Lynx Users Guide v2.8.6
Lynx is a fully-featured World Wide Web (WWW) client
for users running cursor-addressable, character-cell display devices (e.g.,
vt100 terminals, vt100 emulators running on PCs or Macs, or any other
character-cell display). It will display Hypertext Markup Language
(HTML) documents containing links to files on the local system, as
well as files on remote systems running http, gopher,
ftp, wais, nntp, finger, or
cso/ph/qi servers, and services accessible via
logins to telnet, tn3270 or rlogin accounts (see
URL Schemes Supported by Lynx).
Current versions of Lynx run on Unix, VMS,
Windows3.x/9x/NT, 386DOS and OS/2 EMX.
Lynx can be used to access information on the WWW, or to build
information systems intended primarily for local access. For example, Lynx
has been used to build several Campus Wide Information Systems
(CWIS). In addition, Lynx can be used to build systems isolated
within a single LAN.
Online help is available while viewing any document. Press the
'?' or 'H' key (or the 'h' key if
vi-like key movement is not on) to see a list of help topics.
See the section titled Navigating
hypertext documents with Lynx for information on navigating
through the help files.
In addition, a summary description of all the Lynx keystroke commands
and their key bindings is available by pressing the 'K' key (or
the 'k' key if vi-like key movement is not on).
If you want to recall recent status-line messages, you can do so
by entering the `g' command, followed by `LYNXMESSAGES:'.
Lynx can be started by entering the Lynx command along with
the name of a file to display. For example these commands could
all be used to display an arbitrary ASCII text or HTML file:
When executed, Lynx will clear the screen and display as much of the
specified file as will fit on the screen. Pressing a down-arrow
will bring up the next screen, and pressing an up-arrow will bring
up the previous screen. If no file is specified at startup, a default file
will be displayed, depending on settings e.g., in lynx.cfg.
Lynx will display local files written in the HyperText Markup
Language (HTML), if the file's name ends with the characters
.html, .htm, .shtml, .htmlx,
.html3, or .ht3. HTML is a file format that allows users
to create a file that contains (among other things) hypertext links to other
files. Several files linked together may be described as a
hypertext document. If the filename does not have one of the
suffixes mapped by Lynx to HTML, the -force_html command line
option can be included to force treatment of the file as hypertext.
When Lynx displays an HTML file, it shows links as "bold face"
text, except for one link, which is shown as "highlighted" text.
Whether "boldface" or "highlighted" text shows up as reverse
video, boldface type, or a color change, etc. depends on the
display device being used (and the way in which that device has
been configured). Lynx has no control over the exact presentation
The one link displayed as "highlighted" text is the currently
"selected" link. Lynx will display the file associated with the
selected link when a right-arrow or a Return key is
pressed. To select a particular link, press the up-arrow or
down-arrow keys until the desired link becomes "highlighted,"
and then press the right-arrow or Return key to view
the linked information. Information included in the HTML file tells Lynx
where to find the linked file and what kind of server will provide it
(i.e., HTTP, Gopher, etc.).
Lynx renders HTML files and saves the rendition (and the source, if
so configured in the lynx.cfg file)
for initial display and should you select the link again. If you do
select a link again and have reason to desire a new fetch and rendering
of the file, use the NOCACHE command, normally mapped to 'x' and
'X', instead of the right-arrow or Return key
when positioned on the link. You also can force a new fetch and rendering
of the currently displayed document via the RELOAD command, normally mapped
When a binary file is encountered Lynx will ask the user if he/she
wishes to download the file or cancel. If the user selects 'D'
for download, Lynx will transfer the file into a temporary location and
present the user with a list of options. The only default option is
Save to disk, which is disabled if Lynx is running in anonymous
mode. Additional download methods may be defined in the
lynx.cfg file. Programs like kermit, zmodem
and FTP are some possible options. [ToC]
To exit Lynx use the 'q' command. You will be asked whether
you really want to quit. Answering 'y' will exit and 'n'
will return you to the current document. Use 'Q' or
Control-D to quit without verification. [ToC]
If you wish to view a remote file (that is, a file residing on
some computer system other than the one upon which you are running
Lynx) without first viewing a local file, you must identify that
file by using a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). URLs take the
PROTOCOL :// HOST / PATH
Here are some sample URLs.
- identifies the communications protocol (scheme) used
by the server that will provide the file. As mentioned earlier,
Lynx (and any WWW client) can interact with a variety of servers,
each with its own protocol.
- is the Internet address of the computer system on which the
server is running, and
- is a scheme-specific field which for some schemes may
correspond to a directory path and/or filename.
Lynx also will attempt to create a complete URL if you include adequate
portions of it in the startfile argument. For example:
- HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- WAIS (Wide Area Information Service protocol)
- A URL may be specified to Lynx on the command line, as in:
wfbr will be expanded to:
ftp.more.net/pub will be expanded to:
See URL Schemes Supported by Lynx for
more detailed information. [ToC]
You may also specify a starting file for Lynx using the WWW_HOME
Note that on VMS the double-quoting must be included to preserve
The process of moving within a hypertext web, selecting and displaying
links is known as "navigation." With Lynx almost all navigation can be
accomplished with the arrow keys and the numeric keypad.
setenv WWW_HOME http://www.w3.org/
define "WWW_HOME" "http://www.w3.org/"
WWW_HOME=http://www.w3.org/ [or in registry]
| TOP | /|\ | Page |
arrow keys | of | | | UP |
| text 7| | 8| 9|
| SELECT | | | | |
| prev /|\| | <--- | | ---> |
| link | | | 4| 5| 6|
| BACK | SELECT | DISPLAY | | END | | | Page |
|<-- prev | next | | sel. -->| | of | | | DOWN |
| doc. | link \|/| link | | text 1| \|/ 2| 3|
There are also a few other keyboard commands to aid in navigation. The
Control and Function keys used for navigation within the current document
are described in Scrolling and Other useful commands. Some
additional commands depend on the fact that Lynx keeps a list of each
link you visited to reach the current document, called the History Page, and a
list of all links visited during the current Lynx session, called the Visited Links Page. The
HISTORY keystroke command, normally mapped to Backspace or
Delete, will show you the History Page of links leading to
your access of the current document. Any of the previous documents shown in
the list may be revisited by selecting them from the history screen. The
VLINKS keystroke command, normally mapped to uppercase 'V', will
show the Visited Links Page, and you similarly can select links in
that list. The MAIN_MENU keystroke command, normally mapped to 'm'
and 'M', will take you back to the starting document unless you
specified the -homepage=URL option at the command line. Also, the
LIST and ADDRLIST keystroke commands, normally mapped to 'l' and
A' respectively, will create a compact lists of all the links in
the current document, and they can be selected via those lists.
The 'i' key presents an index of documents. The default index
offered contains many useful links, but can be changed in lynx.cfg
or on the command line using the -index=URL switch.
If you choose a link to a server with active access authorization, Lynx
will automatically prompt for a username and a password. If you give the
correct information, you will then be served the requested information.
Lynx will automatically send your username and password to the same server
if it is needed again. [ToC]
Rendered HTML documents, and plain text files, may be printed using the
'p' command while viewing the document. After pressing the
'p' key a menu of Print Options will be displayed. The
menu will vary according to several factors. First, some sites set up
special accounts to let users run Lynx to access local information systems.
Typically these accounts require no passwords and do not require users to
identify themselves. As a result such accounts are called "anonymous"
accounts, and their users are considered "anonymous" users. In most
configurations, all Lynx users (including anonymous users) are able to
mail files to themselves and print the entire file to the screen.
Additional print options are available for users who are using
Lynx from their own accounts (that is, so-called "non-anonymous
users"). In particular, the Save to a local file
option allows you to save the document into a file on your disk
space. Additional print options may also be
available as configured in the lynx.cfg file.
Some options, such as Save to a local file, involve prompting
for an output filename. All output filename entries are saved in a
circular buffer, and any previous entries can be retrieved for re-use by
pressing the up-arrow or down-arrow keys at the prompt.
Note that if you want exact copies of text files without any expansions
of TAB characters to spaces you should use the
When viewing HTML documents it is possible to retrieve and display the
unrendered (i.e., the original HTML) source of the document by pressing
the '\' (backslash) key. Lynx usually caches only the rendering
of the document and doesn't keep the source (unless it is configured to do
so in the lynx.cfg file), so to display the source
unrendered, Lynx must reload it from the server or disk.
When viewing unrendered documents you may print them as any normal document.
Selecting the Print to a local file option from the Print Menu,
makes it possible to save the source of the document to disk so that you
may have a local copy of the document source, but it is better to Download the source.
NOTE: When saving an HTML document it is important to name the
document with a .html or .htm extension, if you
want to read it with Lynx again later.
Lynx can allow users to edit documents that reside on the
local system. To enable editing, documents must be referenced using a
"file:" URL or by specifying a plain filename on the command line as
in the following two examples:
In addition, the user must also specify an editor in the
Options Menu so that Lynx knows which editor to use. If the
file is specified correctly and an editor is defined, then you may edit
documents by using the 'e' command. When the 'e'
command is entered your specified editor is spawned to edit the file.
After changes are completed, exit your editor and you will return to Lynx.
Lynx will reload and render the file so that changes can be immediately
If the DOWNLOAD keystroke command ('d' or D) is
used when positioned on a link for an HTML, plain text, or binary
file, Lynx will transfer the file, without rendering, into a
temporary location and present the user with a list of options,
just as it does when a link for a binary file of a type for which
no viewer has been mapped is activated.
There is a default Download option of Save to
disk. This is disabled if Lynx is running in anonymous
mode. Any number of download methods such as kermit and zmodem
may be defined in addition to this default in the
lynx.cfg file. Using the Save to disk option
under the PRINT command after viewing the source of an HTML with
the VIEW SOURCE (\) command will result in a file which
differs from the original source in various ways such as tab
characters expanded to spaces. Lynx formats the source presentation
in this mode. On the other hand, if the DOWNLOAD command is used,
the only change will be that Lynx optionally puts
<!--X-URL: http://www.site.foo/path/to/file.html -->
at the start of the file so that relative URLs in the document
will still work.
Even this modification can be prevented by setting
PREPEND_BASE_TO_SOURCE:FALSE in lynx.cfg.
Some options, such as Save to disk, involve prompting for an
output filename. All output filename entries are saved in a circular buffer,
and any previous entries can be retrieved for re-use by pressing the
up-arrow or down-arrow keys at the prompt.
The RELOAD (Control-R) command will reload and re-render the file
that you are currently viewing. The REFRESH (Control-L or
Control-W) command will refresh or wipe the screen to remove or
correct any errors that may be caused by operating system or other messages.
The NOCACHE ('x' or 'X') command can be used in lieu
of ACTIVATE (Return or right-arrow) to request an uncached
copy and new rendition for the current link, or resubmission of a FORM, if a
cache from a previous request or submission exits. The request or submission
will include Pragma: no-cache and Cache-Control: no-cache
in its headers. Note that FORMs with POST content will be resubmitted
regardless of whether the NOCACHE or ACTIVATE command is used (see Lynx and HTML Forms).
Two commands activate searching in Lynx: '/' and 's'.
While viewing a normal document use the '/' command
to find a word or phrase within the current document. The search
type will depend on the search option setting in the Options Menu. The search options
are case sensitive and case insensitive. These searches are
entirely local to Lynx.
Some documents are designated index documents by virtue of an
ISINDEX element in their HEAD section. These documents can be used to
retrieve additional information based on searches using words or phrases
submitted to an index server. The Lynx statusline will indicate that you
are viewing such a document, and if so, the 's' key will invoke a
statusline prompt to enter a query string. The prompt can be specified via
a PROMPT attribute in the ISINDEX element. Otherwise, Lynx will use an
internally configured prompt. The address for submitting the search can be
specified via an HREF or ACTION attribute. Otherwise, Lynx will use the
current document's URL and append your query string as a ?searchpart
(see Supported URLs).
All search words or strings which you have entered during a Lynx session
are saved in a circular buffer, and can be retrieved for re-use by pressing
the up-arrow or down-arrow keys at the prompt for a search
word or string. Also, you can use the 'n'ext command to repeat a
search with the last-entered search word or phrase, starting from the current
position in the document. The word or phrase matches will be highlighted
throughout the document, but such highlighting will not persist for new
documents, or if the current document is reloaded. The search cycles to the
top of the document if the word or phrase is not located below your current
Although HTML Forms have largely replaced index
documents for searches via http servers, they are still useful for performing
searches directly via WAIS or Gopher servers in conjunction with the internal
gateways for such servers. For example, an HTML index document can act as a
cover page describing a WAIS database and how to formulate query
strings for searching it, and include an element such as:
<ISINDEX PROMPT="Enter WAIS query:"
for submitting a search of the Biologist's Addresses database directly
to the net.bio.net WAIS server. [ToC]
The Lynx Options Menu may be accessed by pressing the 'o'
key. It allows you to change options at runtime, if you need to.
Most changes are read from & saved to your .lynxrc file; those which are not
are marked (!) in the form-based menu (as below). Many other options
are stored in the lynx.cfg file.
Lynx supports two styles of Options Menu, key-based & form-based.
The form-based menu shown below is an HTML file generated at runtime,
in which the user fills in choices as in any ordinary HTML form.
Options Menu (Lynx Version 2.8.6rel.2)
Accept Changes - Reset Changes Left Arrow cancels changes HELP!
Save options to disk: [_]
(options marked with (!) will not be saved)
User mode : [Advanced....]
Editor : __________________________________________
Type of Search : [Case insensitive]
Security and Privacy
Cookies (!) : [ask user..]
Invalid-Cookie Prompting (!) : [prompt normally___]
SSL Prompting (!) : [prompt normally___]
Keypad mode : [Links are numbered................]
Emacs keys : [OFF]
VI keys : [OFF]
Line edit style : [Bash-like Bindings]
Keyboard layout : [YAWERTY Cyrillic, for DEC LK201 kbd]
Display and Character Sets
Use locale-based character set(!): [OFF]
Display character set : [Cyrillic (ISO-8859-5)..........]
Assumed document character set(!): [iso-8859-1......]
Raw 8-bit (!) : [OFF]
X Display (!) : __________________________________________
Show color : [ON....]
Show cursor : [OFF]
Underline links (!) : [OFF]
Show scrollbar : [OFF]
Popups for select fields : [ON.]
HTML error recovery (!) : [strict (SortaSGML mode)]
Show images (!) : [as labels]
Verbose images : [OFF..........]
Headers Transferred to Remote Servers
Personal mail address : __________________________________________
Password for anonymous ftp : __________________________________________
Preferred media type (!) : [Accept lynx's internal types]
Preferred encoding (!) : [All_____]
Preferred document character set : _________________________________
Preferred document language : _________________________________
User-Agent header (!) : __________________________________________
Listing and Accessing Files
FTP sort criteria : [By Name]
Local directory sort criteria : [Mixed style......]
Local directory sort order : [By name..........]
Show transfer rate : [Show KiB/sec, ETA]
Show dot files : [ON.]
Execution links : [FOR LOCAL FILES ONLY]
Special Files and Screens
Multi-bookmarks : [ADVANCED]
Review/edit Bookmarks files : Goto multi-bookmark menu
Visited Pages : [As Visit Tree..........]
Check your lynx.cfg here
Accept Changes - Reset Changes Left Arrow cancels changes
The key-based menu depends on key-strokes to identify options
which the user wants to change. It is compiled into Lynx
and is accessed by setting FORMS_OPTIONS to TRUE in
Options Menu (Lynx Version 2.8.6rel.2)
(E)ditor : emacs
(D)ISPLAY variable : aixtest.cc.ukans.edu:0.0
mu(L)ti-bookmarks: OFF B)ookmark file: lynx_bookmarks.html
(F)TP sort criteria : By Filename
(P)ersonal mail address : email@example.com
(S)earching type : CASE INSENSITIVE
preferred document lan(G)uage: en
preferred document c(H)arset : NONE
display (C)haracter set : Western (ISO-8859-1)
raw 8-bit or CJK m(O)de : ON show color (&) : OFF
(V)I keys: OFF e(M)acs keys: OFF sho(W) dot files: OFF
popups for selec(T) fields : ON show cursor (@) : OFF
(K)eypad mode : Numbers act as arrows
li(N)e edit style : Default Binding
l(I)st directory style : Mixed style
(U)ser mode : Advanced verbose images (!) : ON
user (A)gent : [User-Agent header]
local e(X)ecution links : FOR LOCAL FILES ONLY
An option can be changed by entering the capital letter or character in
parentheses for the option you wish to change (e.g., 'E' for Editor
or '@' for show cursor). For fields where text must be entered,
simply enter the text by typing on the keyboard. The Line Editor can be used to
correct mistakes, and Control-U can be used to erase the
line. When you are done entering a change press the Return key
to get back to the Command? prompt.
For fields where you must choose one of two choices, press any key
to toggle the choices and press the Return key to finish the
For fields where you potentially have more than two choices,
popup windows may be evoked which function homologously to those
for select fields in HTML Forms. The popup
windows will be invoked only if you have popups for select fields
set to ON (see below). Otherwise, your cursor will be positioned
at the current choice, and you can press any key to cycle through
the choices, then press the Return key to finish the
When you are done changing options use the 'r' command to
return to Lynx or the '>' command to save the options to a
.lynxrc file and return to Lynx.
The following table describes the options available on the
At any time while viewing documents within Lynx, you may use the
'c' command to send a mail message to the owner of the current
document if the author of the document has specified ownership. (Note to
authors: if you want to assign the ownership to your document, you need to add
into HEAD section a LINK element with appropriate value for REV attribute. Two
values are recognized: owner and made (these are case
insensitive). For example,
- Assumed document character set
- This option changes the handling of documents which do not
explicitly specify a charset. Normally Lynx assumes that 8-bit
characters in those documents are encoded according to iso-8859-1
(the official default for the HTTP protocol). Unfortunately,
many non-English web pages "forget" to include proper charset info;
this option helps you to browse those broken pages if you know
by some means what the charset is. When the value
given here or by an -assume_charset command line flag is in effect,
Lynx will treat documents as if they were encoded accordingly.
This option active when 'Raw 8-bit or CJK Mode' is OFF.
- Bookmark file
- When multi-bookmarks is OFF, this is the filename and location
of your default personal bookmark file. Enter 'B' to
modify the filename and/or location via the Line Editor.
Bookmark files allow frequently traveled links to be stored in
personal easy to access files. Using the 'a'dd bookmark
link command (see Lynx bookmarks) you may save
any link that does not have associated POST content into a
bookmark file. All bookmark files must be in or under your
account's home directory. If the location specified does not
begin with a dot-slash (./), its presence will still be assumed,
and referenced to the home directory. When multi-bookmarks is
STANDARD or ADVANCED, entering 'B' will invoke a menu
of up to 26 bookmark files (associated with the letters of the
English alphabet), for editing their filenames and locations
(filepath), and descriptions. Lynx will create bookmark
files, if they don't already exist, when you first 'a'dd
a bookmark link to them. However, if you've specified a
subdirectory (e.g., ./BM/lynx_bookmarks.html), that subdirectory
must already exist. Note that on VMS you should use the URL
syntax for the filepath (e.g., not
For Win32, see [???].
- DISPLAY variable
- This option is only relevant to X Window users. The DISPLAY
(Unix) or DECW$DISPLAY (VMS) variable is picked up automatically
from the environment if it has been previously set.
- Display Character set
- This option allows you to set up the default character set for
your specific terminal. The display character set provides a
mapping from the character encodings of viewed documents and
from HTML entities into viewable characters. It should be set
according to your terminal's character set so that characters
other than 7-bit ASCII can be displayed correctly, using
approximations if necessary. You must have the selected
character set installed on your terminal. (Since Lynx now
supports a wide range of platforms it may be useful to note
that cpXXX codepages used within IBM PC computers, and
windows-xxxx within native MS-Windows apps.)
- The editor to be invoked when editing browsable files, when
sending mail or comments, when preparing a news article for
posting, and for external TEXTAREA editing. The full pathname
of the editor command should be specified when possible.
- Emacs keys
- If set to ON then the CTRL-P, CTRL-N, CTRL-F, and CTRL-B keys
will be mapped to up-arrow, down-arrow, right-arrow, and
left-arrow, respectively. Otherwise, they remain mapped to
their configured bindings (normally UP_TWO lines, DOWN_TWO
lines, NEXT_PAGE, and PREV_PAGE, respectively).
Note: this has no direct effect on the line-editor's key bindings.
- FTP sort criteria
- This option allows you to specify how files will be sorted
within FTP listings. The current options include
By Filename", "
By Type", and "
- Keypad as arrows, numbered links, numbered fields, or numbered links and form fields
- This option gives the choice among navigating with the arrow
keys, or having every link numbered so that the links may be
selected or made current by numbers as well as using the arrow
keys, or having every link as well as every form field numbered
so that they can be selected or sought by numbers. See the
Follow link (or page) number: and
Select option (or page) number:
help for more information.
- Line edit style
- This option allows you to set alternative key bindings for the
built-in line editor, if alternative line-edit bindings have
been compiled in. Otherwise, Lynx uses the Default Binding.
- List directory style
- Applies to Directory Editing. Files and directories can be
presented in the following ways:
- Mixed style
- Files and directories are listed together in alphabetical
- Directories first
- Files and directories are separated into two alphabetical
lists. Directories are listed first.
- Files first
- Files and directories are separated into two alphabetical
lists. Files are listed first.
The Options Form also allows you to sort by the file attributes,
using the Local directory sort order:
- By name
- by filename (the default)
- By size
- by file size, in descending order
- By date
- by file modification time, in descending order
- By mode
- by file protection
- By type
- by filename suffix, e.g., the text beginning with '.'
- By user
- by file owner's user-id
- By group
- by file owner's group-id
- Local execution scripts or links
- Local execution is activated when Lynx is first set up.
If it has not been activated you will not see this option
in the Options Menu.
- When a local execution script is encountered Lynx checks the
users options to see whether the script can be executed. Users
have the following options:
- Always off
- Local execution scripts will never be executed
- For Local files only
- Local execution scripts will only be executed if the
script to be executed resides on the local machine,
and is referenced by a URL that begins with
- Always on
- All local execution scripts will be executed
- If the users options permit the script to be executed Lynx will
spawn a shell and run the script. If the script cannot be
executed Lynx will show the script within the Lynx window and
inform the user that the script is not allowed to be executed
and will ask the user to check his/her options.
- Lynx supports a default bookmark file, and up to 26 total
bookmark files (see below). When multi-bookmarks is OFF,
the default bookmark file is used for the 'v'iew
bookmarks and 'a'dd bookmark link commands. If
multi-bookmark support is available in your account, the
setting can be changed to STANDARD or ADVANCED. In STANDARD
mode, a menu of available bookmarks always is invoked when
you seek to view a bookmark file or add a link, and you select
the bookmark file by its letter token (see
Bookmark file, below) in that menu. In ADVANCED mode,
you instead are prompted for the letter of the desired bookmark
file, but can enter '=' to invoke the STANDARD selection
menu, or RETURN for the default bookmark file.
- Password for anonymous ftp
- If this is blank, Lynx will use your personal mail address
as the anonymous ftp password. Though that is the convention,
some users prefer to use some other string which provides
less information. If the given value lacks a "@", Lynx also
will use your computer's hostname as part of the password.
If both this field and the personal mail address are blank,
Lynx will use your $USER environment variable, or "WWWuser"
if even the environment variable is unset.
- Personal mail address
- This mail address will be used to help you send files to
yourself and will be included as the From: address in any mail
or comments that you send. It will also be sent as the From:
field in HTTP or HTTPS requests if inclusion of that header
has been enabled via the NO_FROM_HEADER definition in
(the compilation default is not to send the header), or via the
-from command line toggle.
- Popups for select fields
- Lynx normally uses a popup window for the OPTIONs in form
SELECT fields when the field does not have the MULTIPLE
attribute specified, and thus only one OPTION can be selected.
The use of popup windows can be disabled by changing this setting
to OFF, in which case the OPTIONs will be rendered as a list of
radio buttons. Note that if the SELECT field does have the
MULTIPLE attribute specified, the OPTIONs always are rendered
as a list of checkboxes.
- Preferred Document Language
- The language you prefer if multi-language files are available
from servers. Use RFC 1766 abbreviations, e.g., en for English,
fr for French, etc. Can be a comma-separated list, which may
be interpreted by servers as descending order of preferences.
You can also make your order of preference explicit by using
q factors as defined by the HTTP protocol, for servers which
understand it, for example:
da, en-gb;q=0.8, en;q=0.7
- Preferred Document Charset
- The character set you prefer if sets in addition to ISO-8859-1
and US-ASCII are available from servers. Use MIME notation
(e.g., ISO-8859-2) and do not include ISO-8859-1 or US-ASCII,
since those values are always assumed by default. Can be a
comma-separated list, which may be interpreted by servers as
descending order of preferences. You can also make your order
of preference explicit by using q factors as defined by the
HTTP protocol, for servers which understand it, for example:
- Preferred Encoding
- When doing a GET, lynx tells what types of compressed data it can
decompress (the "Accept-Encoding:" string). This is determined by
compiled-in support for decompression or external decompression
programs. Use this option to select none, one or all of the
supported decompression types.
- Preferred Media Type
- When doing a GET, lynx lists the MIME types which it knows how
to present (the "Accept:" string). Depending on your system
configuration, the mime.types or other data given by the
GLOBAL_EXTENSION_MAP may include many entries that lynx really does
not handle. Use this option to select one of the built-in subsets
of the MIME types that lynx could list in the Accept.
- Accept lynx's internal types
- list only the types that are compiled into lynx.
- Also accept lynx.cfg's types
- lists types defined in lynx.cfg, e.g., the VIEWER and
Cern RULE or RULESFILE settings.
- Also accept user's types
- lists types from the PERSONAL_EXTENSION_MAP setting in
- Also accept system's types
- lists types from the GLOBAL_EXTENSION_MAP setting in
- Accept all types
- adds the types that are in lynx's built-in tables for
external programs that may be used to present a
- Raw 8-bit or CJK Mode
- Whether 8-bit characters are assumed to correspond with the
display character set and therefore are processed without
translation via the chartrans conversion tables. Should be ON
by default when the display character set is one of the
Asian (CJK) sets and the 8-bit characters are Kanji multibytes.
Should be OFF for the other display character sets,
but can be turned ON
when the document's charset is unknown (e.g., is not ISO-8859-1
and no charset parameter was specified in a reply header from
an HTTP server to indicate what it is) but you know by some
means that you have the matching display character set selected.
Should be OFF when an Asian (CJK) set is selected but the document
is ISO-8859-1 or another 'assumed document character set'.
The setting also can be toggled via the RAW_TOGGLE
command, normally mapped to '@', and at startup via the
- Show color.
- This option will be present if color support is available.
If set to ON or ALWAYS, color mode will be forced on if possible.
If (n)curses color support is available but cannot be used for
the current terminal type, selecting ON is rejected with a message.
If set to OFF or NEVER, color mode will be turned off.
NEVER are not offered in anonymous accounts. If saved to a
.lynxrc file in non-anonymous accounts, ALWAYS will
cause Lynx to set color mode on at startup if supported.
If Lynx is built with the slang library, this is equivalent to
having included the -color command line switch or having the
COLORTERM environment variable set. If color support is
provided by curses or ncurses, this is equivalent to the default
behavior of using color when the terminal type supports it.
If (n)curses color support is available but cannot be used for
the current terminal type, the preference can still be saved
but will have no effect.
A saved value of NEVER will
cause Lynx to assume a monochrome terminal at startup.
It is similar to the -nocolor switch, but (when the
slang library is used) can be overridden with the -color
If the setting is OFF or ON
when the current options are saved to a .lynxrc file,
the default startup behavior is retained, such that color mode
will be turned on at startup only if the terminal info indicates
that you have a color-capable terminal, or (when the
slang library is used) if forced on via the
-color switch or COLORTERM variable. This
default behavior always is used in anonymous accounts, or if
the option_save restriction is set explicitly. If
for any reason the startup color mode is incorrect for your
terminal, set it appropriately on or off via this option.
- Searching type
- Searching type has two possible values: CASE INSENSITIVE
(default) and CASE SENSITIVE. The searching type effects
inter-document searches only, and determines whether searches
for words within documents will be done in a case-sensitive or
- Show cursor for current link or option.
- Lynx normally hides the cursor by positioning it to the right
and if possible the very bottom of the screen, so that the
current link or OPTION is indicated solely by its highlighting
or color. If show cursor is set to ON, the cursor will be
positioned at the left of the current link or OPTION. This
is helpful when Lynx is being used with a speech or braille
interface. It also is useful for sighted users when the
terminal cannot distinguish the character attributes used
to distinguish the current link or OPTION from the others in
the screen display.
- Show dot files
- If display/creation of hidden (dot) files/directories is
enabled, you can turn the feature on or off via this setting.
- Use locale-based character set
- This option allows you to request lynx to obtain a MIME name
from the operating system which corresponds to your locale
setting. If successful, it overrides the normal setting of
the display character set.
- Underline links
- Use underline-attribute rather than bold for links.
- User Agent
- The header string which Lynx sends to HTTP servers to indicate the
User-Agent is displayed here. Changes may be disallowed via
the -restrictions switch. Otherwise, the header can be
changed temporarily to a string such as L_y_n_x/2.8.6
for access to sites which discriminate against Lynx based on
checks for the presence of "Lynx" in the header. If
the User-Agent header has been changed, it can
be restored to the built-in default value
by deleting the modified string in the
Options Menu. Whenever the User-Agent header is
changed, the current document is reloaded, with the no-cache
flags set, on exit from the Options Menu. Changes of
the header are not saved in the RC file.
- NOTE: Some sites may regard misrepresenting
as fraudulent deception, or as gaining unauthorized access, if
it is used to circumvent blocking that was intentionally put in
place. Some browser manufacturers may find the transmission of
their product's name objectionable. If you change the User-Agent
string, it is your responsibility. The Options Menu issues
a reminder whenever the
header is changed to one which does not include "Lynx"
- User Mode
- There are three possible choices: Novice, Intermediate, and
- In Novice mode two lines of help are displayed at the
bottom of the screen.
- Intermediate mode turns off the help lines.
- Advanced mode displays the URL of the currently selected
link at the bottom of the screen.
- Verbose Images
- Controls whether or not Lynx replaces the [LINK], [INLINE] and
[IMAGE] comments (for images without ALT) with filenames of these
images. This is extremely useful because now we can determine
immediately what images are just decorations (button.gif, line.gif)
and what images are important. This setting can also be toggled
on startup via the -verbose switch.
- VI keys
- If set to ON then the lowercase h, j, k, and l keys will be
mapped to left, down, up, and right arrow, respectively. The
uppercase H, J, K, and L keys remain mapped to their configured
bindings (normally HELP, JUMP, KEYMAP, and LIST, respectively).
Note: this has no effect on the line-editor's key bindings.
- Visited Pages
- Enable several different views of the visited links:
- By First Visit
- By First Visit Reversed
- As Visit Tree
- By Last Visit
- By Last Visit Reversed
<LINK REV="made" HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">
You may also add a TITLE attribute with, for example, the name of your page) If
no ownership is specified then comments are disabled. Certain links called
mailto: links will also allow
you to send mail to other people. Using the mail features within Lynx is
Once you have decided to send a comment or have selected a
mailto: link a new screen will appear showing you to whom you
are sending the message. Lynx will ask for your name, your e-mail
address, and the subject of the message. If you have filled in the
"personal mail address" field in the Options Menu, your e-mail
address will be filled in automatically. After entering the above
information, if you have an editor defined in the Options Menu
and you are not an anonymous user then your specified editor will be
spawned for you so that you can enter your message. If you do not have
an editor defined or you are an anonymous user, a simple line mode input
scheme will allow you to enter your message.
To finish sending the message, exit your spawned editor or, if you are
using the simple line mode input scheme, type a '.' (period) on
a line by itself. You will be asked a final time whether to send the
message. If you press 'y', you will be prompted whether to
append your signature file if one was defined in
lynx.cfg and is accessible,
and then the message will be sent, whereas if you press 'n' the
message will be deleted. Entering Control-G in response to any prompts
also will cancel the mailing.[ToC]
While reading news articles with Lynx you should see a link that says
Reply to: user@host and, if the nntp server from which you
received the article supports posting from your site, a link that says
Followup to: newsgroup(s)
See also RFC 977.
Bookmarks are entries in your bookmark file, which record
the URL of a document you may want to return to easily, with a name
of your choice to identify the document. To use bookmarks
you must first have specified a name for your bookmark file
in lynx.cfg or via the Options Menu.
- Reply to user@host
- user@host will correspond to the mail address of the
person who posted the news article. Selecting the link will
allow you to send a message to the person who wrote the message
you are currently viewing. You will be given the option of
including the original message in your reply.
- Followup to newsgroup(s)
- Selecting this link will allow you to post back to the
newsgroup that you are currently reading and any newsgroups
to which the message was cross-posted. You will be given
the option of including the original message in your reply.
Once you have typed in your message, you will be asked for
confirmation of whether to proceed with the posting, and
whether to append your signature file if one was defined in
lynx.cfg and is accessible. See Supported URLs for more
information about the URL schemes for posting or sending
followups (replies) to nntp servers with Lynx.
To save a bookmark to the document you wish to place in the
bookmark file press the 'a' key and you will be asked:
Save D)ocument or L)ink to bookmark file or C)ancel? (d,l,c):
Answer 'd' to save a link to the document you are currently
viewing or 'l' to save the link that is currently selected on
the page. Selecting 'c' will cancel without saving anything to
your bookmark file.
A bookmark file will be created in conjunction with acting on the
'a'dd command if it does not already exist. Otherwise, the link
will be added to the bottom of the pre-existing bookmark file. You must
have created a bookmark file via the 'a'dd command before you
can view it.
Use the 'v' command to view the list of bookmarks you have
saved. While viewing the bookmark list you may select a bookmark as you
would any other link.
You can remove a link from the bookmark list by pressing the
'r' key when positioned on that link. You also can use a
standard text editor (e.g., via the 'e'dit command while viewing
a bookmark file, if an external editor has been defined via the Options
menu) to delete or re-order links in the bookmark file, or to modify
a link name by editing the content of the Anchor element for the
link, but you should not change the format within the line for the link,
consisting of an LI element followed by the Anchor
element, nor cause the line to become wrapped to a second line. You
similarly can change the link destination by editing the double-quoted
value for the HREF attribute in the Anchor start tag,
but you should not otherwise change the spacing within the start tag, nor
add other attributes. You can add a new link while editing by copying
an existing line for a link, to ensure the proper format, and then
modifying its HREF value and Anchor content, but you
should not add any other HTML markup to the bookmark file. If the format
and spacing (other than the Anchor content or HREF value)
within lines is changed or other HTML markup is added, the 'a'dd
and 'r'emove commands may not work properly.
When multi-bookmarks (see Options Menu) is OFF, you will
always view or add links to the default bookmark file. When it
is STANDARD, a menu of up to 26 bookmark files will be invoked,
and you select the bookmark file by entering its letter
token. When it is ADVANCED, you will be prompted for the letter
token, but can enter '=' to invoke the STANDARD
selection menu, or RETURN for the default bookmark file.
Similar to the bookmarks file is the jumps file: for an example,
look in the samples subdirectory in the distribution package.
To use the jumps command, create a jumps file with the same format
as the sample file, but containing your own URLs & short-cut names.
Once you have done that, typing 'j' prompts you to enter
a short-cut name, which will take you straight to the URL
associated with the short-cut in the jumps file,
much like using 'g'.
If you want to check which short-cuts are available,
type '?' at the jump prompt for the full list.
All jump short-cuts you have entered are saved in a circular buffer
in the same way as with 'g' and '/' (search):
previous entries can be retrieved with up-arrow
The jumps feature is especially useful for system administrators
who have unsophisticated users to care for, but ordinary Lynx users
who have a number of URLs they regularly visit while browsing
may find using the jumps command speeds their movements.
For more advice how to set up the jumps command on your system
and how to define short-cut names, read lynx.cfg .
Lynx offers extended DIRED support on Unix (on VMS the more powerful
CSwing program is recommended for character cell terminals, and can be
offered via Lynx as a jump shortcut or execution link). When a local
directory is accessed using a URL of the form
file://localhost/path/, a new set of commands is available.
With DIRED support you can create, edit, delete, copy, and move files
on your local system. The commands available in DIRED mode are
A limited range of colors & mouse commands are available, if the user chooses:
see lynx.cfg for details.
A summary of all the keystroke commands and their key bindings can
be invoked via the KEYMAP command, normally mapped to 'k' and
'K'. The following describes some of the most commonly used
- Type 'c' to create a new file. New file will be empty.
- Type 'd' to download using one of the pre-defined options.
- Type 'e' to spawn the editor defined in Options Menu
and load a selected file for editing.
- Type 'f' to show full menu of options available for selection.
Menu may vary according to type of file selected and compression
- Type 'm' to modify the name or location of file. Then type
'n' to rename the file or 'l' to move the file to
a different location.
- Type 'r' to remove the selected file or directory.
- Type 't' to tag highlighted file. Further operations will be
performed on tagged files instead of highlighted ones.
- Type 'u' to upload a file to the present directory.
An uploading method must have been pre-defined in
This section describes the Lynx Forms Interface. HTML gives document
providers the ability to create on-line forms which may be filled out
when the document is viewed. When a form is submitted the information
on the form can be used to search a database or complete a survey.
- Control-A jumps you to the beginning of the current
document. It is a synonym for the Keypad Home key, and
can be used also when Links are numbered mode is on. The
Find Function key also is a synonym, and ideally the
latter has been mapped to the Function key labeled Home
if you are using an IBM Enhanced Keyboard.
- Control-E jumps you to the end of the current document.
It is a synonym for the Keypad End key, and can be used
also when Links are numbered mode is on. The Select
Function key also is a synonym, and ideally the latter has been
mapped to the Function key labeled End if you are using
an IBM Enhanced Keyboard.
- Control-B normally jumps you to the previous page of
the current document, and thus is a synonym for the Keypad and
Function Page-Up keys. However, Control-B
acts as right-arrow when emacs-like key movement is
enabled (see Lynx
- Control-F normally jumps you to the next page of the
current document, and thus is a synonym for the Keypad and
Function Page-Down keys. However, Control-F
becomes right-arrow when emacs-like key movement is
- Control-N normally jumps you forward two lines in the
current document. The Remove Function key (labeled
Delete on IBM Enhanced keyboards, and distinct
from their Backspace key) is a synonym.
Control-N becomes down-arrow when emacs-like
key movement is enabled.
- Control-P normally jumps you back two lines in the
current document. The Insert Function key is a synonym.
Control-P becomes up-arrow when emacs-like
key movement is enabled.
- The ) command jumps you forward half a page in the
- The ( command jumps you back half a page in the
- The '#' command jumps you to the pseudo Toolbar or
Banner if present in the current document. Use
left-arrow to return from there to your previous
position in the document.
- When '!' is pressed your default shell will be spawned.
When you quit or exit the shell you will return to Lynx (usually
exit under Unix and logout under VMS). This
command is usually disabled for anonymous users. On VMS,
'$' normally is a synonym.
On Win32, this has no effect [???].
- The 'g' command allows any URL to be viewed. Pressing
the 'g' command will bring up a prompt asking for a URL.
Type in the URL that you wish to view. All previously entered
goto URLs are saved in a circular buffer, and can be accessed at
the prompt by pressing the up-arrow or
- The 'G' command allows you to edit the URL of the
current document and then use that as a goto URL. Pressing
the 'G' command will bring up a prompt asking you
to edit the current document's URL. If you do not modify
it, or completely delete it, or enter Control-G, the command
will be cancelled. If the current document has POST content
associated with it, an Alert will be issued. If you do edit
that URL, and it does not simply involve a fragment change
(for seeking a position in the current document), the modified
URL will be submitted with method GET and no POST content. If
a modification of the current document's URL results in a
submission, that modified URL will be entered into the circular
buffer for goto URLs, and can be accessed for further
modification via the 'g' command.
- The 'E' command allows you to edit the URL (or ACTION)
of the current link and then use that as a goto URL. Pressing
the 'E' command will bring up a prompt asking you
to edit the current link's URL. If you do not modify it, or
completely delete it, or enter Control-G, the command will be
cancelled. Otherwise, the request for the 'E'dited URL will be
sent with method GET, and will be entered into the circular
buffer for goto URLs so that it can be accessed for further
modification via the 'g' command. Note that lower
case 'e' invokes the external editor for the current document.
- The '=' command shows information about the current
document and the currently selected link if there is one. The
number of lines in the file, URL, title, owner, and type are
- Control-T toggles Lynx trace mode on and off. This is
useful for diagnosing bad html. If you get a Bad HTML
statusline message when loading a document, enter
Control-T and then Control-R to reload the
document in trace mode. You may then examine the
Lynx Trace Log file with the ; command
if enabled (see below), watch out especially for lines marked
with a number of asterisks '
You also can submit the document for
validation via links in the online help menu. If you are able
to diagnose the problem, send a message about it to the
- The ; command shows the Lynx Trace Log
(Lynx.trace in the home directory) if one has been
started for the current session. If a log has not been started,
any trace messages will be sent to the screen
(and will disturb the normal display) unless the system supports
piping and that was used to redirect stderr messages to a file.
The log is started when Lynx trace mode is turned on via the
-trace command line switch, or via the
Control-T toggle, if Lynx has been compiled to log
the trace and other stderr messages by default. If not,
ability to create a log can be toggled on with
the -tlog switch. Note that this ability is
probably disabled in anonymous or validation accounts.
- The '*' command toggles image_links mode on and off.
When on, links will be created for all images, including inline images.
If you have an image viewer mapped to the image's MIME type, you
can activate such links to view an inline image. You should
normally have this mode toggled off.
- The '@' command toggles raw 8-bit or CJK mode on and off.
When on, the charset is assumed to match the selected character
set and 8-bit characters are not reverse translated with respect
to the ISO-8859-1 conversion tables.
- The '[' command toggles pseudo_inlines mode on and off.
When on, inline images which have no ALT string specified will
have an [INLINE] pseudo-ALT string inserted in the Lynx
display. When off, they will be treated as having ALT="" (i.e.,
they'll be ignored). If image_links mode is toggled on, the
pseudo-ALT strings will be restored, to serve as links to the
inline images' sources.
- The ']' command is used to send HEAD requests for the
current document or link. It applies only to documents or links
(or form submit buttons) of http servers. A statusline message
will notify you if the context for this command was inappropriate.
The HEAD requests always are sent to the http server, i.e., Lynx
does not retrieve any previous server replies from its cache.
Note that for form submissions, http servers vary in whether
they'll treat HEAD requests as valid and return the CGI script's
headers, or treat it as invalid and return an error message.
- Control-K invokes the Cookie Jar Page
if it contains cookies.
- Lynx supports completely interruptible I/O processes. Press the
'z' key at any time during a connect or transfer process
and the process will be halted. If any data was transferred
before the interrupt, it will be displayed.
- Lynx offers other, advanced navigation features when numbers
are used to invoke the
(or goto link or page) number:
Pop-up Option Number: prompts.
An HTML Form provides for the use of buttons to perform an action
(such as submit), checkboxes, radio buttons or popups to select
options from a list, and fields for entering text.
In general, you can move around the form using the standard Lynx navigation
keys. The up-arrow and down-arrow keys, respectively,
select the previous or next field, box, or button. The TAB key
selects the next field, box, or button.
- Buttons are displayed in the same way that Lynx displays links in
a document. To "push" the button press the right-arrow or
Return key. If it is a form submission button, you also can
use the NOCACHE ('x') or DOWNLOAD ('d') keystroke
commands to "push" the button (see below).
- Checkboxes and Radio buttons
- Checkboxes are displayed as square brackets: [ ] and radio
buttons are displayed as parenthesis: ( ). When a box is
checked or a button selected, an x appears in the brackets:
[x] or an asterisk appears within the parenthesis:
(*). To check a box or select a radio button press the
right-arrow or Return key.
- Selection Fields
- Selection fields are displayed as brackets with the default option
displayed between them: [default__]. To select an option
press the right-arrow or Return key. A box with
a border of asterisks (or line-drawing characters) will pop up with
the list of possible options listed within the box. Use the
up-arrow, down-arrow, page-up,
page-down, and other navigation keys to move the cursor
among options, and the right-arrow or Return key to
select an option. You also can use the '/' and 'n'ext
searching commands for navigating to options which
contain particular strings. NOTE that the popup menu
feature can be disabled via compilation and/or configuration options,
or via the Options Menu,
in which case the selection
field options will be converted to a list of radio buttons. The default
setting for use of popups or radio button lists can be toggled via the
-popup command line switch.
- Text Entry Fields
- Text entry (INPUT) fields are displayed as a row of underscores the
length of the entry field: _______. You may enter text directly
by typing at the keyboard. Use the Line Editor keys to
correct errors. If you try to input more text than the field can hold,
the line editor will not accept the additional characters. If you fill
a text field the cursor will not move off the field but remain at the
last field position. Use the up-arrow, and down-arrow,
TAB or Return keys to move up, or down from the text
entry field. NOTE, however, that Return also will submit the form if the text entry field is the
only non-hidden field in the form.
If "Textfields Need Activation" mode is turned on
(with the -tna command-line option or in lynx.cfg),
then text entry fields do not become active immediately upon being
selected, as normally. Keystrokes have their normal command meaning
unless the Line Editor gets activated with Return or Right
Arrow. This mode can be used to avoid "getting stuck" in input
fields, especially by users who rarely fill out forms.
NOTE: If you have a text input field selected you will not
have access to most of the Lynx keystroke commands, because they are
interpreted by the Line Editor as either text entries or editing commands. Select a
button or box when you want to use Lynx keystrokes; or prefix your
keystroke with ^V to temporarily escape from line editing.
Some flavors of UNIX, shells & terminal settings require
that you enter ^V^Ve in order to start the external editor,
as they also use ^V as default command-line quote key
(called `lnext' in stty man pages and `stty -a' output);
to avoid this, you can put `stty lnext undef' in your .cshrc
file (or .profile or .bashrc, depending on what shell you use),
or invoke Lynx with a wrapper script, e.g.
stty lnext undef
stty lnext ^V
NB when NOT in the Line Editor, ^V is by default bound
to the command
to switch between SortaSGML and TagSoup HTML parsing
To avoid confusion, either of these separate functions could be changed
(mapped away) with a KEYMAP directive in lynx.cfg. For
would map SWITCH_DTD away from ^V to #, while leaving
its default Line Editor function as a command escape in place. On the
would move ^V's Line Editor binding as command escape to
^_ for the first Line Edit style, letting ^V still
act as SWITCH_DTD
outside of text input fields.
- TEXTAREA Fields
- TEXTAREA fields are for most purposes handled as if they were a series of
text entry (INPUT) fields
for which successive lines imply a newline at the end of
the preceding line. You enter text on each line to construct the overall
message. Any blank lines at the bottom of the TEXTAREA field will be
eliminated from the submission. The up-arrow, and
down-arrow or Return keys move you to the preceding,
or next line of the overall message, as for INPUT fields. The
TAB key will move you down beyond the bottom of the TEXTAREA
field, and Back Tab (if available, e.g., as Shift-Tab, and
correctly mapped in the terminal description) will move backward to
a link or field before the TEXTAREA.
- Editing TEXTAREA Fields and Special TEXTAREA Functions
- TEXTAREA fields can be edited using an external editor.
The statusline should tell you when this is possible and what
key to use, it might for example say
(Textarea) Enter text. [ ..... ] (^Xe for editor).
An external editor has to be defined, for example in the Options Menu, before you can start
using this function.
A key to invoke external TEXTAREA editing is normally provided
by the Line-Editor Key Bindings.
A KEYMAP directive in lynx.cfg can also be used to
make a different key invoke external editing; it will then normally
be necessary to prefix that key with ^V to "escape" from
line-editing. Two variants exist,
(the first is only functional for TEXTAREA editing, while the second
allows to use the same key for normal file
editing as long as both functions don't conflict).
Please see the note above for details
about ^V behavior.
You can also use two other special TEXTAREA functions. Again, these
are already bound to key sequences in the Line-Editor
Bindings, by default ^Xg and ^Xi.
You can use different keys
by adding KEYMAP bindings to your lynx.cfg file, e.g.
With these bindings,
(in a TEXTAREA only) ^V$ would add 5 lines to the TEXTAREA
and ^V# would prompt for the name of an existing file
to be inserted into the TEXTAREA (above the cursorline).
An automatic variation of GROWTEXTAREA is normally compiled in,
so that hitting Enter with the cursor on the last line
adds a new line to the TEXTAREA, with the cursor on it.
If you have some single keys (or control keys) to spare that you
do not need for their normal purposes, you can dedicate those keys
to invoke the special functions (without requiring a prefix key).
For example, to use
the ^E key for the DWIMEDIT action, and
the Insert key for the INSERTFILE action,
(see lynx.cfg for other keystroke codes to use).
Note that the default bindings that use ^X as a prefix key
may also work by substituting the Escape key
for ^X. If your keyboard has a modifier (Meta) key that gets
transmitted as an ESC prefix, for example Alt, you can
then even use Alt-e instead of ^Xe, Alt-g
instead of ^Xg, and so on. But this does not work reliably
everywhere (it depends on the way Lynx is compiled, including which
libraries are used, and behavior of the connection and terminal type).
To submit the form press
right-arrow or Return when positioned on the form's
submit button. If you've submitted the form previously during the Lynx
session, have not changed any of the form content, and the METHOD was
GET, Lynx will retrieve from its cache what was returned from the
previous submission. If you wish to resubmit that form to the server with
the same content as previously, use the NOCACHE command ('x') when
positioned on the submit button. The right-arrow and Return
keys also will invoke a no-cache resubmission if the reply from a form
submission included a META element with a no-cache Pragma or Cache-Control
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Cache-Control" CONTENT="no-cache">
or the server sent a "Pragma" or "Cache-Control" MIME header with a
You also can use the DOWNLOAD ('d') keystroke command when
positioned on a form submit button if you wish to download the server's
reply to the submission instead of having Lynx render and display it.
Forms which have POST as the METHOD, or a mailto: URL as the ACTION, are always
resubmitted, even if the content has not changed, when you activate the
submit button. Lynx normally will not resubmit a form which has
POST as the METHOD if the document returned by the form has links
which you activated, and then you go back via the PREV_DOC
(left-arrow) command or via the History Page. Lynx can be
compiled so that it resubmits the form in those cases as well, and the default
can be changed via lynx.cfg, and toggled via the
-resubmit_posts command line switch.
If the form has one text entry field and no other fields except,
possibly, hidden INPUT fields not included in the display, then that field
also serves as a submit button, and pressing right-arrow
or Return on that field will invoke submission of the form. Be
sure to use up-arrow, down-arrow or TAB to move
off the text entry field, in such cases, if it is not your intention to
submit the form (or to retrieve what was returned from an earlier submission
if the content was not changed and the METHOD was GET).
Forms can have multiple submit buttons, if they have been
assigned NAMEs in the markup. In such cases, information about which
one of the buttons was used to submit the form is included in the form
Inlined images can be used as submit buttons in forms. If such
buttons are assigned NAMEs in the markup, for graphic clients they can
also serve as image maps, and the x,y coordinates of
the graphic client's cursor position in the image when it was
clicked are included in the form content. Since Lynx cannot
inline the image, and the user could not have moved a cursor from the
origin for the image, if no alternatives are made available in the
markup Lynx sends a 0,0 coordinate pair in the form content. Document
authors who use images as submit buttons, but have at least some concern
for text clients and sight-challenged Webizens, should include VALUEs for
the buttons in such markup. Lynx will then display the string assigned
to the VALUE, as it would for a normal submit button. Some document
authors incorrectly use an ALT instead of VALUE attribute for this purpose.
Lynx "cooperates" by treating ALT as a synonym for VALUE when present in
an INPUT tag with TYPE="image". If neither a VALUE nor an ALT attribute
is present, Lynx displays "[IMAGE]-Submit" as the string for such buttons.
If clickable images is set, the "[IMAGE]" portion of the string is a link
for the image, and the "Submit" portion is the button for submitting the
form. Otherwise, the entire string is treated as a submit button. If
a VALUE or ALT attribute is present and clickable images is set, Lynx
prepends "[IMAGE]" as a link for the image, followed by '-' and then
the attribute's value as the displayed string for the submit button.
Note that earlier versions of Lynx would send a name=value pair instead of
a 0,0 coordinate pair if a TYPE="image" submit button was NAME-ed, had a
VALUE attribute in the INPUT tag, and was used to submit the form. The
script which analyzes the form content thus could be made aware whether
the submission was by a user with a graphic client and had image loading
turned on, or by a user who did not see the image nor make a conscious
choice within it. However, requests that this be included in HTML
specifications consistently have fallen on deaf ears, and thus Lynx now
"fakes" a 0,0 coordinate pair whether or not a VALUE or ALT attribute is
present in the INPUT tag. Ideally, the script which analyzes the submitted
content will treat the 0,0 coordinate pair as an indicator that the user
did not see the image and make a conscious choice within it.
Forms can have hidden INPUT fields, which are not displayed,
but have NAMEs and VALUEs included in the content. These often are used
to keep track of information across a series of related form submissions,
but have the potential for including information about the user that might
be considered to represent an invasion of privacy. NOTE, in this regard,
that Lynx has implemented the HTML 3.0
DISABLED attribute for all of its form fields. These
can be used to keep track of information across submissions, and to cast
it unmodifiable in the current form, but keep the user aware that it will
be included in the submission.
Forms most commonly are submitted to http servers with the content encoded
as ENCTYPE="application/x-www-form-urlencoded" for analysis by a
script, and Lynx treats that as the default if no ENCTYPE is specified in the
FORM start tag. However, you can specify a mailto URL as the form's ACTION to
have the form content sent, instead, to an email address. In such cases, you
may wish to specify ENCTYPE="text/plain" in the form markup, so that
the content will not be encoded, but remain readable as plain text.
Lynx also supports ENCTYPE="application/sgml-form-urlencoded"
for which all reserved characters in the content will be hex escaped, as
with application/x-www-form-urlencoded, but semicolons
(';') instead of ampersands ('&') will be used as
the separator for name=value pairs in the form content. The use of
semicolons is preferred for forms with the GET METHOD, because
the GET METHOD causes the encoded form content to be appended
as a ?searchpart for the form's ACTION, and if such URLs are used
in text/html documents or bookmark files without conversion
of the ampersands to SGML character references (& or
&), their being followed by form field NAMEs which might
correspond to SGML entities could lead to corruption of the intended URL.
NOTE, in this regard, that Lynx converts ampersands to &
when creating bookmarks, and thus the bookmark links will not be vulnerable
to such corruptions. Also NOTE that Lynx allows you to save links in your
bookmark file for documents returned by forms with the GET METHOD,
and which thus have the content appended as a ?searchpart, but not
if the METHOD was POST, because the content would be lost and the
link thus would be invalid.
Lynx supports ENCTYPE="multipart/form-data" for sending form
content with name=value pairs encoded as multipart sections with individual
MIME headers and boundaries. However, Lynx does not yet support INPUTs
with TYPE="file" or TYPE="range" and
will set the DISABLED attribute for all of the form's fields if
any INPUTs with either of those two TYPEs are present, so that the form
can't be submitted. Otherwise, Lynx will submit the form with the multipart
A Content-Disposition: file; filename=name.suffix
header can be used by CGI scripts to set the suggested filename offered
by Lynx for 'd'ownload and 'p'rint menu options to save
or mail the body returned by the script following submission of a FORM.
Otherwise, Lynx uses the last symbolic element in the path for the FORM's
ACTION, which is normally the script, itself, or a PATH_INFO field, and
thus might be misleading. This also can be done via a META element in
As a text browser, Lynx does not display images as such
-- you need to define a viewer in lynx.cfg: see there -- ,
but users can choose a number of ways of showing their presence.
There are 3 choices in lynx.cfg, with 2 corresponding keys:
MAKE_LINKS_FOR_ALL_IMAGES * IMAGE_TOGGLE
MAKE_PSEUDO_ALTS_FOR_INLINES [ INLINE_TOGGLE
VERBOSE_IMAGES no corresponding key
You can also use the Options Menu, as outlined below:
key lynx.cfg FM KM .lynxrc variable in source
* MAKE_LINKS_ Y N N clickable_images
[ MAKE_PSEUDO_ Y N N pseudo_inline_alts
VERBOSE_ Y Y Y verbose_img
FM = Form-based Menu ; KM = Key-based Menu ;
in .lynxrc , VERBOSE_IMAGES is called `verbose_images':
the other two cannot be saved between sessions.
In the Form-based Menu, the 3-way `Show images' selection
combines the effects of the `*' & `[' keys, as follows:
Ignore clickable_images = FALSE, pseudo_inline_alts = FALSE
As labels clickable_images = FALSE, pseudo_inline_alts = TRUE
As links clickable_images = TRUE, pseudo_inline_alts = unchanged
HTML includes markup for creating tables structured as arrays of
cells aligned by columns and rows on the displayed page.
Lynx recognizes the TABLE element and all of its associated elements
as described in RFC 1942
and will process any ID attributes in the start tags for handling as NAME-ed
anchors, but does not create actual tables. Instead, it treats
the TR start tag as a collapsible BR (line break), and inserts a collapsible
space before the content of each TH and TD start tag. This generally makes
all of the content of the table readable, preserves most of the
intra-cell organization, and makes all of the links in the table
accessible, but any information critically dependent on the column and row
alignments intended for the table will be missed.
If inherently tabular data must be presented with Lynx, one can use PRE
formatted content, or, if the table includes markup not allowed
for PRE content, construct the table using HTML Tabs. An example table using TAB
elements is included in the test subdirectory of the Lynx distribution.
Starting with version 2.8.3, Lynx renders some tables in tabular
form. This tabular representation for simple tables
(TRST) does not attempt to implement full support for any table
model. Limitations are:
- All data constituting a table row generally has to fit within the
display width without inserting line breaks.
- Cell contents have to be simple. In general, only inline markup is
be ignored at the beginning of the first cell or at the end of the
last cell of a row).
- When tables are nested, only the innermost level is a candidate
for tabular representation.
- Most attributes are ignored, including borders,
Horizontal alignments (
interpreted according to HTML 4.01. (
can only reserve
empty space in subsequent rows, because of the limitations above.) When
TRST fails because a table is not "simple" enough, the representation falls
back to the minimal handling described earlier.
Many (but, unfortunately, by no means all) tables that represent inherently
tabular material will thus be shown with correct tabular formatting.
Where table markup is used only for layout purposes (containing whole blocks
of text and list within table cells) and not essential for understanding
the textual contents, it remains basically ignored. Some more information
on details is available in the file README.TRST
of the source
For tabular display of more complex tables, Lynx users can make use of
external scripts or programs. The normal Lynx distribution currently does
not provide such scripts, but they can be written locally or downloaded
from several sources. It is suggested to use one of Lynx's facilities for
invoking external programs (see DOWNLOADER, PRINTER,
EXTERNAL, TRUSTED_LYNXCGI in lynx.cfg and
Lynx implements the HTML 3.0
TAB element only when LEFT alignment is in effect. If the alignment is
CENTER or RIGHT (JUSTIFY is not yet implemented in Lynx, and is treated
as a synonym for LEFT), or if the TAB element indicates a position to the
left of the current position on the screen, it is treated as a collapsible
space. For purposes of implementing TAB, Lynx treats en units as
half a character cell width when specified by the INDENT attribute, and
rounds up for odd values (e.g., a value of either 5 or 6 will be treated
as three spaces, each the width of a character cell). See the example
table using TAB elements in the test subdirectory of the Lynx
distribution as a model for using this functionality.
lynxcgi: in Supported URLs for information on various
ways for setting this up).
Note that this Users Guide and the Supported URLs page include TAB markup in
a manner which degrades gracefully for WWW browsers which do not
support it. Toggle to display of source and search for <tab to examine the use of TAB markup
in these documents. [ToC]
Some implementations of HTML include markup, primarily designed for graphic
clients, that is intended to create an array of simultaneously displayed,
independently scrolling windows. Such windows have been termed
Lynx recognizes the Netscape and Microsoft Explorer FRAME, FRAMESET,
and NOFRAMES elements, but is not capable of windowing to create the
intended positioning of frames. Instead, Lynx creates labeled
links to the frame sources, typically positioned in the upper
left corner of the display, and renders the NOFRAMES section. If the
document provider has disregard for text clients and sight-challenged
Webizens, and thus does not include substantive content in the NOFRAMES
section or a link in it to a document suitable for text clients, you
can usually guess from the labeling of the frame links which
one has the substantive material (if there is any), or you can try each
of those links to see if anything worthwhile is returned.
Some sites -- in ignorance of Lynx capabilities -- may tell you
(for example) "to view this page you need Netscape Navigator".
You can simply ignore such warnings and access the frames
via the Lynx-generated links as above.
Some implementations of HTML markup include provisions for creating a
non-scrolling window to be positioned at the top of each page, containing
links with brief, descriptive link names, analogous to a Windows toolbar.
Such windows have been termed banners.
Lynx recognizes and processes all of the HTML 3.0
REL attribute tokens in LINK elements for creating a banner, and
a number of others which have subsequently been proposed. These
banner tokens are Home, ToC, Contents,
Index, Glossary, Copyright, Up,
Next, Previous, Prev, Help,
Search, Top, Origin, Navigator,
Child, Disclaimer, Sibling, Parent,
Author, Editor, Publisher, Trademark,
Meta, URC, Hotlist, Begin,
First, End, Last, Pointer,
Translation, Definition, Chapter,
Section, Subsection, Alternate,
Documentation, Biblioentry, Bibliography,
Bookmark and Banner. Any LINK elements with those
tokens as the REL attribute value, and an HREF attribute value in the LINK,
will invoke creation of a banner at the top of the first page,
with the element's HREF as the link, and the token as the default link
name. If a TITLE attribute is included in the LINK, it's value will be
used as the link name instead of the default. Bookmark and
Banner are intended to be accompanied by a TITLE attribute,
which in effect makes the namespace for REL banner tokens
If the special token Help is used as the REL value and no HREF
is included in the LINK, Lynx will use it own HELPFILE URL for that
link. For the special token Home without an HREF, Lynx will use
the default STARTFILE (i.e., derived from the configuration files
or the WWW_HOME environment variable, not the command line
startfile if one was used). However, if a -homepage=URL
was specified on the command line, it's URL will be used as the HREF.
For the special token Index without an HREF, Lynx will use the
DEFAULT_INDEX_FILE derived from the configuration files, or if an
-index=URL was specified on the command line, it's URL will be used
as the HREF.
Lynx does not waste screen real estate maintaining the banner at
the top of every page, but the Lynx TOOLBAR keystroke command ('#')
will, any time it is pressed, position you on the banner so that
any of its links can be activated, and pressing the left-arrow when
in the banner will return you to where you were in the current
document. The toolbar is indicated by a '#" preceding its first
link when present on the screen, that is, when the first page of the
document is being displayed. The availability of a toolbar is indicated by
a '#' at the top, left-hand corner of the screen when the second
or subsequent pages of the document are being displayed.
Lynx also recognizes the HTML 3.0
BANNER container element, and will create a banner based on its
content if one has not already been created based on LINK elements. Lynx
treats the Microsoft MARQUEE element as a synonym for BANNER (i.e.,
presenting it's markup as a static banner, without any horizontal
scrolling of its content). Lynx does not prefix the BANNER or MARQUEE
content with a '#' because the content need not be only a series
of links with brief, descriptive links names, but does add a '#'
at the top, left-hand corner of the screen when the content is not being
displayed, to indicate it's accessibility via the TOOLBAR keystroke command.
Lynx implements the HTML 3.0
FN element similarly to a named Anchor within the current document,
and assumes that the footnotes will be positioned at the bottom of the
document. However, in contrast to named Anchors, the FN container
element is treated as a block (i.e., as if a new paragraph were indicated
whether or not that is indicated in its content) with greater than normal
left and right margins, and the block will begin with a FOOTNOTE:
label. For example, if the document contains:
See the <A HREF="#fn1">footnote</A>.
activating that link will take you to the labeled rendering of:
<FN ID="fn1"><p>Lynx does not use popups for FN blocks.</p></FN>
i.e., position it at the top of the page. Then, upon reading the footnote,
you can return to your previous position in the document by pressing the
left-arrow key. The content of an FN element can be any HTML
markup that is valid in the BODY of the document.
Lynx implements the HTML 3.0
NOTE element (Admonishment) as a labeled block, i.e., as if a new
paragraph were indicated whether or not paragraphing markup is included
in its content, with greater than normal left and right margins, and with
the type of note indicated by an emphasized label based on the value of its
CLASS or ROLE attribute. If no CLASS or ROLE attribute is included, the
default label NOTE: will be used. Lynx recognizes the values
caution and warning, for which, respectively, the labels
CAUTION: or WARNING: will be used. The NOTE element can
have an ID attribute, which will be treated as a named Anchor, as
for HTML Footnotes,
but the NOTE block need not be placed
at the bottom of the document. The content of a NOTE block can be any HTML
markup that is valid in the BODY of the document. This is an example:
<NOTE CLASS="warning" ID="too-bad">
<p>The W3C vendors did not retain NOTE in the HTML 3.2 draft.</p>
It will degrade gracefully for WWW browsers which do not support
NOTE, except for recognition of the ID attribute as a named Anchor.
Lynx implements the HTML 3.0
list elements UL (Unordered List), OL (Ordered List),
and DL (Definition List), and their associated attributes, and
elements (LH, LI, DT, and DD) for the most part as described in that
specification. The lists can be nested, yielding progressively greater
indentation, up to six levels. The HTML 2.0 MENU and DIR elements both are treated as synonyms
for UL with the PLAIN attribute (no bullets, see below). Note,
thus, that neither DIR nor MENU yields a series of columns with 24-character
spacing. A single nesting index is maintained, so that different types of
List elements can be used for different levels within the nest. Also, the
FIG, CAPTION and CREDIT elements are treated as valid within list blocks.
They will be rendered with indentation appropriate for the current nesting
depth, and the CAPTION or CREDIT elements will have a CAPTION: or
CREDIT: label beginning the first line of their content. The
content of any APPLET or OBJECT elements in the lists also will be indented
appropriately for the current nesting depth, but those will not invoke line
breaks unless indicated by their content, and it should not include markup
which is inappropriate within the list.
Lynx also supports the TYPE attribute for OL elements, which can have
values of 1 for Arabic numbers, I or i for
uppercase or lowercase Roman numerals, or A or a for
uppercase or lowercase letters, that increment for successive LI elements
in the list block. The CONTINUE attribute can be used to continue the
ordering from the preceding list block when the nesting depth is changed.
Lynx treats the OL attributes START and SEQNUM as synonyms for specifying
the ordering value for the first LI element in the block. The values should
be specified as Arabic numbers, but will be displayed as Arabic, Roman, or
alphabetical depending on the TYPE for the block. The values can range from
-29997 to the system's maximum positive integer for Arabic numbers.
For Roman numerals, they can range from 1 (I or i)
to 3000 (MMM or mmm.). For alphabetical orders,
the values can range from 1 (A or a) to
18278 (ZZZ or zzz). If the CONTINUE attribute is
used, you do not need to specify a START or SEQNUM attribute to extend the
ordering from a previous block, and you can include a TYPE attribute to
change among Arabic, Roman, or alphabetical ordering styles, or their casing,
without disrupting the sequence. If you do not include a START, SEQNUM or
CONTINUE attribute, the first LI element of each OL block will default to
1, and if you do not include a TYPE attribute, Lynx defaults to
For UL blocks without the PLAIN attribute, Lynx uses *,
+, o, #, @ and - as
bullets to indicate, progressively, the depth within the six
Lynx treats UL, OL, DIR, and MENU blocks as having the COMPACT attribute
by default, i.e., single spaces between LH and LI elements within those
blocks. For DL blocks, double spacing will be used to separate the DT and
DD elements unless the COMPACT attribute has been specified.
The HTML 3.0 and
later specifications provide for two classes of quotation in HTML documents.
Block quotes, designated by the BLOCKQUOTE element (or it's abbreviated
synonym BQ in HTML 3.0), have implied paragraph breaks preceding and following
the start and end tags for the block. Character level quotes, designated by
the Q element, in contrast are simply directives in the markup to insert an
appropriate quotation mark.
Lynx renders block quotes with a greater than normal left and right
indentation. Lynx does not support italics, and normally substitutes
underlining, but does not underline block quotes so as not to obscure any
explicit emphasis elements within the quotation. The BLOCKQUOTE or BQ
block can include a CREDIT container element, whose content will be rendered
as an implied new paragraph with a CREDIT: label at the beginning of
its first line.
Lynx respects nested Q start and end tags, and will use ASCII double-quotes
(") versus grave accent (`) and apostrophe
('), respectively, for even versus odd depths in the nest.
Any ID attributes in BLOCKQUOTE, BQ or Q elements can be the target
of a hyperlink in the form URL#id. It is treated just
like the NAME in Anchors. [ToC]
Lynx has superior support for HTML 4.0/I18N internationalization issues.
However, to see the characters other than 7bit properly you should
set your display character set
from Option Menu and save its value, this is a Frequently Asked Question.
Fine-turning is also available from lynx.cfg
HTML includes markup, designed primarily for graphic clients, that treats
inlined images as maps, such that areas of the image within which a mouse
cursor was positioned when the mouse was clicked can correspond
to URLs which should be retrieved. The original implementations
were based on the client sending an http server the x,y coordinates
associated with the click, for handling by a script invoked by
the server, and have been termed server-side-image-maps. Lynx
has no rational way of coping with such a procedure, and thus simply
sends a 0,0 coordinate pair, which some server scripts treat as an
instruction to return a document suitable for a text client.
Newer HTML markup provides bases for the client to determine the
URLs associated with areas in the image map, and/or for a text client
to process alternative markup and allow the user to make choices based
on textual information. These have been termed
Lynx recognizes and processes the MAP container element and its AREA
elements, and will create a menu of links for the HREF of each AREA when
the link created for the IMG element with a USEMAP attribute is activated.
The menu uses the ALT attributes of the AREA elements as the link names,
or, if the document's author has disregard for text clients and
sight-challenged Webizens, and thus did not include ALT attributes, Lynx
uses the resolved URLs pointed to by the HREF attributes as the link names.
Lynx uses the TITLE attribute of the IMG element, or the TITLE attribute of
the MAP, if either was present in the markup, as the title and main header
of the menu. Otherwise, it uses the ALT attribute of the IMG element. If
neither TITLE nor ALT attributes were present in the markup, Lynx creates
and uses a [USEMAP] pseudo-ALT. The MAPs need not be in the same
document as the IMG elements. If not in the same document, Lynx will fetch
the document which contains the referenced MAP, and locate it based on
its NAME or ID attribute. All MAPs encountered in documents during a
Lynx session are cached, so that they need not be retrieved repeatedly
when referenced in different documents.
If the IMG element also indicates a server-side-image-map
via an ISMAP attribute, Lynx normally will create a link for that as well,
using an [ISMAP] pseudo-ALT (followed by a hyphen to indicate its
association with the client-side-image-map) rather than ignoring
it, and will submit a 0,0 coordinate pair if that link is activated.
Although, the client-side-image-map may be more useful for a
client such as Lynx, because all of the URLs associated with the image
map can be accessed, and their nature indicated via ALT attributes,
Lynx-friendly sites can map 0,0 such that the server returns a
for-text-client document homologous to the content of FIG elements (see
below). Inclusion of such a link for submissions to the server can be
disabled by default via the configuration file
(lynx.cfg), and the
default can be toggled via the -ismap command line switch.
Lynx also recognizes the HTML 3.0
FIG and OVERLAY elements, and will handle them as intended for text clients.
These are the ideal way to handle client-side-image-maps, because
the FIG content provides complete alternative markup, rather than relying
on the client to construct a relatively meager list of links with link
names based on ALT strings.
The presently experimental OBJECT element encompasses much of the
functionality of the FIG element for client-side-image-maps.
Lynx will render and display the content of OBJECT elements which have
the SHAPES attribute equivalently to its handling of FIG. Lynx also
handles OBJECT elements with the USEMAP and/or ISMAP attributes
equivalently to its handling of IMG elements with
client-side-image-maps and/or server-side-image-maps.
HTML includes provision for passing instructions to clients via directives
in META elements, and one such instruction, via the token Refresh,
should invoke reloading of the document, fetched from a server with the
same URL or a new URL, at a specified number of seconds following receipt
of the current document. This procedure has been termed
client-side-pull. An example of such an element is:
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="3; URL=http://host/path">
which instructs a client to fetch the indicated URL in 3 seconds after
receiving the current document. If the URL= field is omitted,
the URL defaults to that of the current document. A no-cache
directive is implied when the Refresh if for the same URL.
Lynx recognizes and processes Refresh directives in META
elements, but puts up a labeled link, typically in the upper left corner
of the display, indicating the number of seconds intended before a
refresh, and the URL for the refresh, instead of making the request
automatically after the indicated number of seconds. This allows
people using a braille interface any amount of time to examine the
current document before activating the link for the next URL. In
general, if the number of seconds indicated is short, the timing
is not critical and you can activate the link whenever you like.
If it is long (e.g., 60 seconds), a server process may be generating
new documents or images at that interval, and you would be wasting
bandwidth by activating the link at a shorter interval.
HTTP provides a means to carry state information across successive
connections between a browser and an http server. Normally, http servers
respond to each browser request without relating that request to previous
or subsequent requests. Though the inclusion of INPUT fields with
TYPE="hidden" can be used as a sort of state management by HTML Forms, a more general approach involves exchanges of MIME
headers between the server and browser. When replying to a request,
the server can send a Set-Cookie MIME header which contains
information (cookies) relevant to the browser's request, and in
subsequent requests the browser can send a Cookie MIME header
with information derived from previously received cookies.
State Management via cookie exchanges originally was implemented by
Netscape, and such cookies are now designated as Version 0. A
more elaborate format for cookies, designated as Version 1, is
being standardized by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). Lynx
supports both Version 0 and Version 1 cookie exchanges.
This support can be disabled by default via the SET_COOKIES symbol in the
compilation (userdefs.h) and/or run time
configuration files, and that default setting can be toggled via the
-cookies command line switch.
The SET_COOKIES symbol can be further modified by the ACCEPT_ALL_COOKIES mode.
If ACCEPT_ALL_COOKIES is set TRUE, and SET_COOKIES is TRUE, Lynx will accept
all cookies. Additionally, the cookies that are automatically accepted or
rejected by Lynx can be further modified with the COOKIE_ACCEPT_DOMAINS and
COOKIE_REJECT_DOMAINS options in your .lynxrc file, each of which is a
comma-separated list of domains to perform the desired action. The domain
listed in these options must be identical to the domain the cookie comes
from, there is no wildcard matching. If a domain is specific in both
COOKIE_ACCEPT_DOMAINS and COOKIE_REJECT_DOMAINS, rejection will take
When cookie support is enabled, Set-Cookie MIME headers
received from an http server invoke confirmation prompts with possible
replies of 'Y'es or 'N'o for acceptance of the cookie,
'A'lways to accept the cookie and to allow all subsequent
cookies from that domain (server's Fully Qualified Domain Name,
or site-identifying portion of the FQDN) without further confirmation
prompts, or ne'V'er to never allow cookies from that
domain to be accepted (silently ignore its Set-Cookie
MIME headers). All unexpired cookies are held in a hypothetical
Cookie Jar which can be examined via the COOKIE_JAR keystroke
command, normally mapped to Ctrl-K, for invoking the Cookie Jar Page. If Lynx has been
compiled with the --enable-persistent-cookies flag, then unexpired cookies
will be stored between sessions in the filename set with the COOKIE_FILE
option in your .lynxrc.
documents visited by individual users. Though this can be useful to the
site's WebMaster for evaluating and improving the organization of links
in the various documents of the site, if the user has configured Lynx
to include a From MIME header with the user's email address in
http requests, or has passed personal information to the server via a
form submission, the tracking might be used to draw inferences, possibly
incorrect, about that user, and may be considered by some as an invasion
An example of worthwhile State Management via cookies is the setting
of personal preferences, typically via a form submission to the site,
which will then apply to all documents visited at that site.
If you accept cookies when accessing a site, but are given no indication
about how they will be used in subsequent requests to that site, nor can
infer how they will be used, you can Gobble (delete) the cookies
and/or change the 'allow' setting for its domain via the Cookie Jar Page.
A summary of the Lynx command line options (switches) is returned to
stdout if Lynx is invoked with the -help switch. A description
of the options also should be available via the system man (Unix) pages
or help (VMS) libraries. On Win32, typing lynx -help in a DOS window
should display similarly.
The basic syntax of the Lynx command line can
be represented as one of the following:
lynx [options] startfile
- is the file or URL that Lynx will load at start-up.
- If startfile is not specified, Lynx will use a default
starting file and base directory determined during
- If a specified file is local (i.e., not a URL) Lynx
displays that file and uses the directory in which that
file resides as the base directory.
- If a URL is specified, the file will be retrieved,
and only the server base directory will be relevant
to further accesses.
- If more than one local file or remote URL is listed on the
command line, Lynx will open only the last interactively. All
of the names (local files and remote URLs) are added to the
- Lynx uses only long option names. Option names can begin with
double dash as well, underscores and dashes can be intermixed in
option names (in the reference below options are with one dash
before them and with underscores).
Lynx provides many command-line options. Some options require a
value (string, number or keyword). These are noted in the
reference below. The other options set boolean values in the
program. There are three types of boolean options: set, unset and
toggle. If no option value is given, these have the obvious
meaning: set (to true), unset (to false), or toggle (between
true/false). For any of these, an explicit value can be given in
different forms to allow for operating system constraints, e.g.,
Lynx recognizes "1", "+", "on" and "true" for true values, and "0",
"-", "off" and "false" for false values. Other option-values are
The default boolean, number and string option values that are
compiled into lynx are displayed in the help-message provided by
lynx -help. Some of those may differ according to how lynx was
built; see the help message itself for these values. The -help
option is processed before any option, including those that control
reading from the lynx.cfg file. Therefore runtime configuration
values are not reflected in the help-message.
Capitalized items in the option summary
indicate that a substitution must be made.
These are the options:
- If the argument is only '
-' (dash), then Lynx
expects to receive the arguments from stdin. This is to
allow for the potentially very long command line that can
be associated with the -get_data or
-post_data arguments (see below).
It can also be used to avoid having sensitive information
in the invoking command line (which would be visible to
other processes on most systems), especially when
the -auth or -pauth options are used.
On VMS, the dash
must be encased in double-quotes ("-") and the
keyboard input terminated with Control-Z or the
command file input terminated by a line that begins
with '$'. On Unix, the keyboard input terminator
is Control-D. On Win32, [???].
- accept all cookies.
- apply restrictions appropriate for an anonymous
account, see -restrictions below for some
- charset for documents that don't specify it.
- charset assumed for local files,
i.e., files which lynx creates such as internal pages for
the options menu.
- use this instead of unrecognized charsets.
- set authorization ID and password for protected documents
at startup. Be sure to protect any script files which use
- prepend a request URL comment and BASE tag to text/html
outputs for -source dumps.
- specify a local bibp server (default http://bibhost/).
- forces high intensity background colors for color mode,
if available and supported by the terminal.
This applies to the slang library (for a few terminal
emulators), or to OS/2 EMX with ncurses.
- use the bookmark page as the startfile. The default or
command line startfile is still set for the Main screen
command, and will be used if the bookmark page is
unavailable or blank.
- toggles scanning of news articles for buried references,
and converts them to news links. Not recommended because
email addresses enclosed in angle brackets will be
converted to false news links, and uuencoded messages can
- set the NUMBER of documents cached in memory.
The default is 10.
- Toggle center alignment in HTML TABLE.
- enable case-sensitive string searching.
- specifies a Lynx configuration file other than the default
- exit on left-arrow in startfile, and disable save to disk.
- write keystroke commands and related information to the
- read keystroke commands from the specified file.
You can use the data written using the -cmd_log
option. Lynx will ignore other information which
the command-logging may have written to the log-
file. Each line of the command script contains
either a comment beginning with "#", or a keyword:
- causes the script to stop, and forces lynx to
- the character value, in printable form. Cursor
and other special keys are given as names, e.g.,
Down Arrow. Printable 7-bit ASCII codes are
given as-is, and hexadecimal values represent
other 8-bit codes.
- followed by a "name=value" allows one to override
values set in the lynx.cfg file.
- forces color mode on, if available. Default color control sequences
which work for many terminal types are assumed if the terminal
capability description does not specify how to handle color.
Lynx needs to be compiled with the slang library for this flag.
It is equivalent to setting the COLORTERM environment variable.
(If color support is instead provided by a color-capable curses
library like ncurses, Lynx relies completely on the terminal
description to determine whether color mode is possible, and
this flag is not needed and thus unavailable.)
A saved show_color=always setting found in a .lynxrc file at
startup has the same effect. A saved show_color=always found
in .lynxrc on startup is overridden by this flag.
- Sets the connection timeout, where N is given in seconds.
- specifies a file to use to read cookies.
If none is specified, the default value is ~/.lynx_cookies
for most systems, but ~/cookies for MS-DOS.
- specifies a file to use to store cookies.
If none is specified, the value given by
-cookie_file is used.
- toggles handling of Set-Cookie headers.
- toggles forced core dumps on fatal errors. (Unix only)
- with -traversal, output each page to a file.
with -dump, format output as with
-traversal, but to stdout.
- toggles the use of curses "pad" feature which supports
left/right scrolling of the display.
- separate incremental display stages with MessageSecs delay
- set the display variable for X rexe-ced programs.
- set the charset for the terminal output.
- inhibit wrapping of text in <pre> when -dump'ing and
-crawl'ing, mark wrapped lines in interactive session.
- dumps the formatted output of the default document
or one specified on the command line to standard out.
This can be used in the following way:
lynx -dump http://www.w3.org/
- enable external editing using the specified
EDITOR. (vi, ed, emacs, etc.)
- enable emacs-like key movement.
- toggles behavior compatible with the scrollback keys in
some communications software (may be incompatible with
some curses packages).
- the status code from the HTTP request is placed in this
- enable local program execution (normally not configured).
- include all versions of files in local VMS directory
- toggles the memory leak checking off.
is not compiled-into your executable, but when it is,
it can be disabled for a session.
- force HREF-less 'A' elements to be empty (close them as soon as they are seen).
- forces the first document to be interpreted as HTML.
- toggles forcing of the secure flag for SSL cookies.
- toggles whether the Options Menu is key-based or form-based.
- toggles transmissions of From headers to HTTP or HTTPS
- disable ftp access.
- properly formatted data for a get form are read in from
stdin and passed to the form. Input is terminated by a
line that starts with '---'.
- send a HEAD request for the mime headers.
- print this Lynx command syntax usage message.
- control the display of hidden links. Option values are:
- hidden links show up as bracketed numbers and are
numbered together with other links in the sequence of
their occurrence in the document.
- hidden links are shown only on List screens and
listings generated by
-dump or from the
Print menu, but appear separately at the end of
those lists. This is the default behavior.
- hidden links do not appear even in listings.
- toggles use of '>' or '-->' as a terminator for
- set homepage separate from start page. Will be used
if a fetch of the start page fails or if it is a
script which does not return a document, and as the
URL for the 'm'ain menu command.
- toggles inclusion of links for all images.
- toggles inclusion of ISMAP links when client-side
MAPs are present.
- set the default index file to the specified URL
- do justification of text.
- starting count for lnk#.dat files produced by
- disable URLs that point to remote hosts.
- enable local program execution from local files only
(if lynx was compiled with local execution enabled).
- specify filename containing color-style information.
The default is lynx.lss.
- include mime headers and force source dump.
- toggles minimal versus valid comment parsing. When
minimal, any '-->' serves as a terminator for a
comment element. When valid, pairs of '--' are
treated as delimiters for series of comments within
the overall comment element. If historical is set,
that overrides minimal or valid comment parsing.
- toggles nested-tables logic (for debugging).
- number of articles in chunked news listings.
- maximum news articles in listings before chunking.
- disable bold video-attribute.
- disable directory browsing.
- disable Cc: prompts for self copies of mailings. Note
that this does not disable any CCs which are incorporated
within a mailto URL or form ACTION.
- force color mode off, overriding terminal capabilities and any
-color flags, COLORTERM variable, and saved .lynxrc settings.
- disable local program execution. (DEFAULT)
- disable transmissions of Referer headers for file URLs.
- disable the link list feature in dumps.
- disable mailing of error messages to document owners.
- disable left/right margins in the default style sheet.
- make window size change handler non-restarting.
This flag is not available on all systems,
Lynx needs to be compiled with HAVE_SIGACTION defined.
If available, this flag may cause Lynx to react
more immediately to window changes when run within an
- disable forced pauses for statusline messages.
- disable most print functions.
- don't follow URL redirections
- disable transmissions of Referer headers.
- disable reverse video-attribute.
- disable SOCKS proxy usage by a SOCKSified Lynx.
- disable the retrieval status messages.
- disable title and blank line from top of page.
- disable underline video-attribute.
- force numbering of links as well as form input fields.
- force numbering of links.
- toggles displaying of partial pages while loading.
- number of lines to render before repainting display
with partial-display logic.
- set authorization ID and password for a protected proxy
server at startup. Be sure to protect any script files
which use this switch.
- toggles handling of single-choice SELECT options via
popup windows or as lists of radio buttons. The default
configuration can be changed in userdefs.h or
It also can be set and saved via the 'o'ptions menu.
The command line switch toggles the default.
- properly formatted data for a post form are read in from
stdin and passed to the form. Input is terminated by a
line that starts with '---'.
- show source preparsed and reformatted when used with
-source or in source view ('\').
May be useful for debugging of broken HTML markup
to visualize the difference between SortaSGML and TagSoup
switched by '^V'.
- do syntax highlighting and hyperlink handling in source
- enable print functions. (default)
- toggles pseudo-ALTs for inline images with no ALT string.
- toggles default setting of 8-bit character translations
or CJK mode for the startup character set.
- restricts access to URLs in the starting realm.
- flushes the cache on a proxy server
(only the first document affected).
- allows a list of services to be disabled
selectively and takes the following form:
- lynx -restrictions=[option][,option][,option]...
- The list of recognized options is printed if none
- if used alone, lists restrictions in effect.
- restricts all options listed below.
- disallow changing the location of the bookmark
- disallow execution links via the bookmark file.
- disallow changing the eXecute permission on
files (but still allow it for directories) when
local file management is enabled.
- disallow command which changes Lynx's working
- same as command line option -anonymous.
Set default restrictions for anonymous users.
All specific services listed are always
restricted, except for:
inside_telnet, outside_telnet, inside_ftp,
outside_ftp, inside_rlogin, outside_rlogin,
inside_news, outside_news, telnet_port, jump,
mail, print, exec, and goto. The settings for these,
as well as additional goto restrictions for
specific URL schemes that are also applied,
are derived from definitions within userdefs.h.
Note that this is the only option value that
may have the effect of removing some
restrictions, if they have been set by other
options, namely for those services that
are allowed by default according to
userdefs.h. However, if the separate command
line option form (-anonymous) is used,
Lynx takes care to set the default restrictions
before handling additional -restrictions=
options (even if they precede the
anonymous option), so that this cannot
- disallow local file management.
- disallow saving to disk in the download and print
- disallow access to, or creation of, hidden (dot)
- disallow some downloaders in the download menu.
This does not imply the disk_save
restriction. It also does not disable the
DOWNLOAD command, and does not prevent
"Download or Cancel" offers when a MIME type
cannot otherwise be handled. Those are only
disabled if additionally the disk_save
restriction is in effect and
no download methods are defined in a Lynx configuration
file that are marked as "always ENABLED"
(or, alternatively, if the -validate switch
- disallow external editing.
- disable execution scripts.
- disallow the user from changing the local
- disallow some "EXTERNAL" configuration lines,
if support for passing URLs to external
applications (with the EXTERN_LINK or EXTERN_PAGE
command) is compiled in.
- disallow using G)oto, served links or bookmarks
for file: URLs.
- disable the 'g' (goto) command.
- disallow ftps for people coming from inside your
- disallow USENET news reading and posting for
people coming from inside you domain. This
applies to "news", "nntp", "newspost", and
"newsreply" URLs, but not to "snews", "snewspost",
or "snewsreply" in case they are supported.
- disallow rlogins for people coming from inside
- disallow telnets for people coming from inside
- disable the 'j' (jump) command.
- disallow execution of Lynx CGI URLs.
- disallow mailing feature.
- disallow multiple bookmarks.
- disallow USENET News posting,
- disallow saving options in .lynxrc.
- disallow ftps for people coming from outside your
- disallow USENET news reading and posting for
people coming from outside you domain. This
applies to "news", "nntp", "newspost", and
"newsreply" URLs, but not to "snews", "snewspost",
or "snewsreply" in case they are supported.
- disallow rlogins for people coming from outside
- disallow telnets for people coming from
outside your domain.
- disallow most print options.
- disallow shell escapes.
- disallow Control-Z suspends with escape
to shell on Unix.
- disallow specifying a port in telnet G)oto's.
- disallow modifications of the User-Agent header.
- toggles forced resubmissions (no-cache) of forms with
method POST when the documents they returned are sought
with the PREV_DOC (left-arrow) command or from
the History Page.
- disable recognition of rlogin commands.
- toggles showing scrollbar.
- toggles showing arrows at ends of the scrollbar.
- require .www_browsable files to browse directories.
- show very long URLs in the status line with "..." to
represent the portion which cannot be displayed. The
beginning and end of the URL are displayed, rather than
suppressing the end.
- If enabled the cursor will not be hidden in the right hand
corner but will instead be positioned at the start of the
currently selected link. Show cursor is the default for
systems without FANCY_CURSES capabilities. The default
configuration can be changed in userdefs.h or
It also can be set and saved via the 'o'ptions menu.
The command line switch toggles the default.
- If enabled the transfer rate is shown in bytes/second. If
disabled, no transfer rate is shown. Use lynx.cfg or the
options menu to select KiB/second and/or ETA.
- toggles emulation of the old Netscape and Mosaic bug which
treated '>' as a co-terminator for
double-quotes and tags.
- works the same as dump but outputs HTML source instead of
formatted text. For example
lynx -source . >foo.html
generates HTML source listing the files in the current
directory. Each file is marked by an HREF relative to the
parent directory. Add a trailing slash to make the HREF's
relative to the current directory:
lynx -source ./ >foo.html
- disable SIGINT cleanup handler.
- allow non-http startfile and homepage with
- When dumping a document using
-source, Lynx normally does not display alert
(error) messages that you see on the screen in the status
line. Use the
-stderr option to tell Lynx to
write these messages to the standard error.
- read the startfile from standard input
- information for syslog call.
- log requested URLs with syslog.
- initialize DTD with "TagSoup" tables,
- disable recognition of telnet commands.
- tell Lynx what terminal type to assume its talking to.
(This may be useful for remote execution, when, for
example, Lynx connects to a remote TCP/IP port that starts
a script that, in turn, starts another Lynx process.)
- For win32, sets the network read-timeout, where N is given in seconds.
- toggles use of a Lynx Trace Log for the
session. The log is named Lynx.trace and is
created in the home directory when Lynx trace mode is
turned on via the -trace command line switch
(see below), or via the TRACE_TOGGLE (Control-T)
keystroke command. Once a log is started for the session,
all trace and other stderr messages are written to the
log. The contents of the log can be examined during
the session via the TRACE_LOG (normally, ';')
keystroke command. If use of a Lynx Trace Log
is turned off, any trace output will go to the standard
- turns on "Textfields Need Activation"
- turns on Lynx trace mode. If a Lynx Trace Log
(Lynx.trace in the home directory) has
been started for the current session, all trace
messages are written to that log, and
can be examined during the session via the TRACE_LOG
(normally, ';') command. If no Trace Log
file is in use, trace messages go to stderr.
- turn on optional traces, which may result in very large trace files.
Logically OR the values to combine options:
- SGML character parsing states
- TRST (table layout)
- config (lynx.cfg and .lynxrc contents)
- binary string copy/append, used in form data construction.
- traverse all http links derived from startfile. When
used with -crawl, each link that begins with the
same string as startfile is output to a file, intended for
indexing. See CRAWL.announce for more information.
- trim input text/textarea fields in forms.
- toggles use of _underline_ format in dumps.
- turn on mouse support, if available.
- set different Lynx User-Agent header. Lynx produces a
warning on startup if the STRING does not contain "Lynx"
or "L_y_n_x", see the note in the
Options Menu section for rationale.
- accept only http URLs (meant for validation).
- This flag implies security restrictions
generally more severe than -anonymous:
restriction options as for
-restrictions=all, with the notable
exception that goto remains enabled for
http and https URLs; in addition,
the PRINT and DOWNLOAD commands are completely
disabled, and use of a Trace Log file is
- Any relaxing of restriction that might be implied
by an also present (or implied) -anonymous
flag is overridden, the only way to possibly relax
some of the restrictions to the level
applicable for "anononymous" accounts is with an
- toggles [LINK], [IMAGE] and [INLINE] comments
with filenames of these images.
- print version information.
- enable vi-like key movement.
- enable Waterloo tcp/ip packet debug (print to watt
debugfile). This applies only to DOS versions compiled
with WATTCP or WATT-32.
- number of columns for formatting of dumps, default is 80.
- emit backspaces in output if -dumping or -crawling (like
No options are required, nor is a startfile argument required.
White space can be used in place of equal sign separators ('=')
appearing in the option list above. It can not be used in place of the equal
signs in forms like "-option=on" and "-option=off" for simple switches and
toggles, for which "-option" alone (without a value) is valid.
Lynx uses certain environment variables and sets a few of them.
Please visit a separate page
for this rather technical information.
Lynx has several levels of customization:
from the Options Menu (accessible on-line,
and possibly stored in your local .lynxrc file),
via command-line switches
on startup (mainly for batch processing).
The most important and numerous default settings are stored
in the Lynx configuration file lynx.cfg.
If you are on a UNIX system you should have
appropriate permissions to make changes there or ask your
system administrator to modify lynx.cfg for your needs.
This file provides default settings for all accounts on your system.
It may be copied to your shell account and included with -cfg command line
switch or via an environment variable LYNX_CFG (if you have shell access).
Starting with version 2.8.1 Lynx has an include facility so you can
load the system-wide configuration file and easily add one or more settings
from your local add-on configuration file. It is really cool to read
lynx.cfg with its comments for hundreds of options,
most of them commented out because they are built-in defaults.
You may visit an index of options:
by category or
To view your current configuration derived from lynx.cfg and any
included configuration files, press 'g' and type in
'lynxcfg:'. If you are using the forms-based Options
Menu, you may press 'o' for the Options Menu and follow
the 'Check your lynx.cfg' link near the bottom.
However, for those who have a restricted account many Lynx features
may be disabled by the system administrator, you probably will not see
Lynx grew out of efforts to build a campus-wide information system
at The University of Kansas. The earliest versions of Lynx provided a
user-friendly, distributed hypertext interface for users connected to
multiuser (Unix and VMS) systems via curses-oriented display devices.
A custom hypertext format was developed to support hypertext links to
local files and files on remote Gopher servers. Using Gopher servers
for distributed file service allowed information providers to publish
information from a wide variety of platforms (including Unix, VMS,
VM/CMS and Macintosh). In addition, Lynx became the most user-friendly
Gopher client, although that was only an ancillary capability.
This distributed approach let providers retain complete control
over their information, but it made communication between users
and providers somewhat more difficult. Following the lead of Neal
Erdwien, of Kansas State University, the Lynx hypertext format was
extended to include links for including ownership information with
each file. This information made it possible for users running
Lynx clients to send comments and suggestions via e-mail to the
This early version of Lynx was also augmented to support hypertext
links to programs running on remote systems. It included the ability
to open a Telnet connection, as well as the ability to start programs
via rexec, inetd, or by direct socket connects. These capabilities were
included to allow users to access databases or custom program interfaces.
A subsequent version of Lynx incorporated the World Wide Web libraries
to allow access to the full list of WWW servers, along with the option to
build hypertext documents in HTML, rather than the native Lynx format.
HTML has become far more widely used, and the native format has been phased
out. With the addition of the WWW libraries, Lynx became a fully-featured
WWW client, limited only by the display capabilities offered in the curses
Lynx was designed by Lou Montulli, Charles Rezac and Michael Grobe
of Academic Computing Services at The University of Kansas. Lynx was
implemented by Lou Montulli and maintained by Garrett Arch Blythe and
Foteos Macrides and members of the
list have developed and supported Lynx since release of v2.3 in May 1994.
The Lynx2-3FM code set was released as v2.4 in June 1995.
The Lynx2-4FM code set was released as v2.5 in May 1996.
The Lynx2-5FM code set was released as v2.6 in September 1996.
The Lynx2-6FM code set was released as v2.7 in February 1997.
The v2-7FM code set was released as v2.7.1 in April 1997.
The v2-7-1FM code set was released as v2.7.2 in January 1998.
The 2.7.1 development set was released as v2.8 in March 1998.
The 2.8 development set was released as v2.8.1 in October 1998.
The 2.8.1 development set was released as v2.8.2 in June 1999.
The 2.8.2 development set was released as v2.8.3 in April 2000.
The 2.8.3 development set was released as v2.8.4 in July 2001.
The 2.8.4 development set was released as v2.8.5 in February 2004.
The 2.8.5 development set was released as v2.8.6 in October 2006.
Since early 1997, the Lynx code has expanded into autoconfigure and
PC versions. The branching of the Lynx source base from a single
source into two sources (FM/Foteos Macrides and ac/autoconfigure)
should be considered a healthy synergism among groups of computer
professionals acting in their spare time out of a common goal.
Lynx has incorporated code from a variety of sources along the
way. The earliest versions of Lynx included code from Earl Fogel
of Computing Services at the University of Saskatchewan, who
implemented HYPERREZ in the Unix environment. Those versions also
incorporated libraries from the Unix Gopher clients developed at
the University of Minnesota, and the later versions of Lynx rely
on the WWW client library code developed by Tim Berners-Lee (and
others) and the WWW community.
Contributors have generally been acknowledged in the CHANGES
file. Earlier CHANGES file can be found in the docs/ subdirectory
of this distribution.
Information on obtaining the most current version of Lynx is available
at the current distribution page.