Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: rofi
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rofi - A window switcher, application launcher, ssh dialog and dmenu replacement



rofi [ -show mode ]|[ -dmenu ]|[ -e msg ] [ CONFIGURATION ]



rofi is an X11 pop-up 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's main functionality is to assist in your workflow, allowing you to quickly switch between windows, start applications or log into a remote machine via ssh. There are different modi for different types of actions.

rofi can also function as (drop-in) replacement for dmenu(1).


Running rofi

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(1) (a dynamic menu for X) when launched with the -dmenu flag.

The website for dmenu can be found here <>.

rofi does not aim to be 100% compatible with dmenu. There are simply too many different flavors of dmenu. The idea is that the basic usage command-line flags are obeyed, theme-related flags are not. Besides, rofi offers some extended features (like multi-select, highlighting, message bar, extra key bindings).


Display Error message

rofi error dialog can also be called from the command line.

rofi -e "my message"

Markup support can be enabled, see CONFIGURATION options.



There are currently three methods of setting configuration options (evaluated in order below):

System configuration file (for example /etc/rofi.rasi or old format /etc/rofi.conf). It first checks XDG_CONFIG_DIRS and then SYSCONFDIR (that is passed at compile time). It loads the first config file it finds, it does not merge multiple system configuration files.
Xresources: A method of storing key values in the Xserver. See here <> for more information.
Rasi theme file: The new theme format can be used to set configuration values.
Configuration File: This uses the same format as the Xresources file. By default it looks in XDG_CONFIG_HOME/rofi/config, but can be overridden on commandline. By default XDG_CONFIG_HOME defaults to $HOME/.config. (See rofi -h for current location). This is the recommended way of configuring rofi.
Command-line options: Arguments passed to rofi.

TIP: To get a template config file run: rofi -dump-xresources > rofi-example.config.

NOTE: In version 1.4.0 we support configuration in a new format, a config for this can be generated by: rofi -dump-config > config.rasi

NOTE: If you want to use the new configuration format, the config file should be named config.rasi.

NOTE: You can upgrade to the new configuration file format using rofi -upgrade-config

The Xresources file expects options starting with rofi. followed by its name. An example to set the number of lines:

rofi.lines: 10

Command-line options override settings from the 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 option X:


Below is a list of the most important options:




The help option shows the full list of command-line options and the current set values. These include dynamic (run-time generated) options.


Show the rofi version and exit.


Dump the current active configuration, in rasi format, to stdout and exit. Information about the rasi format can be found in the rofi-theme(5) manpage.


Dump the current active theme, in rasi format, to stdout and exit.


Dump the current active configuration, in Xresources format, to stdout. This does not validate all passed values (for example, colors).

-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.

-display display

The X server to contact. Default is $DISPLAY.


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 three pre-defined options:

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

Or get the options from a script:

~/ | rofi -dmenu

-show mode

Open rofi in a certain mode. Available modes are window, run, drun, ssh, combi. The special argument keys can be used to open a searchable list of supported key bindings (see KEY BINDINGS)

To show the run-dialog:

rofi -show run

-modi mode1,mode2

Specify an 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 configured 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 such mode has two parameters:


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

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

Notes: The i3 window manager does not like commas in the command when specifying an exec command. For that case '#' can be used as an separator.


Start in case sensitive mode. This option can be changed at run-time using the -kb-toggle-case-sensitivity key binding.


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

-filter filter

Filter the list by setting text in input bar to filter

-config filename

Load an alternative configuration file.

-cache-dir filename

Directory that is used to place temporary files, like history.

-scroll-method method

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


Show the indicator that shows what part of the string is matched.

Default: *true*


Normalize the string before matching, so o will match ö, and é matches e. This is not a perfect implementation, but works. For now it disabled highlighting of the matched part.


Disables lazy grab, this forces the keyboard being grabbed before gui is shown.


Disable plugin loading.

-plugin-path directory

Specify the directory where rofi should look for plugins.


Show application icons in drun and window modes.


Specify icon theme to be used. If not specified default theme from DE is used, Adwaita and gnome themes act as fallback themes.


Use Pango markup to format output wherever possible.


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



-matching method

Specify the matching algorithm used. Current the following methods are supported.

normal: match the int string
regex: match a regex input
glob: match a glob pattern
fuzzy: do a fuzzy match

Default: normal

Note: glob matching might be slow for larger lists


Tokenize the input.

-drun-categories category1,category2

Only show desktop files that are present in the listed categories.

-drun-match-fields field1,field2,...

When using drun, match only with the specified Desktop entry fields. The different fields are:

name: the application's name
generic: the application's generic name
exec: the application's executable
categories: the application's categories
comment: the application comment

all: all of the above

Default: name,generic,exec,categories,keywords


The format string for the drun dialog:

name: the application's name
generic: the application's generic name
exec: the application's executable
categories: the application's categories
comment: the application comment

Pango markup can be used to formatting the output.

Default: {name} [<span weight='light' size='small'><i>({generic})</i></span>]

Note: Only fields enabled in -drun-match-fields can be used in the format string.


Show actions present in the Desktop files.

Default: false

-window-match-fields field1,field2,...

When using window mode, match only with the specified fields. The different fields are:

title: window's title
class: window's class
role: window's role
name: window's name
desktop: window's current desktop

all: all of the above

Default: all

-matching-negate-char char

Set the character used to negate the query (i.e. if it does not match the next keyword ). Set to '\x0' to disable.

Default: '-'



Most of the following options are deprecated and should not be used. Please use the new theme format to customize rofi. More information about the new format can be found in the rofi-theme(5) manpage.


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 in a row:

rofi -width -30

Character width is a rough estimate, 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

-eh number

Set row height (in chars) Default: 1


When one entry is left, automatically select it.

-m num

-m name

-monitor num

-monitor name

Select monitor to display rofi on. It accepts as input: primary (if primary output is set), the xrandr output name, or integer number (in order of detection). Negative numbers are handled differently:

-1: the currently focused monitor.
-2: the currently focused window (that is, rofi will be displayed on top of the focused window).
-3: Position at mouse (overrides the location setting to get normal context menu behavior.)
-4: the monitor with the focused window.

-5: the monitor that shows the mouse pointer.

Default: -5

See rofi -h output for the detected monitors, their position, and size.

-theme filename

Path to the new theme file format. This overrides the old theme settings.

-theme-str string

Allow theme parts to be specified on the command line as an override.

For example:

rofi -theme-str '#window { fullscreen: true; }'

This option can be specified multiple times.

-dpi number

Override the default DPI setting.

If set to 0, it tries to auto-detect based on X11 screen size (similar to i3 and GTK).
If set to 1, it tries to auto-detect based on the size of the monitor that rofi is displayed on (similar to latest Qt 5).

-selected-row selected row

Select a certain row.

Default: 0


PATTERN setting


Specify which 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.

Pattern: {ssh-client}

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: {cmd}


Window switcher settings

-window-format format

Format what is being displayed for windows.

format: {field[:len]}


w: desktop name
t: title of window
n: name
r: role
c: class

len: maximum field length (0 for auto-size). If length and window width are negative, field length is width - len. if length is positive, the entry will be truncated or padded to fill that length.

default: {w} {c} {t}

-window-command cmd

Set command to execute on selected window for a alt action (-kb-accept-alt). See PATTERN.

Default: "wmctrl -i -R {window}"


Show window thumbnail (if available) as icon in the window switcher.


Combi settings

-combi-modi mode1,mode2

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

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

NOTE: The i3 window manager does not like commas in the command when specifying an exec command. For that case '#' can be used as a separator.


History and Sorting

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

Disable history

-sort to enable -no-sort to disable

Enable, disable sorting. This setting can be changed at runtime (see -kb-toggle-sort).

-sorting-method 'method' to specify the sorting method.

There are 2 sorting method:

levenshtein (Default)
fzf sorting.


Dmenu specific

-sep separator

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

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

-p prompt

Specify the prompt to show in dmenu mode. For example, select 'monkey', a,b,c,d, or e.

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

Default: dmenu

-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 X as active. Where X is a comma-separated list of python(1)-style indices and ranges, e.g. indices start at 0, -1 refers to the last row with -2 preceding it, ranges are left-open and right-close, and so on. You can specify:

A single row: '5'
A range of (last 3) rows: '-3:'
4 rows starting from row 7: '7:11' (or in legacy notation: '7-10')
A set of rows: '2,0,-9'
Or any combination: '5,-3:,7:11,2,0,-9'

-u X

Urgent row, mark X as urgent. See -a option for details.


Only return a selected item, do not allow custom entry. This mode always returns an entry. It will not return if no matching entry is selected.


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 the total number of input entries):

's' selected string
'i' index (0 - (N-1))
'd' index (1 - N)
'q' quote string
'p' Selected string stripped from Pango markup (Needs to be a valid 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 <>


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.


Allow multiple lines to be selected. Adds a small selection indicator to the left of each entry.


Force rofi mode to first read all data from stdin before showing the selection window. This is original dmenu behavior.

Note: the default asynchronous mode will also be automatically disabled if used with conflicting options, such as -dump, -only-match or -auto-select.

-async-pre-read number

Reads the first number entries blocking, then switches to async mode. This makes it feel more 'snappy'.

default: 25

-window-title title

Set name used for the window title. Will be shown as Rofi - title

-w windowid

Position rofi over the window with the given X11 window ID.


Set ellipsize mode to start. So end of string is visible.


Message dialog

-e message

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




Build and use a cache with the content of desktop files. Usable for systems with slow hard drives.


If drun-use-desktop-cache is enabled, rebuild a cache with the content of desktop files.

-pid path

Make rofi create a pid file and check this on startup. The pid file prevents multiple rofi instances from running simultaneously. This is useful when running rofi from a key-binding daemon.


Enable fake transparency. This only works with transparent background color in the theme.


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).

-display-{mode} string

Set the name to use for mode. This is used as prompt and in combi-browser.

-click-to-exit -no-click-to-exit

Click the mouse outside of the rofi window to exit.

Default: enabled




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


Disables the loading of plugins.

To get a trace with (lots of) debug information, set the following environment variable when executing rofi:


The trace can be filtered by only outputting the relevant domains, for example:


For more information on debugging, see the wiki <>



To launch commands (for example, 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
{window}: the window ID of the selected window (in window-command)



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



The theme format below describes the old (pre version 1.4) theme format. Please see rofi-theme(5) manpage for an updated manual.

The theme setup allows you to specify colors per state, similar to i3 Currently 3 states exist:

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 separately. The key color-window contains a tuple background,border,separator. An example 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', 'separator'
rofi.color-window: #fdf6e3,      #002b36,  #002b36

Same settings can also be specified on the command-line:

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



RGB colors can be specified by either their X11 name or hexadecimal notation. For example:




ARGB colors are also supported. These can be used to create a transparent window if (1) your Xserver supports TrueColor, and (2) you are running a composite manager. For example:



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.

Transparency can be used within rofi, for example if the selected background color is 50% transparent, the background color of the window will be visible through it.



rofi has the following key bindings:

Ctrl-v, Insert: Paste from 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, Ctrl-Right: Forward one word
Ctrl-b, Left: Back one character
Alt-b, Ctrl-Left: Back one word
Ctrl-d, Delete: Delete character
Ctrl-Alt-d: Delete word
Ctrl-h, Backspace, Shift-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 previous page
Page Down: Go to next page
Ctrl-Page Up: Go to previous column
Ctrl-Page Down: Go to next column
Ctrl-Enter: Use entered text as a 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 mode. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Shift-Left: Switch to the previous mode. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Ctrl-Tab: Switch to the next mode. The list can be customized with the -switchers argument.
Ctrl-Shift-Tab: Switch to the previous mode. 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 sorting.
Alt-Shift-S: Take a screenshot and store it in the Pictures directory.

To get a full list of key bindings on the commandline, see rofi -h. The options starting with -kb are keybindings. Key bindings can be modified using the configuration systems. To get a searchable list of key bindings, run rofi -show keys.

A key binding 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 close the window. Pressing the accept-custom binding (control-enter or shift-enter) will run a command on the window. (See option window-command );



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. (See option window-command );

If there is no match, it will try to launch the input.



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



Shows a searchable list of key bindings.



Allows custom scripted Modi to be added.



Combines multiple modi in one list. Specify which modi are included with the -combi-modi option.

When using the combi mode, a !bang can be used to filter the results by modi. All modi that match the bang as a prefix are included. For example, say you have specified -combi-modi run,window,windowcd. If your query begins with the bang !w, only results from the window and windowcd modi are shown, even if the rest of the input text would match results from run.

If no match, the input is handled by the first combined modi.




The text in the window switcher is not nicely aligned.

Try using a mono-space font.


The window is completely black.

Check quotes used on the command-line: you might have used “ ("smart quotes") instead of " ("machine quotes").


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"



Some basic usage examples of rofi:

Show the run dialog:

rofi -modi run -show run

Show the run dialog, and allow switching to Desktop File run dialog (drun):

rofi -modi run,drun -show run

Combine the run and Desktop File run dialog (drun):

rofi -modi combi -show combi -combi-modi run,drun

Combine the run and Desktop File run dialog (drun), and allow switching to window switcher:

rofi -modi combi,window -show combi -combi-modi run,drun

Run rofi full monitor width at the top of the monitor like a dropdown menu:

rofi -show run -width 100 -location 1 -lines 5 -bw 2 -yoffset -2

Pop up a text message claiming that this is the end:

rofi -e "This is the end"

Pop up a text message in red, bold font claiming that this is still the end:

rofi -e "<span color='red'><b>This is still the end</b></span>" -markup

Show all key bindings:

rofi -show keys

Use qalc to get a simple calculator in rofi:

 rofi -show calc -modi "calc:qalc +u8 -nocurrencies"



In i3 <> you want to bind rofi to be launched on key release. Otherwise, it cannot grab the keyboard. See also the i3 manual <>:

Some tools (such as import or xdotool) might be unable to run upon a KeyPress event, because the keyboard/pointer is still grabbed. For these situations, the --release flag can be used, as it will execute the command after the keys have been released.




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 here <>



rofi support can be obtained here <irc://> (#rofi on, or via the forum <>



Please see this < Rofi> wiki entry.



The rofi issue tracker can be found here <>

When creating an issue, please read this <> first.



rofi-sensible-terminal(1), dmenu(1), rofi-theme(5), rofi-script(5), rofi-theme-selector(1)



Qball Cow <>
Rasmus Steinke <>
Quentin Glidic <>

Original code based on work by: Sean Pringle <>

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



Running rofi
Emulating dmenu
Display Error message
PATTERN setting
SSH settings
Run settings
Window switcher settings
Combi settings
History and Sorting
Dmenu specific
Message dialog
Available Modi
The text in the window switcher is not nicely aligned.
The window is completely black.
What does the icon in the top right show?