The Common Lisp Interface Manager is a powerful Lisp-based API. It provides a layered set of portable facilities for constructing user interfaces. CLIM2.0 features an adaptive toolkit consisting of a set of abstract interface gadgets that map directly onto the underlying window system (Motif, Microsoft Windows).

CLIM specifies the functional interface to the gadgets while hiding details of their appearance or operation. The interface is consistent across all underlying window systems. When a particular gadget does not have a representation in a given window system, CLIM provides portable software emulation.

Note: CLIM is provided primarily to support legacy applications. Users requiring native look and feel in their applications should consider as an alternative the CAPI. CAPI is a lightweight, efficient abstract widget set that maps closely onto GTK+, Microsoft Windows, macOS/Cocoa and Motif. For more details see the CAPI page.

CLIM features

  • Adaptive interface gadgets.
  • A rich graphics substrate that provides:
    • complex geometric shapes
    • a variety of drawing options
    • inking and color models
    • full affine transformations
  • Graph and table formatting utilities.
  • An output recording facility for capturing and replaying graphical and textual output to a window.
  • High level abstraction for organizing application interfaces via entities called frames. Frames provide layout management for a set of application windows, menu management and command processing context-sensitive input. Application objects can be associated with displayed output and subsequently retrieved by pointer gestures on the mouse-sensitive output.



CLIM 2.0 is available on LispWorks for the X11/Motif and Microsoft Windows GUIs. It is included with LispWorks Professional and Enterprise Editions where LispWorks supports these GUIs. CLIM is not supported on ARM Linux, and on macOS it is supported only in the deprecated Motif GUI.

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