Window Switcher:

Rofi Window Switcher

The window switcher shows the following bits of information in columns (can be customized):

  1. Desktop name
  2. Window class
  3. Window title

Window mode features:

  • closing applications with Shift-Delete
  • custom command with Shift-Return

Application Launcher:

Rofi Application Launcher

The run mode allows users to quickly search for and launch a program.

Run mode features:

  • Shift-Return to run the selected program in a terminal
  • favorites list, with frequently used programs sorted on top
  • custom entries, like aliases added by executing a command

Desktop File Application Launcher:

The desktop run mode allows users to quickly search and launch an application from the _freedesktop.org_ Desktop Entries. These are used by most Desktop Environments to populate launchers and menus. Drun mode features:

  • favorites list, with frequently used programs sorted on top
  • auto starting terminal applications in a terminal

SSH Launcher:

Rofi SSH Display

Quickly ssh into remote machines

  • ## parses ~/.ssh/config to find hosts

Script Mode:

Loads external scripts to add modes to Rofi, for example a file-browser.

rofi  -show fb -modi fb:../Examples/


Combine multiple modes in one view. This is especially useful when merging the window and run mode into one view. Allowing to quickly switch to an application, either by switching to it when it is already running or starting it.

Example to combine Desktop run and the window switcher:

rofi -combi-modi window,drun -show combi -modi combi

DMENU Replacement:


Drop in dmenu replacement. (Screenshot shows rofi used by teiler).

Rofi features several improvements over dmenu to improve usability. There is the option to add an extra message bar (-mesg), pre-entering of text (-filter), or selecting entries based on a pattern (-select). Also highlighting (-u and -a) options and modi to force user to select one provided option (-only-match). In addition to this, rofi’s dmenu mode can select multiple lines and write them to stdout.


If used with -show [mode], rofi will immediately open in the specified [mode]

If used with -dmenu, rofi will use data from STDIN to let the user select an option.

For example, to show a run dialog:

rofi -show run

To show a ssh dialog:

rofi -show ssh


If rofi is passed the -dmenu option, or run as dmenu (ie, /usr/bin/dmenu is symlinked to /usr/bin/rofi), it will use the data passed from STDIN.

~/scripts/ | rofi -dmenu
echo -e “Option #1nOption #2nOption #3” | rofi -dmenu

In both cases, rofi will output the user’s selection to STDOUT.

Switching between MODI:

Type Shift-/Left/Right to switch between active modi.

Key Bindings:

Key Action
Ctrl-v, Insert Paste from clipboard
Ctrl-Shift-v, Shift-Insert Paste primary selection
Ctrl-w Clear the line
Ctrl-u Delete till the start of line
Ctrl-a Move to beginning of line
Ctrl-e Move to end of line
Ctrl-f, Right Move forward one character
Alt-f Move forward one word
Ctrl-b, Left Move back one character
Alt-b Move back one word
Ctrl-d, Delete Delete character
Ctrl-Alt-d Delete word
Ctrl-h, Backspace Backspace (delete previous character)
Ctrl-Alt-h Delete previous word
Ctrl-j,Ctrl-m,Enter Accept entry
Ctrl-n,Down Select next entry
Ctrl-p,Up Select previous entry
Page Up Go to the previous page
Page Down Go to the next page
Ctrl-Page Up Go to the previous column
Ctrl-Page Down Go to the next column
Ctrl-Enter Use entered text as a command (in ssh/run modi)
Shift-Enter Launch the application in a terminal (in run mode)
Shift-Enter Return the selected entry and move to the next item while keeping Rofi open. (in dmenu)
Shift-Right Switch to the next modi. The list can be customized with the -modi option.
Shift-Left Switch to the previous modi. The list can be customized with the -modi option.
Ctrl-Tab Switch to the next modi. The list can be customized with the -modi option.
Ctrl-Shift-Tab Switch to the previous modi. The list can be customized with the -modi option.
Ctrl-space Set selected item as input text.
Shift-Del Delete entry from history.
grave Toggle case sensitivity.
Alt-grave Toggle levenshtein sort.
Alt-Shift-S Take a screenshot and store it in the Pictures directory.

For the full list of key bindings, see: rofi -show keys or rofi -help.


There are currently three methods of setting configuration options:

  • Local configuration. Normally, depending on XDG, in ~/.local/rofi/config. This uses the Xresources format.
  • Xresources: A method of storing key values in the Xserver. See here for more information.
  • Command line options: Arguments are passed to Rofi.

A distribution can ship defaults in /etc/rofi.conf.

The Xresources options and the command line options are aliased. To define option X set:

rofi.X: value

In the Xresources file. To set/override this from command line pass the same key prefixed with ‘-‘:

rofi -X value

To get a list of available options formatted as Xresources entries, run:

rofi -dump-Xresources

or in a more readable format:

rofi -help

The configuration system supports the following types:

  • string
  • integer (signed and unsigned)
  • char
  • Boolean

The Boolean option has a non-default command line syntax, to enable option X you do:

rofi -X

to disable it:

rofi -no-X


For more detailed information, please see the manpage, the wiki, or the forum.

What is ROFI Not?

Rofi is not:

  • A preview application. In other words, it will not show a (small) preview of images, movies or other files.
  • A UI toolkit.
  • A library to be used in other applications.
  • An application that can support every possible use-case. It tries to be generic enough to be usable by everybody. Specific functionality can be added using scripts.
  • Just a dmenu replacement. The dmenu functionality is a nice ‘extra’ to rofi, not its main purpose.