yad(1) display GTK+ dialogs in shell scripts




YAD is a program that will display GTK+ dialogs, and return (either in the return code, or on standard output) the users input. This allows you to present information, and ask for information from the user, from all manner of shell scripts.

YAD is the fork of Zenity program.


This program follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (`-').

Dialog options

Display calendar dialog.
Display color selection dialog.
Display drag-and-drop box.
Display text entry dialog.
Display box with shortcut icons.
Display file selection dialog.
Display font selection dialog.
Display form dialog
Display list dialog
Display multi progress bars dialog.
Display notebook dialog.
Display notification icon.
Display print dialog.
Display progress indication dialog.
Display text information dialog.
Display scale dialog.

General options

Set the dialog title.
Set the window icon.
Set the dialog width.
Set the dialog height.
Set the dialog timeout in seconds.
Show timeout indicator in given position. Positions are top, bottom, left or right. Style of indicator may be set through the gtkrc file. See http://code.google.com/p/yad/wiki/TimeoutIndicator for details.
Send SIGNAL to parent process. Default value of SIGNAL is a SIGTERM. SIGNAL may be specified by it's number or symbolic name with or without SIG prefix. See signal(7) for details about signals.
Run dialog in plug mode for swallow as a notebook tab. See NOTEBOOK section for more.
Set the tab number for plugged dialog. See NOTEBOOK section for more.
Print X Window Id of a dialog window to the stderr.
Set the dialog text.
Set type of dialog text justification. TYPE may be left, right, center or fill.
Set the dialog image which appears on the left side of dialog. IMAGE might be file name or icon name from current icon theme.
Show image above main widget instead of left. This option is always on for print dialog.
Use specified GTK icon theme instead of default.
Hide main widget with expander. TEXT is an optional argument with expander's label.
Add the dialog button. May be used multiply times. ID is an exit code or a command. BUTTON may be gtk stock item name for predefined buttons (like gtk-close or gtk-ok) or text in a form LABEL[!ICON[!TOOLTIP]] where `!' is an item separator. Full list of stock items may be found in gtk-demo program, in snippet called "Stock Items and Icon Browser". If no buttons specified OK and Cancel buttons used. See EXIT STATUS section for more. If ID have a non-numeric value it treats like a command and click on such button doesn't close the dialog.
Don't show buttons.
Set buttons layout type. Possible types are: spread, edge, start, end or center. Default is end.
Don't use pango markup in dialog's text.
Always print result.
Show separator between dialog and buttons. Works only with gtk+-2.0.
Set dialog window borders.
Make window visible on all desktops.
Make window fixed width and height.
Place window on center of screen.
Place window under mouse position.
Place window over other windows.
Make window undecorated (remove title and window borders).
Don't show window in taskbar and pager.
Run dialog window maximized.
Run dialog in fullscreen mode. This option may not work on all window managers.
Use standard X Window geometry notation for placing dialog. When this option is used, width, height, mouse and center options are ignored.
If set, user can select dialog's text and copy it to clipboard. This option also affects on label fields in form dialog.
Add specified path to the standard list of directories for looking for icons. This option can be used multiply times.
Read extra arguments from given file instead of command line. Each line of a file treats as a single argument.
Read and parse additional GTK+ settings from given file.

Calendar options

Set the calendar day.
Set the calendar month.
Set the calendar year.
Set the format for the returned date. By default is `%x'. See strftime(3) for more details.
Read days description from FILENAME.

File with days details must be in following format:

<date> <description>

date field is date in format, specified with --date-format option. description is a string with date details, which may include Pango markup.

Color selection options

Set initial color value.
Show extra information about color in returned string.
Show palette and set predefined colors from given filename. By default used /etc/X11/rgb.txt.

Drag-and-Drop box options

Use dialog text as a tooltip for Drag-and-Drop box.
Run command when data received. Data strings pass to command as an agrument. By default data just prints to stdout.

Text entry options

Set the entry label text.
Set the initial entry text or default item in combo-box.
Hide the entry text.
Use completion instead of combo-box.
Allow make changes to text in combo-box.
Use spin button instead of text entry. Additional parameters in command line treats as minimum and maximum values, step value and precisions (in that order). All this values are optional. Default range is from 0 to 65535 with step 1.
Set an icon on a left side of entry.
Specify a command which will be run when the left icon clicked. Output of command will be set as entry text.
Set an icon on a right side of entry.
Specify a command which will be run when the right icon clicked. Output of command will be set as entry text.

Any extra data specified in command line adds as an items of combo-box entry, except of numeric mode.

If icon specified and icon action is not given, click on icon just clear the entry. Numeric fields will ignore the icons.

Iconbox options

Read .desktop files from specified directory.
Use field GenericName instead of Name for shortcut label.
Use field Name instead of filename for sorting items.
Sort items in descending order. If data reads from stdin this option is useless without --sort-by-name.
Read data from stdin. Data must be in order - Name, Tooltip, Icon, Command, InTerm separated by newline. InTerm is a case insensitive boolean constant (TRUE or FALSE).
Set items width.
Use compact mode. Icon and name of each item is placed in a single row.
Activate items by single mouse click. This option may not works properly in case of compact mode.
Pattern for terminal. By default use `xterm -e %s' where %s replaced by the command.

If both directory and stdin specified, content of iconbox will be read from directory.

File selection options

Set the filename.
Allow selection of multiple filenames in file selection dialog.
Activate directory-only selection.
Activate save mode.
Specify separator character when returning multiple filenames.
Confirm file selection if filename already exists. Optional argument is a text for confirmation dialog.
--file-filter=NAME | PATTERN1 PATTERN2 ...
Add a filename filter. NAME is a displayed filter name, PATTERN is a shell-style filename pattern (for example *.txt). This option may be used multiply times.
Add preview widget to file dialog. Preview images loads from large or normal thumbnails according to XDG Thumbnails specification v0.8.0 (http://standards.freedesktop.org/thumbnail-spec/latest/) or creates by yad for image files and saves as large thumbnails.
Output values will be shell-style quoted.

Font selection options

Set the initial font. FONTNAME is a string with font representation in the form "[FAMILY-LIST] [STYLE-OPTIONS] [SIZE]".
Set the preview text.

Form options

Add field to form. Type may be H, RO, NUM, CHK, CB, CBE, FL, SFL, DIR, CDIR, FN, MFL, MDIR, DT, SCL, CLR, BTN, FBTN, LBL or TXT.
H - hidden field type. All characters are displayed as the invisible char.
RO - field is in read-only mode.
NUM - field is a numeric. Initial value format for this field is VALUE[!RANGE[!STEP![PREC]]], where RANGE must be in form MIN..MAX. `!' is a default item separator. PREC is a precision for decimals.
CHK - checkbox field. Initial value is a case insensitive boolean constant (TRUE or FALSE).
CB - combo-box field. Initial value is a list VAL1!VAL2!.... The separator is the same as in NUM field. Value started with `^' threats as default for combo-box.
CBE - editable combo-box field. Initial value same as for combo-box.
FL - file selection button.
SFL - field for create file.
DIR - directory selection button.
CDIR - field for create folder.
FN - font selection button. Initial value same as in font dialog.
MFL - select multiple files. Value of this field is a list of files separated by item-separator.
MFL - select multiple folders. Value of this field is a list of folders separated by item-separator.
DT - date field.
SCL - scale field. Value of this field in a range 0..100.
CLR - color selection button.
BTN - button field. Label may be in form text in a form LABEL[!ICON[!TOOLTIP]] where `!' is an item separator. LABEL is a text of button label or gtk stock id. ICON is a buttons icon (stock id or file name). TOOLTIP is an optional text for popup help string. Initial value is a command which is running when button is clicked. A special sympols %N in command are replaced by value of field N. If command starts with @, the output of command will be parsed and lines started with numbers will be treats as a new field values.
FBTN - same as button field, but with full relief of a button.
LBL - text label. If field name is empty, horizontal separator line will be shown.
TXT - multiline text entry. This field is always occupy all of form width.

Without type field will be a simple text entry.

Set alignment of field labels. Possible types are left, center or right. Default is left.
Set number of columns in form. Fields will be placed from top to bottom.
Set output separator character. Default is `|'.
Set separator character for combo-box or scale values. Default is `!'.
Set the format for the date fields (same as in calendar dialog).
Make form scrollable.
Output values will be shell-style quoted.

Additional data in command line interprets as a default values for form fields. A special value @disabled makes proper field inactive.

List options

Set the column header. Types are TEXT, NUM, FLT, CHK, RD, IMG, HD or TIP. TEXT type is default. Use NUM for integers and FLT for double values. TIP is used for define tooltip column. CHK (checkboxes) and RD (radio toggle) are a boolean columns. HD type means a hidden column. Such columns are not displayes in the list, only in output. IMG may be path to image or icon name from currnet GTK+ icon theme. Size of icons may be set in config file. Image field prints as empty value.

Special column names @fore@, @back@ and @font@ sets corresponding rows attributes. Values of those columns don't show in results.

Use check boxes for first column.
Use radio toggle for first column.
Set output separator characters.
Allow multiple rows to be selected.
Allow changes to text.
Do not show column headers.
Disable sorting of column content by clicking on its header.
Print all data from the list.
Specify what column will be printed to standard output. 0 may be used to print all columns (this is default).
Hide a specific column.
Set the column expandable by default. 0 sets all columns expandable.
Set the quick search column. 0 mean to disable searching. By default search mades on first column.
Set the number of rows in list dialog. Will be shown only the last NUMBER rows. This option will take effect only when data reading from stdin.
Set ellipsize mode for text columns. TYPE may be NONE, START, MIDDLE or END.
Set the CMD as a double-click command. When user double-clicked on row, CMD will be launched with values of all columns as an arguments. By default double-click selects row and act as OK button for simple lists, set the checkbox if --checklist specified and do nothing when list run with --multiple option. When double-click specified Enter acts as a double-click and Ctrl+Enter acts as an OK button. CMD may contain a special character `%s' for setting a position for arguments. By default arguments will be concatenated to the end of CMD. If CMD starts with @, its output will replace values of current row. This option doesn't work with --editable.
Use regular expressions in search for text fields.
Listen data from stdin even if command-line values was specified.
Output values will be shell-style quoted.

Sending FormFeed character to list clears it. This symbol may be sent as echo -e '\f'.

Multi progress bars dialog options

Add progress bar. LABEL is a text label for progress bar. TYPE is a progress bar type. Types are: NORM for normal progress bar, RTL for inverted progress bar and PULSE for pulsate progress bar.
Set vertical orientation of progress bars.
Set alignment of bar labels. Possible types are left, center or right. Default is left.

Initial values for bars set as extra arguments. Each lines with progress data passed to stdin must be started from N: where N is a number of progress bar. Rest is the same as in progress dialog.

Notebook options

Set the key of this notebook.
Add tab with specified label to notebook. TEXT may be in a form LABEL[!ICON[!TOOLTIP]] where `!' is an item separator.
Set the tabs position. Value may be top, bottom, left, or right. Default is top.
Set the borders width around widget in tabs.

See NOTEBOOK section for more about notebook dialog.

Notification options

Set the command running when clicked on the icon. Default action is quit if --listen not specified.
Listen for commands on stdin. See NOTIFICATION section.
Set separator character for menu values. Default is |.
Set separator character for menu items. Default is !.
Set initial menu for right-click.
Disable exit on middle click.
Doesn't show icon at startup.

See NOTIFICATION section for more about separators.

Print options

Set source file type. TYPE may be a TEXT for text files, IMAGE for image files or RAW for files in postscript or pdf formats.
Set name or path to the source file.
Add headers to the top of page with filename and page number. This option doesn't work for RAW type.
Add Preview button to the print dialog. This option doesn't work for RAW type.
Set the font for printing text. FONTNAME is a string with font representation in the form "[FAMILY-LIST] [STYLE-OPTIONS] [SIZE]". This option works only for TEXT type.

Progress options

When the --progress option is used, yad reads lines of progress data from stdin. When the lines begin with # the text after # is displayed in the progress bar label. Numeric values treats like a persents for progress bar.

Set text in progress bar to TEXT.
Set initial percentage.
Set Right-To-Left progress bar direction.
Close dialog when 100% has been reached.
Kill parent process if cancel button is pressed.
Pulsate progress bar.
Show log window. This window gathers all of lines from stdin, started from # instead of setting appropriate progress labels. Optional argument TEXT is a text label for window expander.
Place log window above progress bar.
Start with expanded log window.
Set the height of log window.

Text options

Open specified file.
Allow changes to text.
Set foreground color of text.
Set background color of text.
Set text font. FONT must be in a Pango font description format.
Enable text wrapping.
Set justification. TYPE may be left, right, center or fill. Default is left.
Set text margins to SIZE.
Autoscroll to end when new text appears. Works only when text is read from stdin.
Make URI in text clickable. Links opens with xdg-open command.
Listen data from stdin even if filename was specified.

Sending FormFeed character to text dialog clears it. This symbol may be sent as echo -e '\f'. Pressing Ctrl+S popups the search entry in text dialog.

Scale options

Set initial value.
Set minimum value.
Set maximum value.
Set step size.
Set paging size. By default page value is STEP*10.
Print partial values.
Hide value.
Show vertical scale.
Invert scale direction.
Add a mark to scale. May be used multiply times. NAME is an optional arguments for set label to mark.

Miscellaneous options

-?, --help
Show summary of options.
Display an about dialog.
Show version of program.

Also the standard GTK+ options are accepted.


Notebook is a complex dialog which swallow other dialogs in his tabs. Dialogs identifies by unique key (integer) and must be runs in a special plug mode (--plug option). Following example runs notebook dialog with two tabs, first has a simple text and second is an entry dialog.

#! /bin/sh

yad --plug=12345 --tabnum=1 --text="first tab with text" &> res1 &
yad --plug=12345 --tabnum=2 --text="second tab" --entry &> res2 &
yad --notebook --key=12345 --tab="Tab 1" --tab="Tab 2"

The order of output results for tabs is undefined!


Allows commands to be sent to yad in the form command:args. Possible commands are icon, tooltip, visible, action, menu and quit.
Set notification icon to ICONNAME.
Set notification tooltip.
Set notification icon to visible, invisible or blinking states.
Specify the command running when click on the icon. Special string "quit" exit the program.
Set popup menu for notification icon. STRING must be in form name1[!action1[!icon1]]|name2[!action2[!icon2]].... Empty name add separator to menu. Separator character for values (e.g. `|') sets with --separator argument. Separator character for menu items (e.g. `!') sets with --item-separator argument.
Exit the program. Middle click on icon also send quit command.


This variable sets to the value of current dialog's pid and accessible in all dialog children.
This variable sets to the value of current dialog's X Window ID and accessible in all dialog children. This variable is not set in print and notification dialogs, and in a dialogs which acts as a notebook children.


Close dialog with 0 exit code.
Close dialog with 1 exit code.


The user has pressed OK button
The user has pressed Cancel button
The dialog has been closed because the timeout has been reached.
The dialog has been closed by pressing Esc or used the window functions to close the dialog
Exit codes for user-specified buttons must be specified in command line. Even exit code mean to print result, odd just return exit code.


The look and feel of yad's dialogs can be customized through gtkrc file. Here is the names of yad's widgets:

Widget nameWidget typeDescription

yad-dialog-windowGtkDialogDialog window
yad-dialog-imageGtkImageDialog image
yad-dialog-labelGtkLabelDialog text
yad-calendar-widgetGtkCalendarCalendar widget
yad-color-widgetGtkColorChooserColor selection widget
yad-color-paletteGtkTreeViewPredefined colors list
yad-entry-labelGtkLabelEntry label
yad-entry-widgetGtkEntryEntry widget
yad-entry-spinGtkSpinButtonEntry widget for numeric values
yad-entry-comboGtkComboBoxEntry widget with combo
yad-entry-edit-comboGtkComboBoxEntryEntry widget with editable combo
yad-file-widgetGtkFileChooserFile selection widget
yad-font-widgetGtkFontChooserFont selection widget
yad-form-flabelGtkLabelField label in form
yad-form-buttonGtkButtonButton field in form
yad-form-entryGtkEntrfyEntry field in form
yad-form-spinGtkSpinButtonNumeric entry field in form
yad-form-checkGtkCheckButtonCheckbox field in form
yad-form-comboGtkComboBoxCombo field in form
yad-form-edit-comboGtkComboBoxEntryEditable combo field in form
yad-form-fileGtkFileChooserButtonFile or directory field in form
yad-form-fontGtkFontChooserButtonFont field in form
yad-form-colorGtkColorChooserButtonColor field in form
yad-form-labelGtkLabelLabel field in form
yad-form-scaleGtkScaleScale widget in form
yad-form-separatorGtkSeparatorSeparator in form
yad-form-textGtkTextViewMultiline text field in form
yad-icons-fullGtkIconViewIcons widget for normal mode
yad-icons-compactGtkTreeViewIcons widget for compact mode
yad-list-widgetGtkTreeViewList widget
yad-progress-widgetGtkProgressBarProgressbar widget
yad-scale-widgetGtkScaleScale widget
yad-text-widgetGtkTextViewText info widget
yad-timeout-indicatorGtkProgreeBarTimeout indicator


YAD default settings. yad.conf placed in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME or $HOME/.config directory. This file contain comments on every settings and will be automatically recreated on yad'd start if it doesn't exists.


Display a file selector with the title Select a file to remove. The file selected is returned on standard output.
yad --title="Select a file to remove" --file-selection

Display a text entry dialog with the title Select Host and the text Select the host you would like to flood-ping. The entered text is returned on standard output.

yad --title "Select Host" --entry --text "Select the host you would like to flood-ping"

Display a dialog, asking Microsoft Windows has been found! Would you like to remove it?. The return code will be 0 (true in shell) if YES is selected, and 1 (false) if NO is selected.

yad --image "dialog-question" --title "Alert" --button=gtk-yes:0 --button=gtk-no:1 --text "Microsoft Windows has been found! Would you like to remove it?"

Show the search results in a list dialog with the title Search Results and the text Finding all header files....

find . -name '*.h' | yad --list --title "Search Results" --text "Finding all header files.." --column "Files"

Show an icon in the notification area

yad --notification --image=update.png --text "System update necessary!" --command "xterm -e apt-get upgrade"

Display a weekly shopping list in a check list dialog with Apples and Oranges pre selected

yad --list --checklist --column "Buy" --column "Item" TRUE Apples TRUE Oranges FALSE Pears FALSE Toothpaste

Display a progress dialog while searching for all the postscript files in your home directory

find $HOME -name '*.ps' | yad --progress --pulsate

Display a box with all of the installed desktop applications

yad --icons --read-dir=/usr/share/applications


There are some developers features providing with YAD.
YAD icon browser is a graphical tool for discover icons in current or user-specified GTK+ icon theme. Launch it as
yad-icon-browser [theme]

When using autoconf you may use special m4 macro AM_PATH_YAD for looking for yad and check it version. Usage of this macro is



Yad was written by Victor Ananjevsky <[email protected]>. Yad icon created by Bogdan Lisovich.