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i3-dmenu-desktop - Man Page

run .desktop files with dmenu


    i3-dmenu-desktop [--dmenu='dmenu -i'] [--entry-type=name] [--show-duplicates]


i3-dmenu-desktop is a script which extracts the (localized) name from application .desktop files, offers the user a choice via dmenu(1) and then starts the chosen application via i3 (for startup notification support). The advantage of using .desktop files instead of dmenu_run(1) is that dmenu_run offers all binaries in your $PATH, including non-interactive utilities like "sed". Also, .desktop files contain a proper name, information about whether the application runs in a terminal and whether it supports startup notifications.

The .desktop files are searched in $XDG_DATA_HOME/applications (by default $HOME/.local/share/applications) and in the "applications" subdirectory of each entry of $XDG_DATA_DIRS (by default /usr/local/share/:/usr/share/).

Files with the same name in $XDG_DATA_HOME/applications take precedence over files in $XDG_DATA_DIRS, so that you can overwrite parts of the system-wide .desktop files by copying them to your local directory and making changes.

i3-dmenu-desktop displays the "Name" value in the localized version depending on LC_MESSAGES as specified in the Desktop Entry Specification.

You can pass a filename or URL (%f/%F and %u/%U field codes in the .desktop file respectively) by appending it to the name of the application. E.g., if you want to launch "GNU Emacs 24" with the patch /tmp/foobar.txt, you would type "emacs", press TAB, type " /tmp/foobar.txt" and press ENTER.

.desktop files with Terminal=true are started using i3-sensible-terminal(1).

.desktop files with NoDisplay=true or Hidden=true are skipped.

UTF-8 is supported, of course, but dmenu does not support displaying all glyphs. E.g., xfce4-terminal.desktop's Name[fi]=Pääte will be displayed just fine, but not its Name[ru]=Терминал.



Execute command instead of 'dmenu -i'. This option can be used to pass custom parameters to dmenu, or to make i3-dmenu-desktop start a custom (patched?) version of dmenu.


Display the (localized) "Name" (type = name), the command (type = command) or the (*.desktop) filename (type = filename) in dmenu. This option can be specified multiple times. Duplicates will be removed, see '--show-duplicates'.

Examples are "GNU Image Manipulation Program" (type = name), "gimp" (type = command), and "libreoffice-writer" (type = filename).


Show duplicates if '--entry-type' is specified multiple times.


Version 1.5


Michael Stapelberg, <michael at i3wm.org>


2023-10-29 perl v5.38.0 User Contributed Perl Documentation