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dasher - Online in the Cloud

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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:

-a, --appstyle=STYLE
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.

-?, --help
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 letters.

Application Styles

Dasher displays an edit box above the main window. Text entered via Dasher will
appear in the edit box allowing the text to be edited directly.

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 as
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 clipboard.

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

Copy all
Copy the entire contents of the edit box to the clipboard.

Select all
Highlight all of the text in the edit box.

Opens the preferences dialog.

About Dasher
Display information about the current version of Dasher


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)

Eyetracker mode
Similar to one dimensional mode, but behaves normally except at the right-hand side
of the canvas. Designed for eyetracker users.


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

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