man urxvt (Conventions) - FAQ, command sequences and other background information


RXVT REFERENCE - FAQ, command sequences and other background information


   # set a new font set
   printf '\33]50;%s\007' 9x15,xft:Kochi" Mincho"

   # change the locale and tell rxvt-unicode about it
   export LC_CTYPE=ja_JP.EUC-JP; printf "\33]701;$LC_CTYPE\007"

   # set window title
   printf '\33]2;%s\007' "new window title"


This document contains the FAQ, the RXVT TECHNICAL REFERENCE documenting all escape sequences, and other background information.

The newest version of this document is also available on the World Wide Web at <*checkout*/rxvt-unicode/doc/rxvt.7.html>.


The new selection selects pieces that are too big, how can I select single words?
Yes. For example, if you want to select alphanumeric words, you can use the following resource:
   URxvt.selection.pattern-0: ([[:word:]]+)
If you click more than twice, the selection will be extended more and more. To get a selection that is very similar to the old code, try this pattern:
   URxvt.selection.pattern-0: ([^"&'()*,;<=>?@[\\\\]^`{|})]+)
Please also note that the LeftClick Shift-LeftClik combination also selects words like the old code.
I don't like the new selection/popups/hotkeys/perl, how do I change/disable it?
You can disable the perl extension completely by setting the perl-ext-common resource to the empty string, which also keeps rxvt-unicode from initialising perl, saving memory. If you only want to disable specific features, you first have to identify which perl extension is responsible. For this, read the section PREPACKAGED EXTENSIONS in the urxvtperl(3) manpage. For example, to disable the selection-popup and option-popup, specify this perl-ext-common resource:
   URxvt.perl-ext-common: default,-selection-popup,-option-popup
This will keep the default extensions, but disable the two popup extensions. Some extensions can also be configured, for example, scrollback search mode is triggered by M-s. You can move it to any other combination either by setting the searchable-scrollback resource:
   URxvt.searchable-scrollback: CM-s
Isn't rxvt supposed to be small? Don't all those features bloat?
I often get asked about this, and I think, no, they didn't cause extra bloat. If you compare a minimal rxvt and a minimal urxvt, you can see that the urxvt binary is larger (due to some encoding tables always being compiled in), but it actually uses less memory (RSS) after startup. Even with CW--disable-everything, this comparison is a bit unfair, as many features unique to urxvt (locale, encoding conversion, iso14755 etc.) are already in use in this mode.
    text    data     bss     drs     rss filename
   98398    1664      24   15695    1824 rxvt --disable-everything
  188985    9048   66616   18222    1788 urxvt --disable-everything
When you CW--enable-everything (which _is_ unfair, as this involves xft and full locale/XIM support which are quite bloaty inside libX11 and my libc), the two diverge, but not unreasnobaly so.
    text    data     bss     drs     rss filename
  163431    2152      24   20123    2060 rxvt --enable-everything
 1035683   49680   66648   29096    3680 urxvt --enable-everything
The very large size of the text section is explained by the east-asian encoding tables, which, if unused, take up disk space but nothing else and can be compiled out unless you rely on X11 core fonts that use those encodings. The BSS size comes from the 64k emergency buffer that my c++ compiler allocates (but of course doesn't use unless you are out of memory). Also, using an xft font instead of a core font immediately adds a few megabytes of RSS. Xft indeed is responsible for a lot of RSS even when not used. Of course, due to every character using two or four bytes instead of one, a large scrollback buffer will ultimately make rxvt-unicode use more memory. Compared to e.g. Eterm (5112k), aterm (3132k) and xterm (4680k), this still fares rather well. And compared to some monsters like gnome-terminal (21152k + extra 4204k in separate processes) or konsole (22200k + extra 43180k in daemons that stay around after exit, plus half a minute of startup time, including the hundreds of warnings it spits out), it fares extremely well *g*.
Why , isn't that unportable/bloated/uncool?
Is this a question? :) It comes up very often. The simple answer is: I had to write it, and allowed me to write and maintain it in a fraction of the time and effort (which is a scarce resource for me). Put even shorter: It simply wouldn't exist without . My personal stance on this is that is less portable than C, but in the case of rxvt-unicode this hardly matters, as its portability limits are defined by things like X11, pseudo terminals, locale support and unix domain sockets, which are all less portable than itself. Regarding the bloat, see the above question: It's easy to write programs in C that use gobs of memory, an certainly possible to write programs in that don't. also often comes with large libraries, but this is not necessarily the case with GCC. Here is what rxvt links against on my system with a minimal config: => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x00002aaaaabc3000) => /lib/ (0x00002aaaaadde000) => /lib/ (0x00002aaaab01d000)
   /lib64/ (0x00002aaaaaaab000)
And here is rxvt-unicode: => /usr/X11R6/lib/ (0x00002aaaaabc3000) => /lib/ (0x00002aaaaada2000) => /lib/ (0x00002aaaaaeb0000) => /lib/ (0x00002aaaab0ee000)   
   /lib64/ (0x00002aaaaaaab000)
No large bloated libraries (of course, none were linked in statically), except maybe libX11 :)
Does it support tabs, can I have a tabbed rxvt-unicode?
rxvt-unicode does not directly support tabs. It will work fine with tabbing functionality of many window managers or similar tabbing programs, and its embedding-features allow it to be embedded into other programs, as witnessed by doc/rxvt-tabbed or the upcoming CWGtk2::URxvt perl module, which features a tabbed urxvt (murxvt) terminal as an example embedding application.
How do I know which rxvt-unicode version I'm using?
The version number is displayed with the usage (-h). Also the escape sequence CWESC [ 8 n sets the window title to the version number. When using the urxvtc client, the version displayed is that of the daemon.
I am using Debian GNU/Linux and have a problem...
The Debian GNU/Linux package of rxvt-unicode in sarge contains large patches that considerably change the behaviour of rxvt-unicode. Before reporting a bug to the original rxvt-unicode author please download and install the genuine version (<>) and try to reproduce the problem. If you cannot, chances are that the problems are specific to Debian GNU/Linux, in which case it should be reported via the Debian Bug Tracking System (use CWreportbug to report the bug). For other problems that also affect the Debian package, you can and probably should use the Debian BTS, too, because, after all, it's also a bug in the Debian version and it serves as a reminder for other users that might encounter the same issue.
I am maintaining rxvt-unicode for distribution/OS XXX, any recommendation?
You should build one binary with the default options. configure now enables most useful options, and the trend goes to making them runtime-switchable, too, so there is usually no drawback to enbaling them, except higher disk and possibly memory usage. The perl interpreter should be enabled, as important functionality (menus, selection, likely more in the future) depends on it. You should not overwrite the CWperl-ext-common snd CWperl-ext resources system-wide (except maybe with CWdefaults). This will result in useful behaviour. If your distribution aims at low memory, add an empty CWperl-ext-common resource to the app-defaults file. This will keep the perl interpreter disabled until the user enables it. If you can/want build more binaries, I recommend building a minimal one with CW--disable-everything (very useful) and a maximal one with CW--enable-everything (less useful, it will be very big due to a lot of encodings built-in that increase download times and are rarely used).
I need to make it setuid/setgid to support utmp/ptys on my OS, is this safe?
Likely not. While I honestly try to make it secure, and am probably not bad at it, I think it is simply unreasonable to expect all of freetype + fontconfig + xft + xlib + perl + ... + rxvt-unicode itself to all be secure. Also, rxvt-unicode disables some options when it detects that it runs setuid or setgid, which is not nice. Besides, with the embedded perl interpreter the possibility for security problems easily multiplies. Elevated privileges are only required for utmp and pty operations on some systems (for example, GNU/Linux doesn't need any extra privileges for ptys, but some need it for utmp support). It is planned to mvoe this into a forked handler process, but this is not yet done. So, while setuid/setgid operation is supported and not a problem on your typical single-user-no-other-logins unix desktop, always remember that its an awful lot of code, most of which isn't checked for security issues regularly.
When I log-in to another system it tells me about missing terminfo data?
The terminal description used by rxvt-unicode is not as widely available as that for xterm, or even rxvt (for which the same problem often arises). The correct solution for this problem is to install the terminfo, this can be done like this (with ncurses' infocmp):
   infocmp rxvt-unicode | ssh $REMOTE "cat >/tmp/ti && tic /tmp/ti"
... or by installing rxvt-unicode normally on the remote system, If you cannot or do not want to do this, then you can simply set CWTERM=rxvt or even CWTERM=xterm, and live with the small number of problems arising, which includes wrong keymapping, less and different colours and some refresh errors in fullscreen applications. It's a nice quick-and-dirty workaround for rare cases, though. If you always want to do this (and are fine with the consequences) you can either recompile rxvt-unicode with the desired TERM value or use a resource to set it:
   URxvt.termName: rxvt
If you don't plan to use rxvt (quite common...) you could also replace the rxvt terminfo file with the rxvt-unicode one. Most likely it's the empty definition for CWenacs=. Just replace it by CWenacs=\E[0@ and try again.
I need a termcap file entry.
One reason you might want this is that some distributions or operating systems still compile some programs using the long-obsoleted termcap library (Fedora Core's bash is one example) and rely on a termcap entry for CWrxvt-unicode. You could use rxvt's termcap entry with resonable results in many cases. You can also create a termcap entry by using terminfo's infocmp program like this:
   infocmp -C rxvt-unicode
Or you could use this termcap entry, generated by the command above:
   rxvt-unicode|rxvt-unicode terminal (X Window System):\
The CWls in the GNU coreutils unfortunately doesn't use terminfo to decide wether a terminal has colour, but uses it's own configuration file. Needless to say, CWrxvt-unicode is not in it's default file (among with most other terminals supporting colour). Either add:
   TERM rxvt-unicode
to CW/etc/DIR_COLORS or simply add:
   alias ls='ls --color=auto'
to your CW.profile or CW.bashrc.
Why doesn't vim/emacs etc. use the 88 colour mode?
Why doesn't vim/emacs etc. make use of italic?
Why are the secondary screen-related options not working properly?
Make sure you are using CWTERM=rxvt-unicode and the appropriate terminfo file is installed. On Debian GNU/Linux, see README.Debian.gz for further details. Also see the question When I log-in to another system it tells me about missing terminfo data? on how to do this).
My numerical keypad acts weird and generates differing output?
Some Debian GNUL/Linux users seem to have this problem, although no specific details were reported so far. It is possible that this is caused by the wrong CWTERM setting, although the details of wether and how this can happen are unknown, as CWTERM=rxvt should offer a compatible keymap. See the answer to the previous question, and please report if that helped.
Rxvt-unicode does not seem to understand the selected encoding?
Unicode does not seem to work?
If you encounter strange problems like typing an accented character but getting two unrelated other characters or similar, or if program output is subtly garbled, then you should check your locale settings. Rxvt-unicode must be started with the same CWLC_CTYPE setting as the programs. Often rxvt-unicode is started in the CWC locale, while the login script running within the rxvt-unicode window changes the locale to something else, e.g. CWen_GB.UTF-8. Needless to say, this is not going to work. The best thing is to fix your startup environment, as you will likely run into other problems. If nothing works you can try this in your .profile.
  printf '\e]701;%s\007' "$LC_CTYPE"
If this doesn't work, then maybe you use a CWLC_CTYPE specification not supported on your systems. Some systems have a CWlocale command which displays this (also, CWperl -e0 can be used to check locale settings, as it will complain loudly if it cannot set the locale). If it displays something like:
  locale: Cannot set LC_CTYPE to default locale: ...
Then the locale you specified is not supported on your system. If nothing works and you are sure that everything is set correctly then you will need to remember a little known fact: Some programs just don't support locales :(
Why do some characters look so much different than others?
How does rxvt-unicode choose fonts?
Most fonts do not contain the full range of Unicode, which is fine. Chances are that the font you (or the admin/package maintainer of your system/os) have specified does not cover all the characters you want to display. rxvt-unicode makes a best-effort try at finding a replacement font. Often the result is fine, but sometimes the chosen font looks bad/ugly/wrong. Some fonts have totally strange characters that don't resemble the correct glyph at all, and rxvt-unicode lacks the artificial intelligence to detect that a specific glyph is wrong: it has to believe the font that the characters it claims to contain indeed look correct. In that case, select a font of your taste and add it to the font list, e.g.:
   urxvt -fn basefont,font2,font3...
When rxvt-unicode sees a character, it will first look at the base font. If the base font does not contain the character, it will go to the next font, and so on. Specifying your own fonts will also speed up this search and use less resources within rxvt-unicode and the X-server. The only limitation is that none of the fonts may be larger than the base font, as the base font defines the terminal character cell size, which must be the same due to the way terminals work.
Why do some chinese characters look so different than others?
This is because there is a difference between script and language rxvt-unicode does not know which language the text that is output is, as it only knows the unicode character codes. If rxvt-unicode first sees a japanese/chinese character, it might choose a japanese font for display. Subsequent japanese characters will use that font. Now, many chinese characters aren't represented in japanese fonts, so when the first non-japanese character comes up, rxvt-unicode will look for a chinese font unfortunately at this point, it will still use the japanese font for chinese characters that are also in the japanese font. The workaround is easy: just tag a chinese font at the end of your font list (see the previous question). The key is to view the font list as a preference list: If you expect more japanese, list a japanese font first. If you expect more chinese, put a chinese font first. In the future it might be possible to switch language preferences at runtime (the internal data structure has no problem with using different fonts for the same character at the same time, but no interface for this has been designed yet). Until then, you might get away with switching fonts at runtime (see Can I switch the fonts at runtime? later in this document).
Why does rxvt-unicode sometimes leave pixel droppings?
Most fonts were not designed for terminal use, which means that character size varies a lot. A font that is otherwise fine for terminal use might contain some characters that are simply too wide. Rxvt-unicode will avoid these characters. For characters that are just a bit too wide a special careful rendering mode is used that redraws adjacent characters. All of this requires that fonts do not lie about character sizes, however: Xft fonts often draw glyphs larger than their acclaimed bounding box, and rxvt-unicode has no way of detecting this (the correct way is to ask for the character bounding box, which unfortunately is wrong in these cases). It's not clear (to me at least), wether this is a bug in Xft, freetype, or the respective font. If you encounter this problem you might try using the CW-lsp option to give the font more height. If that doesn't work, you might be forced to use a different font. All of this is not a problem when using X11 core fonts, as their bounding box data is correct.
On Solaris 9, many line-drawing characters are too wide.
Seems to be a known bug, read <>. Some people use the following ugly workaround to get non-double-wide-characters working:
   #define wcwidth(x) wcwidth(x) > 1 ? 1 : wcwidth(x)
My Compose (Multi_key) key is no longer working.
The most common causes for this are that either your locale is not set correctly, or you specified a preeditStyle that is not supported by your input method. For example, if you specified OverTheSpot and your input method (e.g. the default input method handling Compose keys) does not support this (for instance because it is not visual), then rxvt-unicode will continue without an input method. In this case either do not specify a preeditStyle or specify more than one pre-edit style, such as OverTheSpot,Root,None. Either try CWCtrl-2 alone (it often is mapped to ASCII NUL even on international keyboards) or simply use ISO 14755 support to your advantage, typing <Ctrl-Shift-0> to get a ASCII NUL. This works for other codes, too, such as CWCtrl-Shift-1-d to type the default telnet escape character and so on.
How can I keep rxvt-unicode from using reverse video so much?
First of all, make sure you are running with the right terminal settings (CWTERM=rxvt-unicode), which will get rid of most of these effects. Then make sure you have specified colours for italic and bold, as otherwise rxvt-unicode might use reverse video to simulate the effect:
   URxvt.colorBD:  white
   URxvt.colorIT:  green
Some programs assume totally weird colours (red instead of blue), how can I fix that?
For some unexplainable reason, some rare programs assume a very weird colour palette when confronted with a terminal with more than the standard 8 colours (rxvt-unicode supports 88). The right fix is, of course, to fix these programs not to assume non-ISO colours without very good reasons. In the meantime, you can either edit your CWrxvt-unicode terminfo definition to only claim 8 colour support or use CWTERM=rxvt, which will fix colours but keep you from using other rxvt-unicode features.
I am on FreeBSD and rxvt-unicode does not seem to work at all.
Rxvt-unicode requires the symbol CW__STDC_ISO_10646__ to be defined in your compile environment, or an implementation that implements it, wether it defines the symbol or not. CW__STDC_ISO_10646__ requires that wchar_t is represented as unicode. As you might have guessed, FreeBSD does neither define this symobl nor does it support it. Instead, it uses it's own internal representation of wchar_t. This is, of course, completely fine with respect to standards. However, that means rxvt-unicode only works in CWPOSIX, CWISO-8859-1 and CWUTF-8 locales under FreeBSD (which all use Unicode as wchar_t. CW__STDC_ISO_10646__ is the only sane way to support multi-language apps in an OS, as using a locale-dependent (and non-standardized) representation of wchar_t makes it impossible to convert between wchar_t (as used by X11 and your applications) and any other encoding without implementing OS-specific-wrappers for each and every locale. There simply are no APIs to convert wchar_t into anything except the current locale encoding. Some applications (such as the formidable mlterm) work around this by carrying their own replacement functions for character set handling with them, and either implementing OS-dependent hacks or doing multiple conversions (which is slow and unreliable in case the OS implements encodings slightly different than the terminal emulator). The rxvt-unicode author insists that the right way to fix this is in the system libraries once and for all, instead of forcing every app to carry complete replacements for them :)
I use Solaris 9 and it doesn't compile/work/etc.
Try the diff in doc/solaris9.patch as a base. It fixes the worst problems with CWwcwidth and a compile problem.
How can I use rxvt-unicode under cygwin?
rxvt-unicode should compile and run out of the box on cygwin, using the X11 libraries that come with cygwin. libW11 emulation is no longer supported (and makes no sense, either, as it only supported a single font). I recommend starting the X-server in CW-multiwindow or CW-rootless mode instead, which will result in similar look&feel as the old libW11 emulation. At the time of this writing, cygwin didn't seem to support any multi-byte encodings (you might try CWLC_CTYPE=C-UTF-8), so you are likely limited to 8-bit encodings.
How does rxvt-unicode determine the encoding to use?
Is there an option to switch encodings?
Unlike some other terminals, rxvt-unicode has no encoding switch, and no specific utf-8 mode, such as xterm. In fact, it doesn't even know about UTF-8 or any other encodings with respect to terminal I/O. The reasons is that there exists a perfectly fine mechanism for selecting the encoding, doing I/O and (most important) communicating this to all applications so everybody agrees on character properties such as width and code number. This mechanism is the locale. Applications not using that info will have problems (for example, CWxterm gets the width of characters wrong as it uses it's own, locale-independent table under all locales). Rxvt-unicode uses the CWLC_CTYPE locale category to select encoding. All programs doing the same (that is, most) will automatically agree in the interpretation of characters. Unfortunately, there is no system-independent way to select locales, nor is there a standard on how locale specifiers will look like. On most systems, the content of the CWLC_CTYPE environment variable contains an arbitrary string which corresponds to an already-installed locale. Common names for locales are CWen_US.UTF-8, CWde_DE.ISO-8859-15, CWja_JP.EUC-JP, i.e. CWlanguage_country.encoding, but other forms (i.e. CWde or CWgerman) are also common. Rxvt-unicode ignores all other locale categories, and except for the encoding, ignores country or language-specific settings, i.e. CWde_DE.UTF-8 and CWja_JP.UTF-8 are the normally same to rxvt-unicode. If you want to use a specific encoding you have to make sure you start rxvt-unicode with the correct CWLC_CTYPE category.
Can I switch locales at runtime?
Yes, using an escape sequence. Try something like this, which sets rxvt-unicode's idea of CWLC_CTYPE.
  printf '\e]701;%s\007' ja_JP.SJIS
See also the previous answer. Sometimes this capability is rather handy when you want to work in one locale (e.g. CWde_DE.UTF-8) but some programs don't support it (e.g. UTF-8). For example, I use this script to start CWxjdic, which first switches to a locale supported by xjdic and back later:
   printf '\e]701;%s\007' ja_JP.SJIS
   xjdic -js
   printf '\e]701;%s\007' de_DE.UTF-8
You can also use xterm's CWluit program, which usually works fine, except for some locales where character width differs between program- and rxvt-unicode-locales.
Can I switch the fonts at runtime?
Yes, using an escape sequence. Try something like this, which has the same effect as using the CW-fn switch, and takes effect immediately:
   printf '\e]50;%s\007' "9x15bold,xft:Kochi Gothic"
This is useful if you e.g. work primarily with japanese (and prefer a japanese font), but you have to switch to chinese temporarily, where japanese fonts would only be in your way. You can think of this as a kind of manual ISO-2022 switching.
Why do italic characters look as if clipped?
Many fonts have difficulties with italic characters and hinting. For example, the otherwise very nicely hinted font CWxft:Bitstream Vera Sans Mono completely fails in it's italic face. A workaround might be to enable freetype autohinting, i.e. like this:
   URxvt.italicFont:        xft:Bitstream Vera Sans Mono:italic:autohint=true
   URxvt.boldItalicFont:    xft:Bitstream Vera Sans Mono:bold:italic:autohint=true
My input method wants <some encoding> but I want UTF-8, what can I do?
You can specify separate locales for the input method and the rest of the terminal, using the resource CWimlocale:
   URxvt*imlocale: ja_JP.EUC-JP
Now you can start your terminal with CWLC_CTYPE=ja_JP.UTF-8 and still use your input method. Please note, however, that you will not be able to input characters outside CWEUC-JP in a normal way then, as your input method limits you.
Rxvt-unicode crashes when the X Input Method changes or exits.
Unfortunately, this is unavoidable, as the XIM protocol is racy by design. Applications can avoid some crashes at the expense of memory leaks, and Input Methods can avoid some crashes by careful ordering at exit time. kinput2 (and derived input methods) generally succeeds, while SCIM (or similar input methods) fails. In the end, however, crashes cannot be completely avoided even if both sides cooperate. So the only workaround is not to kill your Input Method Servers.
Rxvt-unicode uses gobs of memory, how can I reduce that?
Rxvt-unicode tries to obey the rule of not charging you for something you don't use. One thing you should try is to configure out all settings that you don't need, for example, Xft support is a resource hog by design, when used. Compiling it out ensures that no Xft font will be loaded accidentally when rxvt-unicode tries to find a font for your characters. Also, many people (me included) like large windows and even larger scrollback buffers: Without CW--enable-unicode3, rxvt-unicode will use 6 bytes per screen cell. For a 160x?? window this amounts to almost a kilobyte per line. A scrollback buffer of 10000 lines will then (if full) use 10 Megabytes of memory. With CW--enable-unicode3 it gets worse, as rxvt-unicode then uses 8 bytes per screen cell.
Can I speed up Xft rendering somehow?
Yes, the most obvious way to speed it up is to avoid Xft entirely, as it is simply slow. If you still want Xft fonts you might try to disable antialiasing (by appending CW:antialias=false), which saves lots of memory and also speeds up rendering considerably.
Rxvt-unicode doesn't seem to anti-alias its fonts, what is wrong?
Rxvt-unicode will use whatever you specify as a font. If it needs to fall back to it's default font search list it will prefer X11 core fonts, because they are small and fast, and then use Xft fonts. It has antialiasing disabled for most of them, because the author thinks they look best that way. If you want antialiasing, you have to specify the fonts manually.
Mouse cut/paste suddenly no longer works.
Make sure that mouse reporting is actually turned off since killing some editors prematurely may leave the mouse in mouse report mode. I've heard that tcsh may use mouse reporting unless it otherwise specified. A quick check is to see if cut/paste works when the Alt or Shift keys are depressed.
What's with this bold/blink stuff?
If no bold colour is set via CWcolorBD:, bold will invert text using the standard foreground colour. For the standard background colour, blinking will actually make the text blink when compiled with CW--enable-blinking. with standard colours. Without CW--enable-blinking, the blink attribute will be ignored. On ANSI colours, bold/blink attributes are used to set high-intensity foreground/background colors. color0-7 are the low-intensity colors. color8-15 are the corresponding high-intensity colors.
I don't like the screen colors. How do I change them?
You can change the screen colors at run-time using ~/.Xdefaults resources (or as long-options). Here are values that are supposed to resemble a VGA screen, including the murky brown that passes for low-intensity yellow:
   URxvt.color0:   #000000
   URxvt.color1:   #A80000
   URxvt.color2:   #00A800
   URxvt.color3:   #A8A800
   URxvt.color4:   #0000A8
   URxvt.color5:   #A800A8
   URxvt.color6:   #00A8A8
   URxvt.color7:   #A8A8A8
   URxvt.color8:   #000054
   URxvt.color9:   #FF0054
   URxvt.color10:  #00FF54
   URxvt.color11:  #FFFF54
   URxvt.color12:  #0000FF
   URxvt.color13:  #FF00FF
   URxvt.color14:  #00FFFF
   URxvt.color15:  #FFFFFF
And here is a more complete set of non-standard colors described (not by me) as pretty girly.
   URxvt.cursorColor:  #dc74d1
   URxvt.pointerColor: #dc74d1
   URxvt.background:   #0e0e0e
   URxvt.foreground:   #4ad5e1
   URxvt.color0:       #000000
   URxvt.color8:       #8b8f93
   URxvt.color1:       #dc74d1
   URxvt.color9:       #dc74d1
   URxvt.color2:       #0eb8c7
   URxvt.color10:      #0eb8c7
   URxvt.color3:       #dfe37e
   URxvt.color11:      #dfe37e
   URxvt.color5:       #9e88f0
   URxvt.color13:      #9e88f0
   URxvt.color6:       #73f7ff
   URxvt.color14:      #73f7ff
   URxvt.color7:       #e1dddd
   URxvt.color15:      #e1dddd
How can I start urxvtd in a race-free way?
Try CWurxvtd -f -o, which tells urxvtd to open the display, create the listening socket and then fork.
What's with the strange Backspace/Delete key behaviour?
Assuming that the physical Backspace key corresponds to the BackSpace keysym (not likely for Linux ... see the following question) there are two standard values that can be used for Backspace: CW^H and CW^?. Historically, either value is correct, but rxvt-unicode adopts the debian policy of using CW^? when unsure, because it's the one only only correct choice :). Rxvt-unicode tries to inherit the current stty settings and uses the value of `erase' to guess the value for backspace. If rxvt-unicode wasn't started from a terminal (say, from a menu or by remote shell), then the system value of `erase', which corresponds to CERASE in <termios.h>, will be used (which may not be the same as your stty setting). For starting a new rxvt-unicode:
   # use Backspace = ^H
   $ stty erase ^H
   $ urxvt
   # use Backspace = ^?
   $ stty erase ^?
   $ urxvt
Toggle with CWESC [ 36 h / CWESC [ 36 l. For an existing rxvt-unicode:
   # use Backspace = ^H
   $ stty erase ^H
   $ echo -n "^[[36h"
   # use Backspace = ^?
   $ stty erase ^?
   $ echo -n "^[[36l"
This helps satisfy some of the Backspace discrepancies that occur, but if you use Backspace = CW^H, make sure that the termcap/terminfo value properly reflects that. The Delete key is a another casualty of the ill-defined Backspace problem. To avoid confusion between the Backspace and Delete keys, the Delete key has been assigned an escape sequence to match the vt100 for Execute (CWESC [ 3 ~) and is in the supplied termcap/terminfo. Some other Backspace problems: some editors use termcap/terminfo, some editors (vim I'm told) expect Backspace = ^H, GNU Emacs (and Emacs-like editors) use ^H for help. Perhaps someday this will all be resolved in a consistent manner.
I don't like the key-bindings. How do I change them?
There are some compile-time selections available via configure. Unless you have run configure with the CW--disable-resources option you can use the `keysym' resource to alter the keystrings associated with keysyms. Here's an example for a URxvt session started using CWurxvt -name URxvt
   URxvt.keysym.Home:          \033[1~
   URxvt.keysym.End:           \033[4~
   URxvt.keysym.C-apostrophe:  \033<C-'>
   URxvt.keysym.C-slash:       \033<C-/>
   URxvt.keysym.C-semicolon:   \033<C-;>
   URxvt.keysym.C-grave:       \033<C-`>
   URxvt.keysym.C-comma:       \033<C-,>
   URxvt.keysym.C-period:      \033<C-.>
   URxvt.keysym.C-0x60:        \033<C-`>
   URxvt.keysym.C-Tab:         \033<C-Tab>
   URxvt.keysym.C-Return:      \033<C-Return>
   URxvt.keysym.S-Return:      \033<S-Return>
   URxvt.keysym.S-space:       \033<S-Space>
   URxvt.keysym.M-Up:          \033<M-Up>
   URxvt.keysym.M-Down:        \033<M-Down>
   URxvt.keysym.M-Left:        \033<M-Left>
   URxvt.keysym.M-Right:       \033<M-Right>
   URxvt.keysym.M-C-0:         list \033<M-C- 0123456789 >
   URxvt.keysym.M-C-a:         list \033<M-C- abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz >
   URxvt.keysym.F12:           command:\033]701;zh_CN.GBK\007
See some more examples in the documentation for the keysym resource.
I'm using keyboard model XXX that has extra Prior/Next/Insert keys. How do I make use of them? For example, the Sun Keyboard type 4 has the following mappings that rxvt-unicode doesn't recognize.
   KP_Insert == Insert
   F22 == Print
   F27 == Home
   F29 == Prior
   F33 == End
   F35 == Next
Rather than have rxvt-unicode try to accommodate all the various possible keyboard mappings, it is better to use `xmodmap' to remap the keys as required for your particular machine.
How do I distinguish wether I'm running rxvt-unicode or a regular xterm? I need this to decide about setting colors etc.
rxvt and rxvt-unicode always export the variable COLORTERM, so you can check and see if that is set. Note that several programs, JED, slrn, Midnight Commander automatically check this variable to decide whether or not to use color.
How do I set the correct, full IP address for the DISPLAY variable?
If you've compiled rxvt-unicode with DISPLAY_IS_IP and have enabled insecure mode then it is possible to use the following shell script snippets to correctly set the display. If your version of rxvt-unicode wasn't also compiled with ESCZ_ANSWER (as assumed in these snippets) then the COLORTERM variable can be used to distinguish rxvt-unicode from a regular xterm. Courtesy of Chuck Blake <cblake@BBN.COM> with the following shell script snippets:
   # Bourne/Korn/POSIX family of shells:
   [ ${TERM:-foo} = foo ] && TERM=xterm # assume an xterm if we don't know
   if [ ${TERM:-foo} = xterm ]; then
      stty -icanon -echo min 0 time 15 # see if enhanced rxvt or not
      echo -n '^[Z'
      read term_id
      stty icanon echo
      if [ ""${term_id} = '^[[?1;2C' -a ${DISPLAY:-foo} = foo ]; then
         echo -n '^[[7n'        # query the rxvt we are in for the DISPLAY string
         read DISPLAY           # set it in our local shell
How do I compile the manual pages for myself?
You need to have a recent version of perl installed as /usr/bin/perl, one that comes with pod2man, pod2text and pod2html. Then go to the doc subdirectory and enter CWmake alldoc.
My question isn't answered here, can I ask a human?
Before sending me mail, you could go to IRC:, channel CW#rxvt-unicode has some rxvt-unicode enthusiasts that might be interested in learning about new and exciting problems (but not FAQs :).



The rest of this document describes various technical aspects of rxvt-unicode. First the description of supported command sequences, followed by menu and pixmap support and last by a description of all features selectable at CWconfigure time.


The literal character c. A single (required) character. A single (usually optional) numeric parameter, composed of one or more digits. A multiple numeric parameter composed of any number of single numeric parameters, separated by CW; character(s). A text parameter composed of printable characters.


Enquiry (Ctrl-E) = Send Device Attributes (DA) request attributes from terminal. See CBESC [ Ps c. Bell (Ctrl-G) Backspace (Ctrl-H) Horizontal Tab (HT) (Ctrl-I) Line Feed or New Line (NL) (Ctrl-J) Vertical Tab (Ctrl-K) same as CBLF Form Feed or New Page (NP) (Ctrl-L) same as CBLF Carriage Return (Ctrl-M) Shift Out (Ctrl-N), invokes the G1 character set. Switch to Alternate Character Set Shift In (Ctrl-O), invokes the G0 character set (the default). Switch to Standard Character Set Space Character

Escape Sequences

DEC Screen Alignment Test (DECALN) Save Cursor (SC) Restore Cursor Application Keypad (SMKX). See also next sequence. Normal Keypad (RMKX) Note: If the numeric keypad is activated, eg, Num_Lock has been pressed, numbers or control functions are generated by the numeric keypad (see Key Codes). Index (IND) Next Line (NEL) Tab Set (HTS) Reverse Index (RI) Single Shift Select of G2 Character Set (SS2): affects next character only unimplemented Single Shift Select of G3 Character Set (SS3): affects next character only unimplemented Obsolete form of returns: CBESC [ ? 1 ; 2 C rxvt-unicode compile-time option Full reset (RIS) Invoke the G2 Character Set (LS2) Invoke the G3 Character Set (LS3) Designate G0 Character Set (ISO 2022), see below for values of CWC. Designate G1 Character Set (ISO 2022), see below for values of CWC. Designate G2 Character Set (ISO 2022), see below for values of CWC. Designate G3 Character Set (ISO 2022), see below for values of CWC. Designate Kanji Character Set Where CBC is one of: l l . C = 0 DEC Special Character and Line Drawing Set C = A United Kingdom (UK) C = B United States (USASCII) C = < Multinational character set unimplemented C = 5 Finnish character set unimplemented C = C Finnish character set unimplemented C = K German character set unimplemented

CSI (Command Sequence Introducer) Sequences

Insert CBPs (Blank) Character(s) [default: 1] (ICH) Cursor Up CBPs Times [default: 1] (CUU) Cursor Down CBPs Times [default: 1] (CUD) Cursor Forward CBPs Times [default: 1] (CUF) Cursor Backward CBPs Times [default: 1] (CUB) Cursor Down CBPs Times [default: 1] and to first column Cursor Up CBPs Times [default: 1] and to first column Cursor to Column CBPs (HPA) Cursor Position [row;column] [default: 1;1] (CUP) Move forward CBPs tab stops [default: 1] Erase in Display (ED) l l . Ps = 0 Clear Below (default) Ps = 1 Clear Above Ps = 2 Clear All

Erase in Line (EL) l l . Ps = 0 Clear to Right (default) Ps = 1 Clear to Left Ps = 2 Clear All

Insert CBPs Line(s) [default: 1] (IL) Delete CBPs Line(s) [default: 1] (DL) Delete CBPs Character(s) [default: 1] (DCH) Initiate . unimplemented Parameters are [func;startx;starty;firstrow;lastrow]. Tabulator functions l l . Ps = 0 Tab Set (HTS) Ps = 2 Tab Clear (TBC), Clear Current Column (default) Ps = 5 Tab Clear (TBC), Clear All

Erase CBPs Character(s) [default: 1] (ECH) Move backward CBPs [default: 1] tab stops See CBESC [ Ps G See CBESC [ Ps C Send Device Attributes (DA) CBPs = 0 (or omitted): request attributes from terminal returns: CBESC [ ? 1 ; 2 c (``I am a VT100 with Advanced Video Option'') Cursor to Line CBPs (VPA) See CBESC [ Ps A Horizontal and Vertical Position [row;column] (HVP) [default: 1;1] Tab Clear (TBC) l l . Ps = 0 Clear Current Column (default) Ps = 3 Clear All (TBC)

Set Mode (SM). See CBESC [ Pm l sequence for description of CWPm. Printing. See also the CWprint-pipe resource. l l . Ps = 0 print screen (MC0) Ps = 4 disable transparent print mode (MC4) Ps = 5 enable transparent print mode (MC5)

Reset Mode (RM) l l . h Insert Mode (SMIR) l Replace Mode (RMIR)

l l . h Automatic Newline (LNM) l Normal Linefeed (LNM)

Character Attributes (SGR) l l . Ps = 0 Normal (default) Ps = 1 / 21 On / Off Bold (bright fg) Ps = 3 / 23 On / Off Italic Ps = 4 / 24 On / Off Underline Ps = 5 / 25 On / Off Slow Blink (bright bg) Ps = 6 / 26 On / Off Rapid Blink (bright bg) Ps = 7 / 27 On / Off Inverse Ps = 8 / 27 On / Off Invisible (NYI) Ps = 30 / 40 fg/bg Black Ps = 31 / 41 fg/bg Red Ps = 32 / 42 fg/bg Green Ps = 33 / 43 fg/bg Yellow Ps = 34 / 44 fg/bg Blue Ps = 35 / 45 fg/bg Magenta Ps = 36 / 46 fg/bg Cyan Ps = 38;5 / 48;5 set fg/bg to color #m (ISO 8613-6) Ps = 37 / 47 fg/bg White Ps = 39 / 49 fg/bg Default Ps = 90 / 100 fg/bg Bright Black Ps = 91 / 101 fg/bg Bright Red Ps = 92 / 102 fg/bg Bright Green Ps = 93 / 103 fg/bg Bright Yellow Ps = 94 / 104 fg/bg Bright Blue Ps = 95 / 105 fg/bg Bright Magenta Ps = 96 / 106 fg/bg Bright Cyan Ps = 97 / 107 fg/bg Bright White Ps = 99 / 109 fg/bg Bright Default

Device Status Report (DSR) l l . Ps = 5 Status Report ESC [ 0 n (``OK'') Ps = 6 Report Cursor Position (CPR) [row;column] as ESC [ r ; c R Ps = 7 Request Display Name Ps = 8 Request Version Number (place in window title)

Set Scrolling Region [top;bottom] [default: full size of window] (CSR) Save Cursor (SC) Window Operations l l . Ps = 1 Deiconify (map) window Ps = 2 Iconify window Ps = 3 ESC [ 3 ; X ; Y t Move window to (X|Y) Ps = 4 ESC [ 4 ; H ; W t Resize to WxH pixels Ps = 5 Raise window Ps = 6 Lower window Ps = 7 Refresh screen once Ps = 8 ESC [ 8 ; R ; C t Resize to R rows and C columns Ps = 11 Report window state (responds with Ps = 1 or Ps = 2) Ps = 13 Report window position (responds with Ps = 3) Ps = 14 Report window pixel size (responds with Ps = 4) Ps = 18 Report window text size (responds with Ps = 7) Ps = 19 Currently the same as Ps = 18, but responds with Ps = 9 Ps = 20 Reports icon label (ESC ] L NAME 234) Ps = 21 Reports window title (ESC ] l NAME 234) Ps = 24.. Set window height to Ps rows

Restore Cursor Request Terminal Parameters (DECREQTPARM)

DEC Private Modes

DEC Private Mode Set (DECSET) DEC Private Mode Reset (DECRST) Restore previously saved DEC Private Mode Values. Save DEC Private Mode Values. Toggle DEC Private Mode Values (rxvt extension). where l l . h Application Cursor Keys l Normal Cursor Keys

l l . h Enter VT52 mode l Enter VT52 mode

l l . h 132 Column Mode (DECCOLM) l 80 Column Mode (DECCOLM)

l l . h Smooth (Slow) Scroll (DECSCLM) l Jump (Fast) Scroll (DECSCLM)

l l . h Reverse Video (DECSCNM) l Normal Video (DECSCNM)

l l . h Origin Mode (DECOM) l Normal Cursor Mode (DECOM)

l l . h Wraparound Mode (DECAWM) l No Wraparound Mode (DECAWM)

l l . h Auto-repeat Keys (DECARM) l No Auto-repeat Keys (DECARM)

l l . h Send Mouse X & Y on button press. l No mouse reporting.

l l . h menuBar visible l menuBar invisible

l l . h Visible cursor {cnorm/cvvis} l Invisible cursor {civis}

l l . h scrollBar visisble l scrollBar invisisble

l l . h Allow XTerm Shift+key sequences l Disallow XTerm Shift+key sequences

Enter Tektronix Mode (DECTEK) l l . h Allow 80/132 Mode l Disallow 80/132 Mode

l l . h Turn On Margin Bell l Turn Off Margin Bell

l l . h Reverse-wraparound Mode l No Reverse-wraparound Mode

l l . h Use Alternate Screen Buffer l Use Normal Screen Buffer

l l . h Application Keypad (DECPAM) == ESC = l Normal Keypad (DECPNM) == ESC >

l l . h Backspace key sends BS (DECBKM) l Backspace key sends DEL

l l . h Send Mouse X & Y on button press and release. l No mouse reporting.

l l . h Use Hilite Mouse Tracking. l No mouse reporting.

l l . h Don't scroll to bottom on TTY output l Scroll to bottom on TTY output

l l . h Scroll to bottom when a key is pressed l Don't scroll to bottom when a key is pressed

l l . h Bold/italic implies high intensity (see option -is) l Font styles have no effect on intensity (Compile styles)

l l . h Use Alternate Screen Buffer l Use Normal Screen Buffer - clear Alternate Screen Buffer if returning from it

l l . h Save cursor position l Restore cursor position

l l . h Use Alternate Screen Buffer - clear Alternate Screen Buffer if switching to it l Use Normal Screen Buffer

XTerm Operating System Commands

Set XTerm Parameters. 8-bit ST: 0x9c, 7-bit ST sequence: ESC \ (0x1b, 0x5c), backwards compatible terminator BEL (0x07) is also accepted. any octet can be escaped by prefixing it with SYN (0x16, ^V). l l . Ps = 0 Change Icon Name and Window Title to Pt Ps = 1 Change Icon Name to Pt Ps = 2 Change Window Title to Pt Ps = 3 If Pt starts with a ?, query the (STRING) property of the window and return it. If Pt contains a =, set the named property to the given value, else delete the specified property. Ps = 4 Pt is a semi-colon separated sequence of one or more semi-colon separated number/name pairs, where number is an index to a colour and name is the name of a colour. Each pair causes the numbered colour to be changed to name. Numbers 0-7 corresponds to low-intensity (normal) colours and 8-15 corresponds to high-intensity colours. 0=black, 1=red, 2=green, 3=yellow, 4=blue, 5=magenta, 6=cyan, 7=white Ps = 10 Change colour of text foreground to Pt (NB: may change in future) Ps = 11 Change colour of text background to Pt (NB: may change in future) Ps = 12 Change colour of text cursor foreground to Pt Ps = 13 Change colour of mouse foreground to Pt Ps = 17 Change colour of highlight characters to Pt Ps = 18 Change colour of bold characters to Pt [deprecated, see 706] Ps = 19 Change colour of underlined characters to Pt [deprecated, see 707] Ps = 20 Change default background to Pt Ps = 39 Change default foreground colour to Pt. Ps = 46 Change Log File to Pt unimplemented Ps = 49 Change default background colour to Pt. Ps = 50 Set fontset to Pt, with the following special values of Pt (rxvt) #+n change up n #-n change down n if n is missing of 0, a value of 1 is used empty change to font0 n change to font n Ps = 55 Log all scrollback buffer and all of screen to Pt Ps = 701 Change current locale to Pt, or, if Pt is ?, return the current locale (Compile frills). Ps = 703 Menubar command Pt (Compile menubar). Ps = 704 Change colour of italic characters to Pt Ps = 705 Change background pixmap tint colour to Pt (Compile transparency). Ps = 706 Change colour of bold characters to Pt Ps = 707 Change colour of underlined characters to Pt Ps = 710 Set normal fontset to Pt. Same as Ps = 50. Ps = 711 Set bold fontset to Pt. Similar to Ps = 50 (Compile styles). Ps = 712 Set italic fontset to Pt. Similar to Ps = 50 (Compile styles). Ps = 713 Set bold-italic fontset to Pt. Similar to Ps = 50 (Compile styles). Ps = 720 Move viewing window up by Pt lines, or clear scrollback buffer if Pt = 0 (Compile frills). Ps = 721 Move viewing window down by Pt lines, or clear scrollback buffer if Pt = 0 (Compile frills). Ps = 777 Call the perl extension with the given string, which should be of the form extension:parameters (Compile perl).


The exact syntax used is BIalmost solidified. In the menus, DON'T try to use menuBar commands that add or remove a menuBar.

Note that in all of the commands, the BI/path/ cannot be omitted: use ./ to specify a menu relative to the current menu.

Overview of menuBar operation

For the menuBar XTerm escape sequence CWESC ] 703 ; Pt ST, the syntax of CWPt can be used for a variety of tasks:

At the top level is the current menuBar which is a member of a circular linked-list of other such menuBars.

The menuBar acts as a parent for the various drop-down menus, which in turn, may have labels, separator lines, menuItems and subMenus.

The menuItems are the useful bits: you can use them to mimic keyboard input or even to send text or escape sequences back to rxvt.

The menuBar syntax is intended to provide a simple yet robust method of constructing and manipulating menus and navigating through the menuBars.

The first step is to use the tag [menu:BIname] which creates the menuBar called name and allows access. You may now or menus, subMenus, and menuItems. Finally, use the tag [done] to set the menuBar access as readonly to prevent accidental corruption of the menus. To re-access the current menuBar for alterations, use the tag [menu], make the alterations and then use [done]


access the named menuBar for creation or alteration. If a new menuBar is created, it is called name (max of 15 chars) and the current menuBar is pushed onto the stack
access the current menuBar for alteration
set the current menuBar's title to string, which may contain the following format specifiers:
   B<%n>  rxvt name (as per the B<-name> command-line option)
   B<%v>  rxvt version
   B<%%>  literal B<%> character
set menuBar access as readonly. End-of-file tag for [read:+BIfile] operations.
read menu commands directly from file (extension .menu will be appended if required.) Start reading at a line with [menu] or [menu:+BIname and continuing until [done] is encountered. Blank and comment lines (starting with #) are ignored. Actually, since any invalid menu commands are also ignored, almost anything could be construed as a comment line, but this may be tightened up in the future ... so don't count on it!.
The same as [read:+BIfile], but start reading at a line with [menu:+BIname] and continuing until [done:+BIname] or [done] is encountered.
dump all menuBars to the file /tmp/rxvt-PID in a format suitable for later rereading.
remove the named menuBar
[rm] [rm:]
remove the current menuBar
[rm*] [rm:*]
remove all menuBars
swap the top two menuBars
access the previous menuBar
access the next menuBar
Enable display of the menuBar
Disable display of the menuBar
(set the background pixmap globally A Future implementation BImay make this local to the menubar)
ignore the menu readonly status and issue a command to or a menu or menuitem or change the ; a useful shortcut for setting the quick arrows from a menuBar.

Adding and accessing menus

The following commands may also be + prefixed.

access menuBar top level
access current menu level
access parent menu (1 level up)
access parent menu (multiple levels up)
add/access menu
add/access menu and clear it if it exists
add separator
add item as a label
BI/path/{item} action
add/alter menuitem with an associated action
add/alter menuitem with right-text as the right-justified text and as the associated action
BI/path/{item}{rtext} action
add/alter menuitem with an associated action and with rtext as the right-justified text.
Special characters in action must be backslash-escaped:
\a \b \E \e \n \r \t \octal
or in control-character notation:
^@, ^A .. ^Z .. ^_, ^?

To send a string starting with a NUL (^@) character to the program, start action with a pair of NUL characters (^@^@), the first of which will be stripped off and the balance directed to the program. Otherwise if action begins with NUL followed by non-+NUL characters, the leading NUL is stripped off and the balance is sent back to rxvt.

As a convenience for the many Emacs-type editors, action may start with M- (eg, M-$ is equivalent to \E$) and a CR will be appended if missed from M-x commands.

As a convenience for issuing XTerm ESC ] sequences from a menubar (or quick arrow), a BEL (^G) will be appended if needed.

For example,
M-xapropos is equivalent to \Exapropos\r
\E]703;mona;100 is equivalent to \E]703;mona;100\a

The option {BIright-rtext} will be right-justified. In the absence of a specified action, this text will be used as the action as well.

For example,
/File/{Open}{^X^F} is equivalent to /File/{Open}{^X^F} ^X^F

The left label is necessary, since it's used for matching, but implicitly hiding the left label (by using same name for both left and right labels), or explicitly hiding the left label (by preceeding it with a dot), makes it possible to have right-justified text only.

For example,
/File/{Open}{Open} Open-File-Action
or hiding it
/File/{.anylabel}{Open} Open-File-Action

Removing menus

remove all menus from the menuBar, the same as [clear]
remove menu
remove item
remove separator)
remove all items, separators and submenus from menu

Quick Arrows

The menus also provide a hook for quick arrows to provide easier user access. If nothing has been explicitly set, the default is to emulate the curror keys. The syntax permits each arrow to be altered individually or all four at once without re-entering their common beginning/end text. For example, to explicitly associate cursor actions with the arrows, any of the following forms could be used:

Define actions for the respective arrow buttons
Define common beginning/end parts for quick arrows which used in conjunction with the above <r> <l> <u> <d> constructs
For example, define arrows individually,
or all at once
or more compactly (factoring out common parts)

Command Summary

A short summary of the most common commands:

use an existing named menuBar or start a new one
use the current menuBar
set menuBar title
set menu access to readonly and, if reading from a file, signal EOF
if reading from a file using [read:file;name] signal EOF
remove named menuBar(s)
[rm] [rm:]
remove current menuBar
[rm*] [rm:*]
remove all menuBar(s)
swap top two menuBars
access the previous menuBar
access the next menuBar
map menuBar
unmap menuBar
set a background pixmap
read in a menu from a file
dump out all menuBars to /tmp/rxvt-PID
access menuBar top level
access current or parent menu level
add/access menu
add separator
/path/{item}{rtext} action
add/alter menu item
remove all menus from the menuBar
remove menu items, separators and submenus from menu
remove menu
remove item
remove separator
menu quick arrows


For the XPM XTerm escape sequence CBESC ] 20 ; Pt ST then value of CBPt can be the name of the background pixmap followed by a sequence of scaling/positioning commands separated by semi-colons. The scaling/positioning commands are as follows:

query scale/position
change scale and position
WxH+X+Y WxH+X (== WxH+X+X) WxH (same as WxH+50+50) W+X+Y (same as WxW+X+Y) W+X (same as WxW+X+X) W (same as WxW+50+50)
change position (absolute)
=+X+Y =+X (same as =+X+Y)
change position (relative)
+X+Y +X (same as +X+Y)
rescale (relative)
Wx0 -> W *= (W/100) 0xH -> H *= (H/100)

For example:

load funky.xpm as a tiled image
load mona.xpm with a scaling of 100%
rescale the current pixmap to 200% and display the image geometry in the title

Mouse Reporting

report mouse position

The lower 2 bits of CB<b> indicate the button: l l . 0 Button1 pressed 1 Button2 pressed 2 Button3 pressed 3 button released (X11 mouse report)

The upper bits of CB<b> indicate the modifiers when the button was pressed and are added together (X11 mouse report only): l l . 4 Shift 8 Meta 16 Control 32 Double Click (Rxvt extension)

Col = CB<x> - SPACE Row = CB<y> - SPACE

Key Codes

Note: Shift + F1-F10 generates F11-F20

For the keypad, use Shift to temporarily override Application-Keypad setting use Num_Lock to toggle Application-Keypad setting if Num_Lock is off, toggle Application-Keypad setting. Also note that values of Home, End, Delete may have been compiled differently on your system. l l l l l . Normal Shift Control Ctrl+Shift Tab ^I ESC [ Z ^I ESC [ Z BackSpace ^H ^? ^? ^? Find ESC [ 1 ~ ESC [ 1 $ ESC [ 1 ^ ESC [ 1 @ Insert ESC [ 2 ~ paste ESC [ 2 ^ ESC [ 2 @ Execute ESC [ 3 ~ ESC [ 3 $ ESC [ 3 ^ ESC [ 3 @ Select ESC [ 4 ~ ESC [ 4 $ ESC [ 4 ^ ESC [ 4 @ Prior ESC [ 5 ~ scroll-up ESC [ 5 ^ ESC [ 5 @ Next ESC [ 6 ~ scroll-down ESC [ 6 ^ ESC [ 6 @ Home ESC [ 7 ~ ESC [ 7 $ ESC [ 7 ^ ESC [ 7 @ End ESC [ 8 ~ ESC [ 8 $ ESC [ 8 ^ ESC [ 8 @ Delete ESC [ 3 ~ ESC [ 3 $ ESC [ 3 ^ ESC [ 3 @ F1 ESC [ 11 ~ ESC [ 23 ~ ESC [ 11 ^ ESC [ 23 ^ F2 ESC [ 12 ~ ESC [ 24 ~ ESC [ 12 ^ ESC [ 24 ^ F3 ESC [ 13 ~ ESC [ 25 ~ ESC [ 13 ^ ESC [ 25 ^ F4 ESC [ 14 ~ ESC [ 26 ~ ESC [ 14 ^ ESC [ 26 ^ F5 ESC [ 15 ~ ESC [ 28 ~ ESC [ 15 ^ ESC [ 28 ^ F6 ESC [ 17 ~ ESC [ 29 ~ ESC [ 17 ^ ESC [ 29 ^ F7 ESC [ 18 ~ ESC [ 31 ~ ESC [ 18 ^ ESC [ 31 ^ F8 ESC [ 19 ~ ESC [ 32 ~ ESC [ 19 ^ ESC [ 32 ^ F9 ESC [ 20 ~ ESC [ 33 ~ ESC [ 20 ^ ESC [ 33 ^ F10 ESC [ 21 ~ ESC [ 34 ~ ESC [ 21 ^ ESC [ 34 ^ F11 ESC [ 23 ~ ESC [ 23 $ ESC [ 23 ^ ESC [ 23 @ F12 ESC [ 24 ~ ESC [ 24 $ ESC [ 24 ^ ESC [ 24 @ F13 ESC [ 25 ~ ESC [ 25 $ ESC [ 25 ^ ESC [ 25 @ F14 ESC [ 26 ~ ESC [ 26 $ ESC [ 26 ^ ESC [ 26 @ F15 (Help) ESC [ 28 ~ ESC [ 28 $ ESC [ 28 ^ ESC [ 28 @ F16 (Menu) ESC [ 29 ~ ESC [ 29 $ ESC [ 29 ^ ESC [ 29 @ F17 ESC [ 31 ~ ESC [ 31 $ ESC [ 31 ^ ESC [ 31 @ F18 ESC [ 32 ~ ESC [ 32 $ ESC [ 32 ^ ESC [ 32 @ F19 ESC [ 33 ~ ESC [ 33 $ ESC [ 33 ^ ESC [ 33 @ F20 ESC [ 34 ~ ESC [ 34 $ ESC [ 34 ^ ESC [ 34 @ Application Up ESC [ A ESC [ a ESC O a ESC O A Down ESC [ B ESC [ b ESC O b ESC O B Right ESC [ C ESC [ c ESC O c ESC O C Left ESC [ D ESC [ d ESC O d ESC O D KP_Enter ^M ESC O M KP_F1 ESC O P ESC O P KP_F2 ESC O Q ESC O Q KP_F3 ESC O R ESC O R KP_F4 ESC O S ESC O S XK_KP_Multiply * ESC O j XK_KP_Add + ESC O k XK_KP_Separator , ESC O l XK_KP_Subtract - ESC O m XK_KP_Decimal . ESC O n XK_KP_Divide / ESC O o XK_KP_0 0 ESC O p XK_KP_1 1 ESC O q XK_KP_2 2 ESC O r XK_KP_3 3 ESC O s XK_KP_4 4 ESC O t XK_KP_5 5 ESC O u XK_KP_6 6 ESC O v XK_KP_7 7 ESC O w XK_KP_8 8 ESC O x XK_KP_9 9 ESC O y


General hint: if you get compile errors, then likely your configuration hasn't been tested well. Either try with CW--enable-everything or use the ./reconf script as a base for experiments. ./reconf is used by myself, so it should generally be a working config. Of course, you should always report when a combination doesn't work, so it can be fixed. Marc Lehmann <>.


Add (or remove) support for all non-multichoice options listed in ./configure --help. You can specify this and then disable options you do not like by following this with the appropriate CW--disable-... arguments, or you can start with a minimal configuration by specifying CW--disable-everything and than adding just the CW--enable-... arguments you want.
--enable-xft (default: enabled)
Add support for Xft (anti-aliases, among others) fonts. Xft fonts are slower and require lots of memory, but as long as you don't use them, you don't pay for them.
--enable-font-styles (default: on)
Add support for bold, italic and BIbold italic font styles. The fonts can be set manually or automatically.
--with-codesets=NAME,... (default: all)
Compile in support for additional codeset (encoding) groups (CWeu, CWvn are always compiled in, which includes most 8-bit character sets). These codeset tables are used for driving X11 core fonts, they are not required for Xft fonts, although having them compiled in lets rxvt-unicode choose replacement fonts more intelligently. Compiling them in will make your binary bigger (all of together cost about 700kB), but it doesn't increase memory usage unless you use a font requiring one of these encodings. l l . all all available codeset groups zh common chinese encodings zh_ext rarely used but very big chinese encodigs jp common japanese encodings jp_ext rarely used but big japanese encodings kr korean encodings
--enable-xim (default: on)
Add support for XIM (X Input Method) protocol. This allows using alternative input methods (e.g. kinput2) and will also correctly set up the input for people using dead keys or compose keys.
--enable-unicode3 (default: off)
Enable direct support for displaying unicode codepoints above 65535 (the basic multilingual page). This increases storage requirements per character from 2 to 4 bytes. X11 fonts do not yet support these extra characters, but Xft does. Please note that rxvt-unicode can store unicode code points >65535 even without this flag, but the number of such characters is limited to a view thousand (shared with combining characters, see next switch), and right now rxvt-unicode cannot display them (input/output and cut&paste still work, though).
--enable-combining (default: on)
Enable automatic composition of combining characters into composite characters. This is required for proper viewing of text where accents are encoded as seperate unicode characters. This is done by using precomposited characters when available or creating new pseudo-characters when no precomposed form exists. Without --enable-unicode3, the number of additional precomposed characters is rather limited (2048, if this is full, rxvt-unicode will use the private use area, extending the number of combinations to 8448). With --enable-unicode3, no practical limit exists. This option will also enable storage (but not display) of characters beyond plane 0 (>65535) when --enable-unicode3 was not specified. The combining table also contains entries for arabic presentation forms, but these are not currently used. Bug me if you want these to be used (and tell me how these are to be used...).
--enable-fallback(=CLASS) (default: Rxvt)
When reading resource settings, also read settings for class CLASS. To disable resource fallback use --disable-fallback.
--with-res-name=NAME (default: urxvt)
Use the given name as default application name when reading resources. Specify --with-res-name=rxvt to replace rxvt.
--with-res-class=CLASS /default: URxvt)
Use the given class as default application class when reading resources. Specify --with-res-class=Rxvt to replace rxvt.
--enable-utmp (default: on)
Write user and tty to utmp file (used by programs like w) at start of rxvt execution and delete information when rxvt exits.
--enable-wtmp (default: on)
Write user and tty to wtmp file (used by programs like last) at start of rxvt execution and write logout when rxvt exits. This option requires --enable-utmp to also be specified.
--enable-lastlog (default: on)
Write user and tty to lastlog file (used by programs like lastlogin) at start of rxvt execution. This option requires --enable-utmp to also be specified.
--enable-xpm-background (default: on)
Add support for XPM background pixmaps.
--enable-transparency (default: on)
Add support for inheriting parent backgrounds thus giving a fake transparency to the term.
--enable-fading (default: on)
Add support for fading the text when focus is lost (requires CW--enable-transparency).
--enable-tinting (default: on)
Add support for tinting of transparent backgrounds (requires CW--enable-transparency).
--enable-menubar (default: off) [DEPRECATED]
Add support for our menu bar system (this interacts badly with dynamic locale switching currently). This option is DEPRECATED and will be removed in the future.
--enable-rxvt-scroll (default: on)
Add support for the original rxvt scrollbar.
--enable-next-scroll (default: on)
Add support for a NeXT-like scrollbar.
--enable-xterm-scroll (default: on)
Add support for an Xterm-like scrollbar.
--enable-plain-scroll (default: on)
Add support for a very unobtrusive, plain-looking scrollbar that is the favourite of the rxvt-unicode author, having used it for many years.
--enable-half-shadow (default: off)
Make shadows on the scrollbar only half the normal width & height. only applicable to rxvt scrollbars.
--enable-ttygid (default: off)
Change tty device setting to group tty - only use this if your system uses this type of security.
Removes any handling of the backspace key by us - let the X server do it.
Removes any handling of the delete key by us - let the X server do it.
Removes any support for resource checking.
--enable-strings (default: off)
Add support for our possibly faster memset() function and other various routines, overriding your system's versions which may have been hand-crafted in assembly or may require extra libraries to link in. (this breaks ANSI-C rules and has problems on many GNU/Linux systems).
Remove support for secondary/swap screen.
--enable-frills (default: on)
Add support for many small features that are not essential but nice to have. Normally you want this, but for very small binaries you may want to disable this. A non-exhaustive list of features enabled by CW--enable-frills (possibly in combination with other switches) is:
  EWMH-hints (pid, utf8 names) and protocols (ping)
  seperate underline colour (-underlineColor)
  settable border widths and borderless switch (-w, -b, -bl)
  settable extra linespacing /-lsp)
  iso-14755-2 and -3, and visual feedback
  backindex and forwardindex escape sequence
  window op and some xterm/OSC escape sequences
  tripleclickwords (-tcw)
  settable insecure mode (-insecure)
  keysym remapping support
  cursor blinking and underline cursor (-cb, -uc)
  XEmbed support (-embed)
  user-pty (-pty-fd)
  hold on exit (-hold)
  skip builtin block graphics (-sbg)
  sgr modes 90..97 and 100..107
--enable-iso14755 (default: on)
Enable extended ISO 14755 support (see urxvt(1), or doc/rxvt.1.txt). Basic support (section 5.1) is enabled by CW--enable-frills, while support for 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 is enabled with this switch.
--enable-keepscrolling (default: on)
Add support for continual scrolling of the display when you hold the mouse button down on a scrollbar arrow.
--enable-mousewheel (default: on)
Add support for scrolling via mouse wheel or buttons 4 & 5.
--enable-slipwheeling (default: on)
Add support for continual scrolling (using the mouse wheel as an accelerator) while the control key is held down. This option requires --enable-mousewheel to also be specified.
Remove support for mouse selection style like that of xterm.
--enable-dmalloc (default: off)
Use Gray Watson's malloc - which is good for debugging See for details If you use either this or the next option, you may need to edit src/Makefile after compiling to point DINCLUDE and DLIB to the right places. You can only use either this option and the following (should you use either) .
--enable-dlmalloc (default: off)
Use Doug Lea's malloc - which is good for a production version See <> for details.
--enable-smart-resize (default: on)
Add smart growth/shrink behaviour when changing font size via hot keys. This should keep the window corner which is closest to a corner of the screen in a fixed position.
--enable-pointer-blank (default: on)
Add support to have the pointer disappear when typing or inactive.
--enable-perl (default: off)
Enable an embedded perl interpreter. See the urxvtBIperl(3) manpage (doc/rxvtperl.txt) for more info on this feature, or the files in src/perl-ext/ for the extensions that are installed by default. The perl interpreter that is used can be specified via the CWPERL environment variable when running configure.
--with-name=NAME (default: urxvt)
Set the basename for the installed binaries, resulting in CWurxvt, CWurxvtd etc.). Specify CW--with-name=rxvt to replace with CWrxvt.
--with-term=NAME (default: rxvt-unicode)
Change the environmental variable for the terminal to NAME.
Change the environmental variable for the path to the terminfo tree to PATH.
Use the X Window System (pretty much default, eh?).
Look for the XPM includes in DIR.
Look for the XPM library in DIR.
Not needed - define via --enable-xpm-background.


Marc Lehmann <> converted this document to pod and reworked it from the original Rxvt documentation, which was done by Geoff Wing <>, who in turn used the XTerm documentation and other sources.