images/wprefs.jpg is the heart of the configuration process in Window Maker.

Upon installing Window Maker and running it for the first time, the WPrefs application is available under dock icon by default:

GNUstep Logo

although, depending on your distibution, location, menu entry or icon may be different. Ususally Linux distributions position WPrefs as the second or third icon in the Dock column by default, just above or below the terminal icon.

Double-clicking on this icon opens the window. Across the top of the window there is a row of icons, each one corresponding to a group of settings options. There is a checkbox for balloon help on the bottom left of the window. Most of the following is taken directly from the content of the ballon help dialogs. after launching after launching

Window focus window focus controls window focus controls

The first icon from the left-hand side controls the way windows get their focus (how they are activated).

  • Input focus mode (two choices are available):

    • Manual - click on the window to set keyboard input focus.

    • Auto - set keyboard input focus to the window under the mouse pointer.

  • Install colormap in the window

    Select either (a) install the colormap in the window that has the input focus or (b) that is under the mouse pointer.

  • Automatic window raise delay

    Setting the delay (in msec) for automatic window raising

  • Checkboxes

    The topmost check box prevents applications from receiving the focusing mouse-click (I don't know why you would use this, but some people obviously find it useful). The middle checkbox allows you to choose whether newly-opened application windows automatically receive the focus, or must be clicked to gain focus. The bottom allows you to bring window up while using keyboard.

Window handling window handling preferences window handling preferences

Clicking the second icon allows you to select the window handling options. Clicking on this icon opens a panel allowing you to define the default placement and properties of windows in the workspace.

  • Window placement

    You can use the sliders around the screen representation to modify the original placement. The gadget tells Window Maker how to order windows on the screen: Random, Manual, Cascade or Smart. Automatic is the default.

  • Dragging a maximized window

    Set the behaviour of maximized window when click on titlebar and drag with the mouse. Possible actions can be set for a window to:

    • changes its position

    • restores its unmaximized geometry

    • considers the window now unmaximized

    • does not move the window

  • Edge resistance

    To set the edge resistance and whether it resists or attracts windows. According to the selection, windows resist or attract when moved against other windows or the edges of the screen. The slider defines the threshold. Some applications' title bars may disappear at the top of the screen, with the window being too high for the screen area. Setting the edge resistance to "0" may solve this problem

  • Mod+Wheel

    You can define, how many pixels window should increment/decrement by using modifer keys + mouse wheel. By default, CTRL+wheel will change window size horizontally, while SUPER+wheel vertically.

  • When maximizing

    This option allows the window to cover (or not) icons or the dock when maximizing.

  • Opaque move/resize

    Clicking on opaque move causes windows to be moved with their contents visible. If not checked, only the frame is displayed during the move. Opaque resize makes window contents visible during resizing, otherwise only the frame is displayed.

Icon icon preferences icon preferences

Set icon or miniwindow handling options.

  • Icon positioning

    This area defines the initial placement of miniwindows or icons will be displayed: bottom, top, right, left...

  • Icon size

    Selects the size of the icons shown when a window is miniaturized and for application icons. Dockapp developers usually assume that tiles will be 64x64 pixels, so it's probably a good idea to leave it at that size, unless you know you won't be using dockapps.

  • Mini-Previews for Icons

    Allows to display content of the window, while hovering the mouse on minimised application icon. The slider allows to set the size of the preview.

  • Iconification animation

    When an application's window is miniaturized, miniaturization animation style offers four animation choices.

    • Shrinking/Zooming,

    • Spinning/Twisting,

    • 3D Flipping, or

    • None

  • Checkboxes

    The topmost box enables/disables auto-arrangement of icons. The middle box places miniwindows for opened applications on all existing workspaces (omnipresent). The bottom box, allows to use single click for minimized or docked icons isntead of double clicking.

Ergonomy ergonomic settings ergonomic settings

Various types of information are defined in this panel.

  • Size display

    Window Maker provides a box that informs you about the size of a window during resizing. You may choose to have this display (a) in the center of the screen, (b) the center of the screen, (c) the center of the resized window, (d) the side and bottom of the window as a technical drawing-like size display or (e) not at all.

  • Position display

    Same information as above but regarding the screen placement of a window while moving (no technical drawing-like option).

  • Appicon bouncing

    You can set the behaviour of AppIcons bounce here.

  • Show balloon text for

    Selecting checkboxes displays balloon text for: incomplete window titles, miniwindow titles, application and dock icons, or internal help. This may be useful for new users but many people find having help balloons pop out all over the desktop gets annoying quickly. I use the incomplete window title and the miniwindow title options and none of the others.

  • Workspace border

    You can set a small border for the workspace. This allows you to easily access the clip (for instance) when windows are maximized.

Search Path icon and pixmap search path settings icon and pixmap search path settings

This panel is used to add or delete directory paths to search for icons and pixmaps. These paths are used in the settings dialogs for dockapps and docked application icons, so having a good, complete set of defined paths is important. This may require some manual intervention, especially upon initial setup, since some default paths will not be present on your system, while others not predefined will be present. Use the add and remove dialogs to configure according to what is actually available.

Dock dock preference settings dock preference settings

In this panel you can fine-tune Dock/Clip/Drawer behaviour.

  • Clip autocollapsing delays and Clip autoraising delays lets you choose delays for expansion, collapsing, raising and lowering the Clip

  • Dock/Clip/Drawer

    First icon enables/disables thr Dock, vertical bar for your appicons and applications. Second allows to enables/disables Clip, the tile with the paperclip icon. Last one enables/disables Drawer - a special dockapp for keeping the applications icons horizontally.

Workspace workspace preference settings workspace preference settings

This panel defines navigation features within the workspace.

  • Workspace navigation

    Selecting the first checkbox allows switching to the first workspace when switching past the last workspace and vice-versa. Selecting the second checkbox allows windows to be dragged from one workspace to another. Selecting the third checkbox cause a new workspace to be created when windows are dragged off the last existing workspace. A selection menu allows you to define where the workspace name is displayed each time you move from one workspace to another (or not to display the workspace name at all).

Other other workspace configuration settings other workspace configuration settings

This panel sets icon slide speed, shade animation speed, smooth scaling and titlebar control (button) style. Animations and sound are also defined here.

  • Icon slide speed

    Selecting the left icon gives the slowest result, selecting the right one gives the fastest.

  • Shade animation speed

    Same as icon slide

  • Titlebar style

    To choose a more or less "NeXTish" titlebar. (The top version is "newer," while the bottom left is ca. 1990 and the bottom right is ca. 1988.)

  • Animations

    Selecting the animations icon enables animations for window miniaturization, shading and so on. Selecting the superfluous icon enables "ghosting" of dock (when moved - especially when moved from one side of the screen to the other) and explosion animation for icons you remove from the dock.

  • Smooth scaling

    If selected, neutralizes pixelization effect on background images. The side-effect is to slow down background image loading.

  • Dithering colormap for 8bpp

    For 8-bit displays (anyone still have one of these?) this enables dithering and changes the number of colors to reserve either for applications or for Window Maker. The Default setting almost always gives the best result.

Applications menu application menu configuration application menu configuration

In this panel the applications menu and the commands to launch each application can be defined. This panel has been changed in version 0.63.and later. It now displays the actual menu thus allowing direct editing. This can be done only if the menu is in property list format. Menus in plain text format can't be edited in WPrefs. Check the README file in the Window Maker directory on how to use one or the other.

Keyboard shortcut keyboard shortcut settings keyboard shortcut settings

Many actions in Window Maker have predefined keyboard shortcuts. These actions mainly concern windows and workspaces. Modifying, adding or removing shortcuts can be done in this panel. Defining a shortcut can be done interactively, capturing the key combination.

Mouse mouse configuration mouse configuration

The mouse grab modifier represents the keyboard shortcut to use for actions like dragging windows with the mouse or clicking inside the window. Mod1 (Alt) is the default.

This panel sets the mouse speed and double-click delay. Mouse button bindings can be defined and can be disabled or enabled.

The default setting binds the right mouse button to the applications menu, middle button to the window list menu and left button to window selection (focus). Of course, with a two button mouse, the middle button binding will not work. However, on some OSes pressing both buttons at once gives the same result as the one obtained with middle button.

Starting from version 0.65 on, the mouse wheel can be used to switch workspaces. This is not default behavior and must be enabled here.

If mouse have more than 3 buttons and/or tilt, they can be bound to some actions.

Appearance appearance settings appearance settings

In this panel, everything related to the appearance of the GUI (except the background color or image) can be configured. Windows, menus and icons can have their own background "texture," meaning color gradients of various types can be configured here. Texture, color, menu style, and title alignment can be fully customized.

Font configuration font configuration options font configuration options

This panel allows you to configure fonts for the window and menu titlebars, for the menu body text, and for the icon and clip text. In addition, a font may be defined for desktop messages.

Expert user expert user settings expert user settings

Using this panel implies some knowledge. Many options are available. Among these are:

  • Disabling miniwindows (useful when using with KDE and GNOME)

  • Using (or not) xset

  • Saving session on exit (highly recommended!)

  • Using SaveUnder in different objects

  • Using Win style cycling (added from version 0.63.0)

  • Disabling confirmation panel for the kill command

  • Disabling cycling colors highlighting of icons

  • Multi head related options

  • Screen edge snapping

Editing the configuration file

If needed, the defaults configuration file found in $(HOME)/GNUstep/Defaults/WindowMaker can be edited by hand. This file is a database with a property list syntax. When selecting an option in, it's written down into this file. When modifying this defaults file, it's very important to follow the syntax.

Window Maker: Guided Tour - Prefs