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WHIPTAIL(1)                                                        WHIPTAIL(1)

       whiptail - display dialog boxes from shell scripts

       whiptail  [  --title  title ] [ --backtitle backtitle ] [ --clear ] [ --default-item string ] [ --defaultno ] [
       --fb ] [ --nocancel ] [ --yes-button text ] [ --no-button text ] [ --ok-button text ] [ --cancel-button text  ]
       [ --noitem [ ] --output-fd fd ] [ --separate-output ] [ --scrolltext ] [ --topleft ] box-options

       whiptail  is  a program that will let you present a variety of questions or display messages using dialog boxes
       from a shell script. Currently, these types of dialog boxes are implemented:

       yes/no box, menu box, input box, message box, text box, info box, checklist box, radiolist box gauge  box,  and
       password box.

              The  screen will be cleared to the screen attribute on exit.  This doesn't work in an xterm (and descen-
              dants) if alternate screen switching is enabled, because in that case slang writes to  (and  clears)  an
              alternate screen.

              The dialog box will open with the cursor over the No button.

       --default-item string
              Set  the default item in a menu box.  Normally the first item in the box is the default.

       --fb   Use full buttons. (By default, whiptail uses compact buttons).

              The dialog box won't have a Cancel button.

       --yes-button text
              Set the text of the Yes button.

       --no-button text
              Set the text of the No button.

       --ok-button text
              Set the text of the Ok button.

       --cancel-button text
              Set the text of the Cancel button.

              The  menu, checklist and radiolist widgets will display tags only, not the item strings. The menu widget
              still needs some items specified, but checklist and radiolist expect only tag and status.

              For checklist widgets, output result one line at a time, with no quoting.  This facilitates  parsing  by
              another program.

       --output-fd fd
              Direct  output  to the given file descriptor.  Most whiptail scripts write to standard error, but  error
              messages  may  also  be written there, depending on your script.

       --title title
              Specifies a title string to be displayed at the top of the dialog box.

       --backtitle backtitle
              Specifies a backtitle string to be displayed on the backdrop, at the top of the screen.

              Force the display of a vertical scrollbar.

              Put window in top-left corner.

       Box Options

       --yesno text height width
              A yes/no dialog box of size height rows by width columns will be displayed. The string specified by text
              is  displayed  inside the dialog box. If this string is too long to be fit in one line, it will be auto-
              matically divided into multiple lines at appropriate places. The text string may also contain  the  sub-
              string  "\n"  or newline characters '\n' to control line breaking explicitly.  This dialog box is useful
              for asking questions that require the user to answer either yes or no.  The dialog box has a Yes  button
              and a No button, in which the user can switch between by pressing the TAB key.

       --msgbox text height width
              A  message  box is very similar to a yes/no box.  The only difference between a message box and a yes/no
              box is that a message box has only a single OK button. You can use this dialog box to display  any  mes-
              sage  you  like.  After reading the message, the user can press the ENTER key so that whiptail will exit
              and the calling shell script can continue its operation.

       --infobox text height width
              An info box is basically a message box.  However, in this case, whiptail  will  exit  immediately  after
              displaying  the  message to the user. The screen is not cleared when whiptail exits, so that the message
              will remain on the screen until the calling shell script clears it later. This is useful when  you  want
              to inform the user that some operations are carrying on that may require some time to finish.

       --inputbox text height width [init]
              An  input  box  is  useful when you want to ask questions that require the user to input a string as the
              answer. If init is supplied it is used to initialize the input string.  When inputing  the  string,  the
              BACKSPACE  key can be used to correct typing errors. If the input string is longer than the width of the
              dialog box, the input field will be scrolled. On exit, the input string will be printed on stderr.

       --passwordbox text height width [init]
              A password box is similar to an input box, except the text the user enters is  not  displayed.  This  is
              useful  when prompting for passwords or other sensitive information. Be aware that if anything is passed
              in "init", it will be visible in the system's process table to casual snoopers. Also, it is very confus-
              ing to the user to provide them with a default password they cannot see. For these reasons, using "init"
              is highly discouraged.

       --textbox file height width
              A text box lets you display the contents of a text file in a dialog box. It is like a simple  text  file
              viewer.  The  user can move through the file by using the UP/DOWN, PGUP/PGDN and HOME/END keys available
              on most keyboards.  If the lines are too long to be displayed in the box, the  LEFT/RIGHT  keys  can  be
              used  to scroll the text region horizontally. For more convenience, forward and backward searching func-
              tions are also provided.

       --menu text height width menu-height [ tag item ] ...
              As its name suggests, a menu box is a dialog box that can be used to present a list of  choices  in  the
              form  of a menu for the user to choose. Each menu entry consists of a tag string and an item string. The
              tag gives the entry a name to distinguish it from the other entries in the menu. The  item  is  a  short
              description  of  the  option  that  the  entry represents. The user can move between the menu entries by
              pressing the UP/DOWN keys, the first letter of the tag as a hot-key. There are menu-height entries  dis-
              played  in the menu at one time, but the menu will be scrolled if there are more entries than that. When
              whiptail exits, the tag of the chosen menu entry will be printed on stderr.

       --checklist text height width list-height [ tag item status ] ...
              A checklist box is similar to a menu box in that there are multiple entries presented in the form  of  a
              menu.  You can select and deselect items using the SPACE key.  The initial on/off state of each entry is
              specified by status.  On exit, a list of the tag strings of those entries that are  turned  on  will  be
              printed on stderr.

       --radiolist text height width list-height  [ tag item status ] ...
              A  radiolist  box is similar to a menu box.  The only difference is that you can indicate which entry is
              currently selected, by setting its status to on.

       --gauge text height width percent
              A gauge box displays a meter along the bottom of the box.  The meter indicates a percentage.   New  per-
              centages  are  read from standard input, one integer per line.  The meter is updated to reflect each new
              percentage.  If stdin is XXX, then subsequent lines up to another XXX are used for a  new  prompt.   The
              gauge exits when EOF is reached on stdin.

       whiptail  interprets arguments starting with a dash "-" as being arguments.  To avoid this, and start some text
       in, for example, a menubox item, with a dash, whiptail honours the getopt convention of accepting  the  special
       argument "--" which means that all following arguments with dashes are to be treated verbatim and not parsed as

       Exit status is 0 if whiptail is exited by pressing the Yes or OK button, and 1 if the No or  Cancel  button  is
       pressed.  Otherwise,  if  errors  occur inside whiptail or whiptail is exited by pressing the ESC key, the exit
       status is -1.

       Based on the man page for dialog(1) by:

       Savio Lam ( - version 0.3

       Stuart Herbert ( - patch for version 0.4

       Modifications for whiptail by:

       Enrique Zanardi (

       Alastair McKinstry (

Whiptail Version 0.52.5         31 January 2007                    WHIPTAIL(1)