I'm using Xfce 4.10 with xfwm4 as my window manager. I'm finding it difficult to resize windows by grabbing the border. The region where the mouse cursor changes to the "resize window" cursor seems to be only 1 or 2 pixels wide, and I keep moving right through it.

How can I make that region a bit wider? I don't want to change the appearance of window borders, just make their hit target a bit wider. (I know about the Resize option in the window menu, but that doesn't allow you to resize a window in only 1 dimension.) I've looked in the window manager settings & tweaks, but I don't see any setting that appears to apply.

  • 1
    Question remains: How to change the width of the target zone near a window edge where the cursor will grab on to the edge? Commented May 11, 2017 at 23:25

8 Answers 8


It's "very easy", you can use Alt + right-click + drag.

  • 18
    A technically correct answer which does not address the issue of the grab bar width. So we now have a GUI layout problem, because the window designer didn't make the grab are large enough. Good GUI principals use a change in the cursor/mouse over text when passing over different active areas where mouse actions will over the grab bar to indicate a change, and discourage using modifier keys such as ALT. The preferred solution from the GUI point of view, show a changed cursor in the active area, is sufficient. Novice users need not know of or remember modifiers & alternate clicks. Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 5:59
  • 8
    "Very easy" depends. Try this on a notebook with a touchpad...
    – karatedog
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 18:28
  • Took me a while to learn that there are regions around the window to be considered when Alt + right-clicking. Also, you need to press long enough for the directional arrows of the resize to appear. Noob here.
    – JeffP
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 8:22
  • 2
    Thank You!! Alt + right-click + drag to resize and Alt + left-click + drag to move the window is a big wow in my honest opinion! I've got "Minority Report" (the movie) feelings now!! This is cool! Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 13:12
  • 1
    I am using an XFCE guest in VirtualBox running on an XFCE host. If I use this method, it resizes the desktop (running on the host), not the window (running in the guest). There needs to be an alternative method that does not rely on global hotkeys.
    – Alcamtar
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 0:53

Apparently this problem has been around for years, and one bug report has been closed "won't fix". The issue has been reopened with Bug 11808 - Xfwm: Increase the resize border of window.

The width of the grab area is controlled by the theme. Another circumvention is to try different themes until you find one you can live with. One developer has commented:

That is coded in the theme itself AFAIK, at least that's what we found out during MX-15 development. If you are using greybird (or bluebird) and a Debian-based distro, then you can take a look at our mx-greybird-themes package, where we expanded the border to 3 pixels after much tester feedback about how annoying it was to try to grab it. (We are about to update that BTW to include a Stretch version that fixes other appearance problems.)

Here is a blog entry about how themes set up the boarders.

Another post suggests something to change in the theme definition (and actually this file is not part of a definition, but the window manager), ~/.gtkrc-2.0

style "default-style"
        GtkWindow::resize-grip-height = 4
        GtkWindow::resize-grip-width = 4
class "GtkWidget" style "default-style"

gives me a smaller grip area. Increasing that number should give you a larger grip area. You will need to reload the theme for the setting to take effect.

I personally haven't tried altering the theme definition, but this looks like a good starting point.

Edited to add:

Another approach involves installing and configuring Compiz (the base package may already be present in recent distributions). I repeat it as it's part of a bug report and may get deleted as not "relevant" by the bug manager.

 tm.selsingen 2017-02-11 19:40:45 CET 

This may be a rough solution not suited for those needing xfwm4 because 
of limited system resources. But you can change the default window 
manager to compiz. This solved the issue for me and I can now enjoy the 
xcfe simplicity combined with generous grabbing areas. 


Enter in terminal: 

"sudo apt-get install compiz compiz-gnome compiz-plugins-extra" 

"sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager" 

"ccsm" _______________________ 

In CCSM you need to enable OpenGL, Composite, GNOME Compatibility in 
'General' Tab. Within the 'General Options' menu, you can set the focus 
steal prevention to zero, so that new windows are placed always on top, 
and choose your workplaces 

In 'Effects', enable Fading Windows, Window decorations, and if you like 

In 'Other', you can enable Window previews (may need png) 

In Tools enable Compiz Library Toolbox, D-Bus, Mousepolling (gets 
activated if you choose Window previews), Session Management and 

Now in 'Window Management', you need to choose Application Switcher, 
Move Windows, Place Windows, Scale Windows Put and Window Rules. 

Ring, Static & Shift Switcher are more advanced Application Switchers 
you can configure as you like. 

In the CCSM Settings you need to enable Gsettings Configuration Backend. 


Now Compiz is configured, make a Backup of 
and enter 

"xfconf-query -c xfce4-session -p /sessions/Failsafe/Client0_Command -t 
string -sa compiz" 

in terminal to configure xcfe to use compiz as the default window 
manager. ________________________ 

To spare you from needing GNOME Tweak to set your theme now, you can use 

"gsettings set org.gnome.metacity theme insertyourthemehere" to change 
the window decoration theme 

and the default xcfe theme settings to change the rest of the UI. 

I experienced that my minimize/maximize Buttons were gone after that. 

you can use "gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences 
button-layout ':minimize,maximize,close,'" to restore them. 

And that's it. 

Comment 15 tm.selsingen 2017-02-12 09:11:22 CET 

I don't know how to edit posts, but I realized the desktop icon texts 
get displaced if you follow the steps. This is the fix: 

xfconf-query -c xfce4-desktop -p /desktop-icons/center-text -n -t bool 
-s false 
  • The "edited to add" approach seems to work most places, but not for Firefox. YMMV. Commented May 12, 2017 at 0:48
  • 4
    The window resize margin remains only one pixel wide in the Greybird theme, but at least in the Kokodi theme, which comes with XFCE (Ubuntu 18.04 + the xubuntu-desktop package), the margin is wider, and thus easier to use. Commented May 2, 2018 at 0:37
  • 1
    In RHEL's 8.4 Gnome Shell 3.32.2 (Adwaita default theme) the window resize drag handles are wider (appx. 8px) but they are OUTSIDE of all the windows I've seen so far (e.g. Settings, Tweaks, ...). This is almost as annoying as too small ones if you are used to drag handles always being on the window borders – i.e. on the window – for 30 years on other GUIs. An UI element that belongs to a window outside of this very window? Forgive me, but that's ridiculous and utterly bad UX. Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 18:12
  • cont'd: And there's still a problem: The resize drag handles inside apps with MDI interface (Dolphin, Eclipse, ...) are still appx. 2px wide/high. If I connect from home office → Citrix → Win 10 → RDP/Xvnc → RHEL all the windows in RHEL jump ~1–2 cm at dragging. Try to position the mouse on ~2px with such a lag cummulated across two remote sessions. Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 12:51
  • The bug has been moved. Judging my the comment at the bottom this might be getting worked on gitlab.xfce.org/xfce/xfwm4/-/issues/176
    – J. Mini
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 20:42

This is a long lasting issue and I just found a fix for that at least on Xubuntu 21.04: Go to Window Manager and change theme style from "Greybird" to "Default". The problem is not exactly on the XFCE, but in the Xubuntu default theme.

enter image description here


This is what I'm doing: Alt + space to invoke a window's menu then R to run resize then Left Right Top or Bottom Arrow Key to chose direction and finally use touch pad to actually resize a window.

  • If you have that much trouble, then just map resizing the window to its own keyboard shortcut.
    – J. Mini
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 20:37

I find it easiest to just map resizing a window to a keyboard shortcut. The option for this is in the Window Manager menu.

Window Manager menu


Works in Xubuntu 20.04 from a more recent MX Linux forum:

  • ZIP file So far these files haven't been uploaded/posted to a repo or public platform, someone who knows more about it than I do could possibly clone/modify a theme which would work in a similar manner? Also Daloa theme seems to do the same thing, however, it doesn't preserve the same elements and looks different. It does, however, provide borders you can grab! From the MXlinux instructions: to use it, download the archive file from the given link, extract the contents to: $HOME/.themes, then apply it from Window Manager. Apply the theme in Settings-window manager- Style tab. select "borders."

  • instructions

This is at MXlinux wiki under topic "changing-border-size-with-xfce4-window-manager/" There are also instructions there on how to change a current theme (based on GTK3+) to possibly include the changes, but it was a bit beyond me. A complete theme that seems to work is Daloa. Possibly just use that one and then modify your colors etc. using something like OOmox? Be aware you can also modify appearance in XFCE under the Settings-appearance Style tab but this is for another set of window decorations, the color of the titlebar, etc. if I recall. and under appearance you also change your icons and font, so that's separate from the actual window borders and tab bar, etc. Now I've muddied up the nice neat post I had by editing it to explain it though I don't understand it.

  • Welcome to the site, and thank you for your contribution. Please note that link-only answers are discouraged, as the link may become invalid or the linked content change. Please edit your answer to include at least a summary of the linked explanation.
    – AdminBee
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 7:54

Or, just use Marco (window manager for Mate) You may have to install it using Synaptic or Software. (You may have to install Mate core and/or other dependencies. I actually like some of the Mate applications better, anyway. Just not the whole DE) Then, open terminal and type marco --replace
Marco provides window shading on the edges! It DOES work with Xubuntu, been using it for months now. You might lose "roll up windows" (but should be able to simply double click on titlebar for this if you want it.)


MX Linux now has a Window Manager theme with thick borders.

Goto MX Tweaks > Theme > select 'mx-comfort-thick-border'

'mx-comfort' was the default in my fresh install of MX Linux 21.3 (Wildflower)

MX Tweaks

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