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xmessage - display a message or query in a window (X-based /bin/echo)
xmessage [ -buttons label1[:value1],label2[:value2], ... ] [ options
] -file filename
xmessage [ -buttons label1[:value1],label2[:value2], ... ] [ options ] message
The xmessage program displays a window containing a message
from the command line, a file, or standard input. Along the lower edge of
the message is row of buttons; clicking the left mouse button on any of
these buttons will cause xmessage to exit. Which button was pressed is returned
in the exit status and, optionally, by writing the label of the button
to standard output.
The program is typically used by shell scripts to display
information to the user or to ask the user to make a choice.
Unless a size
is specified, xmessage sizes itself to fit the message, up to a maximum
size. If the message is too big for the window, xmessage will display scroll
These are the command line options that xmessage understands.
the name and position in the hierarchy of each widget is useful when specifying
resources for them. In the following chart, the class and name of each
widget is given.
- -buttons button,button,...
- This option will cause xmessage to create one button
for each comma-separated button argument. The corresponding resource is buttons.
Each button consists of a label optionally followed by a colon and an exit
value. The label is the name of the Command button widget created and will
be the default text displayed to the user. Since this is the name of the
widget it may be used to change any of the resources associated with that
button. The exit value will be returned by xmessage if that button is selected.
The default exit value is 100 plus the button number. Buttons are numbered
from the left starting with one. The default string if no -buttons option
is given is okay:0.
- -default label
- Defines the button with a matching label
to be the default. If not specified there is no default. The corresponding
resource is defaultButton. Pressing Return anywhere in the xmessage window
will activate the default button. The default button has a wider border
than the others.
- -file filename
- File to display. The corresponding resource
is file. A filename of `-' reads from standard input. If this option is not
supplied, xmessage will display all non-option arguments in the style of
echo. Either -file or a message on the command line should be provided, but
- This will cause the program to write the label of the button
pressed to standard output. Equivalent to setting the printValue resource
to TRUE. This is one way to get feedback as to which button was pressed.
- Pop up the window at the center of the screen. Equivalent to setting
the center resource to TRUE.
- Pop up the window near the mouse
cursor. Equivalent to setting the nearMouse resource to TRUE.
- -timeout secs
- Exit with status 0 after secs seconds if the user has not clicked on a
button yet. The corresponding resource is timeout.
The program has a few top-level application resources that allow
customizations that are specific to xmessage.
- A String specifying
the file to display.
- A String specifying the buttons to display.
See the -buttons command-line option.
- A String specifying a
default button by label.
- A Boolean value specifying whether the
label of the button pressed to exit the program is written to standard
output. The default is FALSE.
- A Boolean value specifying whether to
pop up the window at the center of the screen. The default is FALSE.
- A Boolean value specifying whether to pop up the window near the mouse
cursor. The default is FALSE.
- The number of seconds after which
to exit with status 0. The default is 0, which means never time out.
- The maximum height of the text part of the window in pixels,
used if no size was specified in the geometry. The default is 0, which means
use 70% of the height of the screen.
- maxWidth (class Maximum)
- The maximum
width of the text part of the window in pixels, used if no size was specified
in the geometry. The default is 0, which means use 70% of the width of the
If it detects an error, xmessage returns 1, so
this value should not be used with a button.
- exit immediately with an exit status of value
(default 0). This action can be used with translations to provide alternate
ways of exiting xmessage.
- exit immediately with the exit status
specified by the default button. If there is no default button, this action
has no effect.
Chris Peterson, MIT Project Athena
Stephen Gildea, X Consortium
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