DIALOG(1)DIALOG(1)NAMEdialog - display dialog boxes from shell scripts
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, radiolist box, ftree and tree boxes.
The screen will be cleared to the screen attribute on exit.
Since dialog supports run-time configuration, this can be used
to dump a sample configuration file to the file specified by
Specifies a title string to be displayed at the top of the dia‐
Specifies a line string to be displayed at the bottom of the
Specifies a file to be displayed by pressing ? or F1.
--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
--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.
--radiolist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ...
A radiolist box is similar to a checklist but it only allows a
single entry to be selected. One entry may initially be turned
on as specified by status. On exit, the tag string of the entry
that is 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Changes by Anatoly A. Orehovsky (email@example.com) (ftree and tree
2 October 1998 DIALOG(1)