Notes on the command line browser.

The name "w3m" stands for "WWW wo miru (WWWを見る)", which is Japanese for "to see the WWW". It is a text based terminal browser. It does not support javascript and has only basic image loading. For sites that require more features, w3m offers a shortcut to open the page in an external browser.

In an experimental attempt at minimising online interfacing, I switched to w3m as my primary browser by updating the shortcuts in my i3 configuration. mod+shift+enter now launches w3m, while alt+shift+enter launches Firefox.


To start w3m with a default homepage, export the variable WWW_HOME in your .bashrc file.

export WWW_HOME="/home/rostiger/projects/c/nchrs/index.html"

Unavailable Shortcuts

There are a couple of unavailable key combinations which makes configuring an intuitive keymap a little difficult. This is because W3M uses terminal input parsing and ANSII characters. This means that when pressing Shift and one of the arrow keys, W3m will receive the letter A,B,C or D. When pressing Ctrl and one of the arrow keys, W3M will interpret them as shortcuts and they can't be used to control W3M functions.

The upside is that the terminal shortcuts can be used to navigate the address bar, such as Crtl+U to delete the currently printed address.

Function Descriptions

To configure w3m's shortcuts, edit '~/.w3m/keymap'. To understand the function names consult /usr/share/w3m/w3mhelp-funcdesc.en.pl.


To prevent w3m from freezing when opening a link in an external browser add an ampersand to the config at the appropriate line for external browsers.

extbrowser firefox %s &


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