XSETROOT(1) General Commands Manual XSETROOT(1)
xsetroot – root window parameter setting utility for X
xsetroot [-help] [-version] [-def] [-display display] [-cursor cursor‐
file maskfile] [-cursor_name cursorname] [-xcf cursorfile cursorsize] [-bitmap filename] [-mod x y] [-gray] [-grey] [-fg color] [-bg color] [-rv] [-solid color] [-name string]
The xsetroot program allows you to tailor the appearance of the back‐
ground (“root”) window on a workstation display running X. Normally,
you experiment with xsetroot until you find a personalized look that
you like, then put the xsetroot command that produces it into your X
startup file. If no options are specified, or if -def is specified,
the window is reset to its default state. The -def option can be spec‐
ified along with other options and only the non-specified characteris‐
tics will be reset to the default state.
Only one of the background color/tiling changing options (-solid,
-gray, -grey, -bitmap, and -mod) may be specified at a time.
The various options are as follows:
-help Print a usage message and exit.
Print a version message and exit.
-def Reset unspecified attributes to the default values. (Restores
the background to the familiar gray mesh and the cursor to the
hollow x shape.)
-cursor cursorfile maskfile
This lets you change the pointer cursor to whatever you want
when the pointer cursor is outside of any window. Cursor and
mask files are bitmaps (little pictures), and can be made with
the bitmap(1) program. You probably want the mask file to be
all black until you get used to the way masks work.
This lets you change the pointer cursor to one of the standard
cursors from the cursor font. Refer to appendix B of the X pro‐
tocol for the names (except that the XC_ prefix is elided for
-xcf cursorfile cursorsize
This lets you change the pointer cursor to one loaded from an
Xcursor file as defined by libXcursor, at the specified size.
Use the bitmap specified in the file to set the window pattern.
You can make your own bitmap files (little pictures) using the
bitmap(1) program. The entire background will be made up of
repeated “tiles” of the bitmap.
-mod x y
This is used if you want a plaid-like grid pattern on your
screen. x and y are integers ranging from 1 to 16. Try the
different combinations. Zero and negative numbers are taken as
-gray Make the entire background gray. (Easier on the eyes.)
-grey Make the entire background grey.
Use “color” as the foreground color. Foreground and back‐
ground colors are meaningful only in combination with -cursor,
-bitmap, or -mod.
Use “color” as the background color.
-rv This exchanges the foreground and background colors. Normally
the foreground color is black and the background color is white.
This sets the background of the root window to the specified
color. This option is only useful on color servers.
Set the name of the root window to “string”. There is no
default value. Usually a name is assigned to a window so that
the window manager can use a text representation when the window
is iconified. This option is unused since you can’t iconify the
Specifies the server to connect to; see X(7).
Mark Lillibridge, MIT Project Athena
X Version 11 xsetroot 1.1.1 XSETROOT(1)