How to define hotkeys in IceWM

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IceWM is a basic and simple window manager which is used in Unix like systems such as Linux. There is nothing fancy with IceWM and it more looks like Windows 3.1 or in the best Windows 95.The good point about this windows manager is memory usage of it. It just need 4.5 MB RAM to run according to test and gives you usable GUI which is very suitable for the old and low power computers. For fun purposes, I have installed this window manager on my Ubuntu machine and it is been awhile that I am working with it and it is kind of fun but it has its own shortage and problem. In this post I will demonstrate how to define hotkeys for this cool desktop.

Defining hotkeys is really simple, you just need to edit or create a text file and define those keys there and finally logout from IceWM and login again to see the effect. The name of the file which you need to edit is “keys” and must be located in your home directory under a directory which is .icewm. Look at example,


If the file is not existed, you need to create the file and define your keys there. Now, in order to define the key you just need edit the file and add you keys with the following structure,

key "Your Keys Combinations" action

For better understanding look at the below examples,

key "Alt+Ctrl+j" amixer set Master 5+ # increase volume
key "Alt+Ctrl+k" amixer set Master 5- # decrease volume
key "Alt+Ctrl+t" gnome-terminal # open terminal
key "Alt+Ctrl+g" gimp # open gimp

Finally, after editing the file and adding your own keys, save the file and login again to the system to see changes.

For more information please refer to following links,