I'm playing around with the layout saving feature of i3. For that I want to assign names to urxvt instances that I launch. However, whenever I use the -name option, the font is displayed differently.

If for example I use

urxvt -e ncmpcpp -s playlist

The fonts look different to when I use

urxvt -name topleft -e ncmpcpp -s playlist

Does anyone know why that is? I can upload screenshots if necessary, it's just that font rendering looks bad when I give the -name option. Color theme etc. is as it should be. And it's no issue with ncmpcpp, the "dropdown" terminal in my i3 config has the same problem.


You evidently configured the font for a specific application instance rather than for an application class. Instance and class are concepts of X resources. The -name command line parameter sets the instance name (defaulting to the name of the executable); the class name is always URxvt (plus Rxvt used as a fallback).

In X resource names, conventionally, class names start with an uppercase letter and instance names start with a lowercase letter.

To make your settings always apply, set URxvt.font rather than urxvt.font, etc.


It's in the manual page:

-name name
Specify the application name under which resources are to be obtained, rather than the default executable file name. Name should not contain '.' or '*' characters. Also sets the icon and title name.

When you change the application name, it cannot find the resource-file which tells which fonts to use.

You might find this more useful:

-title text
Window title (-T still respected); the default title is the basename of the program specified after the -e option, if any, otherwise the application name; resource title.

  • Thanks for the answer. I use the -name option because then the name gets used by the i3-save-tree command: "swallows": [ { // "class": "^URxvt$", // "instance": "^urxvt$", // "title": "^ncmpcpp\\ 0\\.8$", // "transient_for": "^$" } ], If I use -name, i3-save-tree uses it in the "instance": field. Using -title does not help there. I followed this blogpost: slackword.net/?p=733 Is there any way to make it find the resource-file with the -name option? – Florian Aug 26 '17 at 23:15

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