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Dialog version 0.7 manual

Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 16 March 2001


dialog - display dialog boxes from shell scripts  


dialog --clear 
dialog --create-rc file 
dialog [ --title title ] [ --backtitle backtitle ] [ --clear ] [ --separate-output ] box-options  


Dialog is a program that will let you to present a variety of questions or display messages using dialog boxes from a shell script. Currently, these types of dialog boxes are implemented:

yes/no box, menu box, input box, message box, text box, info box, guage box, checklist box, fileselection box andradiolist box.  


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 file.
--separate-output For checklist widgets, output result one line at a time, with no quoting. This facilitates parsing by another program.
--title title
Specifies a title string to be displayed at the top of the dialog box.
--backtitle backtitle
Specifies a backtitle string to be displayed on the backdrop, at the top of the screen.
Box Options
--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 be fitted in one line, it will be automatically divided into multiple lines at appropriate places. The text string may 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 button and a No button, in which the user can switch between by pressing the TAB key.
--msgbox text height width
A message box is very similar to a yes/no box. The only difference 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 [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 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 description 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 onstderr.
--checklist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ...
A checklist box is similar to a menu box in that 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 specified by status. On exit, a list of the tag strings of those entries that are turned on will be printed onstderr.
--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.
--guage text height width percent
A guage 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 stdin is XXX, then the first line following is taken as an integer percentage, then subsequent lines up to another XXX are used for a new prompt. The guage exits when EOF is reached on stdin.
--file dir height width mode [ initial_value ]
A file box is a box divided into two parts: To the left there is the directory-listing, the right half contains the filenames. The active part is selected using the TAB-Key. There are 4 modes:

0 Select a file-name

1 Select a directory-name

2 Specifie (input-box!) a Directory-name (existing or non-existing)

3 Specifie (input-box) a file-name (existing or non-existing)

The active part is drawn with a different border than the other, selected elements are highlighted. The chosen element is written to stderr with its fully qualified name (/path/to/chosen/name).

The following characters are escaped by preceding a backslash charakter:

[ and ]

' ' (space) and &

( and )



Create a sample configuration file by typing:

"dialog --create-rc <file>"

At start, dialog determines the settings to use as follows:
if environment variable DIALOGRC is set, it's value determines the name of the configuration file.
if the file in (a) can't be found, use the file $HOME/.dialogrc as the configuration file.
if the file in (b) can't be found, use compiled in defaults.
Edit the sample configuration file and copy it to some place that dialog can find, as stated in step 2 above.


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


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.


Savio Lam (lam836@cs.cuhk.hk) - version 0.3



This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 13:06:10 GMT, March 16, 2001

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