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I've been trying to figure out the size of a window for use in a small script. My current technique is using wmctrl -lG to find out the dimensions. However, the problem is this:

The x and y figures it gives are for the top left of the window decorations, while the height and width are for just the content area. This means that if the window decorations add 20px of height and 2px of width, wmctrl will report a window as being 640x480, even if it takes up 660x482 on screen. This is a problem because my script's next step would be to use that area to tell ffmpeg to record the screen. I would like to avoid hardcoding in the size of the window decorations from my current setup.

What would suit is either a method to get the size of the window decorations so I can use them to figure out the position of the 640x480 content area, or a way to get the position of the content area directly, not that of the window decorations.

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I mixed up height and width in the figures for the diagram. – Macha Jun 1 '11 at 16:44
Dead image link. – Ciro Santilli 六四事件 法轮功 包卓轩 Aug 13 '14 at 6:41
close question but also asks other things:… – Ciro Santilli 六四事件 法轮功 包卓轩 Aug 13 '14 at 6:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The following script will give you the top-left screen co-ords and size of the window (without any decoration). . . . xwininfo -id $(xdotool getactivewindow) contains enough information for you.

# Get the coordinates of the active window's
#    top-left corner, and the window's size.
#    This excludes the window decoration.
  unset x y w h
  eval $(xwininfo -id $(xdotool getactivewindow) |
    sed -n -e "s/^ \+Absolute upper-left X: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/x=\1/p" \
           -e "s/^ \+Absolute upper-left Y: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/y=\1/p" \
           -e "s/^ \+Width: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/w=\1/p" \
           -e "s/^ \+Height: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/h=\1/p" )
  echo -n "$x $y $w $h"
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This appears to work because xdotool getactivewindow returns the window id of the window manager frame (which includes decoration) rather than the client window contained inside it. – Adam Spiers Feb 12 at 0:53

The accepted answer explicitly does not include window decoration. For those still looking for how to get the geometry including all decorations, as per this question's title, you can use wmiface as per this other question Example:

wmiface frameGeometry `wmiface activeWindow`

This returns geometry and position relative to top left like so:


wmiface does not seem to come with all linux distros (I didn't find a package providing it on Mint or Ubuntu) but I was able to install it from the packages here:

And it comes with no docs nor even --help, but the README is here:

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Sorry - I regret my upvote for this because the accepted answer does include window decoration as per my comment on it. – Adam Spiers Feb 12 at 0:57

The accepted answer can be extended to get the entire window:

b=0  # b for border
t=0  # t for title (or top)

# ... find out what user wants then 

eval $(xwininfo -id $(xdotool getactivewindow) |
  sed -n -e "s/^ \+Absolute upper-left X: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/x=\1/p" \
         -e "s/^ \+Absolute upper-left Y: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/y=\1/p" \
         -e "s/^ \+Width: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/w=\1/p" \
         -e "s/^ \+Height: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/h=\1/p" \
         -e "s/^ \+Relative upper-left X: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/b=\1/p" \
         -e "s/^ \+Relative upper-left Y: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/t=\1/p" )
if [ "$entire" = true ]
then                     # if user wanted entire window, adjust x,y,w and h
    let x=$x-$b
    let y=$y-$t
    let w=$w+2*$b
    let h=$h+$t+$b
echo "$w"x"$h" $x,$y

Although easy, it turns out not to work on Unity in Ubuntu 14.04 because the Relative info is all 0. I asked How to get the full window dimensions in Unity on Ubuntu 14.04 and got a good answer. Here is how I used that answer:

eval $(xwininfo -id "$aw" |
      sed -n -e "s/^ \+Absolute upper-left X: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/x=\1/p" \
             -e "s/^ \+Absolute upper-left Y: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/y=\1/p" \
             -e "s/^ \+Width: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/w=\1/p" \
             -e "s/^ \+Height: \+\([0-9]\+\).*/h=\1/p" )
if [ "$entire" = true ]
    extents=$(xprop _NET_FRAME_EXTENTS -id "$aw" | grep "NET_FRAME_EXTENTS" | cut -d '=' -f 2 | tr -d ' ')
    bl=$(echo $extents | cut -d ',' -f 1) # width of left border
    br=$(echo $extents | cut -d ',' -f 2) # width of right border
    t=$(echo $extents | cut -d ',' -f 3)  # height of title bar
    bb=$(echo $extents | cut -d ',' -f 4) # height of bottom border

    let x=$x-$bl
    let y=$y-$t
    let w=$w+$bl+$br
    let h=$h+$t+$bb

This second method works in both Unity and Xfce, and should work in Gnome too.

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The top approach is wrong even outside Unity on Ubuntu because it assumes the left, right, and bottom borders are all the same width, and there is no guarantee of this. The second approach looks better. – Adam Spiers Feb 12 at 1:09

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