1. rofi-manpage
  2. rofi-manpage

ROFI 1 rofi


rofi - 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 ] [ -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 ] [ -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 ] [ -matching method ] [ -tokenize ] [ -no-click-to-exit ] [ -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 main functionality is to assist in your workflow, allowing you to quickly (with a few keystrokes) switch between windows, start applications or log into a remote machine via ssh. There are different modi for different type 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 "official" website for dmenu can be found here.


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

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

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:

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 commandline options and the current set value. These include dynamic (run-time generated) 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:


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:

~/my_script.sh | rofi -dmenu

-show mode

Open rofi in a certain mode. Available modes are window, run,drun, ssh, combi 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 i3_switch_workspaces.sh script:

rofi -modi "window,run,ssh,Workspaces:i3_switch_workspaces.sh" -show Workspaces


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


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

-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, #aarrggbb or argb:aarrggbbvalues 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

-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:

-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.

-matching method

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


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


When one entry is left, automatically select it.

-m num

-m name

-monitor num

-monitor name

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

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

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.

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: ""

-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" -modi combi

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. This setting can be changed at runtime, see -kb-toggle-sort.

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):

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 react 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.


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 selection window. This is how original dmenu behaviour.

Window Mode

-window-format format

Format what is being displayed for windows.

format: {field[:len]}


len: maximum field length (0 for auto-size). If length negative and window width is 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}

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.


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.

For more information on debugging see the wiki


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:


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

For each state the following 5 colors must be set:

The window background and border color should be specified separate. The key color-window contains a pair background,border,separator. 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', 'separator'
rofi.color-window: #fdf6e3,      #002b36,  #002b36

Same settings can also be specified on command-line:

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


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




ARGB colors are also support, these can be used to create a transparent window if: 1. Your Xserver supports TrueColor, 2. You are running a composite manager.




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.

Within rofi transparency can be used, e.g. 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:

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

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 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 );


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) 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.


Shows a searchable list of key bindings.


Allows custom scripted Modi to be added.


The text in the window switcher is not nicely lined out.

Try using a mono-space font.

The window is completely black.

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

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 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

Get a colored list of available wifi networks:

tty-pipe nmcli device wifi | out2html -p | rofi -dmenu -markup-rows

Popup a text message claiming that this is the end:

rofi -e "This is the end"

Popup 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 keybindings:

rofi -show keys

Use qalc to get a simple calculator in rofi:

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



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 support can be obtained here (#rofi on irc.freenode.net), or via the forum


Please see this wiki entry.


rofi issue tracker can be found here

When creating an issue, please read this first.


rofi-sensible-terminal(1), dmenu(1)


Qball Cow qball@gmpclient.org

Rasmus Steinke rasi@xssn.at

Quentin Glidic sardemff7+rofi@sardemff7.net

Original code based on work by: Sean Pringle sean.pringle@gmail.com

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

  1. December 2016
  2. rofi-manpage