Writes text to the status line or to screen menu areas

(grtext [box text [highlight]])

This function displays the supplied text in the menu area; it does not change the underlying menu item. The grtext function can be called with no arguments to restore all text areas to their standard values.



An integer specifying the location in which to write the text.


A string that specifies the text to be written to the screen menu or status line location. The text argument is truncated if it is too long to fit in the available area.


An integer that selects or deselects a screen menu location.

If called without arguments, grtext restores all text areas to their standard values. If called with only one argument, grtext results in an error.

Return Values

The string passed in the text argument, if successful, and nil if unsuccessful or no arguments are supplied.

Screen Menu Area

Setting box to a positive or zero value specifies a screen menu location. Valid box values range from 0 to the highest-numbered screen menu box minus 1. The SCREENBOXES system variable in the Command Reference reports the maximum number of screen menu boxes. If the highlight argument is supplied as a positive integer, grtext highlights the text in the designated box. Highlighting a box automatically dehighlights any other box already highlighted. If highlight is zero, the menu item is dehighlighted. If highlight is a negative number, it is ignored. On some platforms, the text must first be written without the highlight argument and then must be highlighted. Highlighting of a screen menu location works only when the cursor is not in that area.

Status Line Area

If grtext is called with a box value of -1, it writes the text into the mode status line area. The length of the mode status line differs from display to display (most allow at least 40 characters). The following code uses the $(linelen) DIESEL expression to report the length of the mode status area.

(setq modelen (menucmd "M=$(linelen)"))

If a box value of -2 is used, grtext writes the text into the coordinate status line area. If coordinate tracking is turned on, values written into this field are overwritten as soon as the pointer sends another set of coordinates. For both -1 and -2 box values, the highlight argument is ignored.