Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
DIALOG(1)                                                            DIALOG(1)

       dialog - display dialog boxes from shell scripts

       dialog --clear
       dialog --create-rc file
       dialog  [ --title title ] [ --clear ] [ --hline line ] [ --hfile file ]

       Dialog is a program which allows you to present a variety of  questions
       or  display  messages in dialog box form from a shell script.  The fol-
       lowing types of dialog objects are currently supported:

       yes/no box, menu box, input box,  message  box,  text  box,  info  box,
       checklist box, program box, ftree and tree boxes.

              The screen will be cleared to the screen attribute on exit.

       --create-rc file
              Since  dialog  supports run-time configuration, this can be used
              to dump a sample configuration file to  the  file  specified  by

       --title title
              Specifies  a title string to be displayed at the top of the dia-
              log box.

       --hline line
              Specifies a line string to be displayed at  the  bottom  of  the
              dialog box.

       --hfile file
              Specifies a file to be displayed by pressing ? or F1.

       Box Options

       --yesno text height width [ yes | no ]
              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 the  appro-
              priate  points.  The text string may also contain the sub-string
              "\n" or newline characters `\n' to control line breaking explic-
              itly.   This  dialog  box  is  useful  for asking questions that
              require the user to answer either yes or no.  The dialog box has
              a  Yes  button  and  a  No  button, in which the user can switch
              between by pressing the TAB key.  A Yes button  is  selected  by
              default unless no is specified.

       --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.

       --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.

       --inputbox text height width
              An input box is useful when  you  want  to  ask  questions  that
              require  the user to input a string as the answer. When inputing
              the string, the BACKSPACE key can  be  used  to  correct  typing
              errors.  If the input string is longer than can be fitted in the
              dialog box, the input field will be scrolled. On exit, the input
              string will be printed on stderr.

       --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  UP/DOWN, PGUP/PGDN 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.  For  more  convenience,
              forward and backward searching functions are also provided.

       --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. 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 descrip-
              tion of the option that the entry represents. The user can  move
              between the menu entries by pressing the UP/DOWN 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.
              When  dialog  exits,  the  tag  of the chosen menu entry will be
              printed on stderr.

       --prgbox command height width
              A program box lets you display output of command in dialog  box.

       --checklist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ...
              A  checklist box is similar to a menu box in that there are mul-
              tiple entries presented in the form of a menu. Instead of choos-
              ing  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 spec-
              ified  by  status.   On exit, a list of the tag strings of those
              entries that are turned on will be printed on stderr.

       --ftree file FS text height width menu-height
              ftree box is a dialog box showing the tree described by the data
              from  the  file  file.   The  data  in the file should look like
              find(1)  output. For the find output,  the  field  separator  FS
              will  be '/'. If height and width are positive numbers, they set
              the absolute size of the whole ftree box. If  height  and  width
              are negative numbers, the size of the ftree box will be selected
              automatically.  menu-height sets the height of the tree  subwin-
              dow  inside the ftree box and must be set.  text is shown inside
              the ftree box above the tree subwindow and can  contain  newline
              characters  '\n' to split lines. One can navigate in the tree by
              pressing UP/DOWN or  '+'/'-',  PG_UP/PG_DOWN  or  'b'/SPACE  and
              HOME/END or 'g'/'G'.  A leaf of the tree is selected by pressing
              TAB or  LEFT/RIGHT  the  OK  button  and  pressing  ENTER.   The
              selected  leaf  (to  be more exact, the full path to it from the
              root of the tree) is printed to  stderr.   If  Cancel  and  then
              ENTER  is  pressed, nothing is printed to stderr.  file may con-
              tain data like find(1) output, as well as  like  the  output  of
              find(1)  with  -d  option.  Some  of  the transient paths to the
              leaves of the tree may be absent. Such data  is  corrected  when
              fed from file.

       --tree FS text height width menu-height [ item ] ...
              tree box is like ftree box with some exceptions. First, the data
              is not entered from a file, but from the command  line  as  item
              item  ...  Second, the data thus entered is not corrected in any
              way.  Thus, the data like the output of find(1) with  -d  option
              will look incorrectly.

       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) can't be found, use the file $HOME/.dialogrc
               as the configuration file.

           c)  if the file in (b) can't be 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.

       DIALOGRC       Define this variable if you want to specify the name  of
                      the configuration file to use.

       $HOME/.dialogrc     default configuration file

       Exit  status is 0 if dialog is exited by pressing the Yes or OK button,
       and 1 if the No or Cancel button is pressed. Otherwise, if errors occur
       inside  dialog  or  dialog  is exited by pressing the ESC key, the exit
       status is -1.


       Text files containing tab characters may cause problems with text  box.
       Tab  characters  in  text files must first be expanded to spaces before
       being displayed by text box.

       Screen update is too slow.

       The ftree and tree boxes do not allow the tree to be moved to the  left
       or  to  the  right. Thus, if there are many levels of data, some of the
       leaves can be rendered invisible. A standard display with 80 characters
       allows  for  17 levels to be visible. Deeper levels are invisible. How-
       ever, the navigation in the tree and selection of leaves do work.

       Savio Lam (

       Changes by Anatoly A. Orehovsky ( (ftree and  tree

                                2 October 1998                       DIALOG(1)


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help