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ROFI-DMENU(5) File Formats Manual ROFI-DMENU(5)


rofi dmenu mode - Rofi dmenu emulation


To integrate rofi into scripts as simple selection dialogs, rofi supports emulating dmenu(1) (A dynamic menu for X11).

The website for dmenu can be found here ⟨⟩.

rofi does not aim to be 100% compatible with dmenu. There are simply too many 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).


In dmenu mode, rofi reads data from standard in, splits them into separate entries and displays them. If the user selects a row, this is printed out to standard out, allowing the script to process it further.

By default separation of rows is done on new lines, making it easy to pipe the output a one application into rofi and the output of rofi into the next.


By launching rofi with the -dmenu flag it will go into dmenu emulation mode.

ls | rofi -dmenu


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


Script mode is used to extend rofi, dmenu mode is used to extend a script. The two do share much of the same input format. Please see the rofi-script(5) manpage for more information.


A lot of these options can also be modified by the script using special input. See the rofi-script(5) manpage for more information about this syntax.

-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 -dmenu -l 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.

-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, the end of the string is visible.


A comma seperated list of columns to show.


The column separator. This is a regex.

default: '\t'

-ballot-selected-str string

When multi-select is enabled, prefix this string when element is selected.

default: "☑ "

-ballot-unselected-str string

When multi-select is enabled, prefix this string when element is not selected.

default: "☐ "

-ellipsize-mode (start|middle|end)

Set ellipsize mode on the listview.

default "end"


Extra options for individual rows can be also set. See the rofi-script(5) manpage for details; the syntax and supported features are identical.


  • 0: Row has been selected accepted by user.
  • 1: User cancelled the selection.
  • 10-28: Row accepted by custom keybinding.


rofi(1), rofi-sensible-terminal(1), dmenu(1), rofi-theme(5), rofi-script(5), rofi-theme-selector(1), ascii(7)


Qball Cow ⟨⟩

Rasmus Steinke ⟨⟩

Morgane Glidic ⟨⟩

Original code based on work by: Sean Pringle ⟨⟩

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