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A small drop-down terminal for i3wm and sway


  • use your favourite terminal emulator
  • can select a shell with dmenu / rofi
  • adapt to screen width
  • multi-monitor aware


When launched, it will minimize the quickterm on the current screen if there is one. Otherwise, it will either prompt the user for the shell to open or use the one supplied in argument.

If the requested shell is already opened on another screen, it will be moved on the current screen.

It is recommended to map it to an i3 binding:

# with prompt
bindsym $mod+p exec i3_quickterm
# always pop standard shell, without the menu
bindsym $mod+b exec i3_quickterm shell


The configuration is read from ~/.config/i3/i3-quickterm.json.

  • menu: the dmenu-compatible application used to select the shell
  • term: the terminal emulator of choice
  • history: a file to save the last-used shells order, last-used ordering is disabled if set to null
  • ratio: the percentage of the screen height to use
  • pos: where to pop the terminal (top or bottom)
  • shells: registered shells ({ name: command })

term can be either:

  • a format string, like this one: urxvt -t {title} -e {expanded} with the correct arguments format of your terminal. Some terminals, like xfce4-terminal need the command argument to be passed as a string. In this case, replace {expanded} by {string}
  • a terminal name from the hardcoded list, which should work out of the box. Right now, the only reference for the list is the source code (search for TERMS =). If you'd like to add another terminal (or correct an error), please open a pull request.

menu, term, history and shell can contain placeholders for environment variables: {$var}.

Unspecified keys are inherited from the defaults:

    "menu": "rofi -dmenu -p 'quickterm: ' -no-custom -auto-select",
    "term": "urxvt",
    "history": "{$HOME}/.cache/i3/i3-quickterm.order",
    "ratio": 0.25,
    "pos": "top",
    "shells": {
        "haskell": "ghci",
        "js": "node",
        "python": "ipython3 --no-banner",
        "shell": "{$SHELL}"


  • python >= 3.4
  • i3 >= v3.11 or sway >= 1.2
  • i3ipc-python >= v2.0.1
  • dmenu or rofi (optional)

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