"A new Blackbox for Windows generation..."


bbLean is the lean version of Blackbox for Windows. It tries to keep balance between features and complexity, to give you some efficient means within a compact shell.

bbLean is based stylistically on the Blackbox window manager for the X Window System by Brad Hughes.

Quick Start



User Interface

The Blackbox for Windows shell consists of the following elements:


Mouse event Effect
right-click show main menu
mid-click / right-click with shift show workspaces menu
left-click hide menus / bring pinned menus on top

These and other desktop mouse-clicks are configurable in extensions.rc.

Drop Image Display mode
no modifier centered
with shift held down stretched
with control held down tiled


Mouse event Effect
right-click show options menu
right-click on label show workspaces menu
right-click on clock show main menu
double-click on clock date & time control
ctrl + left-drag drag toolbar temporarily
ctrl + double-left-click reset position

The toolbar may be turned on or off from Configuration->Misc. Please note that what you see in the default installation is not the toolbar but bbLeanBar. See readme.txt and bbLeanBar.rc in the plugins/bbLeanBar folder.


on taskentry  
left-click activate task
gesture to the left/right move window to previous/next workspace
shift-left-click zoom task into current workspace
right-click minimize task / show window system menu (depending on the setting in Configuration->Tasks->System menu)
shift-right-click close task
middle-click move task to next workspace
shift-middle-click move task to previous workspace
alt-left-click change task display mode (text, icon, text+icon)
alt-right-click toggle 'current only' mode

on workspace label  
left/right-click switch to next/previous workspace
left-double-click open clock properties
<other> take over the configuration for desktop-clicks in extension.rc

on tray icon  
ctrl-right show icons menu
alt-right toggle all hidden icons
shift-right toggle one icon
<other> forwarded to the icons' application>

on current-only button  
left click toggle display tasks for all/current workspace
right click toggle display all trayicons

on the entire bar  
ctrl-right bbleanbar options menu
ctrl-left-drag move the bar
ctrl-left-double-click reset the bar to its previous location


Mouse event Effect
right-click on desktop background open main menu
left-click on desktop background close menus / bring menus on top
right-click on titlebar close this menu
left-click the titlebar and drag move / pin menu
double-left-click the titlebar toggle on top property
left-click on folder bring back pinned submenu
double-left-click on folder explore folder (*)
left-drag of file-item drag item elsewhere
right-click on file-item open context menu for file or folder
shift+right-click on folder titlebar open folder's context menu
alt-double-left on file/folder show properties
mouse wheel / drag scroll-button scroll long menus

(*) This command is configurable in extensions.rc, for instance:

blackbox.options.openFolderCommand: explorer.exe /e,"%1"
Keyboard navigation Effect
up/down/left/right arrows navigate
page-up/down home/end navigate
crtl+up/down scroll menu
alt+up/down/left/right arrows move menu
letters A-Z,0-9,... shortcut (underscored or first letter)
enter, spacebar activate item
alt-enter show properties (file/folder)
app-key show context menu
tab cycle through pinned menus
F5 update folder
ctrl+n,e,t,s sort folder by name, extension, time, size
insert pin menu / toggle onTop mode
del, escape close menu


See the included bbkeys.rc for examples, how to invoke the menu from the keyboard. The LWIN and RWIN key shortcuts work only if bbLean is installed as default shell.

Hold down control for faster progress with the -number+ items.


Shortcut hotkeys for various actions like changing workspaces or switching windows are done with the BBKeys plugin. Edit 'bbkeys.rc' to change or add key bindings.

Default bbkeys.rc bindings:

LWin ShowMenu -key root
RWin ShowMenu -key
Win + Ctrl + M ShowMenu
Win + Shift + M ShowWorkspaceMenu

Win + Num1..6 Workspace1..6
Win + Left PrevWorkspace
Win + Right NextWorkspace
Win + Ctrl + Left PrevWindow
Win + Ctrl + Right NextWindow
Win + Ctrl + Up PrevWindowAllWorkspaces
Win + Ctrl + Down NextWindowAllWorkspaces
Win + Up MoveWindowLeft
Win + Down MoveWindowRight
Win + G GatherWindows

Win + X MaximizeWindow
Win + V MaximizeVertical
Win + H MaximizeHorizontal
Win + N MinimizeWindow
Win + Y RestoreWindow
Win + D MinimizeAll
Win + End ShadeWindow
Win + PageUp RaiseWindow
Win + PageDown LowerWindow
Win + Insert StickWindow
Win + Delete CloseWindow

Win + M EditMenu
Win + P EditPlugins
Win + S EditStyle
Win + Ctrl + S AboutStyle
Win + Ctrl + P TogglePlugins
Win + T ToggleTray
Win + Ctrl + R Reconfigure
Win + Alt + R Restart
Win + Q Quit

Win + F10 Logoff
Win + F11 Reboot
Win + F12 Shutdown
Win + Ctrl + F12 Hibernate
Win + Alt + F12 Suspend
Win + Spacebar LockWorkstation
Win + R Run

Extern commands  
Win + E Exec explorer.exe /e,c:\ (explorer window)
Win + Pause Exec control.exe sysdm.cpl (system properties)
Win + Home Exec docs\bblean.htm (bbLean documentation)


To load a plugin

Either use bbLean's configuration menu or add it manually to plugins.rc and restart bbLean.

Clicking the right mouse button on a plugin with the control key held down will usually show its configuration menu.

Dragging with the left mouse button with the control key held down will usually allow you to move the plugin over the screen.

To load a plugin into BBSlit, you need to:

Some basic plugins

Plugin Author Note
BBAnalogExMod ysuke Analogue clock, with alarm etc.
BBCalendar Theo Calendar that lets you set events on days.
BBEdgeFlip BladeStaylor Switches workspace when mouse touches screen edge
BBIcons Tres`ni Icons to start programs, sitting on desktop or in the slit. Get docs from the pack here, but use latest version from here.
bbIconBox grischka Icons in boxes.
BBInterface psyci Buttons, sliders, icons and more...
BBMail qwilk Checks your email accounts.
bbNote grischka Little stylized editor to edit your rc-files and other things.
BBPager NC-17 Virtual workspace display and control.
BBSoundFx qwilk Plays sound snippets on various events.
BBTaskSwitch kana BB-stylized Alt-Tab SwitchWindow.
BBXEyes Procic Konstantin Eyes following your cursor around the screen
SystembarEx BladeStaylor Very configurable advanced taskbar. Available here. Use the latest built (07-14) from here.
bbFoomp freeborn Front-end for foobar2k (must be loaded into slit).

There are many other plugins available. See -> Links.


Note: If you get an error loading a plugin it might require extra runtime libraries (msvcr71/msvcp71.dll, msvcr80/msvcp80.dll, gdiplus.dll, ...). Kana's plugins require bbcmd.dll from his website.

You can put these into the system32 directory or into the same directory as blackbox.exe.