Working With Multiple Files

xv provides a set of controls that let you conveniently operate on a list of images. To use the following commands, you'll have to start up xv with a list of filenames. For example, you could type ' xv *.gif ' (assuming, of course, that you have a bunch of files that end with the suffix '.gif' in the current directory).

The filenames are listed in a scrollable window, as shown below. The current selection is shown in reverse video. If there are more names than will fit in the window, the scrollbar will be enabled.

Operating a List Window

The scrollbar operates as follows:

The File Commands

You can directly view any image in the list by double-clicking on its filename. If xv is unable to load the file (for any of a variety of reasons), it'll display an appropriate error message.

Attempts to load the next file in the list. If it is unable to load the next file, it will continue down the list until it successfully loads a file. If it gets to the bottom of the list without successfully loading a file, it will put up the default image.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Space>
Attempts to load the previous file in the list. If it is unable to load the previous file, it will continue up the list until it successfully loads a file. If it gets to the top of the list without successfully loading a file, it will put up the default image.
Keyboard Equivalent: <backspace>
This command lets you delete the currently selected file from the list (and optionally delete the associated disk file). Note that the currently selected file is the one with the highlight bar on it. While this is generally the same as the currently displayed image, it doesn't have to be.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> d

The Delete command will pop up a window asking you what you want to delete. Your choices are:

Opens the xv load window, which lets you load images that weren't specified on the original command-line. See "The Load Window" for more details. Note: this function has been mostly taken over by the visual schnauzer (See "The Visual Schnauzer" ) but remains for largely historical reasons. (It is considerably faster than the schnauzer, however...)
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> l
Opens the xv save window, which lets you save the current image (or current selected area) in a variety of image formats. See "The Save Window" for more details.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> s
Prints the current image to a PostScript 2 device.. This command takes a somewhat Unix-centric approach to printing, but it may work on other operating systems. When you issue this command, it opens a dialog box which prompts you for the 'print' command to use. Normally, this is just ' lpr ', but if you'd like to send the output to another printer, you could use something like ' lpr -Pelsewhere '. (And right after you do that, you should change the name of that printer!) You change the default command the appears in this window by using the ' xv.print ' X resource. See "Other Resources" .

Anyway, enter some command that will have the desired effect. xv will open up the xv postscript window, where you can fine-tune the size, position, and rotation of your image. See "The PostScript Window" for more information. When you press the Ok button, xv will generate the appropriate PostScript, and feed it as ' stdin ' to the command you entered earlier.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> p

Image Reloading

It is occasionally desirable to reload an image file because the contents of the file have changed. For example, you could be downloading a file, and you might want to keep reloading the file to check on the progress of the download. Or perhaps you have a program that generates images, and you'd like to view these images without any manual intervention.

xv provides a way to reload an image via an external signal. If you send the xv process a SIGQUIT signal (' kill -QUIT <pid> ', or ' kill -3 <pid> ' on most systems), the program will reload the currently selected file. (The one that is currently highlighted in the xv controls window filename list.) This behavior is exactly the same as hitting <Return> in the xv controls window. If xv is currently in a state where hitting <Return> in the controls window won't load an image (i.e., some pop-up dialog box is grabbing all such events), then sending this signal won't work either.

An idea: You could write a 'clock' program that, once a minute, generates a really spiffy looking picture of the current time (with color gradations, 3-d extruded numbers, whatever), then sends xv the signal to reload the generated image. If anyone ever does this, I'd like to hear about it.

Note: This will not work if the current file was read from <stdin> .

xv also has a 'polling mode', enabled by the '-poll' option. When it is turned on, xv will attempt to recognize when the currently displayed file changes on disk. (What with UNIX being a multi-tasking OS, it's perfectly possible to have another process modify a file while xv is displaying it.) When the current file changes, xv will reload it.

You can use this feature to get xv to monitor all sorts of things. For example, if you have one of those programs that automatically goes out and ftps the latest version of the US weather map, (and you do, in the unsupt directory), then you can have xv automatically reload the map whenever a new one is downloaded.

It probably goes without saying that 'PostScript' is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems, Inc.

You could even use xv as a sort of frame buffer, to allow otherwise non-X programs to display graphics. Just have your program draw on its own internal 'frame buffer' (just an appropriately sized hunk of memory), and periodically write it out to a file in some xv-supported format. The PBM/PGM/PPM formats are trivial to write. See the documentation in the doc subdirectory of the xv distribution. Anyhow, periodically write the image to a file, and have xv display the file with the ' -poll ' option turned on. Voila! An instant output-only frame buffer for X workstations, albeit a fairly slow one.

The Windows Menu

As an obvious result of xv's patented "Keep-Adding-Code-Until-It-Breaks" Technology, there are considerably more commands, features, cool gizmos, and dubious design decisions than will comfortably fit in the xv controls window.

Luckily, this is nothing that bolting-on a couple more top-level windows won't fix, which is the method that has been used.

This is where the Windows menu comes into play, though in practice you'll probably just use the keyboard equivalents to open the other windows. I know I do.

Opens up a xv visual schnauzer window (you can have up to four of them). The visual schnauzer lets you manipulate your image file collection in a nifty Point'n'Click, Drag'n'Drop, What You See Is What You Get, Graphical User Interface. Despite all that, it's actually a useful thing. See "The Visual Schnauzer" for more info.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> v
Opens and closes the xv color editor window. The color editor provides you with an interesting collection of color manipulation doodads, including a colormap editor, hue remapping controls, arbitrary R, G, B, and I gamma correction curves, and so on. See "The Color Editor " for more info.
Keyboard Equivalent: e
Opens and closes the xv info window. This window gives you detailed information about the current image, the current selection, the success/failure of the color allocation code, and such. See "The Info Window" for more info.
Keyboard Equivalent: I
Opens the xv image comments window. This lets you view any comments that may be encoded in the current image. It does not let you add or edit any comments, as that's a project for a later release. Note that, currently, the vast majority of images do not have comments in them. My fault, no doubt. See "The Comment Window" for more details.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> c
Opens the xv text viewer window. Displays the contents of the currently selected file (i.e., the file selected in the filename list in the xv controls window), as ASCII text, or as a hexadecimal dump. This happens automatically when xv tries to load a file in a format it doesn't recognize. See "The TextView Window" for more info.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> t
Opens the xv text viewer window, and displays version information, copyright notice, licensing information, the author's email addresses, and such. Basically, it's the text of the first two (or so) pages of this manual.
Keyboard Equivalent: <Ctrl> a
Opens the xv text viewer window, and displays a summary of all the keyboard equivalents and mouse button permutations.

Other Commands

Does exactly the same thing as the About XV command described in "The Windows Menu" : displays version number, licensing info, etc.
'Reloads' and displays the xv logo image, which not only contains the version number and revision date of this copy, it also has some nifty 3-D fish.

The logo image also displays who, if anyone, this particular copy of xv is licensed to. If it still says "UNREGISTERED COPY", you should probably do something about that.
Keyboard Equivalent: <none whatsoever>

Quits xv. Quite possibly the most useful command of them all.
Keyboard Equivalents: q and <Ctrl> q