xfontsel - point and click selection of X11 font names
xfontsel [-toolkitoption ...] [-pattern
fontname] [-print] [-sample
text] [-sample16 text16]
[ -sampleUCS textUCS]
The xfontsel application provides a simple way to display the fonts known
to your X server, examine samples of each, and retrieve the X Logical Font
Description ("XLFD") full name for a font.
If -pattern is not specified, all fonts with XLFD 14-part
names will be selectable. To work with only a subset of the fonts, specify
-pattern followed by a partially or fully qualified font name; e.g.,
``-pattern *medium*'' will select that subset of fonts which contain the
string ``medium'' somewhere in their font name. Be careful about escaping
wildcard characters in your shell.
If -print is specified on the command line the selected
font specifier will be written to standard output when the quit
button is activated. Regardless of whether or not -print was
specified, the font specifier may be made the PRIMARY (text) selection by
activating the select button.
The -sample option specifies the sample text to be used to
display the selected font if the font is linearly indexed, overriding the
The -sample16 option specifies the sample text to be used
to display the selected font if the font is matrix encoded, overriding the
The -sampleUCS option specifies the sample text encoded in
the UTF-8 form to be used to display the selected font if the font has a
CHARSET_REGISTRY of ISO10646, overriding the default.
The -scaled option enables the ability to select scaled
fonts at arbitrary pixel or point sizes.
Clicking any pointer button in one of the XLFD field names will pop up a menu of
the currently-known possibilities for that field. If previous choices of other
fields were made, only values for fonts which matched the previously selected
fields will be selectable; to make other values selectable, you must deselect
some other field(s) by choosing the ``*'' entry in that field. Unselectable
values may be omitted from the menu entirely as a configuration option; see
the ShowUnselectable resource, below. Whenever any change is made to a
field value, xfontsel will assert ownership of the PRIMARY_FONT
selection. Other applications (see, e.g., xterm) may then retrieve the
selected font specification.
Scalable fonts come back from the server with zero for the pixel
size, point size, and average width fields. Selecting a font name with a
zero in these positions results in an implementation-dependent size. Any
pixel or point size can be selected to scale the font to a particular size.
Any average width can be selected to anamorphically scale the font (although
you may find this challenging given the size of the average width menu).
Clicking the left pointer button in the select widget will
cause the currently selected font name to become the PRIMARY text selection
as well as the PRIMARY_FONT selection. This then allows you to paste the
string into other applications. The select button remains highlighted
to remind you of this fact, and de-highlights when some other application
takes the PRIMARY selection away. The select widget is a toggle;
pressing it when it is highlighted will cause xfontsel to release the
selection ownership and de-highlight the widget. Activating the
select widget twice is the only way to cause xfontsel to
release the PRIMARY_FONT selection.
The application class is XFontSel. Most of the user-interface is
configured in the app-defaults file; if this file is missing a warning message
will be printed to standard output and the resulting window will be nearly
Most of the significant parts of the widget hierarchy are
documented in /usr/X11R6/share/X11/app-defaults/XFontSel,
Application specific resources:
- cursor (class Cursor)
- Specifies the cursor for the application window.
- pattern (class Pattern)
- Specifies the font name pattern for selecting a subset of available fonts.
Equivalent to the -pattern option. Most useful patterns will
contain at least one field delimiter; e.g. ``*-m-*'' for monospaced
- pixelSizeList (class PixelSizeList)
- Specifies a list of pixel sizes to add to the pixel size menu, so that
scalable fonts can be selected at those pixel sizes. The default
pixelSizeList contains 7, 30, 40, 50, and 60.
- pointSizeList (class PointSizeList)
- Specifies a list of point sizes (in units of tenths of points) to add to
the point size menu, so that scalable fonts can be selected at those point
sizes. The default pointSizeList contains 250, 300, 350, and 400.
- printOnQuit (class PrintOnQuit)
- If True the currently selected font name is printed to standard
output when the quit button is activated. Equivalent to the -print
- sampleText (class Text)
- The sample 1-byte text to use for linearly indexed fonts. Each glyph index
is a single byte, with newline separating lines.
- sampleText16 (class Text16)
- The sample 2-byte text to use for matrix-encoded fonts. Each glyph index
is two bytes, with a 1-byte newline separating lines.
- scaledFonts (class ScaledFonts)
- If True then selection of arbitrary pixel and point sizes for
scalable fonts is enabled.
Widget specific resources:
Sufficiently ambiguous patterns can be misinterpreted and lead to an initial
selection string which may not correspond to what the user intended and which
may cause the initial sample text output to fail to match the proffered
string. Selecting any new field value will correct the sample output, though
possibly resulting in no matching font.
- showUnselectable (class ShowUnselectable)
- Specifies, for each field menu, whether or not to show values that are not
currently selectable, based upon previous field selections. If shown, the
unselectable values are clearly identified as such and do not highlight
when the pointer is moved down the menu. The full name of this resource is
MenuButton.SimpleMenu.Options.ShowUnselectable; where N is replaced
with the field number (starting with the left-most field numbered 0). The
default is True for all but field 11 (average width of characters in font)
and False for field 11. If you never want to see unselectable entries,
'*menu.options.showUnselectable:False' is a reasonable thing to specify in
a resource file.
Should be able to return a FONT for the PRIMARY selection, not
just a STRING.
Any change in a field value will cause xfontsel to assert
ownership of the PRIMARY_FONT selection. Perhaps this should be
When running on a slow machine, it is possible for the user to
request a field menu before the font names have been completely parsed. An
error message indicating a missing menu is printed to stderr but otherwise
nothing bad (or good) happens.
The average-width menu is too large to be useful.
Copyright 1989, 1991, X Consortium
See X(7) for a full statement of rights and
Ralph R. Swick, Digital Equipment Corporation/MIT Project Athena
Mark Leisher <email@example.com> added the support for
the UTF-8 sample text.