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GROMIT(1) General Commands Manual GROMIT(1)


Gromit - Presentation helper to make annotations on screen


gromit [options]


Gromit enables you to make annotations on your screen. It can run in the background and be activated on demand to let you draw over all your currently running applications. The drawing will stay on screen as long as you want, you can continue to use your applications while the drawing is visible.
Gromit is XInput-Aware, so if you have a graphic tablet you can draw lines with different strength, color, erase things, etc.
Since you typically want to use the program you are demonstrating and highlighting something is a short interruption of you workflow, Gromit is activated by either a hotkey or a repeated invokation of Gromit (the latter can e.g. used by other applications or your windowmanager).


By default, Gromit grabs the "Pause" key (this can be change using the "--key" option), making it unavailable to other application. The available shortcuts are:

toggle painting
clear screen
toggle visibility
quit Gromit


A short summary of the available commandline arguments for invoking Gromit, see below for the options to control an already running Gromit process:

start Gromit and immediately activate it.
will change the key used to grab the mouse. <keysym> can e.g. be "Pause", "F12", "Control_R" or "Print". To determine the keysym for different keys you can use the xev(1) command. You can specify "none" to prevent Gromit from grabbing a key.
will change the key used to grab the mouse. Under rare circumstances identifying the key with the keysym can fail. You can then use the keycode to specify the key uniquely. To determine the keycode for different keys you can use the xev(1) command.
gives some debug output.


A sort summary of the available commandline arguments to control an already running Gromit process, see above for the options available to start Gromit.

will cause the main Gromit process to quit.
will toggle the grabbing of the cursor.
will toggle the visibility of the window.
will clear the screen.


Gromit may drastically slow down your X-Server, especially when you draw very thin lines. It makes heavily use of the shape extension, which is quite expensive if you paint a complex pattern on screen. Especially terminal-programs tend to scroll incredibly slow if something is painted over their window. There is nothing I can do about this.
Gromit partially disables DnD, since it lays a transparent window across the whole screen and everything gets "dropped" to this (invisible) window. Gromit tries to minimize this effect: When you clear the screen the shaped window will be hidden. It will be resurrected, when you want to paint something again. However: The window does not hide, if you erase everything with the eraser tool, you have to clear the screen explicitly with the "gromit --clear" command or hide Gromit with "gromit --visibility".


Simon Budig <>

This manual page was written by Pierre Chifflier <> and Simon Budig.

January 16, 2005