Drawing boxes around i3status elements

Hello. Just switched from XFCE to the i3 distribution of Manjaro and I’m loving it. I have a question regarding i3status.

I’d like to draw boxes around each element in i3status, similar to how the workspace icons have boxes drawn around them, I’m not sure how to do this.

Is this something that’s possible and how would I go about doing it? Thanks.

iirc this is possible, but it has been a while since I used i3. You have to edit the i3status output to get the bar to give you the required borders. Documentation say’s this should be possible, again if i read correctly, never had the need to do this myself. My interpretation is that setting the right ouput format of i3status and maybe a bit of a script should be able to provide what you need to draw a border.


You can use Pango markup in your i3status configuration file to achieve colorful output in i3status.

First create a new folder in your home directory to store the default config file:

mkdir ~/.config/i3status

Then copy the default configuration file of i3status in the new directory:

cp /etc/i3status.conf ~/.config/i3status/config

Open the file ~/.config/i3status/config with a text editor and add this line in the general { ... } section:

markup = "pango"

Then you have to edit every module of i3status displayed in the bar and add color and background color to it.

Something like this for example for the cpu_usage module

cpu_usage {
        format = "<span color='#0000ff' background='#ff0000'> cpu %usage </span>"

in order to change its background color to red and its text output color to blue.

The same goes for the other modules of i3status.

To see the changes in your system you can reload i3 using $mod+Shift+r.

I didn’t know about pango before and this helps out, thank you.

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