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X Resources

Programs running under the X Window System organize their user options under a hierarchy of classes and resources. You can specify default values for these options in your X resources file, usually named `~/.Xdefaults'.

Each line in the file specifies a value for one option or for a collection of related options, for one program or for several programs (optionally even for all programs).

Programs define named resources with particular meanings. They also define how to group resources into named classes. For instance, in Emacs, the `internalBorder' resource controls the width of the internal border, and the `borderWidth' resource controls the width of the external border. Both of these resources are part of the `BorderWidth' class. Case distinctions are significant in these names.

In `~/.Xdefaults', you can specify a value for a single resource on one line, like this:

emacs.borderWidth: 2

Or you can use a class name to specify the same value for all resources in that class. Here's an example:

emacs.BorderWidth: 2

If you specify a value for a class, it becomes the default for all resources in that class. You can specify values for individual resources as well; these override the class value, for those particular resources. Thus, this example specifies 2 as the default width for all borders, but overrides this value with 4 for the external border:

emacs.Borderwidth: 2
emacs.borderwidth: 4

The order in which the lines appear in the file does not matter. Also, command-line options always override the X resources file.

The string `emacs' in the examples above is also a resource name. It actually represents the name of the executable file that you invoke to run Emacs. If Emacs is installed under a different name, it looks for resources under that name instead of `emacs'.

`-name name'
Use name as the resource name (and the title) for the initial Emacs frame. This option does not affect subsequent frames, but Lisp programs can specify frame names when they create frames. If you don't specify this option, the default is to use the Emacs executable's name as the resource name.
`-xrm resource-values'
Specify X resource values for this Emacs job (see below).

For consistency, `-name' also specifies the name to use for other resource values that do not belong to any particular frame.

The resources that name Emacs invocations also belong to a class; its name is `Emacs'. If you write `Emacs' instead of `emacs', the resource applies to all frames in all Emacs jobs, regardless of frame titles and regardless of the name of the executable file. Here is an example:

Emacs.BorderWidth: 2
Emacs.borderWidth: 4

You can specify a string of additional resource values for Emacs to use with the command line option `-xrm resources'. The text resources should have the same format that you would use inside a file of X resources. To include multiple resource specifications in data, put a newline between them, just as you would in a file. You can also use `#include "filename"' to include a file full of resource specifications. Resource values specified with `-xrm' take precedence over all other resource specifications.

The following table lists the resource names that designate options for Emacs, each with the class that it belongs to:

background (class Background)
Background color name.
bitmapIcon (class BitmapIcon)
Use a bitmap icon (a picture of a gnu) if `on', let the window manager choose an icon if `off'.
borderColor (class BorderColor)
Color name for the external border.
borderWidth (class BorderWidth)
Width in pixels of the external border.
cursorColor (class Foreground)
Color name for text cursor (point).
font (class Font)
Font name for text (or fontset name, see section Fontsets).
foreground (class Foreground)
Color name for text.
geometry (class Geometry)
Window size and position. Be careful not to specify this resource as `emacs*geometry', because that may affect individual menus as well as the Emacs frame itself. If this resource specifies a position, that position applies only to the initial Emacs frame (or, in the case of a resource for a specific frame name, only that frame). However, the size if specified here applies to all frames.
iconName (class Title)
Name to display in the icon.
internalBorder (class BorderWidth)
Width in pixels of the internal border.
menuBar (class MenuBar)
Give frames menu bars if `on'; don't have menu bars if `off'.
minibuffer (class Minibuffer)
If `none', don't make a minibuffer in this frame. It will use a separate minibuffer frame instead.
paneFont (class Font)
Font name for menu pane titles, in non-toolkit versions of Emacs.
pointerColor (class Foreground)
Color of the mouse cursor.
reverseVideo (class ReverseVideo)
Switch foreground and background default colors if `on', use colors as specified if `off'.
verticalScrollBars (class ScrollBars)
Give frames scroll bars if `on'; don't have scroll bars if `off'.
selectionFont (class Font)
Font name for pop-up menu items, in non-toolkit versions of Emacs. (For toolkit versions, see section Lucid Menu X Resources, also see section Motif Menu X Resources.)
title (class Title)
Name to display in the title bar of the initial Emacs frame.

Here are resources for controlling the appearance of particular faces (see section Using Multiple Typefaces):

Font for face face.
Foreground color for face face.
Background color for face face.
Underline flag for face face. Use `on' or `true' for yes.

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