Is there a way to detect that a Zenity dialog has lost focus?

I would like to keep the dialog box in the foreground unless the user presses ESC.

I am attempting to add it to this script:


# requires these packages from ubuntu repository:
# wmctrl, zenity, x11-utils 
# and the script mouse-speed

# This procect on git:        https://github.com/rubo77/mouse-speed

######## configuration ##########
# seconds between micro breaks
microbreak_time=$(( 10 * 60 ))
# micro break duration in seconds
# seconds between long breaks
longbreak_time=$(( 120 * 60 ))

# message to display 
message="Try focussing a far object outside the window with the eye to relax!"
longbreak_message="Change your seating or continue work in a standing/sitting position"
#postpone label


# global zoom of your window manager:
# height in px of the top system-bar:
# sum in px of all horizontal borders:
# get width of screen and height of screen
SCREEN_WIDTH=$(xwininfo -root | awk '$1=="Width:" {print $2}')
SCREEN_HEIGHT=$(xwininfo -root | awk '$1=="Height:" {print $2}')
# width and height

function slow_down(){
    #zenity --warning --text "slow down mouse";
    mouse-speed -d 30

while true; do
    # short loop every few minutes to look around
    sleep $microbreak_time
    echo "99"
    sleep $(( $microbreak_duration - 2 ))
    echo "# Mouse speed reset to 100%"
    sleep 2
    echo "100"
    ) | if ( sleep 1 && wmctrl -F -a "$window_title" -b add,maximized_vert,maximized_horz && sleep 3 &&  wmctrl -F -a "$window_title" -b add,above ) & ( zenity --progress --text "$message" --percentage=0 --auto-close  --height=$H --width=$W --pulsate --title="$window_title" --cancel-label="$postpone" ); then
        #zenity --info --text "Maus normal speed!"
        mouse-speed -r
done &
while true; do
    # second long loop to change seat position
    sleep $longbreak_time
    zenity --warning --text "$longbreak_message" --title="$window_title - long break"

3 Answers 3

# This will wait one second and then steal focus and make the Zenity dialog box always-on-top (aka. 'above').

(sleep 1 && wmctrl -F -a "I am on top" -b add,above) &
(zenity --info --title="I am on top" --text="How to help Zenity to get focus and be always on top")


  • I wonder if add,fullscreen will also work
    – rubo77
    Sep 1, 2014 at 6:34
  • I also added ` -b add,maximized_vert,maximized_horz` in a second wmctrl call. Now I need to call the script also if the zenity window is minimized, resized or moved
    – rubo77
    Sep 7, 2014 at 7:50
  • At startup things may get really slow, so I suggest this: (while ! wmctrl -F -a "$$ the title" -b add,above;do sleep 1;done) & and also put the script pid on title to make it more unique. Nov 15, 2014 at 13:59

You may run into problems if you run this as a cron job. Cron's environment is not aware of your X display, dbus or desktop and will not display the zenity box or keep it on top. Adding DISPLAY=:0 prior to both wmctrl and zenity resolves the issue:

(sleep 1 && DISPLAY=:0 wmctrl -F -a "I am on top" -b add,above) & (DISPLAY=:0 zenity --info --title="I am on top" --text="How to help Zenity to get focus and be always on top")


This solution is mostly the same as the one by @Jan, but uses the PID instead of the window title to identify the window, and additionally is Bourne Shell compatible (-> does not require bash).

# This will wait 200ms, steal focus and set the Zenity dialog box
# to "always-on-top".

modify_win_by_pid() {

    sleep 0.2
    win_id=`wmctrl -l -p | grep ${pid} | awk '{print $1}'`
    wmctrl -i - ${win_id} -b add,above

zenity --info --title="I am on top" --text="I received focus and will stay on top" &
modify_win_by_pid $!

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