The .Xresources file in your home directory is where you store the configuration options for your X client applications. These are the classic X window apps, whose names usually begin with the letter x. Like XTerm for example.
This is a single file whose settings are applied to all the X apps when the X window system begins.
If you add or change some settings later and want them to be applied to the X server, that can be done using the xrdb (X server resources database utility) program.
To replace all current settings with the settings from the file:
$ xrdb ~/.Xresources
$ xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources
Each configuration option has this format: name.Class.resource. Usually, the class is the name of the program and class and resource provide 2 levels of suboptions.
Wildcard character can be used in the configuration option name. For example, to set something for all applications and so on.
Each configuration is specified in this format:
Comments can be used in the file by beginning the line with a
You can look up all the configuration options understood by your app in its man page. For classic apps like xterm, this can run into hundreds of options!
To view all the settings applied on a X application use the appres program. Its name looks weird, I remember it as the tool to view application resources. To view the settings of XTerm for example:
appres XTerm. Note how the application (or class as X calls it) has to be specified correctly with the correct case.