rofi(1) A window switcher, run launcher, ssh dialog and dmenu replacement


rofi [ -width pct_scr ] [ -lines lines ] [ -columns columns ] [ -font pangofont ] [ -terminal terminal ] [ -location position ] [ -fixed-num-lines ] [ -padding padding ] [ -opacity opacity% ] [ -display display ] [ -bw width ] [ -dmenu [ -p prompt ] [ -sep separator ] [ -l selected line ] [ -mesg ] [ -select ] [ -input input ] ] [ -filter filter ] [ -ssh-client client ] [ -ssh-command command ] [ -window-command command ] [ -disable-history ] [ -levenshtein-sort ] [ -case-sensitive ] [ -cycle ] [ -show mode ] [ -modi mode1,mode2 ] [ -eh element height ] [ -lazy-filter-limit limit ] [ -e message] [ -a row ] [ -u row ] [ -pid path ] [ -version ] [ -help ] [ -dump-xresources ] [ -dump-xresources-theme ] [ -auto-select ] [ -parse-hosts ] [ -no-parse-known-hosts ] [ -combi-modi mode1,mode2 ] [ -normal-window ] [ -fake-transparency ] [ -glob ] [ -regex ] [ -tokenize ] [ -threads num ] [ -config filename ]


rofi is an X11 popup window switcher, run dialog, dmenu replacement and more. It focuses on being fast to use and have minimal distraction. It supports keyboard and mouse navigation, type to filter, tokenized search and more.


rofi can be used in two ways, single-shot (runs a mode then exits) or emulating dmenu.

Single-shot mode

To launch rofi directly in a certain mode, specify a mode with rofi -show <mode>. To show the run dialog:
rofi -show run

Emulating dmenu

rofi can emulate dmenu (a dynamic menu for X) when launched with the -dmenu flag.

The official website for dmenu can be found here


There are currently three methods of setting configuration options (evaluated in order below):
Xresources: A method of storing key values in the Xserver. See here for more information. This is the recommended way of configuring rofi.
Configuration File: This uses the same format as the Xresources file. By default it looks in XDG_USER_CONFIG_DIR/rofi/config, but can be overriden on commandline.
Command-line options: Arguments passed to rofi.
System configuration file (f.e. /etc/rofi.conf).

The Xresources file expects options starting with rofi. followed by it's name. An Example to set the number of lines:

rofi.lines: 10

Command line options override settings from Xresources file. The same option set as argument: prefixed with a '-':

rofi -lines 10

To get a list of available options, formatted as Xresources entries run:

rofi -dump-xresources

The configuration system supports the following types:

Integer (signed and unsigned)

Boolean options have a non-default command-line syntax. Example to enable option X:


to disable it:


Below is a list of the most important options:



The help option shows the full list of commandline options and the current set value. These include dynamic options.


Dump the current active configuration in Xresources format to the command-line. This does not validate all passed values (e.g. colors).


Dump the current color scheme in Xresources format to the command-line.

-threads num

Specify the number of threads rofi should use:

0: Autodetect the number of supported hardware threads.
1: Disable threading
2..N: Specify the maximum number of threads to use in the thread pool.


Run rofi in dmenu mode. This allows for interactive scripts. In dmenu mode, rofi reads from STDIN, and output to STDOUT. A simple example, displaying 3 pre-defined options:

echo -e "Option #1\nOption #2\nOption #3" | rofi -dmenu

Or get the options from a script:

~/ | rofi -dmenu

Pressing the accept-custom binding (control-enter or shift-enter) sends the selected entry to STDOUT and moves to the next entry.

-show mode

Open rofi in a certain mode. Available modes are window, run, ssh To show the run-dialog:

rofi -show run

-modi mode1,mode1

Specify a ordered, comma separated list of modes to enable. Enabled modes can be changed at runtime. Default key is Ctrl+Tab. If no modes are specified all modes will be enabled. To only show the run and ssh launcher:

rofi -modi "run,ssh" -show run

Custom modes can be added using the internal 'script' mode. Each mode has two parameters:


Example: Have a mode 'Workspaces' using the script:

rofi -modi "window,run,ssh," -show Workspaces


Start in case sensitive mode.


Cycle through the results list. Default is 'true'.


Enable experimental fuzzy matching.

-filter filter

Filter the list by setting text in input bar to filter

-config filename

Load alternative configuration file.

-scroll-method method

Select the scrolling method. 0: Per page, 1: continuous.


All colors are either hex #rrggbb values or X11 color names.


Set border width in pixels.

rofi -bw 1

Default: 1


Specify a font. Pango syntax is used.

rofi -font "Dejavu Sans Mono 14"

Default: mono 12


Set window opacity (0-100).

rofi -opacity "75"

Default: 100

-eh element height

The height of a field in lines. e.g.

echo -e "a\n3|b\n4|c\n5" | rofi -sep '|' -eh 2 -dmenu

Default: 1

The following options are further explained in the theming section:


Enable the extended coloring options.

-color-window background border color separator color/

Set window background, border and separator color.

-color-normal background, foreground, background alt, highlight background, highlight foreground

-color-urgent background, foreground, background alt, highlight background, highlight foreground

-color-active background, foreground, background alt, highlight background, highlight foreground

Specify the colors used in a row per state (normal, active, urgent).


Set the spacing between the rows.

Default: *3*
Min:     *3*
Max:     *50*

-separator-style style

Set separator style. Possible options are "none", "solid" or "dash".

Default: *dash*


Hide the scrollbar.

-scrollbar-width width

Set the scrollbar width.


Use glob style matching Warning this option might be slow on large lists


Use regex matching


Tokenize the input.



Maximum number of lines to show before scrolling.

rofi -lines 25

Default: 15


Number of columns to show before scrolling.

rofi -columns 2

Default: 1

-width [value]

Set width of menu. [value] is specified in percentage.

rofi -width 60

If [value] is larger then 100, size is set in pixels. Example to span a full hd monitor:

rofi -width 1920

If [value] is negative, it tries to estimates a character width. To show 30 characters on a row:

rofi -width -30

Character width is a rough estimation, and might not be correct, but should work for most monospaced fonts.

Default: 50


Specify where the window should be located. The numbers map to the following locations on screen:

  1 2 3
  8 0 4
  7 6 5

Default: 0


Keep a fixed number of visible lines (See the -lines option.)


Define the inner margin of the window.

Default: 5


Use the full screen height and width.


Open in sidebar-mode. In this mode a list of all enabled modes is shown at the bottom. (See -modi option) To show sidebar use:

rofi -show run -sidebar-mode -lines 0

-lazy-filter-limit limit

The number of entries required for rofi to go into lazy filter mode. In lazy filter mode, it won't re-filter the list on each keypress, but only after rofi been idle for 250ms. Experiments shows that the default (5000 lines) works well, set to 0 to always enable.

Default: 5000


When one entry is left, automatically select it.

-m num -monitor num

Select (Xinerama) monitor to display rofi on. Negative numbers are handled differently:

-1: the currently focused monitor.
-2: the currently focused window (i.e. rofi will be displayed on top of the focused window).
-3: Position at mouse (still follows the location setting, use -location 1 to get normal context menu behaviour.)
-4: the monitor with the focused window.
-5: the monitor that shows the mouse pointer.
Default: -1

PATTERN setting


Specify what terminal to start.

rofi -terminal xterm

Pattern: {terminal} Default: x-terminal-emulator

-ssh-client client

Override the used ssh client.

Pattern: {ssh-client} Default: ssh

SSH settings

-ssh-command cmd

Set the command to execute when starting a ssh session. The pattern {host} is replaced by the selected ssh entry.

Default: {terminal} -e {ssh-client} {host}


Parse the /etc/hosts file for entries.

Default: disabled

-parse-known-hosts -no-parse-known-hosts

Parse the ~/.ssh/known_hosts file for entries.

Default: enabled

Run settings

-run-command cmd

Set command ({cmd}) to execute when running an application. See PATTERN.

Default: {cmd}

-run-shell-command cmd

Set command to execute when running an application in a shell. See PATTERN.

Default: {terminal} -e {cmd}

-run-list-command cmd

If set, use an external tool to generate list of executable commands. Uses 'run-command'

Default: ""

-window-command cmd

Set command to execute on selected window for custom action. See PATTERN.

Default: "xkill -id {window}"

Combi settings

-combi-modi mode1,mode2

The modi to combine in combi mode. For syntax to see -modi. To get one merge view, of window,run,ssh:

rofi -show combi -combi-modi "window,run,ssh"

History and Sorting

-disable-history -no-disable-history (re-enable history)

Disable history

-levenshtein-sort to enable -no-levenshtein-sort to disable

When searching sort the result based on levenshtein distance.

Dmenu specific

-sep separator

Separator for dmenu. Example: To show list 'a' to 'e' with '|' as separator:

echo "a|b|c|d|e" | rofi -sep '|' -dmenu

-p prompt

Specify the prompt to show in dmenu mode. E.g. select monkey a,b,c,d or e.

echo "a|b|c|d|e" | rofi -sep '|' -dmenu -p "monkey:"

Default: dmenu

-selected-row selected row

Select a certain row.

Default: 0

-l number of lines to show

Maximum number of lines the menu may show before scrolling.

rofi -lines 25

Default: 15


Makes dmenu searches case-insensitive

-a X

Active row, mark row X as active. (starting at 0) You can specify single element: -a 3 A range: -a 3-8 or a set of rows: -a 0,2 or any combination: -a 0,2-3,9

-u X

Urgent row, mark row X as urgent. (starting at 0) You can specify single element: -u 3 A range: -u 3-8 or a set of rows: -u 0,2 or any combination: -u 0,2-3,9


Only return a selected item, do not allow custom entry. This mode always returns an entry, or returns directly when no entries given.


Only return a selected item, do not allow custom entry. This mode returns directly when no entries given.

-format format

Allows the output of dmenu to be customized (N is total number of input entries):

's' selected string.
'i' index (0 - (N-1)).
'd' index (1 - N).
'q' quote string.
'f' filter string (user input).
'F' quoted filter string (user input).

Default: 's'

-select string

Select first line that matches the given string

-mesg string

Add a message line below the filter entry box. Supports pango markup. For more information on supported markup see here


Make rofi reacts like a normal application window. Useful for scripts like Clerk that are basically an application.


Dump the filtered list to stdout and quit. This can be used to get the list as rofi would filter it. Use together with -filter command.

-input file

Reads from file instead of stdin.


Hide the input text. This should not be considered secure!


Tell rofi that DMenu input is pango markup encoded and should be rendered. See here for details about pango markup.

Message dialog

-e message

Popup a message dialog (used internally for showing errors) with message. Message can be multi-line.


'-pid' path

Make rofi create a pid file and check this on startup. Avoiding multiple copies running simultaneously. This is useful when running rofi from a keybinding daemon.


Enable fake transparency. This only works with transparent background color in the theme, not the opacity setting.


Select what to use as background for fake transparency. This can be 'background', 'screenshot' or a path to an image file (currently only supports png).



Disable parsing of configuration. This runs rofi in stock mode.


To launch commands (e.g. when using the ssh launcher) the user can enter the used command-line, the following keys can be used that will be replaced at runtime:
{host}: The host to connect to.
{terminal}: The configured terminal (See -terminal-emulator)
{ssh-client}: The configured ssh client (See -ssh-client)
{cmd}: The command to execute.


If argv[0] (calling command) is dmenu, rofi will start in dmenu mode. This way it can be used as a drop-in replacement for dmenu. just copy or symlink rofi to dmenu in $PATH.
ln -s /usr/bin/rofi /usr/bin/dmenu


With rofi 0.15.4 we have a new way of specifying colors, the old settings still apply (for now). To enable the new setup, set rofi.color-enabled to true. The new setup allows you to specify colors per state, similar to i3 Currently 3 states exists:
normal Normal row.
urgent Highlighted row (urgent)
active Highlighted row (active)

For each state the following 5 colors must be set:

bg Background color row
fg Text color
bgalt Background color alternating row
hlfg Foreground color selected row
hlbg Background color selected row

The window background and border color should be specified separate. The key color-window contains a pair background,border. An example for Xresources file:

! State:           'bg',     'fg',     'bgalt',  'hlbg',   'hlfg'
rofi.color-normal: #fdf6e3,  #002b36,  #eee8d5,  #586e75,  #eee8d5
rofi.color-urgent: #fdf6e3,  #dc322f,  #eee8d5,  #dc322f,  #fdf6e3
rofi.color-active: #fdf6e3,  #268bd2,  #eee8d5,  #268bd2,  #fdf6e3
!                  'background', 'border'
rofi.color-window: #fdf6e3,      #002b36

Same settings can also be specified on command-line:

rofi -color-normal "#fdf6e3,#002b36,#eee8d5,#586e75,#eee8d5"


Rofi has an experimental mode for a 'nicer' transparency. The idea is to make the background of the window transparent, leaving the text opaque. There are 2 requirements for this feature: 1. Your Xserver supports TrueColor, 2. You are running a composite manager. If this is satisfied you can use the following format for colors:

The first two fields specify the alpha level. This determines the amount of transparency. (00 everything, FF nothing). The other fields represent the actual color, in hex.


rofi has the following key-bindings:
Ctrl-v, Insert: Paste clipboard
Ctrl-Shift-v, Shift-Insert: Paste primary selection
Ctrl-u: Clear the line
Ctrl-a: Beginning of line
Ctrl-e: End of line
Ctrl-f, Right: Forward one character
Alt-f: Forward one word
Ctrl-b, Left: Back one character
Alt-b: Back one word
Ctrl-d, Delete: Delete character
Ctrl-Alt-d: Delete word
Ctrl-h, Backspace: Backspace (delete previous character)
Ctrl-Alt-h: Delete previous word
Ctrl-j,Ctrl-m,Enter: Accept entry
Ctrl-n,Down: Select next entry
Ctrl-p,Up: Select previous entry
Page Up: Go to the previous page
Page Down: Go to the next page
Ctrl-Page Up: Go to the previous column
Ctrl-Page Down: Go to the next column
Ctrl-Enter: Use entered text as command (in ssh/run modi)
Shift-Enter: Launch the application in a terminal (in run mode)
Shift-Enter: Return the selected entry and move to the next item while keeping Rofi open. (in dmenu)
Shift-Right: Switch to the next modi. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Shift-Left: Switch to the previous modi. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Ctrl-Tab: Switch to the next modi. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Ctrl-Shift-Tab: Switch to the previous modi. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Ctrl-space: Set selected item as input text.
Shift-Del: Delete entry from history.
grave: Toggle case sensitivity.
Alt-grave: Toggle levenshtein sorting.
Alt-Shift-S: Take a screenshot and store this in the Pictures directory.

To get a full list of keybindings, see rofi -dump-xresources | grep kb-. Keybindings can be modified using the configuration systems.

A keybinding starting with ! will act when all keys have been released.

Available Modi


Show a list of all the windows and allow switching between them. Pressing the delete-entry binding (shift-delete) will kill the window. Pressing the accept-custom binding (control-enter or shift-enter) will run a command on the window.


Shows a list of the windows on the current desktop and allows switching between them. Pressing the delete-entry binding (shift-delete) will kill the window. Pressing the accept-custom binding (control-enter or shift-enter) will run a command on the window.


Shows a list of executables in $PATH and can launch them (optional in a terminal). Pressing the accept-custom binding (control-enter or shift-enter) will run the command in a terminal.


Same as the run launches, but the list is created from the installed desktop files. It automatically launches them in a terminal if specified in the Desktop File. Pressing the accept-custom binding (control-enter or shift-enter) with custom input (no entry matching) will run the command in a terminal.


Shows a list of SSH targets based on your ssh config file, and allows to quickly ssh into them.


Allows custom scripted Modi to be added.


Text in window switcher is not nicely lined out

Try using a mono-space font.

<strong>rofi</strong> is completely black.

Check quotes used on the commandline: e.g. used “ instead of ".

<strong>rofi</strong> what does the icon in the top right show?

The indicator shows:
` ` Case insensitive and no sorting.
`-` Case sensitivity enabled, no sorting.
`+` Case insensitive and Sorting enabled
`±` Sorting and Case sensitivity enabled"


Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining
a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the
"Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including
without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish,
distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to
permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to
the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be
included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


rofi website can be found at here

rofi bugtracker can be found here

rofi support can be obtained here irc:// (#rofi on


Qball Cow [email protected]

Rasmus Steinke [email protected]

Quentin Glidic [email protected]

Original code based on work by: Sean Pringle [email protected]

For a full list of authors, check the AUTHORS file.