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Using the xrdb Client Program

The X Window System uses the xrdb client program to create and update a resource database on each server. Normally, xrdb is run when X starts up. If you make any changes to resource settings in the resource files, you need to run xrdb for the changes to take effect.

To replace old resource settings with new settings, run xrdb with the -load option, as shown in the following example:

xrdb -load .Xdefaults

In this example, any changes you made to resource specifications in the .Xdefaults file are available to clients that use these resources. Any resource that you do not specify a new value for will be overwritten with an empty value. After replacing resource settings in the database, you need to restart any clients, including mwm, so that they will reread the database and use the new resource settings.

To append new settings without changing the old settings, run xrdb with the -merge option, as shown in the following example:

xrdb -merge values.new

In this example, the resource settings contained in the file values.new will be appended to the resource database. You specify the changes in a file, as in this example, or you can specify an individual resource setting, as shown in the following example:

xrdb -merge
xterm*scrollBar: True

Press D to signal the end of input.

To check the current resource settings, run xrdb with the -query option. If you have not previously run xrdb, you will not get any output from this command.

If you have run xrdb, the output will look something like the following example:

xterm*scrollBar: on
xterm*font: terminal14
Mwm*keyboardFocusPolicy: explicit
Mwm*buttonBindings: ExplicitButtonBindings
emacs*geometry: 77x34x17+225

As of Release 5 of the X Window System, xrdb has been modified so that you can now specify resources on a per-screen basis. The -global, -screen, -screens, and -all options control whether resources are read from the screen-independent property, from screen-dependent properties, or both.

For more information about these options, as well as many other options for advanced customization, see the reference pages for xrdb in the X Window System documentation.