Dialog version 0.9a-20010429 manual

Section: User Commands (1)


dialog - display dialog boxes from shell scripts  


dialog --clear 
dialog --create-rc file 
dialog --print-maxsize 
dialog common-options 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. These types of dialog boxes are implemented (though not all are necessarily compiled into dialog):

calendar, checklist, fselect, gauge, infobox, inputbox, menu, msgbox (message), password, 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.


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.
Sound the audible alarm each time the screen is refreshed.
Beep if input is interrupted, e.g., by a control/C.
--begin y x
Specify the position of the upper left corner of a dialog box on the screen.
The screen will be cleared to the screen attribute on exit. This may be used alone, without other options.
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 dialog.
--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.
Prints the help message to standard error. The help message is printed if no options are given.
Make the default value of the yes/no box a No.
--default-item string
Set the default item in a menu box. Normally the first item in the box is the default.
Interpret the tags data for checklist, radiolist and menuboxes adding a column which is displayed in the bottom line of the screen, for the currently selected item.
Tells dialog to put the tailboxbg box in the background, printing its process id to standard error. SIGHUP is disabled for the background process.
Suppress shadows that would be drawn to the right and bottom of each dialog box.
Suppress the "Cancel" button in checklist, inputbox and menubox modes. A script can still test if the user pressed the ESC key to cancel to quit.
Print the maximum size of dialog boxes, i.e., the screen size, to the standard error. This may be used alone, without other options.
Prints the size of each dialog box to standard error.
Prints dialog's version to standard error. This may be used alone, without other options.
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 standard error from each widget. This is used to simplify parsing the result of a dialog with several widgets.
Draw a shadow to the right and bottom of each dialog box.
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.
Direct output to the standard error. This is the default, since curses normally writes screen updates to the standard output.
Direct output to the standard output.
Convert each tab character to one or more spaces. Otherwise, tabs are rendered according to the curses library's interpretation.
--tab-len n
Specify the number of spaces that a tab character occupies if the --tab-correct option is given. The default is 8.
--title title
Specifies a title string to be displayed at the top of the dialog box.
Same as "--print-version".
Box Options
All dialog boxes have at least three parameters:
the caption or contents of the box.
the height of the dialog box.
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. You can increment or decrement any of those using the left-, up-, right- and down-arrows. 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 specified by status. On exit, a list of the tag strings of those entries that are turned on will be printed onstderr.
--fselect text height width
The file-selection dialog displays a text-entry window in which you can type a filename (or directory), and above that two windows with directory names and filenames.

Here text 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 directory 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, or the "Cancel" button to cancel.

--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 stdin is XXX, then subsequent lines up to another XXX are used for a new prompt. The gauge exits when EOF is reached on stdin.

The percent value denotes the initial percentage shown in the meter. If not specified, it is zero.

--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 entering 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.
--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 itemstring. 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 theUP/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.
--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 amessage 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.
--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 system's 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.
--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.
--tailbox file height width
Display text from a file in a dialog box, as in a "tail -f" command.
--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.
--textboxbg file height width
Display text from a file in a dialog box in a background process, as in a "tail -f &" command.
--timebox text height [width hour minute second]
A dialog is displayed which allows you to select hour, minute and second. 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 be fitted 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 button and a No button, in which the user can switch between by pressing the TAB key.


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, its value determines the name of the configuration file.
if the file in (a) is not found, use the file $HOME/.dialogrc as the configuration file.
if the file in (b) is not 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
if dialog is exited by pressing the Yes or OK button.
if the No or Cancel button is pressed.
if errors occur inside dialog or dialog is exited by pressing the ESC key.




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

Stuart Herbert (S.Herbert@sheffield.ac.uk) - patch for version 0.4

Pako (demarco_p@abramo.it) - version 0.9a, "cdialog",

Thomas Dickey (updates for 0.9b)




This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 15:31:28 GMT, May 02, 2001