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GNU screen [appearance]

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screen's Appearance



hardstatus and caption

Note about fit.

Describe info.

Command Line

  • -A - Disables one aspect of screen's default behavior: If the terminal can be resized, then screen will resize the terminal to fit the dimensions of the windows it's displaying. When -A is given, resizable terminals work just like nonresizable terminals–the windows are resized to fit the dimensions of the display. (See below for Windows PuTTY)


  • C-a C - (clear) Clears the current window.
  • C-a F - (fit) Fits the current window to the display's dimensions.
  • C-a C-g - (vbell) Toggles visual bell mode.
  • C-a i - (info) Displays information about the current window.
  • C-a C-i - (info) Alternate keybinding.
  • C-a C-m - (lastmsg) Redisplays the last message for this display.
  • C-a t - (time) Displays system information.
  • C-a C-t - (time) Alternate keybinding.
  • C-a v - (version) Displays screen's version information.
  • C-a W - (width) Toggles the display between 80 and 132 columns.
  • C-a , - (license) Displays screen's license information.


  • attrcolor - Remaps the effect of text attributes.
  • autonuke - Determines whether a given window will sttempt to display beffered text after a clear command is received.
  • bell_msg - Changes the message printed when a bell character is received in another window.
  • caption - Controls the display of the caption line at the bottom of screen windows.
  • clear - Clears the current window, but puts its text into the scrollback buffer.
  • defautonuke - Changes the default autonuke setting for new windows.
  • defhstatus - Sets the default hardstatus line for new windows.
  • echo - Displays a message on the current display as if it were a screen message.
  • fit - Resizes the window to fit the current display region.
  • height - Changes the dimensions of the window or the display.
  • info - Display information about screen and the current window in the message area.
  • license - Displays screen's license, as happens when screen starts up.
  • nethack - Controls the use of nethack-themed messages from screen.
  • hardstatus - Controls use of the terminal's hardstatus line (if any) for displaying screen messages.
  • hstatus - Synonym for hardstatus string status.
  • lastms - Redisplays the last message that screen showed on the current display.
  • msgminwait - Sets the minimum length of time that a screen message will be visible even if the user interacts with screen.
  • msgwait - Sets the length of time that a message will remain visible if the user does not interact with screen during the lifetime of the message.
  • sorendition - Defines the visual appearance of screen's messages.
  • startup_message - Enables or disables the display of screen's license information when screen starts up.
  • time - Displays (or controls the display of) system information.
  • vbell - Sets or toggles the visual bell.
  • vbell_msg - Sets or displays the message displayed for visual bells.
  • vbellwait - Defines a hysteresis for visual bells.
  • versio - Uses the message area to display screen's version and compile date.
  • wall - Like echo, but sends the message to all displays, with the name of the current user prepended.
  • width - Like height, but with the order of arguments reversed.


Change the color to bright red if bold text is to be printed:

attrcolor b "R"

Use blue text instead of underline:

attrcolor u "-u b"

Use bright colors for bold text. Most terminal emulators do this already:

attrcolor b ".I"

Make bright colored text also bold:

attrcolor i "+b"

Always display window list

You can force the status line to always stay at the bottom of the screen and set up a statusline string that displays the window information by adding this to your .screenrc:

hardstatus on
hardstatus alwayslastline
hardstatus string "%w"

Fancy statusbar with centered window list

This small snippet for your .screenrc gives you a two-line statusbar at the bottom of the screen. The upper line consists of the number and name of all open windows, black on white background, with the active window centered and highlighted. The lower line shows the window number, window name and the window's hardstatus in white on black.

altscreen on 
hardstatus on
hardstatus alwayslastline
hardstatus string "%= %3n %t%? [%h]%? %="
caption always
caption string "%= %-w%L>%{= BW}%n*%t%{-}%52<%+w %L="

Screen resizing despite -A when using PuTTY on Windows

With GNU screen 2009-05-15 (git:// :: 9cdf8e20), the resize disable command line option -A does not work with PuTTY on Windows (0.60). One way to work around this is to disable the terminal feature for remote-controlled terminal resizing in PuTTY. This setting is found in “Terminal” > “Features” > “Disable remote-controlled terminal resizing”. After this you do not need to specify -A since screen will now force a resizing.

appearance.1264257239.txt.gz · Last modified: 2010/01/23 14:33 by asciiphil
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