rofi - Man Page

A window switcher, application launcher, ssh dialog, dmenu replacement and more

Examples (TL;DR)


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 modes for different types of actions. rofi is a standalone application and should not be integrated into scripts. For integration into scripts it has a special mode that functions as a (drop-in) replacement for dmenu(1). See emulating dmenu below.

Running rofi

To launch rofi directly in a certain mode, specify a mode with rofi -show <mode>. To show the drun dialog:

    rofi -show drun

A very useful setup in minimalistic window managers is to combine drun, run with window mode:

  rofi -show combi -modes combi -combi-modes "window,drun,run"

In this setup it first list all open applications, then all installed applications. So if you type firefox and hit return, it will switch to the running firefox, or launch it when it is not running.

Emulating dmenu

rofi can emulate dmenu(1) (a dynamic menu for X11) when launched with the -dmenu flag.

For more information see rofi-dmenu(5).

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):

To get a template config file, run: rofi -dump-config > config.rasi

This will contain (commented) all current configuration options, modified options are uncommented.

To get a template config file that sets the icon-theme run: rofi -icon-theme hicolor -dump-config.

It is strongly recommended to use this as a starting point for your configuration.

An empty configuration section in the config file looks like:

configuration {
 // set config options here

Most of the configuration options mentioned below (beside options like -show, -dump-config that apply to a single run) can be set here.

For example to set the dpi value to 72:

configuration {
	dpi: 72;

The configuration system supports the following types:

For the syntax of these options, see the rofi-theme(5) manpage.

For use on the command line, 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.

-rasi-validate filename

Try to parse the file and return 0 when successful, non-zero when failed.

-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.Default:  Autodetect

-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

See the rofi-dmenu(5) manpage for more information.

-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 the rofi-keys(5) manpage)

To show the run-dialog:

rofi -show run

If -show is the last option passed to rofi, the first enabled modes is shown.

-modes 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 -modes "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 -modes "window,run,ssh," -show Workspaces

Notes: The i3 window manager dislikes commas in the command when specifying an exec command. For that case, # can be used as a separator.

TIP: The name is allowed to contain spaces:

rofi -modes "My File" -show "My File Browser"


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.


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 disables 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.


Make rofi steal focus on launch and restore close to window that held it when launched.


The limit of elements that is used to switch from instant to delayed filter mode.

Default: 8192

A fallback icon can be specified for each mode:

configuration {
      fallback-icon: "<icon name>";


configuration {
    run,drun {
      fallback-icon: "application-x-addon";


-matching method

Specify the matching algorithm used. Currently, 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
  • prefix: match prefix

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 the aboveDefault: 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 the aboveDefault: 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: '-'

Layout and Theming

 In newer rofi releases, all the theming options have been moved into the new theme format. They are no longer normal
 rofi options that can be passed directly on the command line (there are too many).
 Small snippets can be passed on the command line: rofi -theme-str 'window {width: 50%;}' to override a single
 setting. They are merged into the current theme.
 They can also be appended at the end of the rofi config file to override parts of the theme.

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.


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.


Open in sidebar-mode. In this mode, a list of all enabled modes is shown at the bottom. (See -modes option) To show sidebar, use:

rofi -show run -sidebar-mode


Automatically select the entry the mouse is hovering over. This option is best combined with custom mouse bindings. To utilize hover-select and accept an entry in a single click, use:

rofi -show run -hover-select -me-select-entry '' -me-accept-entry MousePrimary

-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 of 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. This is now the method to tweak the theme via the command line.

-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 an 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 a 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 an alt action (-kb-accept-alt). See Pattern.

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


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

You can stop rofi from exiting when closing a window (allowing multiple to be closed in a row).

configuration {
  window {
      close-on-delete: false;

You can hide the currently active window with the 'hide-active-window' setting:

configuration {
  window {
      hide-active-window: true;

or pass -window-hide-active-window true on command line.

Combi settings

-combi-modes mode1,mode2

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

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

NOTE: The i3 window manager dislikes commas in the command when specifying an exec command. For that case, # can be used as a separator.


The format string for entries in the combi dialog:

  • mode: the mode display name
  • text: the entry text

Pango markup can be used to formatting the output.

Default: {mode} {text}

Note: This setting is ignored if combi-hide-mode-prefix is enabled.

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 methods:

  • levenshtein (Default)
  • fzf sorting.

-max-history-size number

Maximum number of entries to store in history. Defaults to 25. (WARNING: can cause slowdowns when set too high)

Message dialog

-e message

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

File browser settings

File browser behavior can be controlled via the following options:

configuration {
   filebrowser {
      /** Directory the file browser starts in. */
      directory: "/some/directory";
        * Sorting method. Can be set to:
        *   - "name"
        *   - "mtime" (modification time)
        *   - "atime" (access time)
        *   - "ctime" (change time)
      sorting-method: "name";
      /** Group directories before files. */
      directories-first: true;



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.

-drun-url-launcher command

Command to open a Desktop Entry that is a Link.

-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.


If rofi is already running, based on pid file, try to kill that instance.

-display-{mode} string

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

It is now preferred to use the configuration file:

configuration {
  {mode} {
    display-name: *string*;

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

Click the mouse outside the rofi window to exit.

Default: enabled


Workaround for bug in Xserver. See issue #611 and #1642 on the rofi issue tracker.

Default: disabled


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:


Please see rofi-theme(5) manpage for more information on theming.

Key Bindings

Please see the rofi-keys(5) manpage for the keybindings and how to set them up.

The keybinding can also be used for actions, when the action is executed the mentioned keystroke is inserted:


You can configure an action to be taken when rofi has not been interacted with for a certain amount of seconds. You can specify a keybinding to trigger after X seconds.

configuration {
  timeout {
      delay:  15;
      action: "kb-cancel";

Input change

When the input of the textbox changes:

configuration {
  inputchange {
      action: "kb-row-first";

Available Modes


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 );

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


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) will run the command as entered in the entry box. Pressing the accept-alt binding (shift-enter) will run the command in a terminal.

When pressing the mode-complete binding (Control-l), you can use the File Browser mode to launch the application with a file as the first argument.


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) will run the command as entered in the entry box. Pressing the accept-alt binding (shift-enter) will run the command in a terminal.

When pressing the mode-complete binding (Control-l), you can use the File Browser mode to launch the application passing a file as argument if specified in the desktop file.

The DRUN mode tries to follow the XDG Desktop Entry Specification ⟨⟩ and should be compatible with applications using this standard.  Some applications create invalid desktop files, rofi will discard these entries. See the debugging section for more info on DRUN mode, this will print why desktop files are discarded.

There are two advanced options to tweak the behaviour:

configuration {
   drun {
      /** Parse user desktop files. */
      parse-user:   true;
      /** Parse system desktop files. */
      parse-system: false;


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 Modes to be added, see the rofi-script(5) manpage for more information.


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

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


The text in the window switcher is not nicely aligned.

Try using a mono-space font or tabs + the tab-stops setting..

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"

Why do I see different icons for run,drun and window mode

Each of these modes uses different methods of resolving the icon:

  • Window: It first uses the icon that the application exposes via the X11 Server, if none is set it does a lookup of the window Class name in the icon theme.
  • drun: It uses the icon set in the desktop file.
  • run: It does a lookup using the executable name.


Some basic usage examples of rofi:

Show the run dialog:

rofi -modes run -show run

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

rofi -modes run,drun -show run

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

rofi -modes combi -show combi -combi-modes run,drun

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

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

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


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:
* GitHub Discussions ⟨
* Forum (Reddit) ⟨
* IRC ⟨irc://⟩ (#rofi on,


For more information see rofi-debugging(5) manpage.

Issue Tracker

The rofi issue tracker can be found here ⟨⟩ Before creating an issue, consider posting a question on the discussion forum ⟨⟩ first. When creating an issue, please read this ⟨⟩ first.

See Also

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


Original code based on work by: Sean Pringle ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩

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

Referenced By

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