublesome to do every time for all apps daily in use, this is where tagging jumps in.

Finally changing the current view can be done with W-2 (windows key + 2 key) to the view www or W-3 (windows key + 3 key) to the dev view and so on.

Window modes

Windows can have three different modes within subtle:

Mode Description Keys
float Window floats above tiled windows W-f (windows key + f key)
full Window is in fullscreen mode W-space (windows key + space key)
stick Window is visible on every view W-s (windows key + s key)

These modes can also be set via tags.