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The fast, lightweight and minimalistic Wayland terminal emulator.
- Why the name 'foot'?
- Server (daemon) mode
- DPI and font size
- Supported OSCs
- Programmatically checking if running in foot
Lightweight, in dependencies, on-disk and in-memory
User configurable font fallback
On-the-fly font resize
On-the-fly DPI font size adjustment
Keyboard driven URL detection
Color emoji support
True Color (24bpp)
Synchronized Updates support
foot can be configured by creating a file
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/foot/foot.ini (defaulting to
~/.config/foot/foot.ini). A template for that can usually be found
Further information can be found in foot's man page
See the wiki
Why the name 'foot'?
I'm bad at names. Most of my projects usually start out as foo something (for example, yambar was f00bar for a while).
So why foot?
foo terminal → footerm → foot
Pretty bad, I know.
As a side note, if you pronounce the foo part of foot the same way you pronounce foobar, then foot sounds a lot like the Swedish word fot, which incidentally means (you guessed it) foot.
foot supports all fonts that can be loaded by freetype, including bitmap fonts and color emoji fonts.
Foot uses fontconfig to locate and configure the font(s) to use. Since fontconfig's fallback mechanism is imperfect, especially for monospace fonts (it doesn't prefer monospace fonts even though the requested font is one), foot allows you, the user, to configure the fallback fonts to use.
This also means you can configure each fallback font individually; you want that fallback font to use this size, and you want that other fallback font to be italic? No problem!
If a glyph cannot be found in any of the user configured fallback fonts, then fontconfig's list is used.
These are the default shortcuts. See
man foot.ini and the example
foot.ini to see how these can be changed.
- shift+page up/page down
- Scroll up/down in history
- ctrl+shift+c, XF86Copy
- Copy selected text to the clipboard
- ctrl+shift+v, XF86Paste
- Paste from clipboard
- Paste from the primary selection
- Start a scrollback search
- ctrl++, ctrl+=
- Increase font size by 0,5pt
- Decrease font size by 0,5pt
- Reset font size
- Spawn a new terminal. If the shell has been configured to emit the OSC 7 escape sequence, the new terminal will start in the current working directory.
- Enter URL mode, where all currently visible URLs are tagged with a jump label with a key sequence that will open the URL.
- Search backward for next match
- Search forward for next match
- Extend current selection (and thus the search criteria) to the end of the word, or the next word if currently at a word separating character.
- Same as ctrl+w, except that the only word separating characters are whitespace characters.
- ctrl+v, ctrl+shift+v, ctrl+y, XF86Paste
- Paste from clipboard into the search buffer.
- Paste from primary selection into the search buffer.
- escape, ctrl+g
- Cancel the search
- Finish the search and copy the current match to the primary selection
- Toggle whether the URL is displayed in the jump label or not
- escape, ctrl+c, ctrl+g, ctrl+d
- Exit URL mode without launching any URLs
- left - single-click
- Drag to select; when released, the selected text is copied to the primary selection. This feature is disabled when client has enabled mouse tracking.
- Holding shift enables selection in mouse tracking enabled clients.
- Holding ctrl will create a block selection.
- left - double-click
- Selects the word (separated by spaces, period, comma, parenthesis etc) under the pointer. Hold ctrl to select everything under the pointer up to, and until, the next space characters.
- left - triple-click
- Selects the entire row
- Paste from primary selection
- Extend current selection. Clicking immediately extends the selection, while hold-and-drag allows you to interactively resize the selection.
- Scroll up/down in history
Server (daemon) mode
When run normally, foot is a single-window application; if you want another window, start another foot process.
However, foot can also be run in a server mode. In this mode, one process hosts multiple windows. All Wayland communication, VT parsing and rendering is done in the server process.
New windows are opened by running
footclient, which remains running
until the terminal window is closed, at which point it exits with the
exit value of the client process (typically the shell).
The point of this mode is a) reduced memory footprint - all terminal windows will share fonts and glyph cache, and b) reduced startup time - loading fonts and populating the glyph cache takes time, but in server mode it only happens once.
The downside is a performance penalty; all windows' input and output are multiplexed in the same thread (but each window will have its own set of rendering threads). This means that if one window is very busy with, for example, producing output, then other windows will suffer.
And of course, should the server process crash, all windows will be gone.
Typical usage would be to start the server process (
when starting your Wayland compositor (i.e. logging in to your
desktop), and then run
footclient instead of
foot whenever you
want to launch a new terminal.
Foot support socket activation, which means
foot --server will only be
started the first time you'll run
footclient. (systemd user units are
included, but it can work with other supervision suites).
Foot supports URL detection. But, unlike many other terminal emulators, where URLs are highlighted when they are hovered and opened by clicking on them, foot uses a keyboard driven approach.
Pressing ctrl+shift+u enters “URL mode”, where all currently visible URLs are underlined, and is associated with a “jump-label”. The jump-label indicates the key sequence (e.g. ”AF”) to use to activate the URL.
The key binding can, of course, be customized, like all other key
bindings in foot. See
show-urls-copy in the
foot.ini man page.
show-urls-launch by default opens the URL with
xdg-open. This can
be changed with the
show-urls-copy is an alternative to
show-urls-launch, that changes
what activating a URL does; instead of opening it, it copies it to
the clipboard. It is unbound by default.
Jump label colors, the URL underline color, and the letters used in the jump label key sequences can be configured.
By default, foot prefixes Meta characters with ESC. This corresponds
metaSendsEscape option set to
This can be disabled programmatically with
\E[?1036l (and enabled
When disabled, foot will instead set the 8:th bit of meta character
and then UTF-8 encode it. This corresponds to XTerm's
option set to
This can also be disabled programmatically with
rmm (reset meta
\E[?1034l), and enabled again with
smm (set meta mode,
Foot transmits DEL (
^?) on backspace. This corresponds to
backarrowKey option set to
false, and to DECBKM being
To instead transmit BS (
Note that foot does not implement DECBKM, and that the behavior described above cannot be changed.
Finally, pressing alt will prefix the transmitted byte with ESC.
By default, Num Lock overrides the run-time configuration
keypad mode; when active, the keypad is always considered to be in
numerical mode. This corresponds to XTerm's
numLock option set to
In this mode, the keypad keys always sends either numbers (Num Lock is active) or cursor movement keys (Up, Down, Left, Right, Page Up, Page Down etc).
This can be disabled programmatically with
\E[?1035l (and enabled
When disabled, the keypad sends custom escape sequences instead of numbers, when in application mode.
DPI and font size
Font sizes are apparently a complex thing. Many applications use a fixed DPI of 96. They may also multiply it with the monitor's scale factor.
This results in fonts with different physical sizes (i.e. if measured by a ruler) when rendered on screens with different DPI values. Even if the configured font size is the same.
This is not how it is meant to be. Fonts are measured in point sizes for a reason; a given point size should have the same height on all mediums, be it printers or monitors, regardless of their DPI.
Foot’s default behavior is to use the monitor’s DPI to size fonts when output scaling has been disabled on all monitors. If at least one monitor has output scaling enabled, fonts will instead by sized using the scaling factor.
This can be changed to either always use the monitor’s DPI
(regardless of scaling factor), or to never use it, with the
dpi-aware option in
foot.ini. See the man page, foot.ini(5)
for more information.
When fonts are sized using the monitor’s DPI, glyphs should always have the same physical height, regardless of monitor.
Furthermore, foot will re-size the fonts on-the-fly when the window is moved between screens with different DPIs values. If the window covers multiple screens, with different DPIs, the highest DPI will be used.
Note: if you configure pixelsize, rather than size, then DPI changes will not change the font size. Pixels are always pixels.
OSC, Operating System Command, are escape sequences that interacts with the terminal emulator itself. Foot implements the following OSCs:
OSC 0- change window icon + title (but only title is actually supported)
OSC 2- change window title
OSC 4- change color palette
OSC 7- report CWD
OSC 8- hyperlink
OSC 9- desktop notification
OSC 10- change (default) foreground color
OSC 11- change (default) background color
OSC 12- change cursor color
OSC 17- change highlight (selection) background color
OSC 19- change highlight (selection) foreground color
OSC 22- set the xcursor (mouse) pointer
OSC 52- copy/paste clipboard data
OSC 104- reset color palette
OSC 110- reset default foreground color
OSC 111- reset default background color
OSC 112- reset cursor color
OSC 117- reset highlight background color
OSC 119- reset highlight foreground color
OSC 555- flash screen (foot specific)
OSC 777- desktop notification (only the
;notifysub-command of OSC 777 is supported.)
See the foot-ctlseq(7) man page for a complete list of supported control sequences.
Programmatically checking if running in foot
Foot does not set any environment variables that can be used to
identify foot (reading
TERM is not reliable since the user may have
chosen to use a different terminfo).
You can instead use the escape sequences to read the Secondary and Tertiary Device Attributes (secondary/tertiary DA, for short).
The tertiary DA response is always
FOOT in hex.
The secondary DA response is
foot's major, minor and patch version numbers, in decimal, using two
digits for each number. For example, foot-1.4.2 would respond with
Note: not all terminal emulators implement tertiary DA. Most implement secondary DA, but not all. All should however implement Primary DA.
Thus, a safe way to query the terminal is to request the tertiary, secondary and primary DA all at once, in that order. All terminals should ignore escape sequences they do not recognize. You will have to parse the response (which in foot will consist of all three DA responses, all at once) to determine which requests the terminal emulator actually responded to.
Starting with version 1.7.0, foot also implements
which it will reply with
\EP>|foot(version)\E\\. Version is
e.g. “1.8.2” for a regular release, or “1.8.2-36-g7db8e06f” for a git
XTGETTCAP is an escape sequence initially introduced by XTerm, and
also implemented (and extended, to some degree) by Kitty.
It allows querying the terminal for terminfo capabilities. Applications using this feature do not need to use the classic, file-based, terminfo definition. For example, if all applications used this feature, you would no longer have to install foot’s terminfo on remote hosts you SSH into.
XTerm’s implementation (as of XTerm-370) only supports querying key (as in keyboard keys) capabilities, and three custom capabilities:
TN- terminal name
Co- number of colors (alias for the
RGB- number of bits per color channel (different semantics from the
RGBcapability in file-based terminfo definitions!).
Kitty has extended this, and also supports querying all integer and string capabilities.
Foot supports this, and extends it even further, to also include
boolean capabilities. This means foot’s entire terminfo can be queried
Note that both Kitty and foot handles responses to multi-capability queries slightly differently, compared to XTerm.
XTerm will send a single DCS reply, with
capability/value pairs. There are a couple of issues with this:
- The success/fail flag in the beginning of the response is always
1(success), unless the very first queried capability is invalid.
- XTerm will not respond at all to an invalid capability, unless
it’s the first one in the
- XTerm will end the response at the first invalid capability.
In other words, if you send a large multi-capability query, you will only get responses up to, but not including, the first invalid capability. All subsequent capabilities will be dropped.
Kitty and foot on the other hand, send one DCS response for each capability in the multi query. This allows us to send a proper success/fail flag for each queried capability. Responses for all queried capabilities are always sent. No queries are ever dropped.
Please report bugs to https://codeberg.org/dnkl/foot/issues
Before you open a new issue, please search existing bug reports, both open and closed ones. Chances are someone else has already reported the same issue.
The report should contain the following:
- Foot version (
- Log output from foot (start foot from another terminal).
- Which Wayland compositor (and version) you are running.
- If reporting a crash, please try to provide a
bt fullbacktrace with symbols.
- Steps to reproduce. The more details the better.
Every now and then I post foot related updates on @email@example.com
- GitHub Sponsors: https://github.com/sponsors/dnkl
Foot is released under the MIT license.