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Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2022

xprop (1)


xprop - property displayer for X


xprop  [-help] [-grammar] [-id id] [-root] [-name name] [-frame] [-font
font] [-display display] [-len n] [-notype] [-fs file]  [-remove  prop-
erty-name] [-set property-name value] [-spy] [-version] [-f atom format
[dformat]]* [format [dformat] atom]*


XPROP(1)                    General Commands Manual                   XPROP(1)

       xprop - property displayer for X

       xprop  [-help] [-grammar] [-id id] [-root] [-name name] [-frame] [-font
       font] [-display display] [-len n] [-notype] [-fs file]  [-remove  prop-
       erty-name] [-set property-name value] [-spy] [-version] [-f atom format
       [dformat]]* [format [dformat] atom]*

       The xprop utility is for displaying window and font properties in an  X
       server.   One  window  or font is selected using the command line argu-
       ments or possibly in the case of a window, by clicking on  the  desired
       window.   A  list of properties is then given, possibly with formatting

       -help   Print out a summary of command line options.

               Print out a detailed grammar for all command line options.

       -id id  This argument allows the user to select window id on  the  com-
               mand  line  rather  than using the pointer to select the target
               window.  This is very useful in debugging X applications  where
               the  target window is not mapped to the screen or where the use
               of the pointer might be impossible or interfere with the appli-

       -name name
               This  argument allows the user to specify that the window named
               name is the target window on the command line rather than using
               the pointer to select the target window.

       -font font
               This argument allows the user to specify that the properties of
               font font should be displayed.

       -root   This argument specifies that X's root window is the target win-
               dow.   This  is  useful  in situations where the root window is
               completely obscured.

       -display display
               This argument allows you to specify the server to  connect  to;
               see X(7).

       -len n  Specifies  that  at most n bytes of any property should be read
               or displayed.

       -notype Specifies that the type of each property  should  not  be  dis-

       -fs file
               Specifies  that  file  file  should be used as a source of more
               formats for properties.

       -frame  Specifies that when selecting a window by hand (i.e. if none of
               -name,  -root,  or  -id  are given), look at the window manager
               frame (if any) instead of looking for the client window.

       -remove property-name
               Specifies the name of a property to be removed from  the  indi-
               cated window.

       -set property-name value
               Specifies  the  name  of a property and a property value, to be
               set on the indicated window.

       -spy    Examine window properties forever, looking for property  change

               Print program version information and exit.

       -f name format [dformat]
               Specifies  that  the  format for name should be format and that
               the dformat for name should be dformat.  If dformat is missing,
               " = $0+\n" is assumed.

       For  each of these properties, its value on the selected window or font
       is printed using the supplied formatting information  if  any.   If  no
       formatting  information  is supplied, internal defaults are used.  If a
       property is not defined on the selected window or font,  "not  defined"
       is  printed  as  the  value  for that property.  If no property list is
       given, all the properties possessed by the selected window or font  are

       A  window  may  be selected in one of four ways.  First, if the desired
       window is the root window, the -root argument  may  be  used.   If  the
       desired  window  is not the root window, it may be selected in two ways
       on the command line, either by id number such as might be obtained from
       xwininfo,  or by name if the window possesses a name.  The -id argument
       selects a window by id number in either decimal or hex (must start with
       0x) while the -name argument selects a window by name.

       The  last  way  to select a window does not involve the command line at
       all.  If none  of  -font,  -id,  -name,  and  -root  are  specified,  a
       crosshairs  cursor  is  displayed and the user is allowed to choose any
       visible window by pressing any pointer button in  the  desired  window.
       If  it  is desired to display properties of a font as opposed to a win-
       dow, the -font argument must be used.

       Other than the above four arguments and the -help argument for  obtain-
       ing  help,  and  the -grammar argument for listing the full grammar for
       the command line, all the other command  line  arguments  are  used  in
       specifying both the format of the properties to be displayed and how to
       display them.  The -len n argument specifies that at most  n  bytes  of
       any  given  property  will  be  read and displayed.  This is useful for
       example when displaying the cut buffer on the root window  which  could
       run to several pages if displayed in full.

       Normally each property name is displayed by printing first the property
       name then its type (if it has  one)  in  parentheses  followed  by  its
       value.   The  -notype argument specifies that property types should not
       be displayed.  The -fs argument is used to specify a file containing  a
       list of formats for properties while the -f argument is used to specify
       the format for one property.

       The formatting information for a  property  actually  consists  of  two
       parts, a format and a dformat.  The format specifies the actual format-
       ting of the property (i.e., is it made up of words, bytes,  or  longs?,
       etc.) while the dformat specifies how the property should be displayed.

       The  following  paragraphs  describe how to construct formats and dfor-
       mats.  However, for the vast majority of users and  uses,  this  should
       not be necessary as the built in defaults contain the formats and dfor-
       mats necessary to display all the standard properties.  It should  only
       be necessary to specify formats and dformats if a new property is being
       dealt with or the user dislikes the standard display format.  New users
       especially are encouraged to skip this part.

       A  format  consists of one of 0, 8, 16, or 32 followed by a sequence of
       one or more format characters.  The 0, 8, 16, or 32 specifies how  many
       bits per field there are in the property.  Zero is a special case mean-
       ing use the field size information associated with the property itself.
       (This is only needed for special cases like type INTEGER which is actu-
       ally three different types depending on the size of the fields  of  the

       A  value  of  8  means that the property is a sequence of bytes while a
       value of 16 would mean that the property is a sequence of  words.   The
       difference  between  these  two  lies  in the fact that the sequence of
       words will be byte swapped while the sequence of bytes will not be when
       read by a machine of the opposite byte order of the machine that origi-
       nally wrote the property.  For more information on how  properties  are
       formatted and stored, consult the Xlib manual.

       Once  the  size  of  the  fields has been specified, it is necessary to
       specify the type of each field (i.e., is it an integer,  a  string,  an
       atom, or what?)  This is done using one format character per field.  If
       there are more fields in the property than format characters  supplied,
       the  last character will be repeated as many times as necessary for the
       extra fields.  The format characters and their meaning are as follows:

       a      The field holds an atom number.  A field of this type should  be
              of size 32.

       b      The  field  is  an boolean.  A 0 means false while anything else
              means true.

       c      The field is an unsigned number, a cardinal.

       i      The field is a signed integer.

       m      The field is a set of bit flags, 1 meaning on.

       o      The field is an array of icons, packed as a sequence of  32  bit
              numbers  consisting  of the width, height and ARGB pixel values,
              as defined for the _NET_WM_ICON property in the Extended  Window
              Manager  Hints  specification.   A field of this type must be of
              size 32.

       s      This field and the next ones until either a 0 or the end of  the
              property  represent  a sequence of bytes.  This format character
              is only usable with a field size of 8 and is most often used  to
              represent a string.

       t      This  field and the next ones until either a 0 or the end of the
              property represent an internationalized text string. This format
              character  is  only usable with a field size of 8. The string is
              assumed to be in an ICCCM compliant encoding and is converted to
              the current locale encoding before being output.

       u      This  field and the next ones until either a 0 or the end of the
              property represent an UTF-8 encoded unicode string. This  format
              character  is  only usable with a field size of 8. If the string
              is found to be an invalid character, the type of encoding viola-
              tion  is printed instead, followed by the string formatted using
              's'. When in an environment  not  capable  of  displaying  UTF-8
              encoded string, behaviour is identical to 's'.

       x      The  field is a hex number (like 'c' but displayed in hex - most
              useful for displaying window ids and the like)

       An example format is 32ica which is the format for a property of  three
       fields  of 32 bits each, the first holding a signed integer, the second
       an unsigned integer, and the third an atom.

       The format of a dformat unlike that of a format is not so  rigid.   The
       only  limitations  on a dformat is that one may not start with a letter
       or a dash.  This is so that it can be  distinguished  from  a  property
       name  or  an  argument.   A dformat is a text string containing special
       characters instructing that various fields be printed at various points
       in a manner similar to the formatting string used by printf.  For exam-
       ple, the dformat " is ( $0, $1 \)\n" would render the POINT 3, -4 which
       has a format of 32ii as " is ( 3, -4 )\n".

       Any  character  other  than  a  $,  ?, \, or a ( in a dformat prints as
       itself.  To print out one of $, ?, \, or ( precede  it  by  a  \.   For
       example, to print out a $, use \$.  Several special backslash sequences
       are provided as shortcuts.  \n will cause a  newline  to  be  displayed
       while \t will cause a tab to be displayed.  \o where o is an octal num-
       ber will display character number o.

       A $ followed by a number n causes field number n to be displayed.   The
       format  of the displayed field depends on the formatting character used
       to describe it in the corresponding format.  I.e.,  if  a  cardinal  is
       described by 'c' it will print in decimal while if it is described by a
       'x' it is displayed in hex.

       If the field is not present in the property (this is possible with some
       properties), <field not available> is displayed instead.  $n+ will dis-
       play field number n then a comma then field  number  n+1  then  another
       comma  then  ...  until  the  last  field  defined.   If field n is not
       defined, nothing is displayed.  This is useful for a property that is a
       list of values.

       A ? is used to start a conditional expression, a kind of if-then state-
       ment.  ?exp(text) will display text if and only  if  exp  evaluates  to
       non-zero.   This  is useful for two things.  First, it allows fields to
       be displayed if and only if a flag is set.  And  second,  it  allows  a
       value  such  as a state number to be displayed as a name rather than as
       just a number.  The syntax of exp is as follows:

       exp    ::= term | term=exp | !exp

       term   ::= n | $n | mn

       The ! operator is a logical ``not'', changing 0 to 1 and  any  non-zero
       value  to  0.   =  is  an  equality operator.  Note that internally all
       expressions are evaluated as 32 bit numbers  so  -1  is  not  equal  to
       65535.  = returns 1 if the two values are equal and 0 if not.  n repre-
       sents the constant value n while $n represents the value of field  num-
       ber n.  mn is 1 if flag number n in the first field having format char-
       acter 'm' in the corresponding format is 1, 0 otherwise.

       Examples: ?m3(count: $3\n) displays field 3 with a label  of  count  if
       and   only   if   flag   number   3   (count   starts  at  0!)  is  on.
       ?$2=0(True)?!$2=0(False) displays the inverted value of field  2  as  a

       In  order  to display a property, xprop needs both a format and a dfor-
       mat.  Before xprop uses its default values of a format  of  32x  and  a
       dformat  of " = { $0+ }\n", it searches several places in an attempt to
       find more specific formats.  First, a search is made using the name  of
       the  property.   If  this fails, a search is made using the type of the
       property.  This allows type STRING to be defined with one set  of  for-
       mats  while  allowing  property  WM_NAME  which is of type STRING to be
       defined with a different format.  In this way, the display formats  for
       a given type can be overridden for specific properties.

       The  locations  searched are in order: the format if any specified with
       the property name (as in 8x WM_NAME), the formats defined by -f options
       in  last  to first order, the contents of the file specified by the -fs
       option if any, the contents of the file specified by the  environmental
       variable XPROPFORMATS if any, and finally xprop's built in file of for-

       The format of the files referred to by the -fs argument and the  XPROP-
       FORMATS variable is one or more lines of the following form:

       name format [dformat]

       Where name is either the name of a property or the name of a type, for-
       mat is the format to be used with name and dformat is the dformat to be
       used with name.  If dformat is not present, " = $0+\n" is assumed.

       To display the name of the root window: xprop -root WM_NAME

       To  display  the window manager hints for the clock: xprop -name xclock

       To display the start of the cut buffer: xprop -root -len  100  CUT_BUF-

       To  display  the  point  size  of  the  fixed  font:  xprop -font fixed

       To display all the properties of window # 0x200007: xprop -id 0x200007

       To set a simple string property: xprop -root  -format  MY_ATOM_NAME  8s
       -set MY_ATOM_NAME  "my_value"

       DISPLAY To get default display.

               Specifies  the name of a file from which additional formats are
               to be obtained.

       See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | x11/x11-server-utilities |
       |Stability      | Volatile                 |

       X(7), xdpyinfo(1), xwininfo(1), xdriinfo(1), glxinfo(1), xvinfo(1)

       Mark Lillibridge, MIT Project Athena

       Source code for open source software components in Oracle  Solaris  can
       be found at https://www.oracle.com/downloads/opensource/solaris-source-

       This    software    was    built    from    source     available     at
       https://github.com/oracle/solaris-userland.    The  original  community
       source  was  downloaded   from    ['https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xhost-1.0.8.tar.bz2',      'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xrefresh-1.0.6.tar.bz2',   'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xinput-1.6.3.tar.bz2',     'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/rgb-1.0.6.tar.bz2',        'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xset-1.2.4.tar.bz2',       'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xsetroot-1.1.2.tar.bz2',   'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xrdb-1.2.1.tar.bz2',       'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xrandr-1.5.1.tar.gz',      'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xmodmap-1.0.10.tar.bz2',   'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xprop-1.2.5.tar.bz2',      'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-
       ual/app/xgamma-1.0.6.tar.bz2',     'https://www.x.org/releases/individ-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at https://www.x.org.

X Version 11                      xprop 1.2.5                         XPROP(1)