9menu - create a menu to run commands
9menu [ -bg background-color ] [ -display
displayname ] [ -file name ] [ -fg
foreground-color ] [ -font fname ] [ -geometry
geom ] [ -iconic ] [ -label name ] [ -path ] [
-popdown ] [ -popup ] [ -shell prog ] [
-teleport ] [ -version ] [ -warp ]
9menu is a simple program that accepts a list of menu item and command
pairs on the command line. It creates a window that consists of nothing but a
menu. When a particular item is selected, the corresponding command is
Either Button1 or Button3 may be used to select an
item. Alternatively, the UP-ARROW and DOWN-ARROW cursor keys may be used to
highlight different items, with ENTER used to select the highlighted
Menu items and commands are separated by a colon. The colon and
command are optional. If they are missing, then the menu item is assumed to
be a command that can be executed directly.
A menu item consisting of the word exit causes 9menu
to exit when it is selected. Otherwise, to stop 9menu , delete it
using the window manager. The exit menu item can be anywhere in the
list, although by convention it is last. If a command is supplied along with
the exit item, that command is executed before 9menu
If a menu item's command starts with the word exec,
9menu ceases operating after launching it.
9menu accepts the following command line options, listed
- -bg background-color
- Set the background color to background-color. By default, the
background color is white.
- -display displayname
- Use the X display displayname, instead of the default display.
- -file filename
- Read items to display from filename, in addition to any other
command line arguments. This is intended for use with #! in
scripts. A filename of - causes 9menu to read items
from standard input.
- -fg foreground-color
- Set the foreground color to foreground-color. By default, the
foreground color is black.
- -font fname
- Use the font fname, instead of one of the default fonts built into
- -geometry geom
- Use geom (a geometry in standard X format) as the geometry of the
menu. This is most useful for specifying the initial location of the menu.
Note that 9menu overrides the size part of the geometry
specification. The window is always just large enough to hold the
- Start up in the iconified state.
- -label name
- Change both the window and icon labels of the window to name. The
default label is the last component of the path used to run 9menu,
- Append the current directory to the command search path.
- Once an item is selected, the menu window automatically iconifies
- Act like a pop-up menu. Once a menu item is selected, 9menu exits.
This option overrides -popdown.
- -shell prog
- Use prog as the shell to run commands, instead of /bin/sh. A
popular alternative shell is rc(1). If the shell cannot be
executed, 9menu then silently falls back to using
- Move the menu to where the mouse is when the menu is uniconified. This
option is particularly useful when combined with -popdown.
- This option prints the version of 9menu on the standard output, and
then exits with an exit value of zero.
- Warp the mouse to the menu when the menu is uniconified. After the
selection is made, restore the mouse to where it was. This option is
particularly useful when combined with -popdown.
9menu -label Remotes xterm 'acme:ssh acme xterm' 'herman:ssh herman 9term' &
9menu -label 'X progs' gv xdvi xeyes xneko exit &
sam(1), 9term(1), 9wm(1), rc(1).
The Plan 9 Programmer's Manual.
This man page documents 9menu version 1.10.
Source code is available from
The code with full history is also available via Git from
This program has grown to have too many options.
The initial idea for this program was by Arnold Robbins, after having worked
with John Mackin's GWM Blit emulation. Matty Farrow wrote a version using
libXg, from which some ideas were borrowed. This code was written by David
Hogan and Arnold Robbins. Rich Salz motivated the -shell option.
Christopher Platt motivated the -teleport option. John O'Donnell
supplied the basic code for the -fg and -bg options. Peter
Seebach provided the base code for the -file and -path options.
Matthias Bauer made it work with the keyboard.