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xdotool - x11 automation tool

xdotool lets you simulate keyboard input and mouse activity, move and resize windows, etc. It does this using X11’s XTEST extension and other Xlib functions.

Note: If you are using Wayland, please be aware this software will not work correctly.

With xdotool, you can search for windows and move, resize, hide, and modify window properties like the title. If your window manager supports it, you can use xdotool to switch desktops, move windows between desktops, and change the number of desktops.

Also in this repository is libxdo, a C library for doing the same.

You may view the user documentation in xdotool.pod


You may find xdotool in your distribution packaging:

  • Debian and Ubuntu: apt-get install xdotool
  • Fedora: dnf install xdotool
  • FreeBSD: pkg install xdotool
  • macOS: brew install xdotool or sudo port install xdotool
  • OpenSUSE: zypper install xdotool

Basic Usage


From your terminal, run:

xdotool type "Hello world"

Sending keys

xdotool key ctrl+l

The above will simulate the keystrokes as if you pressed the control key, then the "L" key, and then released both. This is useful for simulating hotkeys.

Closing a window

xdotool selectwindow windowclose

This will close the first window you click on.

Cool Tricks

Bring up Firefox and focus the URL bar

xdotool search "Mozilla Firefox" windowactivate --sync key --clearmodifiers ctrl+l

Resize all visible gnome-terminal windows

xdotool search --onlyvisible --classname "gnome-terminal" windowsize %@ 500

Building / Compiling


  • X11 libraries: xlib, xtst, xi, xkbcommon, xinerama

How to compile and install:

  • Compile: make
  • Install: make install
  • Remove: make uninstall

You may have to set 'PREFIX' to the location you want to install to. The default PREFIX is /usr/local

For packagers, there's also support for DESTDIR for staged install.

Also, see the manpage, which you can generate by running:

  make showman

Note: the manpage will be installed during 'make install'