Format Functions

You can use a function instead of a string as the format parameter. Then you are able to check the value returned by the widget type and change it or perform some action. You can change the color of the battery widget when it goes below a certain point, hide widgets when they return a certain value or maybe use string.format for padding.

Do not confuse this with just coloring the widget, in those cases standard Pango markup can be inserted into the format string.

The format function will get the widget as its first argument, table with the values otherwise inserted into the format string as its second argument, and will return the text/data to be used for the widget.


Hide mpd widget when no song is playing

mpdwidget = wibox.widget.textbox()
    function (widget, args)
        if args["{state}"] == "Stop" then
            return ''
            return ('<span color="white">MPD:</span> %s - %s'):format(
                args["{Artist}"], args["{Title}"])

Use string.format for padding

uptimewidget = wibox.widget.textbox()
vicious.register(uptimewidget, vicious.widgets.uptime,
                 function (widget, args)
                     return ("Uptime: %02d %02d:%02d "):format(
                         args[1], args[2], args[3])
                 end, 61)

When it comes to padding it is also useful to mention how a widget can be configured to have a fixed width. You can set a fixed width on your textbox widgets by changing their width field (by default width is automatically adapted to text width). The following code forces a fixed width of 50 px to the uptime widget, and aligns its text to the right:

uptimewidget = wibox.widget.textbox()
uptimewidget.width, uptimewidget.align = 50, "right"
vicious.register(uptimewidget, vicious.widgets.uptime, "$1 $2:$3", 61)

Stacked graph

Stacked graphs are handled specially by Vicious: format functions passed to the corresponding widget types must return an array instead of a string.

cpugraph = wibox.widget.graph()
cpugraph:set_stack_colors{ "red", "yellow", "green", "blue" }
vicious.register(cpugraph, vicious.widgets.cpu,
                 function (widget, args)
                     return { args[2], args[3], args[4], args[5] }
                 end, 3)

The snipet above enables graph stacking/multigraph and plots usage of all four CPU cores on a single graph.

Substitute widget types’ symbols

If you are not happy with default symbols used in volume, battery, cpufreq and other widget types, use your own symbols without any need to modify modules. The following example uses a custom table map to modify symbols representing the mixer state: on or off/mute.

volumewidget = wibox.widget.textbox()
vicious.register(volumewidget, vicious.widgets.volume,
                 function (widget, args)
                     local label = { ["🔉"] = "O", ["🔈"] = "M" }
                     return ("Volume: %d%% State: %s"):format(
                         args[1], label[args[2]])
                 end, 2, "PCM")

Get data from the widget could be useful for naughty notification and scripts:

mybattery = wibox.widget.textbox()
vicious.register(mybattery, vicious.widgets.bat, "$2%", 17, "0")
    {}, 1,
    function ()
        naughty.notify{ title = "Battery indicator",
                        text =,
                                            "Remaining time: $3", "0") }

Format functions can be used as well:

    {}, 1,
    function ()
            title = "Battery indicator",
            text =
                function (widget, args)
                    return ("%s: %10sh\n%s: %14d%%\n%s: %12dW"):format(
                        "Remaining time", args[3],
                        "Wear level", args[4],
                        "Present rate", args[5])
                end, "0") }