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
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:
- 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:
- Fix the Alt key. Template:Keypress is not the Template:Keypress key, yet on PC keyboards Template:Keypress is used as the Template:Keypress key. Make xterm aware of this by adding the following to your resource file:
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
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
fastScroll, which suppresses refreshing the display when there is a large amount of output. Both of these are set to
false by default.
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.
Not all menu options will be explained here.
Main Options Menu
Ctrl + LeftMouse
The effects of
Full Screen and
Redraw Window should be obvious.
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:
STOPis usually invoked with Template:Keypress to suspend a process,
CONTwith Template:Keypress to continue the process and
INTwith Template:Keypress to interrupt a process.
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.