I'm working on developing a python application for Ubuntu that enables a user to have their desired resolution without requiring graphics drivers.
In order to do this I've been using xrandr, which so far, has been pretty useful

However, I now have a problem; how can I detect the monitor name? I was intending to use a terminal command through os.system, modifying the terminal output to get the required monitor output, and then storing it within the program. Unfortunately, despite much searching, I have been unable to find out how I can do this.

Is there any way in which I can do this?

To sum it up: I'm looking for a terminal command that gives me the monitor name, such VGA1 or DVI-0


I am not sure how you are going to apply it in your application ("enable a user to have their desired resolution without requiring graphics drivers" ?), but:

A terminal command to list connected screens

xrandr | grep " connected " | awk '{ print$1 }'

This wil give you the connected screens for further processing, like:


Since you mention python, the snippet below will also list connected screens:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import subprocess

def screens():
    output = [l for l in subprocess.check_output(["xrandr"]).decode("utf-8").splitlines()]
    return [l.split()[0] for l in output if " connected " in l]


This wil also give you the connected screens, like:

['VGA-0', 'DVI-I-1']


Note the spaces around " connected " in the searched string. They are needed to prevent mismatches with disconnected.


You can use python and just python to get the connected monitor names:

$ python3 -c 'from gi.repository import Gdk; screen=Gdk.Screen.get_default(); \
[print(screen.get_monitor_plug_name(i)) for i in range(screen.get_n_monitors())]'
  • Nice! didn't know this one. – Jacob Vlijm Jun 22 '15 at 19:10

You can use the bash command with popen:

import os
    list_display = os.popen("xrandr --listmonitors | grep '*' | awk {'print $4'}").read().splitlines()
  • 2
    How does this answer the question? – Stephen Rauch Jun 24 '18 at 4:20
  • 1
    +1 for using xrandr --listmonitors :) – simon Jan 26 at 2:04

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