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.

--cancel-label string

Override the label used for


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.


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.


Prints the help message to standard error. The help message is printed if no options are given.


Show a help-button after ok/cancel buttons.

--help-label string

Override the label used for


Ignore options that dialog does not recognize. Some well-known ones such as --icon __


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.

--max-input size

Limit input strings to the given size. If not specified, the limit is 2000.


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 the


Suppress shadows that would be drawn to the right and bottom of each dialog box.

--ok-label string

Override the label used for


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. If this option is not given, the default separator string is a tab character.


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

--timeout secs

Timeout (exit with error code) if no user response within the given number of seconds.

--title title

Specifies a title string to be displayed at the top of the dialog box.


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


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. 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 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 on stderr.

--fselect filepath 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 filepath 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

--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 fit 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

Fatal Error:

lib/CachedMarkup.php (In template 'browse' < 'body' < 'html'):257: Error: Pure virtual

lib/main.php:944: Notice: PageInfo: Cannot find action page

lib/main.php:839: Notice: PageInfo: Unknown action

Fatal PhpWiki Error

lib/CachedMarkup.php (In template 'browse' < 'body' < 'html'):257: Error: Pure virtual