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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 ] menuitem[:command] ...


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 executed.

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 item.

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 exits.

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 alphabetically:

−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. If the filename is "-" read from stdin.

−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 9wm.

−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 menu.


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, typically, 9menu.


Append the current directory to the command search path.


Once an item is selected, the menu window automatically iconifies itself.


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 /bin/sh.


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:rsh acme xterm’ ’herman:rsh herman 9term’ &

9menu −label ’X progs’ ghostview xdvi xeyes xneko exit &


sam(1), 9term(1), 9wm(1), rc(1), es(1).

The Plan 9 Programmer’s Manual.


This man page documents 9menu version 1.8.

Source code is available 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.