i3 is an ultra lightweight tiling window manager with excellent documentation. It follows the Arch Way in that it is configurable through a simple text based config file and is generally badass (well tested, simple to use, small codebase, etc). It is also fast and consumes almost no memory.

i3’s entire purpose is to be controlled through key commands. When you first install it, it gives you a well documented configuration file for you to edit. There are only a few changes we have to make to make i3 vim compatible.

One of the key benefits of using Arch and i3 is that there are no “random” keybindings – everything is documented in your i3 config. This makes it much easier to do things like define Alt+C/V to be copy/paste (for example) – we will get to that when we discuss urxvt

Open ~/.i3 or ~/.config/i3/config

# Mod=Alt -- I use alt so it doesn't conflict with vim or tmux but is easy to reach
set $mod Mod1

# kill focused window (vim delete, follows vimperator settings more than vim)
bindsym $mod+d kill

# dmenu is how you start programs -- make it the same as vim command mode
bindsym $mod+semicolon exec dmenu_run

# i3 uses jkl; instead of hjkl -- fix that
bindsym $mod+h focus left
bindsym $mod+j focus down
bindsym $mod+k focus up
bindsym $mod+l focus right

# move focused window
bindsym $mod+Shift+h move left
bindsym $mod+Shift+j move down
bindsym $mod+Shift+k move up
bindsym $mod+Shift+l move right

# These are more like the tmux config we will get to later, but are intuitive
bindsym $mod+backslash  split horizontal
bindsym $mod+bar        split horizontal
bindsym $mod+apostrophe split vertical
bindsym $mod+quotedbl   split vertical
bindsym $mod+minus      split vertical

You can also see more settings (and up to date settings) I have at my i3 config