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Name Version
simple_term_menu_vendor 1.5.7


Simple Terminal Menu


simple-term-menu creates simple menus for interactive command line programs. It can be used to offer a choice of different options to the user. Menu entries can be selected with the arrow, j/k, or emacs (C-n/C-p) keys. The module uses the terminfo database to detect terminal features automatically and disables styles that are not available. Currently, Linux and macOS are supported.

Breaking changes

From version 0.x to 1.x

If you update from version 0.x to 1.x, please consider these breaking changes:

  • The TerminalMenu constructor now only takes keyword-only arguments (except for the first parameter which contains the menu entries). This makes it easier to add new parameters in future releases and allows to keep a well-arranged parameter list.

  • The command line interface was revised. It now uses - instead of _ to separate words consistently and rearranges short options. Only the most important short options were kept to save free letters for future releases.

From version 1.1 to 1.2

  • The multi_select_key parameter is now named multi_select_keys and takes an iterable of keys and by default space andtab are now used as multi-select keys. This allows to toggle selected items in search mode.

  • The shortcut_parentheses_highlight_style parameter is renamed to shortcut_brackets_highlight_style to be more consistent with the new multi_select_cursor_brackets_style parameter.


simple-term-menu is available on PyPI for Python 3.5+ and can be installed with pip:

python3 -m pip install simple-term-menu

If you use Arch Linux or one of its derivatives, you can also install simple-term-menu from the AUR:

yay -S python-simple-term-menu

You also find self-contained executables for 64-bit Linux distributions and macOS High Sierra and newer on the releases page. They are created with PyInstaller and only require glibc >= 2.17 on Linux (should be fine on any recent Linux system).


Create a menu with the default style

Create an instance of the class TerminalMenu and pass the menu entries as a list of strings to the constructor. Call the show method to output the menu and wait for keyboard input:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

def main():
    options = ["entry 1", "entry 2", "entry 3"]
    terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(options)
    menu_entry_index =
    print(f"You have selected {options[menu_entry_index]}!")

if __name__ == "__main__":

You will get an output like:


You can now select a menu entry with the arrow keys or j/k (vim motions) and accept your choice by hitting enter or cancel the menu with escape, q or <Ctrl>-C. show returns the selected menu entry index or None if the menu was canceled.

You can pass an optional title to the TerminalMenu constructor which will be placed above the menu. title can be a simple string, a multiline string (with \n newlines) or a list of strings. The same applies to the status_bar parameter, which places a status bar below the menu. Moreover, you can use a callable as status_bar parameter which takes the currently selected entry and returns a status bar string.


You can pass styling arguments to the TerminalMenu constructor. Each style is a tuple of keyword strings. Currently the following keywords are accepted:

  • bg_black
  • bg_blue
  • bg_cyan
  • bg_gray
  • bg_green
  • bg_purple
  • bg_red
  • bg_yellow
  • fg_black
  • fg_blue
  • fg_cyan
  • fg_gray
  • fg_green
  • fg_purple
  • fg_red
  • fg_yellow
  • bold
  • italics
  • standout
  • underline

You can alter the following styles:

  • menu_cursor_style: The style of the shown cursor. The default style is ("fg_red", "bold").

  • menu_highlight_style: The style of the selected menu entry. The default style is ("standout",).

  • search_highlight_style: The style of matched search strings. The default style is ("fg_black", "bg_yellow", "bold").

  • shortcut_key_highlight_style: The style of shortcut keys. The default style is ("fg_blue",).

  • shortcut_brackets_highlight_style: The style of brackets enclosing shortcut keys. The default style is ("fg_gray",).

  • status_bar_style: The style of the status bar below the menu. The default style is ("fg_yellow", "bg_black").

  • multi_select_cursor_style: The style of the cursor which pins a selected entry in a multi-selection. The default style is ("fg_yellow", "bold"). This style excludes brackets (see below).

  • multi_select_cursor_brackets_style: The style of brackets in the multi_select_cursor (([{<)]}>). The default style is ("fg_gray",).

By setting menu_cursor you can define another cursor or disable it (None). The default cursor is "> ". The parameter multi_select_cursor customizes the multi-select cursor (the default is "[*] ").


simple_term_menu has a built-in search feature to filter shown menu entries. The default key to activate search mode is / (like in Vim, less and other terminal programs). If you prefer another search key, pass a search_key parameter to the TerminalMenu constructor. None can be passed to activate the search on every letter key. Obviously, j and k cannot be used for cursor motions in that mode. Use <Ctrl-j> and <Ctrl-k> instead.

The search mode supports Python regex syntax. Visit the Python re documentation for more details.

String parts of the menu entries which match the given search pattern are highlighted. Use the search_highlight_style parameter to adjust the highlight style to your liking.

By default, the search is case insensitive. Set search_case_sensitive to True if you prefer a case sensitive search line.

Pass show_search_hint=True to the TerminalMenu constructor to activate a search hint in the search line (like (Press "/" to search)).


You can define shortcuts for selected menu entries by prepending a single character enclosed in square brackets (like [a]). Pass shortcut_key_highlight_style and/or shortcut_brackets_highlight_style to the TerminalMenu constructor to change the default highlight style of the shortcuts.

By default, the show method returns when a shortcut key is pressed. If you only want the selection to jump the shortcut target, pass exit_on_shortcut=False to the TerminalMenu constructor.

If you configured the search to be activated on every letter key, the shortcut feature will be disabled.

Pass show_shortcut_hints=True to the TerminalMenu constructor to display shortcut hints in the status bar (useful for very long menus which need scrolling). Additionally pass show_shortcut_hints_in_status_bar=False if you prefer shortcut hints in the menu title.

Shortcuts example

Create a menu of some fruits and use the first letter as shortcut key:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import os
from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

def main():
    fruits = ["[a] apple", "[b] banana", "[o] orange"]
    terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(fruits, title="Fruits")
    menu_entry_index =

if __name__ == "__main__":


Custom accept keys

The default key to accept a menu item is enter. Pass the accept_keys parameter with a tuple of keys (as strings) to the TerminalMenu constructor to use a different set of accept keys. Custom accept keys can be plain ascii letters or ascii letters with a modifier key (prepend ctrl- or alt- to an ascii letter). Use the chosen_accept_key property of the TerminalMenu instance to query which accept key was pressed by the user.

Be aware that not all combinations of modifier and ascii keys will work depending on your terminal emulator and graphical user interface. In addition, some combinations generate other existing keys (e.g. ctrl-m is enter / carriage return).

Custom accept keys example

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

def main():
    terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(["entry 1", "entry 2", "entry 3"], accept_keys=("enter", "alt-d", "ctrl-i"))
    menu_entry_index =

if __name__ == "__main__":


Pass multi_select=True to the TerminalMenu constructor to enable the multi-select mode. Press space or tab on an arbitrary menu item to add it to your selection. Press enter (or any other configured accept_key) to add the currently selected entry as the last item to the selection and to return from the show method as usual. In multi-select mode, the show method returns a sorted tuple of all your selected menu indices instead of a single int. Use the chosen_menu_entries property to get a tuple of the menu entry strings instead. By setting multi_select_keys you can define another set of keys to toggle a selected item. By passing show_multi_select_hint=True a multi-select mode hint is shown in the status bar. If you don't want the accept_key to also select the last highlighted item you can pass multi_select_select_on_accept=False. If no menu item is explicitly selected, the last highlighted menu item will still be added to the selection unless you also pass multi_select_empty_ok=True.

An optional list (or any other iterable object) preselected_entries can also be passed to have items already selected when the menu is displayed. This list can be composed of either integers representing indexes of the menu_entries list, or strings matching the elements of menu_entries. Integers and strings can be mixed.

Multi-select example

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

def main():
    terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(
        ["dog", "cat", "mouse", "squirrel"],
    menu_entry_indices =

if __name__ == "__main__":


Preview window

simple-term-menu can show a preview for each menu entry. Pass a preview_command to the TerminalMenu constructor to activate this optional feature. preview_command either takes a command string which will be executed as a subprocess or a Python callable which converts a given menu entry string into the preview output. If a command string is given, the pattern {} is replaced with the current menu entry string. If a menu entry has an additional data component (separated by |), it is passed instead to the preview command. \| can be used for a literal |. If you simply append a | (without a data component), the preview window will be disabled for this entry.

The additional keyword argument preview_size can be used to control the height of the preview window. It is given as fraction of the complete terminal height (default: 0.25). The width cannot be set, it is always the complete width of the terminal window.

Pass preview_title with a string of your choice to customize the preview window title (default: "preview") or preview_border=False to deactivate the border around the preview window (also deactivates the title string).

Preview commands are allowed to generate ANSI escape color codes.

Preview examples

  • Create a menu for all files in the current directory and preview their contents with the bat command:
  #!/usr/bin/env python3

  import os
  from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

  def list_files(directory="."):
      return (file for file in os.listdir(directory) if os.path.isfile(os.path.join(directory, file)))

  def main():
      terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(list_files(), preview_command="bat --color=always {}", preview_size=0.75)
      menu_entry_index =

  if __name__ == "__main__":


  • Another file preview example using the Pygments api:
  #!/usr/bin/env python3

  import os
  from pygments import formatters, highlight, lexers
  from pygments.util import ClassNotFound
  from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

  def highlight_file(filepath):
      with open(filepath, "r") as f:
          file_content =
          lexer = lexers.get_lexer_for_filename(filepath, stripnl=False, stripall=False)
      except ClassNotFound:
          lexer = lexers.get_lexer_by_name("text", stripnl=False, stripall=False)
      formatter = formatters.TerminalFormatter(bg="dark")  # dark or light
      highlighted_file_content = highlight(file_content, lexer, formatter)
      return highlighted_file_content

  def list_files(directory="."):
      return (file for file in os.listdir(directory) if os.path.isfile(os.path.join(directory, file)))

  def main():
      terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(list_files(), preview_command=highlight_file, preview_size=0.75)
      menu_entry_index =

  if __name__ == "__main__":


  • Preview the active pane of each running tmux session (the session ids are appended to the menu entries with the | separator):
  #!/usr/bin/env python3

  import subprocess
  from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

  def list_tmux_sessions():
      tmux_command_output = subprocess.check_output(
          ["tmux", "list-sessions", "-F#{session_id}:#{session_name}"], universal_newlines=True
      tmux_sessions = []
      for line in tmux_command_output.split("\n"):
          line = line.strip()
          if not line:
          session_id, session_name = tuple(line.split(":"))
          tmux_sessions.append((session_name, session_id))
      return tmux_sessions

  def main():
      terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(
          ("|".join(session) for session in list_tmux_sessions()),
          preview_command="tmux capture-pane -e -p -t {}",
      menu_entry_index =

  if __name__ == "__main__":


Skipping empty entries

Use the constructor parameter skip_empty_entries or the flag --skip-empty-entries to interpret an empty string value in the menu entries as an empty menu entry (will be skipped when iterating over the entries). A None value is always considered as an empty menu entry independently from the skip_empty_entries parameter.

from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

def main():                                                         # Or use `None` instead of `""`:
    options = ["entry 1", "entry 2", "", "add", "edit"]             # ["entry 1", "entry 2", None, "add", "edit"]
    terminal_menu = TerminalMenu(options, skip_empty_entries=True)  # TerminalMenu(options)
    menu_entry_index =
    print(f"You have selected {options[menu_entry_index]}!")

if __name__ == "__main__":


Localization / Text modification

Use the constructor parameters

  • show_search_hint_text and
  • show_multi_select_hint_text

to modify the corresponding texts. Use the placeholder {key} for the search key in show_search_hint_text and both {accept_keys} and {multi_select_keys} in show_multi_select_hint_text if appropriately.

Additional settings

Furthermore, the TerminalMenu constructor takes these additional parameters to change the menu behavior:

  • clear_menu_on_exit: A bool value which indicates if the menu will be cleared after the show method. Defaults to True.
  • clear_screen: A bool value which indicates if the screen will be cleared before the menu is shown. Defaults to False.
  • cursor_index: The initially selected item index.
  • cycle_cursor: A bool value which indicates if the menu cursor cycles when the end of the menu is reached. Defaults to True.
  • quit_keys: An iterable of keys which quit the terminal menu. Defaults to ("escape", "q").
  • raise_error_on_interrupt: Set this to True to reraise Keyboard interrupts (by pressing <Ctrl-c>). Defaults to False.
  • status_bar_below_preview: Position the status bar below the preview window (default positioning is above).

Command line program

simple-term-menu can be used as a terminal program in shell scripts. The exit code of the script is the 1-based index of the selected menu entry. The exit code 0 reports the cancel action. The following command line arguments are supported:

usage: simple-term-menu [-h] [-s] [-X] [-l] [--cursor CURSOR]
                        [-i CURSOR_INDEX] [--cursor-style CURSOR_STYLE] [-C]
                        [-E] [--highlight-style HIGHLIGHT_STYLE] [-m]
                        [--multi-select-cursor MULTI_SELECT_CURSOR]
                        [--multi-select-cursor-brackets-style MULTI_SELECT_CURSOR_BRACKETS_STYLE]
                        [--multi-select-cursor-style MULTI_SELECT_CURSOR_STYLE]
                        [--multi-select-keys MULTI_SELECT_KEYS]
                        [--multi-select-empty-ok] [-p PREVIEW_COMMAND]
                        [--no-preview-border] [--preview-size PREVIEW_SIZE]
                        [--preview-title PREVIEW_TITLE]
                        [--search-highlight-style SEARCH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLE]
                        [--search-key SEARCH_KEY]
                        [--shortcut-brackets-highlight-style SHORTCUT_BRACKETS_HIGHLIGHT_STYLE]
                        [--shortcut-key-highlight-style SHORTCUT_KEY_HIGHLIGHT_STYLE]
                        [--show-multi-select-hint-text SHOW_MULTI_SELECT_HINT_TEXT]
                        [--show-search-hint-text SHOW_SEARCH_HINT_TEXT]
                        [--skip-empty-entries] [-b STATUS_BAR] [-d]
                        [--status-bar-style STATUS_BAR_STYLE] [--stdout]
                        [-t TITLE] [-V]
                        [entries ...]

simple-term-menu creates simple interactive menus in the terminal and returns the selected entry as exit code.

positional arguments:
  entries               the menu entries to show

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -s, --case-sensitive  searches are case sensitive
  -X, --no-clear-menu-on-exit
                        do not clear the menu on exit
  -l, --clear-screen    clear the screen before the menu is shown
  --cursor CURSOR       menu cursor (default: "> ")
  -i CURSOR_INDEX, --cursor-index CURSOR_INDEX
                        initially selected item index
  --cursor-style CURSOR_STYLE
                        style for the menu cursor as comma separated list
                        (default: "fg_red,bold")
  -C, --no-cycle        do not cycle the menu selection
  -E, --no-exit-on-shortcut
                        do not exit on shortcut keys
  --highlight-style HIGHLIGHT_STYLE
                        style for the selected menu entry as comma separated
                        list (default: "standout")
  -m, --multi-select    Allow the selection of multiple entries (implies
  --multi-select-cursor MULTI_SELECT_CURSOR
                        multi-select menu cursor (default: "[*] ")
  --multi-select-cursor-brackets-style MULTI_SELECT_CURSOR_BRACKETS_STYLE
                        style for brackets of the multi-select menu cursor as
                        comma separated list (default: "fg_gray")
  --multi-select-cursor-style MULTI_SELECT_CURSOR_STYLE
                        style for the multi-select menu cursor as comma
                        separated list (default: "fg_yellow,bold")
  --multi-select-keys MULTI_SELECT_KEYS
                        key for toggling a selected item in a multi-selection
                        (default: " ,tab",
                        do not select the currently highlighted menu item when
                        the accept key is pressed (it is still selected if no
                        other item was selected before)
                        when used together with --multi-select-no-select-on-
                        accept allows returning no selection at all
                        Command to generate a preview for the selected menu
                        entry. "{}" can be used as placeholder for the menu
                        text. If the menu entry has a data component
                        (separated by "|"), this is used instead.
  --no-preview-border   do not draw a border around the preview window
  --preview-size PREVIEW_SIZE
                        maximum height of the preview window in fractions of
                        the terminal height (default: "0.25")
  --preview-title PREVIEW_TITLE
                        title of the preview window (default: "preview")
  --search-highlight-style SEARCH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLE
                        style of matched search patterns (default:
  --search-key SEARCH_KEY
                        key to start a search (default: "/", "none" is treated
                        a special value which activates the search on any
                        letter key)
  --shortcut-brackets-highlight-style SHORTCUT_BRACKETS_HIGHLIGHT_STYLE
                        style of brackets enclosing shortcut keys (default:
  --shortcut-key-highlight-style SHORTCUT_KEY_HIGHLIGHT_STYLE
                        style of shortcut keys (default: "fg_blue")
                        show a multi-select hint in the status bar
  --show-multi-select-hint-text SHOW_MULTI_SELECT_HINT_TEXT
                        Custom text which will be shown as multi-select hint.
                        Use the placeholders {multi_select_keys} and
                        {accept_keys} if appropriately.
  --show-search-hint    show a search hint in the search line
  --show-search-hint-text SHOW_SEARCH_HINT_TEXT
                        Custom text which will be shown as search hint. Use
                        the placeholders {key} for the search key if
                        show shortcut hints in the status bar
                        show shortcut hints in the menu title
  --skip-empty-entries  Interpret an empty string in menu entries as an empty
                        menu entry
  -b STATUS_BAR, --status-bar STATUS_BAR
                        status bar text
  -d, --status-bar-below-preview
                        show the status bar below the preview window if any
  --status-bar-style STATUS_BAR_STYLE
                        style of the status bar lines (default:
  --stdout              Print the selected menu index or indices to stdout (in
                        addition to the exit status). Multiple indices are
                        separated by ";".
  -t TITLE, --title TITLE
                        menu title
  -V, --version         print the version number and exit
                        Comma separated list of strings matching menu items to
                        start pre-selected in a multi-select menu.
                        Comma separated list of numeric indexes of menu items
                        to start pre-selected in a multi-select menu.

Example with preview option

Instead of using the Python api as in the previous examples, a file menu with bat preview can also be created from the command line:

simple-term-menu -p "bat --color=always {}" \
                 --preview-size 0.75 \
                 $(find . -maxdepth 1  -type f | awk '{ print substr($0, 3) }')

More advanced example

A more advanced example with sub menus (thanks to pageauc):

#!/usr/bin/env python3
Demonstration example for GitHub Project at

This code only works in python3. Install per

    sudo pip3 install simple-term-menu

import time

from simple_term_menu import TerminalMenu

def main():
    main_menu_title = "  Main Menu.\n  Press Q or Esc to quit. \n"
    main_menu_items = ["Edit Menu", "Second Item", "Third Item", "Quit"]
    main_menu_cursor = "> "
    main_menu_cursor_style = ("fg_red", "bold")
    main_menu_style = ("bg_red", "fg_yellow")
    main_menu_exit = False

    main_menu = TerminalMenu(

    edit_menu_title = "  Edit Menu.\n  Press Q or Esc to back to main menu. \n"
    edit_menu_items = ["Edit Config", "Save Settings", "Back to Main Menu"]
    edit_menu_back = False
    edit_menu = TerminalMenu(

    while not main_menu_exit:
        main_sel =

        if main_sel == 0:
            while not edit_menu_back:
                edit_sel =
                if edit_sel == 0:
                    print("Edit Config Selected")
                elif edit_sel == 1:
                    print("Save Selected")
                elif edit_sel == 2 or edit_sel == None:
                    edit_menu_back = True
                    print("Back Selected")
            edit_menu_back = False
        elif main_sel == 1:
            print("option 2 selected")
        elif main_sel == 2:
            print("option 3 selected")
        elif main_sel == 3 or main_sel == None:
            main_menu_exit = True
            print("Quit Selected")

if __name__ == "__main__":

Similar projects

  • bullet: Creates bullet-lists with multi-selection support.


Please open an issue on GitHub if you experience bugs or miss features. Please consider to send a pull request if you can spend time on fixing the issue yourself. This project uses pre-commit to ensure code quality and a consistent code style. Run

make git-hooks-install

to install all linters as Git hooks in your local clone of simple-term-menu.


No found.