Last week the i3 development team released version 4.2 of their superb tiling window manager. Among a number of new features, there was one that particularly caught my attention, a scratchpad command. The command creates a scratchpad container where any of your windows can be placed and displayed on demand. The scratchpad container gets displayed in the centre of a window in a floating mode. It’s a convenient place for windows that you do not want displayed all the time. Personally, I can think of the following uses of the scratchpad container: ncmpcpp, mc, bash prompt, email, REPL, or simply, as the name suggests, a scratchpad with emacs inside. Yes, you can have more than one scratchpad container.
How to use the scratchpad
First you need to edit your i3 config file (~/.i3/config)
bindsym $mod+o move scratchpad
# Show the first scratchpad window
bindsym $mod+i scratchpad show
First you move a currently focused window to a scratchpad with Alt+o, then you can toggle show/hide with Alt+i to see how it works. You can move more windows to the scratchpad. If you work on a dual-monitor setup, you can move the scratchpad between the screens with the standard move command as well as bring a window back to a normal tiling flow by disabling a floating mode on it.