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Reddit Terminal Viewer (RTV)

A text-based interface (TUI) to view and interact with Reddit from your terminal.

title image

Table of Contents


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You can use telnet or ssh to try out a lite version of RTV directly in your terminal, without needing to install it:

  • $ telnet redditbox.us
  • $ ssh redditbox.us

redditbox.us is an independent project by Alex Jarmoszuk


PyPI package

RTV is available on PyPI and can be installed with pip:

$ pip install rtv

Native packages

See Repology for an up-to-date list of supported distro packages:

# macOS
$ brew install rtv

# Arch
$ pacman -S rtv

# Nix
$ nix-env -i rtv

# Debian
$ apt install rtv

# FreeBSD
$ pkg install rtv

From source

$ git clone https://github.com/michael-lazar/rtv.git
$ cd rtv
$ python setup.py install


RTV is not supported on Windows, due to a lack of resources and interest. Sorry!


To run the program, type:

$ rtv --help


Move the cursor using either the arrow keys or Vim style movement:

  • Press and to scroll through submissions
  • Press to view the selected submission and to return
  • Press space-bar to expand/collapse comments
  • Press u to login (this requires a web browser for OAuth)
  • Press ? to open the help screen

Press / to open the navigation prompt, where you can type things like:

  • /front
  • /r/commandprompt+linuxmasterrace
  • /r/programming/controversial
  • /u/me
  • /u/multi-mod/m/art
  • /domain/github.com

See CONTROLS for the full list of commands.


Configuration File

Configuration files are stored in the {HOME}/.config/rtv/ directory.

Check out rtv.cfg for the full list of configurable options. You can clone this file into your home directory by running:

$ rtv --copy-config

You can use mailcap to configure how RTV will open different types of links.

title image

A mailcap file allows you to associate different MIME media types, like image/jpeg or video/mp4, with shell commands. This feature is disabled by default because it takes a few extra steps to configure. To get started, copy the default mailcap template to your home directory.

$ rtv --copy-mailcap

This template contains examples for common MIME types that work with popular reddit websites like imgur, youtube, and gfycat. Open the mailcap template and follow the instructions listed inside.

Once you've setup your mailcap file, enable it by launching rtv with the rtv --enable-media flag (or set it in your rtv.cfg)

Environment Variables

The default programs that RTV interacts with can be configured through environment variables:

$RTV_EDITOR A program used to compose text submissions and comments, e.g. vim, emacs, gedit
If not specified, will fallback to $VISUAL and $EDITOR in that order.
$RTV_BROWSER A program used to open links to external websites, e.g. firefox, google-chrome, w3m, lynx
If not specified, will fallback to $BROWSER, or your system's default browser.
$RTV_URLVIEWER A tool used to extract hyperlinks from blocks of text, e.g. urlview, urlscan
If not specified, will fallback to urlview if it is installed.


RTV supports copying submission links to the OS clipboard. On macOS this is supported out of the box. On Linux systems you will need to install either xsel or xclip.


Themes can be used to customize the look and feel of RTV

Solarized Dark

Solarized Light



You can list all installed themes with the --list-themes command, and select one with --theme. You can save your choice permanently in your rtv.cfg file. You can also use the F2 & F3 keys inside of RTV to cycle through all available themes.

For instructions on writing and installing your own themes, see THEMES.md.


Why am I getting an error during installation/when launching rtv?

If your distro ships with an older version of python 2.7 or python-requests, you may experience SSL errors or other package incompatibilities. The easiest way to fix this is to install rtv using python 3. If you don't already have pip3, see http://stackoverflow.com/a/6587528 for setup instructions. Then do

$ sudo pip uninstall rtv
$ sudo pip3 install -U rtv
Why do I see garbled text like M-b~@M-" or ^@?

This type of text usually shows up when python is unable to render unicode properly.

  1. Try starting RTV in ascii-only mode with rtv --ascii
  2. Make sure that the terminal/font that you're using supports unicode
  3. Try setting the LOCALE to utf-8
  4. Your python may have been built against the wrong curses library, see here and here for more information
How do I run the code directly from the repository?

This project is structured to be run as a python module. This means that you need to launch it using python's -m flag. See the example below, which assumes that you have cloned the repository into the directory ~/rtv_project.

$ cd ~/rtv_project
$ python3 -m rtv


All feedback and suggestions are welcome, just post an issue!

Before writing any code, please read the Contributor Guidelines.


This project is distributed under the MIT license.