xset - user preference utility for X
xset [-display display] [-b] [b on/off] [b [volume [pitch [duration]]]
[[-]bc] [-c] [c on/off] [c [volume]] [[+-]dpms] [dpms standby [ suspend
[ off]]] [dpms force standby/suspend/off/on] [[-+]fp[-+=]
path[,path[,...]]] [fp default] [fp rehash] [[-]led [integer]] [led
on/off] [m[ouse] [accel_mult[/accel_div] [threshold]]] [m[ouse]
default] [p pixel color] [[-]r [keycode]] [r on/off] [r rate delay
[rate]] [s [length [period]]] [s blank/noblank] [s expose/noexpose] [s
on/off] [s default] [s activate] [s reset] [q]
This program is used to set various user preference options of the dis-
This option specifies the server to use; see X(7x).
b The b option controls bell volume, pitch and duration. This
option accepts up to three numerical parameters, a preceding
dash(-), or a ’on/off’ flag. If no parameters are given, or
the ’on’ flag is used, the system defaults will be used. If
the dash or ’off’ are given, the bell will be turned off. If
only one numerical parameter is given, the bell volume will be
set to that value, as a percentage of its maximum. Likewise,
the second numerical parameter specifies the bell pitch, in
hertz, and the third numerical parameter specifies the duration
in milliseconds. Note that not all hardware can vary the bell
characteristics. The X server will set the characteristics of
the bell as closely as it can to the user’s specifications.
bc The bc option controls bug compatibility mode in the server, if
possible; a preceding dash(-) disables the mode, otherwise the
mode is enabled. Various pre-R4 clients pass illegal values in
some protocol requests, and pre-R4 servers did not correctly
generate errors in these cases. Such clients, when run against
an R4 server, will terminate abnormally or otherwise fail to
operate correctly. Bug compatibility mode explicitly reintro-
duces certain bugs into the X server, so that many such clients
can still be run. This mode should be used with care; new
application development should be done with this mode disabled.
The server must support the MIT-SUNDRY-NONSTANDARD protocol
extension in order for this option to work.
c The c option controls key click. This option can take an
optional value, a preceding dash(-), or an ’on/off’ flag. If
no parameter or the ’on’ flag is given, the system defaults
will be used. If the dash or ’off’ flag is used, keyclick will
be disabled. If a value from 0 to 100 is given, it is used to
indicate volume, as a percentage of the maximum. The X server
will set the volume to the nearest value that the hardware can
-dpms The -dpms option disables DPMS (Energy Star) features.
+dpms The +dpms option enables DPMS (Energy Star) features.
The dpms option allows the DPMS (Energy Star) parameters to be
set. The option can take up to three numerical values, or the
‘force’ flag followed by a DPMS state. The ‘force’ flags
forces the server to immediately switch to the DPMS state spec-
ified. The DPMS state can be one of ‘standby’, ‘suspend’,
‘off’, or ‘on’. When numerical values are given, they set the
inactivity period (in units of seconds) before the three modes
are activated. The first value given is for the ‘standby’
mode, the second is for the ‘suspend’ mode, and the third is
for the ‘off’ mode. Setting these values implicitly enables
the DPMS features. A value of zero disables a particular mode.
The fp= sets the font path to the entries given in the path
argument. The entries are interpreted by the server, not by
the client. Typically they are directory names or font server
names, but the interpretation is server-dependent.
The default argument causes the font path to be reset to the
The rehash argument resets the font path to its current value,
causing the server to reread the font databases in the current
font path. This is generally only used when adding new fonts
to a font directory (after running mkfontdir to recreate the
-fp or fp-
The -fp and fp- options remove elements from the current font
path. They must be followed by a comma-separated list of
+fp or fp+
This +fp and fp+ options prepend and append elements to the
current font path, respectively. They must be followed by a
comma-separated list of entries.
led The led option controls the keyboard LEDs. This controls the
turning on or off of one or all of the LEDs. It accepts an
optional integer, a preceding dash(-) or an ’on/off’ flag. If
no parameter or the ’on’ flag is given, all LEDs are turned on.
If a preceding dash or the flag ’off’ is given, all LEDs are
turned off. If a value between 1 and 32 is given, that LED
will be turned on or off depending on the existence of a pre-
ceding dash. A common LED which can be controlled is the
‘‘Caps Lock’’ LED. ‘‘xset led 3’’ would turn led #3 on.
‘‘xset -led 3’’ would turn it off. The particular LED values
may refer to different LEDs on different hardware.
m The m option controls the mouse parameters. The parameters for
the mouse are ‘acceleration’ and ‘threshold’. The acceleration
can be specified as an integer, or as a simple fraction. The
mouse, or whatever pointer the machine is connected to, will go
‘acceleration’ times as fast when it travels more than ‘thresh-
old’ pixels in a short time. This way, the mouse can be used
for precise alignment when it is moved slowly, yet it can be
set to travel across the screen in a flick of the wrist when
desired. One or both parameters for the m option can be omit-
ted, but if only one is given, it will be interpreted as the
acceleration. If no parameters or the flag ’default’ is used,
the system defaults will be set.
p The p option controls pixel color values. The parameters are
the color map entry number in decimal, and a color specifica-
tion. The root background colors may be changed on some
servers by altering the entries for BlackPixel and WhitePixel.
Although these are often 0 and 1, they need not be. Also, a
server may choose to allocate those colors privately, in which
case an error will be generated. The map entry must not be a
read-only color, or an error will result.
r The r option controls the autorepeat. Invoking with "-r", or
"r off", will disable autorepeat, whereas "r", or "r on" will
enable autorepeat. Following the "-r" or "r" option with an
integer keycode between 0 and 255 will disable or enable
autorepeat on that key respectively, but only if it makes sense
for the particular keycode. Keycodes below 8 are not typically
valid for this command. Example: "xset -r 10" will disable
autorepeat for the "1" key on the top row of an IBM PC key-
If the server supports the XFree86-Misc extension, or the XKB
extension, then a parameter of ’rate’ is accepted and should be
followed by zero, one or two numeric values. The first speci-
fies the delay before autorepeat starts and the second speci-
fies the repeat rate. In the case that the server supports the
XKB extension, the delay is the number of milliseconds before
autorepeat starts, and the rate is the number of repeats per
second. If the rate or delay is not given, it will be set to
the default value.
s The s option lets you set the screen saver parameters. This
option accepts up to two numerical parameters, a
’blank/noblank’ flag, an ’expose/noexpose’ flag, an ’on/off’
flag, an ’activate/reset’ flag, or the ’default’ flag. If no
parameters or the ’default’ flag is used, the system will be
set to its default screen saver characteristics. The ’on/off’
flags simply turn the screen saver functions on or off. The
’activate’ flag forces activation of screen saver even if the
screen saver had been turned off. The ’reset’ flag forces
deactivation of screen saver if it is active. The ’blank’ flag
sets the preference to blank the video (if the hardware can do
so) rather than display a background pattern, while ’noblank’
sets the preference to display a pattern rather than blank the
video. The ’expose’ flag sets the preference to allow window
exposures (the server can freely discard window contents),
while ’noexpose’ sets the preference to disable screen saver
unless the server can regenerate the screens without causing
exposure events. The length and period parameters for the
screen saver function determines how long the server must be
inactive for screen saving to activate, and the period to
change the background pattern to avoid burn in. The arguments
are specified in seconds. If only one numerical parameter is
given, it will be used for the length.
q The q option gives you information on the current settings.
These settings will be reset to default values when you log out.
Note that not all X implementations are guaranteed to honor all of
X(7x), Xserver(1), xmodmap(1), xrdb(1), xsetroot(1)
Bob Scheifler, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
David Krikorian, MIT Project Athena (X11 version)
XFree86-Misc support added by David Dawes and Joe Moss
Manpage updates added by Mike A. Harris <email@example.com>
Man(1) output converted with