Top Up Prev Next Bottom Contents Index Search

B.4 Manipulating Windows

If you already know how to use the X Window system and you are using your own window manager configuration rather than the standard Ptolemy configuration, you may skip this section. Assuming you use the file $PTOLEMY/.twmrc without modification, rather than your own window manager, the basic window manipulations are explained below. Note that there are often several different ways to accomplish the same objective. Feel free to experiment with key and mouse button combinations in various parts of the screen. First, you must identify the "meta" key on your keyboard. It may be labeled in any of various ways, including "meta", "left", "right", "alt", a small diamond, or any of a number of other possibilities. It is usually close to the shift and control keys. Most window manipulations require that you hold down the meta key while depressing mouse buttons.

Iconifying windows.

Depressing the meta key, and clicking the left mouse button in any window will iconify it. The window disappears, replaced by a symbol in the icon manager at the right of the screen. To get the window back, place the cursor in the appropriate slot of the icon manager, and click the left mouse button. An alternative iconifying mechanism is to click any mouse button on the icon symbol at the left of the window header.

Moving windows.

Holding the meta key and dragging with the middle mouse button will move a window. "Dragging" simply means to hold the mouse button while moving the mouse. Alternatively, you can drag the left button in the middle of the window header.

Resizing windows.

The meta key and right mouse button can be used to resize a window. Place the mouse cursor near a corner of a window, depress the meta key, and drag the right button. Without the meta key, any button in the rightmost corner of the window header will resize the window.


The window header has an iconify icon at the left, a blue bar for moving the window in the middle, and a resize symbol at the right. Correspondingly, without going to the window header, but using the meta key, the left mouse button will iconify a window, the middle button will move it, and the right button will resize it. Hence, the window header can be used as a mnemonic to help remember which mouse button has which function when the meta key is depressed.

Pick up and stuff.

In a text window, without the meta key, the mouse may be used to grab text and put it somewhere else, either in the same window, or in some other windows. This can be very useful to avoid copying long sections of text. The left mouse button, when depressed and dragged, highlights a region of text in a window, and stores the text. The right button can be used to modify the extent of the highlighted region. The highlighted text is "picked up", stored for future use. The middle button causes the highlighted text to be typed to whatever window has the mouse cursor.

New windows.

A useful command, defined in $PTOLEMY/.cshrc, is "term". Typing this in any window, followed by a carriage return, opens a new terminal window with a reasonable size and color. You may change the size and location in the usual way.

Removing windows.

Most windows, including all pigi windows, can be removed by typing control-D with the mouse cursor in the window.


A resource in X is a parameter that customizes the behavior of applications that run under X. For instance, resources determine the foreground and background color of your windows. Pigi requires that some resources be set. These resources are defined in the file $PTOLEMY/lib/pigiXRes, and are automatically merged with whatever other resources you may have defined. The merging occurs when you invoke the start-up script $PTOLEMY/bin/pigi. In addition to these required resources, there are many optional resources. Some of these are set in $PTOLEMY/.Xresources.

If you have not used the X window system before, you will probably not have a file with the name .Xresources in your home directory, and can simply copy the one from $PTOLEMY. This file defines some basic resources. If you already have a file with this name, then you can probably use the one you have as is.

Top Up Prev Next Bottom Contents Index Search

Copyright © 1990-1997, University of California. All rights reserved.