dasher - graphical predictive text entry system
dasher [OPTIONS] [filename]
Dasher is an information-efficient text-entry interface, driven by
natural continuous pointing gestures. Dasher is a competitive text-
entry system wherever a full-size keyboard cannot be used.
dasher takes the following options:
Application style. STYLE can be any of traditional, direct,
compose, or fullscreen. The default is whatever was specified
on the previous invocation of Dasher, or traditional when Dasher
is started for the first time.
Describe command line options.
Describe the options available with --options.
-o, --options [option=value[,option=value...]]
Override stored options. Options values are remembered for
subsequent invocations of Dasher.
The main Dasher interface is a window with a blank background
containing a column of letters on the right hand side. Click the mouse
button to start. When the pointer is to the right of the crosshair the
screen will zoom towards the point underneath the mouse pointer. To
select a letter, move the mouse pointer into it and watch how it zooms
underneath the crosshair. A new column of letters will appear.
Staying within the box for the selected letter, move the pointer over
one of these letters to select it as the next letter. Moving the mouse
pointer to the left of the crosshair, or outside of the box for
previously selected letters, allows you to change previously selected
Dasher displays an edit box above the main window. Text entered
via Dasher will appear in the edit box allowing the text to be
direct The edit box is not displayed. Dasher runs without focus and
the text goes into whatever window does have focus. This way
you can use it more practically to run your desktop.
dasher expands to the entire screen.
New Clear the edit box and associate a random filename with it.
Open Read a text file into the edit box for further editing.
Save Save the contents of the edit box to its associated file.
Save the contents of the edit box to a selected file.
Append to file
Add the contents of the edit box to the end of a selected file.
Import training text
Use a file to further improve Dasher’s prediction of the next
letters to present (for instance, a training file containing
scientific terms to add to the initial English training).
Training files must be UTF-8 encoded.
Quit Exit Dasher.
Cut Remove the highlighted text from the edit box and copy it to the
Copy Copy the highlighted text from the edit box to the clipboard but
don’t remove it.
Paste Paste the contents of the clipboard into the edit box at the
position of the cursor.
Copy the entire contents of the edit box to the clipboard.
Highlight all of the text in the edit box.
Opens the preferences dialog.
Display information about the current version of Dasher
THE PREFERENCES DIALOG
The preferences dialog is split into several panes.
Choose a different alphabet. Dasher will automatically retrain itself
if the alphabet specified training file is present.
Choose a different colour scheme.
Alter various control options
One dimensional mode
Map the Y position of the mouse to a 2 dimensional position on
the Dasher canvas (useful for limited mobility users)
Similar to one dimensional mode, but behaves normally except at
the right-hand side of the canvas. Designed for eyetracker
CONVERTING TRAINING FILES TO UTF-8
Dasher requires that training files be in the UTF-8 format, whereas
most text files are likely to be in ISO-8859 format. This doesn’t
matter for plain text, but accented characters are encoded differently.
In order to convert them, use the iconv(1) program. For instance, if
your training file is in ISO-8859-1 format (Western European), run
iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t UTF-8 trainingfile >newtrainingfile
Directory containing system-wide configuration files.
Directory containing user specific configuration files.
Dasher will utilise files of the following form from both of these
The files defining the alphabets available to Dasher.
The files defining the colour schemes available to Dasher.
Files containing the training data used by Dasher. These are
UTF-8 encoded text and should contain a representative sample of
the relevant language. User specific training files can be used
to augment system wide data.
Refer to the Dasher manual for more information regarding the format
and editing of these files.
The Dasher Project <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The Dasher project web page is