DASHER(1) User Commands DASHER(1)
dasher - graphical predictive text entry system
less [-wop] [filename]
dasher is an information-efficient text-entry interface, driven by nat-
ural continuous pointing gestures. Dasher is a competitive text-entry
system wherever a full-size keyboard cannot be used.
dasher takes the following options:
-o Dasher will appear without a text edit box and will default to
entering text into other windows.
-p Dasher will open a preferences window and not the main window.
-s Dasher will output the entered text to stdout whenever stopped.
Only text entered since the last stop will be output.
-w Whenever Dasher is stopped, the time taken, number of characters
entered, and number of bits of information will be displayed,
along with ratios of these quantities.
After startup, Dasher will present the user with a window containing
two major sections. The top portion is the edit box - text entered via
Dasher will appear here, and the text may also be edited directly. The
bottom portion is the main Dasher interface and will display a blank
background with a column of letters on the right hand side. Clicking
the mouse button will start the model, and 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 underneat the crosshair.
Within the selected letter, a new column of letters will appear. Move
the pointer over one of these letters to select it as the next letter.
To correct mistakes, move the mouse pointer to the left of the
crosshair and Dasher will zoom out allowing you to select new letters.
New Restore Dasher to the state it was in when started
Open Read a text file into the Dasher edit box for further editting
Save Save the contents of the Dasher edit box to a file
Save the contents of the Dasher edit box to a file chosen by the
Append to file
Add the contents of the Dasher edit box to the end of a file
chosen by the user
Import training text
Use a file to further train Dasher (for instance, a training
file containing scientific terms to add to the initial English
training). Training files must be UTF-8 encoded.
Exit Quit 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 (see THE PREFERENCES DIALOG below)
Choose the font used in the edit box
Choose the font used in the Dasher canvas
Dasher font size
Choose the size of the font used in the Dasher canvas
Reset the fonts back to the defaults
Enter text into other windows
Make Dasher enter text into the currently focused window.
Requires Dasher to have been built with Note that some languages
will only work correctly if XFree 4.0.2 or higher is being used.
Provides a control node at the bottom of the screen. This allows
various tasks to be performed inside Dasher, such as editing the
text written, speaking entered text and stopping or pausing
Dasher. If compiled with and using a desktop supporting the ATK
accessibility framework, compliant applications will have their
menu trees exported to Dasher and these may be accessed via this
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
Start on left mouse button
The left mouse button will toggle Dasher between running and
Start on space bar
The space bar will toggle Dasher between running and paused
Start with mouse position
When paused, Dasher will display a red box. If the pointer is
held in the red box until a yellow box appears, and then in the
yellow box until it vanishes, Dasher will start. This allows
users with no button input to start and stop Dasher.
Copy all on stop
Toggle whether the current text is automatically copied to the
clipboard when Dasher is stopped
Speak on stop
Toggle whether the newly entered text should be spoken when
Dasher is stopped. Requires --with-speech to have been used
during Dasher configuration and building.
Pause outside window
Toggle whether Dasher pauses if the mouse cursor is moved out-
side the Dasher window
Change the relative position of the letters to the crosshairs.
Alphabet Default will allow alphabets to set this automatically.
Toggle whether or not the row of buttons at the top of the win-
dow is displayed
Show speed slider
Toggle whether or not the speed slider at the bottom of the win-
dow is displayed
Show mouse position
Toggle whether Dasher should draw a box showing the logical
position of the mouse cursor
Draw line between crosshairs and mouse
Toggle whether Dasher should draw a line between the crosshairs
and the logical mouse position
Draw box outlines
Toggle whether Dasher should draw a box outline around every box
Change colour scheme automatically
Alphabets may provide a preferred colour scheme. If this option
is enabled, Dasher will automatically change to it.
The greater the smoothing value, the greater the uniformity of
the box sizes. This will reduce the predictive capabilities of
Dasher, and so may reduce writing speed.
Timestamp new files
Include the time at which a file is saved in the filename
Distance from centreline for start on mouse position
Controls the distance from the centre of the Dasher screen that
the mouse position start boxes will appear.
Number of pixels that should cover the entire y range
Controls how many pixels of input should correspond to complete
coverage of the Dasher canvas. Only used in one dimensional
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 mat-
ter 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
System-wide configuration files
User configuration files
dasher will utilise data from both of these directories. Training texts
from both will be used, allowing users to add their own training data
to the system wide data
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.
The Dasher Project <firstname.lastname@example.org> - http://www.infer-
3.2.15 January 2004 DASHER(1)
Man(1) output converted with