Favorite Linux utilities: rofi launcher

I like minimalist systems, that contain utilities which are capable doing only a small set of things, but they do it well.

Rofi is great example. I searched for a non-graphical launcher. Is it possible? Of course! Rofi is a customizable launcher, that you can use with any desktop environment, not just with tiling window manager.

While rofi is cool and beginner friendly, this guide won't be. Since I use only i3wm for the past like 2 years(?), I don't know how things in other DE works.

Install rofi

One easy step. Grab your terminal or your favorite package manager and search for "rofi". If you didn't find it, that means you are using a frakking ancient distro and it's time to move on, hehe.

If you are using the Arch family, just use this command:

$ sudo pacman -S rofi

That's it! Time to move on to...

Make a Shortcut

Rofi doesn't need special things, but we need a shortcut we can use it with. Here comes the fun part!

Most DE has some keyboards & shortcuts configuration tool, where you can set it up. Honestly I use XFCE outside of i3wm, so I don't know much about it, but I am sure you can find it.

This is a basic command everybody can use:

rofi -show drun

This will show a search box, and a list of programs in alphabetic order under it. Pretty simple. Rofi can read .desktop files from the system, so if you install something, it will appear in the menu instantly.

If you want to go spartan, and just use a command-based launcher, here is this:

rofi -show run

The downside is that you need to know the commands when you search for it.

Rofi is also window switcher, and can show all the open windows on every workspaces.

rofi -show window

Now, you can assign different shortcuts to these commands, or simple combine them in one rofi launcher!


The config file is in your home directory at ~/.config/rofi/config.rasi.