dialog - display dialog boxes from shell scripts

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dialog
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DIALOG(1) DIALOG(1)

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, dselect, editbox, form, fselect, gauge,
infobox, inputbox, inputmenu, menu, mixedform, mixedgauge,
msgbox (message), passwordbox, passwordform, pause, prgbox,
programbox, progressbox, 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 nonze‐
ro, e.g., Cancel or No (see DIAGNOSTICS).

Some widgets, e.g., checklist, will write text to dialog's 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 us‐
ing 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, re‐
placing "--file" and its option value. Interpretation of the command-
line resumes from that point. If parameterfile begins with "&", dialog
interprets the following text as a file descriptor number rather than a
filename.

Common Options
--ascii-lines
Rather than draw graphics lines around boxes, draw ASCII "+" and
"-" in the same place. See also "--no-lines".

--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 "\Z" sequences in the dialog text by the fol‐
lowing character, which tells dialog to set colors or video at‐
tributes: 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., "\Zb\Z1" makes the following text bold (per‐
haps bright) red. Restore normal settings with "\Zn".

--column-separator string
Tell dialog to split data for radio/checkboxes and menus on the
occurrences of the given string, and to align the split data in‐
to columns.

--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.

--date-format format
If the host provides strftime, this option allows you to specify
the format of the date printed for the --calendar widget. The
time of day (hour, minute, second) are the current local time.

--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 op‐
tions 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 the standard output and exits. The
help message is also printed if no options are given, or if an
unrecognized option is 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 dialog's
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.

--hfile filename
Display the given file using a textbox when the user presses F1.

--hline string
Display the given string centered at the bottom of the widget.

--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-tite
When built with ncurses, dialog normally checks to see if it is
running in an xterm, and in that case tries to suppress the ini‐
tialization strings that would make it switch to the alternate
screen. Switching between the normal and alternate screens is
visually distracting in a script which runs dialog several
times. Use this option to allow dialog to use those initializa‐
tion strings.

--keep-window
Normally when dialog performs several tailboxbg widgets connect‐
ed by "--and-widget", it clears the old widget from the screen
by painting over it. Use this option to suppress that repaint‐
ing.

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.

--no-cancel

--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 dialog's output. SIGHUP is disabled for
the background process.

--no-label string
Override the label used for "No" buttons.

--no-lines
Rather than draw lines around boxes, draw spaces in the same
place. See also "--ascii-lines".

--no-mouse
Do not enable the mouse.

--no-nl-expand
Do not convert "\n" substrings of the message/prompt text into
literal newlines.

--no-ok

--nook Suppress the "OK" button in checklist, inputbox and menu box
modes. A script can still test if the user pressed the "Enter"
key to accept the data.

--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.

--separator string

--output-separatorstring
Specify a string that will separate the output on dialog's out‐
put from checklists, rather than a newline (for --separate-out‐
put) or a space. This applies to other widgets such as forms
and editboxes which normally use a newline.

--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 op‐
tions.

--print-size
Prints the size of each dialog box to dialog's output.

--print-version
Prints dialog's version to dialog's output. This may be used
alone, without other options. It does not cause dialog to exit
by itself.

--scrollbar
For widgets holding a scrollable set of data, draw a scrollbar
on its right-margin. This does not respond to the mouse.

--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 dialog's out‐
put from each widget. This is used to simplify parsing the re‐
sult 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 (for the
textbox widget; otherwise to a single space). 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. This
option is only effective for the textbox widget.

--time-format format
If the host provides strftime, this option allows you to specify
the format of the time printed for the --timebox widget. The
day, month, year values in this case are for the current local
time.

--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.

--trace filename
logs the command-line parameters, keystrokes and other informa‐
tion to the given file. If dialog reads a configure file, it is
logged as well. Piped input to the gauge widget is logged. Use
control/T to log a picture of the current dialog window.

The dialog program handles some command-line parameters specially, and
removes them from the parameter list as they are processed. For exam‐
ple, if the first option is --trace, then that is processed (and re‐
moved) before dialog initializes the display.

--trim eliminate leading blanks, trim literal newlines and repeated
blanks from message text.

See also the "--cr-wrap" and "--no-collapse" options.

--version
Prints dialog's version to the standard output, and exits. See
also "--print-version".

--visit-items
Modify the tab-traversal of checklist, radiobox, menubox and in‐
putmenu 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 ad‐
justable 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. The
format can be overridden using the --date-format option.

--checklist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ...
A checklist box is similar to a menu box; there are multiple en‐
tries presented in the form of a menu. Another difference is
that you can indicate which entry is currently selected, by set‐
ting its status to on. 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 on dialog's 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.

--dselect filepath height width
The directory-selection dialog displays a text-entry window in
which you can type a directory, and above that a windows with
directory names.

Here filepath can be a filepath in which case the directory win‐
dow will display the contents of the path and the text-entry
window will contain the preselected directory.

Use tab or arrow keys to move between the windows. Within the
directory window, use the up/down arrow keys to scroll the cur‐
rent 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 window 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
dialog's output.

--editbox filepath height width
The edit-box dialog displays a copy of the file. You may edit
it using the backspace, delete and cursor keys to correct typing
errors. It also recognizes pageup/pagedown. Unlike the --in‐
putbox, you must tab to the "OK" or "Cancel" buttons to close
the dialog. Pressing the "Enter" key within the box will split
the corresponding line.

On exit, the contents of the edit window are written to dialog's
output.

--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 al‐
tered, 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 dialog's
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 fselect (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 filepath can be a filepath in which case the file and di‐
rectory 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.

Typing the space character forces dialog to complete the current
name (up to the point where there may be a match against more
than one entry).

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
dialog's 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 the first line following is taken as an inte‐
ger percentage, 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 dialog's output. The widget ac‐
cepts 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 us‐
er 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 re‐
turned.

--inputbox text height width [init]
An input box is useful when you want to ask questions that re‐
quire the user to input a string as the answer. If init is sup‐
plied it is used to initialize the input string. When entering
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 adjust‐
ed.

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‐
log's output.

RENAMED

--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 en‐
tries 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 en‐
tries 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‐
log's output. If the "--help-button" option is given, the cor‐
responding help text will be printed if the user selects the
help button.

--mixedform text height width formheight [ label y x item y x flen ilen itype ] ...
The mixedform dialog displays a form consisting of labels and
fields, much like the --form dialog. It differs by adding a
field-type parameter to each field's description. Each bit in
the type denotes an attribute of the field:

1 hidden, e.g., a password field.

2 readonly, e.g., a label.

--mixedgauge text height width percent [ tag1 item1 ] ...
A mixedgauge box displays a meter along the bottom of the box.
The meter indicates the percentage.

It also displays a list of the tag- and item-values at the top
of the box. See dialog(3) for the tag values.

The text is shown as a caption between the list and meter. The
percent value denotes the initial percentage shown in the meter.

No provision is made for reading data from the standard input as
--gauge does.

On exit, no text is written to dialog's output. The widget ac‐
cepts no input, so the exit status is always OK.

--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.

If the message is too large for the space, dialog may allow you
to scroll it, provided that the underlying curses implementation
is capable enough. In this case, a percentage is shown in the
base of the widget.

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 re‐
turned.

--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 or the user
presses the OK button (status OK) or the user presses the CANCEL
button or Esc key.

--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.
See "--insecure" if you do not care about your password.

On exit, the input string will be printed on dialog's output.

--passwordform text height width formheight [ label y x item y x flen ilen ] ...
This is identical to --form except that all text fields are
treated as password widgets rather than inputbox widgets.

--prgbox text command height width

--prgbox command height width
A prgbox is very similar to a programbox.

This dialog box is used to display the output of a command that
is specified as an argument to prgbox.

After the command completes, the user can press the ENTER key so
that dialog will exit and the calling shell script can continue
its operation.

If three parameters are given, it displays the text under the
title, delineated from the scrolling file's contents. If only
two parameters are given, this text is omitted.

--programbox text height width

--programbox height width
A programbox is very similar to a progressbox. The only differ‐
ence between a program box and a progress box is that a program
box displays an OK button (but only after the command com‐
pletes).

This dialog box is used to display the piped output of a com‐
mand. After the command completes, the user can press the ENTER
key so that dialog will exit and the calling shell script can
continue its operation.

If three parameters are given, it displays the text under the
title, delineated from the scrolling file's contents. If only
two parameters are given, this text is omitted.

--progressbox text height width

--progressbox height width
A progressbox is similar to an tailbox, except that

a) rather than displaying the contents of a file,
it displays the piped output of a command and

b) it will exit when it reaches the end of the file
(there is no "OK" button).

If three parameters are given, it displays the text under the
title, delineated from the scrolling file's contents. If only
two parameters are given, this text is omitted.

--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 dialog's
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 dialog's output. Only an "OK"
button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be re‐
turned.

--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 re‐
turned.

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 di‐
alog 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 us‐
ing vi-style 'k' and 'j', or arrow-keys. Scroll left/right us‐
ing 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 dialog's output. Only an "EXIT"
button is provided for input, but an ESC exit status may be re‐
turned.

--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 date's 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.
The format can be overridden using the --time-format option.

--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 dialog's 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 "

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.

KEY BINDINGS
You can override or add to key bindings in dialog by adding to the con‐
figuration file. Dialog's bindkey command maps single keys to its in‐
ternal coding.

bindkey widget curses_key dialog_key

The widget name can be "*" (all widgets), or specific widgets such as
textbox. Specific widget bindings override the "*" bindings. User-de‐
fined bindings override the built-in bindings.

The curses_key can be any of the names derived from curses.h, e.g.,
"HELP" from "KEY_HELP". Dialog also recognizes ANSI control characters
such as "^A", "^?", as well as C1-controls such as "~A" and "~?". Fi‐
nally, it allows any single character to be escaped with a backslash.

Dialog's internal keycode names correspond to the DLG_KEYS_ENUM type in
dlg_keys.h, e.g., "HELP" from "DLGK_HELP".

Widget Names
Some widgets (such as the formbox) have an area where fields can be
edited. Those are managed in a subwindow of the widget, and may have
separate keybindings from the main widget because the subwindows are
registered using a different name.

Widget Window name Subwindow Name
calendar calendar
checklist checklist
editbox editbox editbox2
form formbox formfield
fselect fselect fselect2
inputbox inputbox inputbox2
menu menubox menu
msgbox msgbox
pause pause
progressbox progressbox
radiolist radiolist
tailbox tailbox
textbox textbox searchbox
timebox timebox
yesno yesno

Some widgets are actually other widgets, using internal settings to
modify the behavior. Those use the same widget name as the actual wid‐
get:

Widget Actual Widget
dselect fselect
infobox msgbox
inputmenu menu
mixedform form
passwordbox inputbox
passwordform form
prgbox progressbox
programbox progressbox
tailboxbg tailbox

Built-in Bindings
This manual page does not list the key bindings for each widget, be‐
cause that detailed information can be obtained by running dialog. If
you have set the --trace option, dialog writes the key-binding informa‐
tion for each widget as it is registered.

Example
Normally dialog uses different keys for navigating between the buttons
and editing part of a dialog versus navigating within the editing part.
That is, tab (and back-tab) traverse buttons (or between buttons and
the editing part), while arrow keys traverse fields within the editing
part. Tabs are also recognized as a special case for traversing be‐
tween widgets, e.g., when using multiple tailboxbg widgets.

Some users may wish to use the same key for traversing within the edit‐
ing part as for traversing between buttons. The form widget is written
to support this sort of redefinition of the keys, by adding a special
group in dlgk_keys.h for "form" (left/right/next/prev).
Here is an example binding demonstrating how to do this:

bindkey formfield TAB form_NEXT
bindkey formbox TAB form_NEXT
bindkey formfield BTAB form_prev
bindkey formbox BTAB form_prev

That type of redefinition would not be useful in other widgets, e.g.,
calendar, due to the potentially large number of fields to traverse.

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‐
log's 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_CANCEL

DIALOG_ERROR

DIALOG_ESC

DIALOG_EXTRA

DIALOG_HELP

DIALOG_ITEM_HELP

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.
The default values and corresponding environment variables that can
override them are:

0 if dialog is exited by pressing the Yes or OK button (DIALOG_OK).

1 if the No or Cancel button is pressed (DIALOG_CANCEL).

2 if the Help button is pressed (DIALOG_HELP).

3 if the Extra button is pressed (DIALOG_EXTRA).

4 if the Help button is pressed (DIALOG_HELP), or the --item-help
option is set when the Help button is pressed (DIALOG_ITEM_HELP),

-1 if errors occur inside dialog (DIALOG_ERROR) or dialog is exited
by pressing the ESC key (DIALOG_ESC).

PORTABILITY
Dialog works with X/Open curses. However, some implementations have
deficiencies:

- HPUX curses (and perhaps others) do not open the terminal proper‐
ly for the newterm function. This interferes with dialog's --in‐
put-fd option, by preventing cursor-keys and similar escape se‐
quences from being recognized.

- NetBSD 5.1 curses has incomplete support for wide-characters.
dialog will build, but not all examples display properly.

COMPATIBILITY
You may want to write scripts which run with other dialog "clones".

ORIGINAL DIALOG
First, there is the "original" dialog program to consider (versions 0.3
to 0.9). It had some misspelled (or inconsistent) options. The dialog
program maps those deprecated options to the preferred ones. They in‐
clude:

Option Treatment
─────────────────────────────────
--beep-after ignored
--guage mapped to --gauge

XDIALOG
Technically, "Xdialog", this is an X application. With some care, it
is possible to write useful scripts that work with both Xdialog and di‐
alog.

The dialog program ignores these options which are recognized by Xdia‐
log:

Option Treatment
───────────────────────────────────────────────
--allow-close ignored
--auto-placement ignored
--fixed-font ignored
--icon ignored
--keep-colors ignored
--no-close ignored
--no-cr-wrap ignored
--screen-center ignored
--separator mapped to --separate-output
--smooth ignored
--under-mouse ignored
--wmclass ignored

Xdialog's manpage has a section discussing its compatibility with dia‐
log.

WHIPTAIL
Then there is whiptail. For practical purposes, it is maintained by
Debian. Its documentation claims

whiptail(1) is a lightweight replacement for dialog(1),
to provide dialog boxes for shell scripts.
It is built on the
newt windowing library rather than the ncurses library, allowing
it to be smaller in embedded enviroments such as installers,
rescue disks, etc.

whiptail is designed to be drop-in compatible with dialog, but
has less features: some dialog boxes are not implemented, such
as tailbox, timebox, calendarbox, etc.

Comparing actual sizes (Debian testing, 2007/1/10): The total of sizes
for whiptail, the newt, popt and slang libraries is 757kb. The compa‐
rable number for dialog (counting ncurses) is 520kb. Disregard the
first paragraph.

The second paragraph is misleading, since whiptail also does not work
for common options of dialog, such as the gauge box. whiptail is less
compatible with dialog than the decade-old original dialog 0.4 program.

whiptail's manpage borrows features from dialog, e.g., --default-item
(2000), --output-fd (2002), but oddly cites only dialog versions up to
0.4 (1996) as a source. That is, its manpage refers to features which
were borrowed from more recent versions of dialog, e.g., the --gauge
and --password boxes, as well as options such as --separate-output
(2008). Somewhat humorously, one may note that the popt feature (un‐
documented in its manpage) of using a "--" as an escape was documented
in dialog's manpage about a year before it was mentioned in whiptail's
manpage. whiptail's manpage incorrectly attributes that to getopt (and
is inaccurate anyway).

Debian uses whiptail for the official dialog variation.

The dialog program ignores or maps these options which are recognized
by whiptail:

Option Treatment
─────────────────────────────────────
--fb ignored
--fullbutton ignored
--nocancel mapped to --no-cancel
--noitem ignored

BUGS
Perhaps.

AUTHOR
Thomas E. Dickey (updates for 0.9b and beyond)

CONTRIBUTORS
Kiran Cherupally - the mixed form and mixed gauge widgets.

Tobias C. Rittweiler

Valery Reznic - the form and progressbox widgets.

Yura Kalinichenko adapted the gauge 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: 2011/10/17 00:19:28 $ DIALOG(1)