Viewer Cheatsheet

The most common viewer shortcuts:

  • spacebar play the animation
  • <left> go back one frame
  • <right> go forward one frame
  • shift+<left> go back ten frames
  • shift+<right> go forward ten frames
  • a render all the frames of the animation to disk
  • cmd+a render just the current frame to disk
  • , display the rendered version of a frame (and hit , again to display the live version) — in general this is useful if you want to play the disk-rendered version of an animation (for playing back at correct framerate/speed if animation generation is complex & consequently not realtime)
  • . toggle audio support (if you have the [audio] extra successfully installed)
  • <home> go to frame 0
  • q quits viewer and kills running coldtype program (equivalent to ctrl-c in command-line or hitting the X in the viewer window)

  • r trigger an arbitrary release function defined in your source

  • b trigger an arbitrary build function defined in your source


  • v opens the automatic timeline viewer (only applicable for animations, mostly used for MIDI and AsciiTimeline-based animations)
  • p prints the current tree
  • u loads the next file in the directory (sorted alphabetically)
  • y loads the previous file in the directory (sorted alphabetically)
  • s shows the current file output directory in the finder

Command-line window modifications

To “pin” the window to corner of your screen, use the window-pin -wp argument and pass a compass direction (NE, SE, SW, NW), i.e. coldtype -wp SE to have the window appear in the south-east corner of your screen

To remove the window background and chrome and make the window itself completely transparent, pass -wt 1 as an argument, i.e. coldtype -wt 1

To change the initial scale of the window, pass the preview-scale argument -ps 2 (for example), to get a double-sized window, i.e. coldtype -ps 2

To change the opacity of your graphics displayed in the window, pass the window-opacity argument -wo 0.5 (for example), to get a half-transparent window, i.e. coldtype -wo 0.5

(All of these arguments can be combined, i.e. a window pinned to the south-west corner of your screen, with no background, 0.75 transparency, and a default size of 0.5x, would be: coldtype -wt 1 -wp SW -wo 0.75 -ps 0.5)