NAME dialog - display dialog boxes from shell scripts
SYNOPSIS dialog --clear dialog --create-rc file dialog --print-maxsize dialog common-options box-options
DESCRIPTION Dialog is a program that will let you to present a variety of questions or display messages using dialog boxes from a shell script. These types of dialog boxes are implemented (though not all are necessarily compiled into dialog):
calendar, checklist, form, fselect, gauge, infobox, inputbox, inputmenu, menu, msgbox (message), password, pause, radiolist, tailbox, tailboxbg, textbox, timebox, and yesno (yes/no).
You can put more than one dialog box into a script:
- Use the "--and-widget" token to force Dialog to proceed to the next dialog unless you have pressed ESC to cancel, or
- Simply add the tokens for the next dialog box, making a chain. Dialog stops chaining when the return code from a dialog is nonzero, e.g., Cancel or No (see DIAGNOSTICS).
Some widgets, e.g., checklist, will write text to dialogs output. Normally that is the standard error, but there are options for changing this: "--output-fd", "--stderr" and "--stdout". No text is written if the Cancel button (or ESC) is pressed; dialog exits immediately in that case.
OPTIONS All options begin with "--" (two ASCII hyphens, for the benefit of those using systems with deranged locale support).
A "--" by itself is used as an escape, i.e., the next token on the com- mand-line is not treated as an option. dialog --title -- --Not an option
The "--args" option tells dialog to list the command-line parameters to the standard error. This is useful when debugging complex scripts using the "--" and "--file", since the command-line may be rewritten as these are expanded.
The "--file" option tells dialog to read parameters from the file named as its value. dialog --file parameterfile Blanks not within double-quotes are discarded (use backslashes to quote single characters). The result is inserted into the command-line, replacing "--file" and its option value. Interpretation of the com- mand-line resumes from that point.
Common Options --aspect ratio This gives you some control over the box dimensions when using auto sizing (specifying 0 for height and width). It represents width / height. The default is 9, which means 9 characters wide to every 1 line high.
--backtitle backtitle Specifies a backtitle string to be displayed on the backdrop, at the top of the screen.
--begin y x Specify the position of the upper left corner of a dialog box on the screen.
--cancel-label string Override the label used for "Cancel" buttons.
--clear Clears the widget screen, keeping only the screen_color back- ground. Use this when you combine widgets with "--and-widget" to erase the contents of a previous widget on the screen, so it won t be seen under the contents of a following widget. Under- stand this as the complement of "--keep-window". To compare the effects, use these:
All three widgets visible, staircase effect, ordered 1,2,3: dialog --begin 2 2 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --begin 4 4 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --begin 6 6 --yesno "" 0 0
Only the last widget is left visible: dialog --clear --begin 2 2 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --clear --begin 4 4 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --begin 6 6 --yesno "" 0 0
All three widgets visible, staircase effect, ordered 3,2,1: dialog --keep-window --begin 2 2 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --keep-window --begin 4 4 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --begin 6 6 --yesno "" 0 0
First and third widget visible, staircase effect, ordered 3,1: dialog --keep-window --begin 2 2 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --clear --begin 4 4 --yesno "" 0 0 --and-widget --begin 6 6 --yesno "" 0 0
Note, if you want to restore original console colors and send your cursor home after the dialog program has exited, use the clear (1) command.
--colors Interpret embedded " sequences in the dialog text by the following character, which tells dialog to set colors or video attributes: 0 through 7 are the ANSI used in curses: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan and white respectively. Bold is set by b, reset by B. Reverse is set by r, reset by R. Underline is set by u, reset by U . The settings are cumulative, e.g., "" makes thered.followingRestoretextnormalbold (perhapright) settings with "". --cr-wrap Interpret embedded newlines in the dialog text as a newline on the screen. Otherwise, dialog will only wrap lines where needed to fit inside the text box. Even though you can control line breaks with this, dialog will still wrap any lines that are too long for the width of the box. Without cr-wrap, the layout of your text may be formatted to look nice in the source code of your script without affecting the way it will look in the dia- log.
See also the "--no-collapse" and "--trim" options.
--create-rc file When dialog supports run-time configuration, this can be used to dump a sample configuration file to the file specified by file.
--defaultno Make the default value of the yes/no box a No. Likewise, make the default button of widgets that provide "OK" and "Cancel" a Cancel. If "--nocancel" or "--visit-items" are given those options overrides this, making the default button always "Yes" (internally the same as "OK").
--default-item string Set the default item in a checklist, form or menu box. Normally the first item in the box is the default.
--exit-label string Override the label used for "EXIT" buttons.
--extra-button Show an extra button, between "OK" and "Cancel" buttons.
--extra-label string Override the label used for "Extra" buttons. Note: for input- menu widgets, this defaults to "Rename".
--help Prints the help message to dialogs output. The help message is printed if no options are given.
--help-button Show a help-button after "OK" and "Cancel" buttons, i.e., in checklist, radiolist and menu boxes. If "--item-help" is also given, on exit the return status will be the same as for the "OK" button, and the item-help text will be written to dialogs output after the token "HELP". Otherwise, the return status will indicate that the Help button was pressed, and no message printed.
--help-label string Override the label used for "Help" buttons.
--help-status If the help-button is selected, writes the checklist, radiolist or form information after the item-help "HELP" information. This can be used to reconstruct the state of a checklist after processing the help request.
--ignore Ignore options that dialog does not recognize. Some well-known ones such as "--icon" are ignored anyway, but this is a better choice for compatibility with other implementations.
--input-fd fd Read keyboard input from the given file descriptor. Most dialog scripts read from the standard input, but the gauge widget reads a pipe (which is always standard input). Some configurations do not work properly when dialog tries to reopen the terminal. Use this option (with appropriate juggling of file-descriptors) if your script must work in that type of environment.
--insecure Makes the password widget friendlier but less secure, by echoing asterisks for each character.
--item-help Interpret the tags data for checklist, radiolist and menu boxes adding a column which is displayed in the bottom line of the screen, for the currently selected item.
--keep-window Normally when dialog performs several tailboxbg widgets con- nected by "--and-widget", it clears the old widget from the screen by painting over it. Use this option to suppress that repainting.
At exit, dialog repaints all of the widgets which have been marked with "--keep-window", even if they are not tailboxbg wid- gets. That causes them to be repainted in reverse order. See the discussion of the "--clear" option for examples.
--max-input size Limit input strings to the given size. If not specified, the limit is 2048.
--nocancel Suppress the "Cancel" button in checklist, inputbox and menu box modes. A script can still test if the user pressed the ESC key to cancel to quit.
--no-collapse Normally dialog converts tabs to spaces and reduces multiple spaces to a single space for text which is displayed in a mes- sage boxes, etc. Use this option to disable that feature. Note that dialog will still wrap text, subject to the "--cr-wrap" and "--trim" options.
--no-kill Tells dialog to put the tailboxbg box in the background, print- ing its process id to dialogs output. SIGHUP is disabled for the background process.
--no-label string Override the label used for "No" buttons.
--no-shadow Suppress shadows that would be drawn to the right and bottom of each dialog box.
--ok-label string Override the label used for "OK" buttons.
--output-fd fd Direct output to the given file descriptor. Most dialog scripts write to the standard error, but error messages may also be written there, depending on your script.
--print-maxsize Print the maximum size of dialog boxes, i.e., the screen size, to dialog s output. This may be used alone, without other options.
--print-size Prints the size of each dialog box to dialog s output.
--print-version Prints dialog s version to dialogs output. This may be used alone, without other options.
--separate-output For checklist widgets, output result one line at a time, with no quoting. This facilitates parsing by another program.
--separate-widget string Specify a string that will separate the output on dialogs out- put from each widget. This is used to simplify parsing the result of a dialog with several widgets. If this option is not given, the default separator string is a tab character.
--shadow Draw a shadow to the right and bottom of each dialog box.
--single-quoted Use single-quoting as needed (and no quotes if unneeded) for the output of checklist s as well as the item-help text. If this option is not set, dialog uses double quotes around each item. That requires occasional use of backslashes to make the output useful in shell scripts.
--size-err Check the resulting size of a dialog box before trying to use it, printing the resulting size if it is larger than the screen. (This option is obsolete, since all new-window calls are checked).
--sleep secs Sleep (delay) for the given number of seconds after processing a dialog box.
--stderr Direct output to the standard error. This is the default, since curses normally writes screen updates to the standard output.
--stdout Direct output to the standard output. This option is provided for compatibility with Xdialog, however using it in portable scripts is not recommended, since curses normally writes its screen updates to the standard output. If you use this option, dialog attempts to reopen the terminal so it can write to the display. Depending on the platform and your environment, that may fail.
--tab-correct Convert each tab character to one or more spaces. Otherwise, tabs are rendered according to the curses librarys interpreta- tion.
--tab-len n Specify the number of spaces that a tab character occupies if the "--tab-correct" option is given. The default is 8.
--timeout secs Timeout (exit with error code) if no user response within the given number of seconds. This is overridden if the background "--tailboxbg is used. A timeout of zero seconds is ignored.
--title title Specifies a title string to be displayed at the top of the dia- log box.
--trim eliminate leading blanks, trim literal newlines and repeated blanks from message text.
See also the "--cr-wrap" and "--no-collapse" options.
--version Same as "--print-version".
--visit-items Modify the tab-traversal of checklist, radiobox, menubox and inputmenu to include the list of items as one of the states. This is useful as a visual aid, i.e., the cursor position helps some users.
When this option is given, the cursor is initially placed on the list. Abbreviations (the first letter of the tag) apply to the list items. If you tab to the button row, abbreviations apply to the buttons.
--yes-label string Override the label used for "Yes" buttons.
Box Options All dialog boxes have at least three parameters:
text the caption or contents of the box.
height the height of the dialog box.
width the width of the dialog box.
Other parameters depend on the box type.
--calendar text height width day month year A calendar box displays month, day and year in separately adjustable windows. If the values for day, month or year are missing or negative, the current date s corresponding values are used. You can increment or decrement any of those using the left-, up-, right- and down-arrows. Use vi-style h, j, k and l for moving around the array of days in a month. Use tab or backtab to move between windows. If the year is given as zero, the current date is used as an initial value.
On exit, the date is printed in the form day/month/year.
--checklist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ... A checklist box is similar to a menu box; there are multiple entries presented in the form of a menu. Instead of choosing one entry among the entries, each entry can be turned on or off by the user. The initial on/off state of each entry is speci- fied by status.
On exit, a list of the tag strings of those entries that are turned on will be printed on dialogs output. If the "--sepa- rate-output" option is not given, the strings will be quoted to make it simple for scripts to separate them. See the "--single- quoted" option, which modifies the quoting behavior.
--form text height width formheight [ label y x item y x flen ilen ] ... The form dialog displays a form consisting of labels and fields, which are positioned on a scrollable window by coordinates given in the script. The field length flen and input-length ilen tell how long the field can be. The former defines the length shown for a selected field, while the latter defines the permissible length of the data entered in the field.
- If flen is zero, the corresponding field cannot be altered. and the contents of the field determine the displayed-length.
- If flen is negative, the corresponding field cannot be altered, and the negated value of flen is used as the dis- played-length.
- If ilen is zero, it is set to flen.
Use up/down arrows (or control/N, control/P) to move between fields. Use tab to move between windows.
On exit, the contents of the form-fields are written to dialogs output, each field separated by a newline. The text used to fill non-editable fields (flen is zero or negative) is not writ- ten out.
--fselect filepath height width The file-selection dialog displays a text-entry window in which you can type a filename (or directory), and above that two win- dows with directory names and filenames.
Here filepath can be a filepath in which case the file and directory windows will display the contents of the path and the text-entry window will contain the preselected filename.
Use tab or arrow keys to move between the windows. Within the directory or filename windows, use the up/down arrow keys to scroll the current selection. Use the space-bar to copy the current selection into the text-entry window.
Typing any printable characters switches focus to the text-entry window, entering that character as well as scrolling the direc- tory and filename windows to the closest match.
Use a carriage return or the "OK" button to accept the current value in the text-entry window and exit.
On exit, the contents of the text-entry window are written to dialogs output.
--gauge text height width [percent] A gauge box displays a meter along the bottom of the box. The meter indicates the percentage. New percentages are read from standard input, one integer per line. The meter is updated to reflect each new percentage. If the standard input reads the string "XXX", then subsequent lines up to another "XXX" are used for a new prompt. The gauge exits when EOF is reached on the standard input.
The percent value denotes the initial percentage shown in the meter. If not specified, it is zero.
On exit, no text is written to dialogs output. The widget accepts no input, so the exit status is always OK.
--infobox text height width An info box is basically a message box. However, in this case, dialog will exit immediately after displaying the message to the user. The screen is not cleared when dialog exits, so that the message will remain on the screen until the calling shell script clears it later. This is useful when you want to inform the user that some operations are carrying on that may require some time to finish.
On exit, no text is written to dialog s output. Only an "OK" button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be returned.
--inputbox text height width [init] An input box is useful when you want to ask questions that require the user to input a string as the answer. If init is supplied it is used to initialize the input string. When enter- ing the string, the backspace, delete and cursor keys can be used to correct typing errors. If the input string is longer than can fit in the dialog box, the input field will be scrolled.
On exit, the input string will be printed on dialog s output.
--inputmenu text height width menu-height [ tag item ] ... An inputmenu box is very similar to an ordinary menu box. There are only a few differences between them:
1. The entries are not automatically centered but left adjusted.
2. An extra button (called Rename) is implied to rename the current item when it is pressed.
3. It is possible to rename the current entry by pressing the Rename button. Then dialog will write the following on dia- logs output.
RENAMED <tag> <item>
--menu text height width menu-height [ tag item ] ... As its name suggests, a menu box is a dialog box that can be used to present a list of choices in the form of a menu for the user to choose. Choices are displayed in the order given. Each menu entry consists of a tag string and an item string. The tag gives the entry a name to distinguish it from the other entries in the menu. The item is a short description of the option that the entry represents. The user can move between the menu entries by pressing the cursor keys, the first letter of the tag as a hot-key, or the number keys 1-9. There are menu-height entries displayed in the menu at one time, but the menu will be scrolled if there are more entries than that.
On exit the tag of the chosen menu entry will be printed on dia- logs output. If the "--help-button" option is given, the cor- responding help text will be printed if the user selects the help button.
--msgbox text height width A message box is very similar to a yes/no box. The only differ- ence between a message box and a yes/no box is that a message box has only a single OK button. You can use this dialog box to display any message you like. After reading the message, the user can press the ENTER key so that dialog will exit and the calling shell script can continue its operation.
On exit, no text is written to dialogs output. Only an "OK" button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be returned.
--pause text height width seconds A pause box displays a meter along the bottom of the box. The meter indicates how many seconds remain until the end of the pause. The pause exits when timeout is reached (status OK) or the user presses the Exit button (status CANCEL).
--passwordbox text height width [init] A password box is similar to an input box, except that the text the user enters is not displayed. This is useful when prompting for passwords or other sensitive information. Be aware that if anything is passed in "init", it will be visible in the systems process table to casual snoopers. Also, it is very confusing to the user to provide them with a default password they cannot see. For these reasons, using "init" is highly discouraged. See "--insecure" if you do not care about your password.
On exit, the input string will be printed on dialog s output.
--radiolist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ... A radiolist box is similar to a menu box. The only difference is that you can indicate which entry is currently selected, by setting its status to on.
On exit, the name of the selected item is written to dialogs output.
--tailbox file height width Display text from a file in a dialog box, as in a "tail -f" com- mand. Scroll left/right using vi-style h and l , or arrow- keys. A 0 resets the scrolling.
On exit, no text is written to dialogs output. Only an "OK" button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be returned.
--tailboxbg file height width Display text from a file in a dialog box as a background task, as in a "tail -f &" command. Scroll left/right using vi-style h and l, or arrow-keys. A 0 resets the scrolling.
Dialog treats the background task specially if there are other widgets (--and-widget) on the screen concurrently. Until those widgets are closed (e.g., an "OK"), dialog will perform all of the tailboxbg widgets in the same process, polling for updates. You may use a tab to traverse between the widgets on the screen, and close them individually, e.g., by pressing ENTER. Once the non-tailboxbg widgets are closed, dialog forks a copy of itself into the background, and prints its process id if the "--no- kill" option is given.
On exit, no text is written to dialog s output. Only an "EXIT" button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be returned.
NOTE: Older versions of dialog forked immediately and attempted to update the screen individually. Besides being bad for per- formance, it was unworkable. Some older scripts may not work properly with the polled scheme.
--textbox file height width A text box lets you display the contents of a text file in a dialog box. It is like a simple text file viewer. The user can move through the file by using the cursor, page-up, page-down and HOME/END keys available on most keyboards. If the lines are too long to be displayed in the box, the LEFT/RIGHT keys can be used to scroll the text region horizontally. You may also use vi-style keys h, j, k, l in place of the cursor keys, and B or N in place of the page-up and page-down keys. Scroll up/down using vi-style k and j, or arrow-keys. Scroll left/right using vi-style h and l , or arrow-keys. A 0 resets the left/right scrolling. For more convenience, vi-style forward and backward searching functions are also provided.
On exit, no text is written to dialogs output. Only an "EXIT" button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be returned.
--timebox text height [width hour minute second] A dialog is displayed which allows you to select hour, minute and second. If the values for hour, minute or second are miss- ing or negative, the current dates corresponding values are used. You can increment or decrement any of those using the left-, up-, right- and down-arrows. Use tab or backtab to move between windows.
On exit, the result is printed in the form hour:minute:second.
--yesno text height width A yes/no dialog box of size height rows by width columns will be displayed. The string specified by text is displayed inside the dialog box. If this string is too long to fit in one line, it will be automatically divided into multiple lines at appropriate places. The text string can also contain the sub-string "n" or newline characters n_to control line breaking explicitly. This dialog box is useful for asking questions that require the user to answer either yes or no. The dialog box has a Yes but- ton and a No button, in which the user can switch between by pressing the TAB key.
On exit, no text is written to dialogs output. In addition to the "Yes" and "No" exit codes (see DIAGNOSTICS) an ESC exit sta- tus may be returned.
The codes used for "Yes" and "No" match those used for "OK" and "Cancel", internally no distinction is made.
Obsolete Options --beep This was used to tell the original cdialog that it should make a beep when the separate processes of the tailboxbg widget would repaint the screen.
--beep-after Beep after a user has completed a widget by pressing one of the buttons.
RUN-TIME CONFIGURATION 1. Create a sample configuration file by typing:
"dialog --create-rc <file>"
2. At start, dialog determines the settings to use as follows:
a) if environment variable DIALOGRC is set, its value determines the name of the configuration file.
b) if the file in (a) is not found, use the file $HOME/.dialogrc as the configuration file.
c) if the file in (b) is not found, try using the GLOBALRC file determined at compile-time, i.e., /etc/dialogrc.
d) if the file in (c) is not found, use compiled in defaults.
3. Edit the sample configuration file and copy it to some place that dialog can find, as stated in step 2 above.
ENVIRONMENT DIALOGOPTS Define this variable to apply any of the common options to each widget. Most of the common options are reset before processing each widget. If you set the options in this environment variable, they are applied to dia- logs state after the reset. As in the "--file" option, double-quotes and backslashes are interpreted.
The "--file" option is not considered a common option (so you cannot embed it within this environment vari- able).
DIALOGRC Define this variable if you want to specify the name of the configuration file to use.
DIALOG_OK Define any of these variables to change the exit code on Cancel (1), error (-1), ESC (255), Extra (3), Help (2), Help with --item-help (2), or OK (0). Normally shell scripts cannot distinguish between -1 and 255.
DIALOG_TTY Set this variable to "1" to provide compatibility with older versions of dialog which assumed that if the script redirects the standard output, that the "--std- out" option was given.
FILES $HOME/.dialogrc default configuration file
EXAMPLES The dialog sources contain several samples of how to use the different box options and how they look. Just take a look into the directory samples/ of the source.
DIAGNOSTICS Exit status is subject to being overridden by environment variables. Normally they are:
0 if dialog is exited by pressing the Yes or OK button.
1 if the No or Cancel button is pressed.
2 if the Help button is pressed.
3 if the Extra button is pressed.
-1 if errors occur inside dialog or dialog is exited by pressing the ESC key.
AUTHOR Thomas E. Dickey (updates for 0.9b and beyond)
CONTRIBUTORS Tobias C. Rittweiler
Valery Reznic - the form widget.
Yura Kalinichenko adapted the guage widget as "pause".
This is a rewrite (except as needed to provide compatibility) of the earlier version of dialog 0.9a, which lists as authors:
Savio Lam - version 0.3, "dialog"
Stuart Herbert - patch for version 0.4
Marc Ewing - the gauge widget.
Pasquale De Marco "Pako" - version 0.9a, "cdialog"
$Date: 2005/10/30 20:12:00 $ DIALOG(1)