Difference between revisions of "User:Thisoldman"

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Not all menu options will be explained here.
Not all menu options will be explained here; for more information, please consult the xterm man page.
====Main Options Menu====
====Main Options Menu====

Revision as of 11:53, 4 March 2013


xterm is the standard terminal emulator for the X Window System. It is highly configurable and has many useful and some unusual features.

The ultimate authorities for using and customizing xterm are the man pages for xterm, uxterm, koi8rxterm, and resize; the XTerm FAQ and the XTerm ChangeLog.


Xterm is used with different hardware on a variety of operating systems, not just with a PC keyboard on a GNU/Linux system. There are several options you can set in your X resources files that may make this terminal emulator much easier to use.

  • Allow xterm to report the TERM variable correctly. Do not set the TERM variable from your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile or similar file. The terminal itself should report the correct TERM to the system so that the proper terminfo file will be used. Two usable terminfo files are xterm, and xterm-256color.
– Without setting TERM explicitly, xterm should report $TERM as xterm. You can check this with either of these commands:
$ echo $TERM
$ tset -q
– When TERM is not set explicitly, color schemes for some programs, such as vim, may not appear until a key is pressed or some other input occurs. This can be remedied by setting the resource termName, either from the command line with xterm -tn xterm-256color, or by setting the resource value:
xterm*termName: xterm-256color
  • Use UTF-8. First make certain your locale settings are correct for UTF-8, then add this to your resource file so that xterm interprets all incoming data as UTF-8 encoded:
XTerm*locale: true
XTerm*metaSendsEscape: true


As new lines are written to the bottom of the xterm window, older lines disappear from the top. Xterm saves these lines and they can be redisplayed by scrolling. By default, 1024 lines are saved. You can change the number of saved lines with the saveLines resource,

Xterm*saveLines: 4096

Normally, as new lines are produced, old lines would be scrolled off the top one by one. This could cause some delay when a command produces a lot of output. The resource jumpScroll is set to true by default so that multiple lines at a time are scrolled.

Two other resources that affect scrolling speed are multiScroll, which allows asynchronous scrolling when set to true, and fastScroll, which suppresses refreshing the display when there is a large amount of output. Both of these are set to false by default.

For manual scrolling, one can use the mouse wheel, or the key combinations of Template:Keypress and Template:Keypress to scroll a half page at a time, or one can use the scrollbar.

The Scrollbar

The scrollbar is not shown by default. It can be made visible by a menu selection, by command line options, or by setting resource values. It can be made to appear to the left or right of the window and its visual appearance can be modified through resource settings.

The scrollbar operates differently from what you may be accustomed to using.

  • To scroll down:
– Click on the scrollbar with the left mouse button.
– Click on the scrollbar below the thumb with the middle mouse button.
  • To scroll up:
– Click on the scrollbar with the right mouse button.
– Click on the scrollbar above the thumb with the middle mouse button.
  • To position text, moving in either direction:
– Grab the thumb by using a "click-and-drag" with the middle mouse button.


The Archlinux version of xterm is compiled with the toolbar, or menubar, disabled. The menus are still available as popups when you press Template:Keypress within the xterm window. The actions invoked by the menu items can often be accomplished using command line options or by setting resource values.

Tip: If the popup menu windows show only as small boxes, it is probably because you have a line similar to this, xterm*geometry: 80x32, in your resources file. This does start xterm in an 80 column by 32 row main window, but it also forces the menu windows to be 80 pixels by 32 pixels! Replace the incorrect line with this:
xterm*VT100.geometry: 80x32

Not all menu options will be explained here; for more information, please consult the xterm man page.

Main Options Menu

Ctrl + LeftMouse

  • The effects of Full Screen and Redraw Window are obvious.
  • Secure Keyboard attempts to ensure only the xterm window, and no other application, receives your keystrokes and this may be of some benefit when you are typing passwords. The display changes to reverse video when it is invoked. If the display is not in reverse video, the Secure Keyboard mode is not in effect. Please read the "SECURITY" section of the xterm man page for its limitations.
  • Allow SendEvents allows other processes to send keypress and mouse events to the xterm instance. Because of the security risk, do not enable this unless you are very sure you know what you are doing.
  • Log to File – The log file wile be named Xterm.log.hostname.yyyy.mm.dd.hh.mm.ss.XXXXXX. This file will contain all the printed output and also all cursor movements. Logging may be a security risk.
  • The six Send *** Signal menu items are not often useful, except when your keyboard fails. You may be more familiar with the keyboard equivalents for some of them:
STOP is usually invoked with Template:Keypress to suspend a process,
CONT with Template:Keypress to continue the process and
INT with Template:Keypress to interrupt a process.
HUP, TERM and KILL will close the xterm window. KILL should be avoided, as it does not allow any cleanup code to run. The Quit menu item will also close the xterm window – it is the same as sending a HUP signal. Most users will use the keyboard combination Template:Keypress or will type exit to close an xterm instance.