How To

Add Customizable Status Bar on Linux using Polybar

Polybar is a fast and easy-to-use tool for creating status bars on Linux machines. It aims to help users build beautiful and highly customizable status bars for their desktop environment, without the need of being an expert in shell scripting language. Before showing you how to install polybar and customize it on your desktop, lets take a quick look at its features.

install Polybar

image source

Polybar Features

The main purpose of this app is to help users create beautiful status bars on their linux desktop. It comes with a built-in functionality to display information about the most commonly used services. See below some of the features:

  • Systray icons
  • Window title
  • Playback controls and status display for MPD using libmpdclient
  • ALSA volume controls
  • Workspace and desktop panel for bspwm and i3
  • Workspace module for EWMH compliant window managers
  • Keyboard layout and indicator status
  • CPU and memory load indicator
  • Battery display
  • Network connection details
  • Backlight level
  • Date and time label
  • Time-based shell script execution
  • Command output tailing
  • User-defined menu tree
  • Inter-process messaging
  • And more…
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How to install Polybar on Ubuntu 16.10 &Ubuntu 16.04

  • We will be installing this on Ubuntu 16.10, but to install on ubuntu 16.04, just replace the section in the command below “yakkety-getdeb” with “xenial-getdeb”
wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb yakkety-getdeb apps" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/getdeb.list'

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install polybar

Activate the app using the example config file

  • Activate the sample config file with following command
sudo mkdir -p ~/.config/polybar
sudo cp /usr/share/doc/polybar/config ~/.config/polybar/
  • To make it activate, run the following command
polybar example

If the resulting status bar output looks out of shape, it’s most likely you are missing the fonts defined in the config. Simply update the config or install the missing fonts.

About the author


A passionate Linux and Open Source user. In my spare time, I love developing mobile games for fun (You can check my games out iOS Store | Google Play Store) and also spend time contributing to the Linux community.

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