I'm trying to bind xkill to a key combination like this:

bindsym $mod+Pause exec xkill

but nothing happens after I press the keys.

xkill works ok if I execute it from launcher.

I tried redirecting stderr to a file, but the file is empty after executing xkill.

Any ideas how to use xkill with keyboard shortcuts in i3?

  • 1
    I have this same problem
    – Sukima
    Jan 11, 2019 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


xkill is unable to run because the keyboard is still grabbed. bindsym --release $mod+Pause exec xkill should do the trick.

From the i3 User's Guide:

Some tools (such as import or xdotool) might be unable to run upon a KeyPress event, because the keyboard/pointer is still grabbed. For these situations, the --release flag can be used, which will execute the command after the keys have been released.

  • thanks, this is going to be useful if I ever use i3 again :) used it for about a year, but it works lousy with projectors...
    – igobivo
    Mar 25, 2019 at 11:08

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