Create a custum conky setup

I’ve wrote about conky before here, but this time I’ll explain how I got the extra’s (gmail, weather, audio) to work with it.

There are some other guides for that, but they tend to be hard to follow and only cover 1 extra feature.

I’ll try to make it as simple as possible so everyone can use it.

updated: 22/08/08

The tutorial is going to based on my recent conky setup. It looks like this:

1. Install conky.

Look at my previous post for that.

2. Basics

Note: you are going to have to restart conky a lot. I suggest you put a terminal on a hotkey (f12) and use the command “killall conky” to kill conky and “conky” to start it again.

I presume you have followed the link in point 1 and have an empty .conkyrc before you.

Past this in the empty file.

background yes
use_xft yes
xftfont 123:size=8
xftalpha 0.1
update_interval 0.5
total_run_times 0
own_window yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
minimum_size 250 5
maximum_width 400
draw_shades no
draw_outline no
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders no
default_color gray
default_shade_color red
default_outline_color green
alignment top_right
gap_x 10
gap_y 10
no_buffers yes
uppercase no
cpu_avg_samples 2
net_avg_samples 1
override_utf8_locale no
use_spacer yes

This will take care of the place conky is put on the desktop, the width it has, …

Take a good look at those lines.

maximum_width 400 -> changing the number to 200 will result in a smaller conky file, increasing to 500 will cause conky to be wider.

alignment top_right -> this tells conky to be at the top right of the screen.

If you put bottom_left, conky will be on the bottom left, if you put top_center, it will be in the middle of the screen, …

gap_x 10 -> increasing this number or decrease it to have a wider/smaller gap on the x axis of the screen
gap_y 10 -> increasing this number or decrease it to have a wider/smaller gap on the y axis of the screen

default_color gray -> this seems pretty obvious, replace gray with another color.

To get a list of colors, open this file in a browser or text editor:  file:///usr/share/X11/rgb.txt

Conky will be able to use 99% of those colors.

A list of all those things and what they do can be found here.

3. Adding things to conky

If you know run conky, you will not see anything.

You are going to need to add things to it.

Under the previously pasted text, put this


Now, everything under TEXT will be visable on your desktop.

To add plain text, just type something. It will appear on your desktop.

You’ll find a list of variables here.

If you find a variable you would like to use, put them in your file like this:


An example would be


This will give you a bar with the amount of ram memory is used on your pc.

Other variables need to be put like this

${cpu cpu0}

This will become more logical once you take a peek at my conkyrc file and compare it to the screenshot.

Changes are you’ll want to have different colors in you conky file. Remember the previous list of colors? You can use those.

Before something you want to have a certain color, put this

${color DimGray}


${color white}This is my ${color red} conky ${color white}file

“This is my file” would be white and “conky” would be red.

Everything that will come after “file” would be white also, unless you specify another color.

It’s also possible to use different fonts.

Take a look at this:

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}PROCESSORS ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}

You see you can specify a font using ${font fontname}. The bold:size=10 should also be obvious.

The ${hr 2} puts a horizontal line on the screen with a width of 2.

That line looks like this:

If you are wondering how people put symbols (like the linux pinguin or weather symbols) in their conky file, those are just fonts.

I suggest you go to and look at some fonts with symbols (openlogos for example will give you all the linux/open source symbols).

Another thing to know before you start modifying a conky file you found online, or mine, is offsets.

They are a way to force something to be put higher or lower on the desktop.

You use ${voffset 50} to put somthing “50” lower, or use ${voffset -50} to put something 50 higher.

This is usefull in quite some cases. You’ll see that this is used all the time in my conkyrc file.

Aligning something in conky is also needed all the time.


Will align your text to right, $alignc will put it in the center.

You can also use ${alignc 20}

This will put something in the center, but 20 points of to the right.

The ${align 20} to gether with ${voffset 50} is used to put text next to eachother.

I suggest that at this time, you’ll take a look at my conkyrc file and start modifying it.

background yes
use_xft yes
xftfont 123:size=8
xftalpha 0.1
update_interval 0.5
total_run_times 0
own_window yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
double_buffer yes
minimum_size 250 5
maximum_width 400
draw_shades no
draw_outline no
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders no
default_color gray
default_shade_color red
default_outline_color green
alignment top_right
gap_x 10
gap_y 10
no_buffers no
uppercase no
cpu_avg_samples 2
net_avg_samples 1
override_utf8_locale yes
use_spacer yes
text_buffer_size 256


${font openlogos:size=20}U${font Arial:size=20}${color Tan1}GNU${color Ivory}LINUX${font openlogos:size=20}t

${voffset -90}
${color DimGray}
${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}SYSTEM ${color DarkSlateGray} ${hr 2}
$font${color DimGray}$sysname $kernel $alignr $machine
Intel Pentium D $alignr${freq_g cpu0}Ghz
Uptime $alignr${uptime}
File System $alignr${fs_type}

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}PROCESSORS ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
$font${color DimGray}CPU1  ${cpu cpu1}% ${cpubar cpu1}
CPU2  ${cpu cpu2}% ${cpubar cpu2}

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}MEMORY ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
$font${color DimGray}MEM $alignc $mem / $memmax $alignr $memperc%

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}HDD ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
$font${color DimGray}/home $alignc ${fs_used /home} / ${fs_size /home} $alignr ${fs_free_perc /home}%
${fs_bar /home}
/disk $alignc ${fs_used /media/disk} / ${fs_size /media/disk} $alignr ${fs_free_perc /media/disk}%
${fs_bar /media/disk}
/disk-1 $alignc ${fs_used /media/disk-1} / ${fs_size /media/disk-1} $alignr ${fs_free_perc /media/disk-1}%
${fs_bar /media/disk-1}

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}TOP PROCESSES ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
${color DimGray}$font${top_mem name 2}${alignr}${top mem 2} %
$font${top_mem name 3}${alignr}${top mem 3} %
$font${top_mem name 4}${alignr}${top mem 4} %
$font${top_mem name 5}${alignr}${top mem 5} %

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan2}NETWORK ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
$font${color DimGray}IP on eth0 $alignr ${addr eth0}

Down $alignr ${downspeed eth0} kb/s
Up $alignr ${upspeed eth0} kb/s

Downloaded: $alignr  ${totaldown eth0}
Uploaded: $alignr  ${totalup eth0}

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan2}WEATHER ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
${font}${color DimGray}

${voffset -25}${font Weather:size=45}${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=WF}
${alignc 22}${voffset -60}${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color DimGray}${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=HT}
$font${voffset -55}${alignr}${color DimGray}Wind: ${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=WS}
${alignr}${color DimGray}Humidity: ${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=HM}
${alignr}${color DimGray}Precipitation: ${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=PC}

${color DimGray}Sunrise: $alignr${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=SR}${alignr}
Sunset: $alignr${execi 1800 conkyForecast –location=BEXX0008 –datatype=SS}$color

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan2}MUSIC ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
${color DimGray}$font${if_running mpd}
Bitrate $mpd_bitrate kbits/s
$mpd_status $mpd_elapsed/$mpd_length

${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan2}TIME ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}

${color DarkSlateGray} ${font :size=30}$alignc${time %H:%Mh}
${voffset -30}${font :bold:size=10}$alignc${time %d %b. %Y}
${font :bold:size=8}$alignc${time %A}

4. Get your external ip adress

To have conky display your external ip adress, use

${execi 3600 wget -O – | tail}

I use it like this

External IP$alignr${execi 3600 wget -O – | tail}

This looks like this:

5. Audio info

If you took a look at the variables page I linked to before, you’ll see that conky has build in support for audacious, mpd (music player deamon) and xmms2.

You saw how to use those if you took a look at my conkyrc file posted above this.

But you can use other also, a few examples:


${exec rhythmbox-client –print-playing –no-start}

Note: it is – – (without the space) instead of –, I can’t help it, WordPress does this automatically.


${execi 10 exaile –get-title} – ${execi 10 exaile –get-artist}

Note: it is – – (without the space) instead of –, I can’t help it, WordPress does this automatically.

6. Weather info

You’ll noticed I had weather info displayed on my screen and it didn’t work on you computer.

This is because it’s using scripts to work.

Take a look here for that.

7. Gmail support

It’s also possible for conky to display gmail info, take a look here for that.

Edit: info about starting conky on start up, or manually can be found in the link of point 1 of this guide.

  1. Thanks for the Info

    • Fazer
    • May 12th, 2008

    The solution to display weather again is very simple – check this site:

    • Fazer
    • May 12th, 2008

    The solution to display weather again is very simple – check this site:

    • linuxowns
    • July 9th, 2008

    Thanks, but the solution there doesn’t apply here.

  2. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

    • m_l
    • September 23rd, 2008

    Thank for the guide, it helped me out a lot. Nice site, with helpful info 🙂

    • linuxowns
    • September 24th, 2008


    • DC
    • October 13th, 2008

    Where do you get the colour names from?
    i.e. dimgray darkslategray

    • linuxowns
    • October 14th, 2008

    “To get a list of colors, open this file in a browser or text editor: file:///usr/share/X11/rgb.txt”

      • mehboob sadicote
      • September 11th, 2009

      cannot find file:///usr/share/X11/rgb.txt, i believe it’s a bug, not conky’s, but the fix is too complicated for me.

    • n3y
    • October 17th, 2008

    To restart conky while you try new sets in .conkyrc do in a terminal:

    killall -SIGUSR1 conky

    after each change in .conkyrc ,
    it will restart conky whit the new settings.

    • soul..
    • November 4th, 2008

    Nice, but:

    Conky: ~/.conkyrc1: 30: no such configuration: ‘text_buffer_size’

    Conky: unknown variable fs_type

    • Bill Goldberg
    • November 5th, 2008

    Maybe they changed some variables in the new conky version.

    I don’t know.

    If fs_type doesn’t work, either look in the conky site for the new way to do it or just type “ext3” or “reiserfs” yourself.

    • Mohan
    • January 7th, 2009

    Mine errors out as it says that I only have one CPU, and I don’t where to change the conckyrc file to get it working. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

  3. Hi,

    i was wondering if the “xftalpha 0.1” actually makes the text semi-transparent? I’ve tried using different fonts with different setup options in conky and the text always stays stubbornly opaque.

    Is there any options you need to modify to make sure that the alpha of the xft text actually works?

    I’m using the latest Ubuntu, Intrepid Ibex.



    • Bill Goldberg
    • February 2nd, 2009

    @ Mohan:

    Change this:

    ${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}PROCESSORS ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
    $font${color DimGray}CPU1 ${cpu cpu1}% ${cpubar cpu1}
    CPU2 ${cpu cpu2}% ${cpubar cpu2}

    To this:

    ${font Arial:bold:size=10}${color Tan1}PROCESSORS ${color DarkSlateGray}${hr 2}
    $font${color DimGray}CPU1 ${cpu cpu1}% ${cpubar cpu1}

    • Radom thanful person
    • May 10th, 2009

    Thanks Ive been trying to understand conky for a few days

    every1 has their conkyrc files uploaded but customizing them is difficult and requires too much other stuff xslt etc
    This is really a good guide and has clearly shown how to customize the conkyrc files and whats even better is your conkyrc file works straightaway not much customization needed which is good for beginners.

    • Radom thanful person
    • May 10th, 2009

    The setting is set to transparent in the conkyrc but its not transparent

    Ontop of that ive been using the compiz wallpaper plugin

    Bad mix I think im going to have to lose some eye candy

    • Anon
    • May 21st, 2009

    Thank you for showing exactly how to do this! You can make a script to reset conky:

    killall conky

    and then make it executable in properties. Easy for me and other newbies.

    • zmdmw52
    • September 6th, 2009

    Where can I download/install the additional fonts (openlogos & weather) ?


    • Bill Goldberg
    • September 6th, 2009

    I don’t check this website anymore lately, but I still use my own guides like this when I reinstall my OS.

    @ zmdwmw52:


    It’s the biggest one of it’s kind.

    I believe I linked to the fonts in the article, too lazy to check.

    Depending on the OS you are using, you might need to drop them in different directories.

    In Ubuntu, and similar, it’s /home/user/.fonts

    .fonts is a hidden folder, press “ctrl+h” in your file browser to see it.

      • zmdmw52
      • September 7th, 2009

      Thanks for the reply. Yes, they were there on, from where I downloaded them. However, to maintain continuity, I installed (i.e. copied over after ‘sudo’ from Terminal) the fonts to the /usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf_others (created the last directory), because the Windows TT fonts are also there.
      I haven’t yet tried out the script & fonts mentioned in your article, am using an older script.
      Do you still use the same Conky script (if you use Conky, that is) ?

    • marcin
    • September 7th, 2009

    Hi, I got a problem, when I use this config my memory usage in conky shows 1.91Gib / 2.0Gib when System monitor shows usage at 450Mib only :/

    • marcin
    • September 7th, 2009

    Fixed 🙂 to proper show memory usage use:
    no_buffers yes

    Thanks for this conky (before I used also your xD)

  4. Thanks for making such an awesome setup. I’m using a slightly modified version of it, but I’m having trouble getting the font for the system info changed. I’m using WenQuanYi Zen Hei, but I can only seem to get it to work with everything but the system info section. Here’s the code for that section :

    ${font Freebooter:bold:size=10}${color red2}SYSTEM ${color white} ${hr 2}
    ${font WenQuanYi Zen Hei:bold:size=8}${color DimGray}$sysname $kernel $alignr $machine
    Intel Pentium Celeron $alignr${freq_g cpu0}Ghz
    Uptime $alignr${uptime}
    File System $alignr${fs_type}

    Can anyone see what I’m doing wrong?

  5. Pardon that last comment, after changing wallpapers, I’ve determined that the perceived differences in the font, were just that. I think the varying contrast caused it to look different.

  6. Nicely done !

    I’ve put together another conky tutorial myself, including how to get download status progress bars from rTorrent (with the execpi directive).

    Your input would be appreciated !


    • Dan
    • November 5th, 2010

    I love this configuration but I can’t seem to get the clock, network status or weather working. If you could please help me that would be awesome! thanks

    • Dan
    • November 9th, 2010

    This setup is amazing, i was wondering if you could please tell me how to add wireless to this?

    • L7
    • December 5th, 2010

    Thanks for the script tips. I’ve been going from scratch and this helped me add some really nice stuff.

    • Garry
    • March 17th, 2011

    Uuugggghhh, I have been working on this for the past 3 hours! I can’t find were to put/find my .conkyrc file. I have tried editing my .conf file, but to no avail. Conky just starts showing the same old default screen, even if my .conf files have not no text in them. HELP!


      • ari
      • March 22nd, 2011

      You should put your .conkyrc at home folder, for running it simply tipe conky on terminal or Alt+F2. But you can also put the .conkyrc anywhere and fur running it you need to modify the command to be like this conky -c /path/to/your/.conkyrc.

      Hope it helps.

    • da
    • June 11th, 2011

    everything works great for me except weather, went to suggested site and downloaded installed (through deb) the files. weather will display correctly when using the suggested examples in conkyforecast directory, but won’t display correctly in conky when run through your script for me. where do you put the conkyForecast scripts I don’t see where conky calls the scripts to execute.

    thanks in advance

    • David Webb
    • June 11th, 2011

    everything works great except weather for me. I have downloaded and installed the weather related link stuff and it will display using the example scripts he included. when i try your setup all I get is a huge 33 C symbol and all the other lines have smaller versions. where do you place the .py scripts so they can gather information for display in conky?

    thanks in advance

    • David Webb
    • June 12th, 2011

    my problem was when I copied and pasted your code off this page. My browser and editor somehow managed to put em-dashes in the code instead of double-dashes. Python was having trouble reading them and would not catch the information request and download it. My only problem is display of temperature right now its showing 68A (with a hat over the A) oF (the degree symbol is correct, i don’t know how to show it here).

    thanks in advance

  7. Reblogged this on zhuyuejin.

    • quarkrad
    • June 7th, 2012

    I have followed your tutorial – it is very good. I’m having trouble with your script, it doesn’t appear so i’m adding lines a few at a tim eto a test scritp I have created. In your fist few lines you have ${font openlogos:size=20 – I’m guessing there is an image file somewhere called openlogo. What sort of image files can you have (e.g. jpeg) and where is this image located – in the same directory as the script?

    • Alexander
    • June 30th, 2012

    Much appreciated with your mini tutorial. It gives me a sense of direction to modify my conky. Good work !!!!

  8. I am curious to find out what blog system you are using?
    I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest website and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any solutions?

  9. great guide……………with litle more polishing it can act as one point solution to all conky problems………please rply me to my email i got really important query i want to get it solved and i didnt find my answers anywher thanx

  10. Reblogged this on From the Panopticon and commented:
    Modding your conky! 🙂

  11. Nice tutorial..Thank you

    • aarem
    • March 25th, 2013

    where is the rc file for this? I can not get the time to work.

  12. thnaks you for helps

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  19. I have a question I have a conky config I would like to add a calendar to, currently it shows weather, I would like to know what I would have to do to do this. Here is a link to what my current config looks like and also the config I use is transparent

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    • 303propertunity
    • February 19th, 2019

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