I'm using pretty much the standard i3 config and sometimes I press the wrong keys and this extra bar shows up at the top:


I believe it's the "parent container"? How do I hide the bar again? It disappears if I close all windows on that workspace, but reappears once I open a window again. I'd like to find a solution that doesn't require restarting i3.

2 Answers 2


Basically this happens when you have one layout for your parent and another layout for your child and one of those layouts is in tab or stack mode and this can be confusing with the other layouts:


Open two terminals side by side (the default mode is horizontal split)

Now the child layout is in SplitH mode.

Put the child layout is in Stack mode ($mod+s is the default shortcut).

Select the parent layout ($mod+a focus parent) and put it in Tab mode ($mod+w layout tabbed).

Now you should see the tab bar with i3: S[termite termite] which means the child of the tab is in Stack mode and the parent is in Tab mode.

If you select the parent ($mod+a) and you open a new terminal, it will go in another tab (and not in the stack).

Note that if you select the parent of the parent, the layout is still SplitH, you can try it by typing $mod+a twice and open a new terminal.


Actually it's more like a feature to make it "less" confusing when you are working with Stack/Tabbed layouts so a "solution" would be to move your windows out of the Stack/Tab layout with $mod+Shift+Right. (and disabling those shortcuts if you don't use Stack or Tab mode)

In my example, put the focus on one terminal from the stack and press $mod+Shift+Right, it should leave the stack and go to the parent (another tab). Go back to terminal in the stack ($mod+Left) then $mod+Shift+Right, your second terminal will leave the stack then you end up with only one child (tabbed layout) and the parent which is still SplitH

It disappears if I close all windows on that workspace, but reappears once I open a window again.

This is because you are starting with a Tabbed or Stack as a parent (by pressing $mod+s or $mod+w without any window in the workspace for example)


Close everything (or move them to another workspace) and put the layout in SplitH again ($mod+h)


This looks to me like you've switched to a stacking layout. For example, I have this in my config file:

bindsym $mod+s layout stacking
bindsym $mod+w layout tabbed
bindsym $mod+e layout toggle split

The default is usually split. Perhaps you pressed $mod+s to switch to stacking. Try $mod+e to switch back.

See section 6.3 of the i3 docs: https://i3wm.org/docs/userguide.html#manipulating_layout


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