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<H1 class="no-header">curs_terminfo 3x</H1>
<STRONG><A HREF="curs_terminfo.3x.html">curs_terminfo(3x)</A></STRONG> <STRONG><A HREF="curs_terminfo.3x.html">curs_terminfo(3x)</A></STRONG>
<H2><a name="h2-NAME">NAME</a></H2><PRE>
<STRONG>del_curterm</STRONG>, <STRONG>mvcur</STRONG>, <STRONG>putp</STRONG>, <STRONG>restartterm</STRONG>, <STRONG>set_curterm</STRONG>,
<STRONG>setterm</STRONG>, <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG>, <STRONG>tigetflag</STRONG>, <STRONG>tigetnum</STRONG>, <STRONG>tigetstr</STRONG>, <STRONG>tiparm</STRONG>,
<STRONG>tparm</STRONG>, <STRONG>tputs</STRONG>, <STRONG>vid_attr</STRONG>, <STRONG>vid_puts</STRONG>, <STRONG>vidattr</STRONG>, <STRONG>vidputs</STRONG> -
<STRONG>curses</STRONG> interfaces to terminfo database
<H2><a name="h2-SYNOPSIS">SYNOPSIS</a></H2><PRE>
<STRONG>#include</STRONG> <STRONG>&lt;curses.h&gt;</STRONG>
<STRONG>#include</STRONG> <STRONG>&lt;term.h&gt;</STRONG>
<STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>vidputs(chtype</STRONG> <EM>attrs</EM><STRONG>,</STRONG> <STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>(*</STRONG><EM>putc</EM><STRONG>)(int));</STRONG>
<STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>vidattr(chtype</STRONG> <EM>attrs</EM><STRONG>);</STRONG>
<STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>mvcur(int</STRONG> <EM>oldrow</EM><STRONG>,</STRONG> <STRONG>int</STRONG> <EM>oldcol</EM><STRONG>,</STRONG> <STRONG>int</STRONG> <EM>newrow</EM>, int <EM>newcol</EM><STRONG>);</STRONG>
<STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>tigetflag(char</STRONG> <STRONG>*</STRONG><EM>capname</EM><STRONG>);</STRONG>
<STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>tigetnum(char</STRONG> <STRONG>*</STRONG><EM>capname</EM><STRONG>);</STRONG>
<STRONG>char</STRONG> <STRONG>*tigetstr(char</STRONG> <STRONG>*</STRONG><EM>capname</EM><STRONG>);</STRONG>
<H2><a name="h2-DESCRIPTION">DESCRIPTION</a></H2><PRE>
These low-level routines must be called by programs that
have to deal directly with the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> database to handle
certain terminal capabilities, such as programming func-
tion keys. For all other functionality, <STRONG>curses</STRONG> routines
are more suitable and their use is recommended.
<H3><a name="h3-Initialization">Initialization</a></H3><PRE>
Initially, <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> should be called. Note that <STRONG>se-</STRONG>
<STRONG>tupterm</STRONG> is automatically called by <STRONG>initscr</STRONG> and <STRONG>newterm</STRONG>.
This defines the set of terminal-dependent variables
[listed in <STRONG><A HREF="terminfo.5.html">terminfo(5)</A></STRONG>].
Each initialization routine provides applications with the
terminal capabilities either directly (via header defini-
tions), or by special functions. The header files <STRONG>curs-</STRONG>
<STRONG>es.h</STRONG> and <STRONG>term.h</STRONG> should be included (in this order) to get
the definitions for these strings, numbers, and flags.
The <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> variables <STRONG>lines</STRONG> and <STRONG>columns</STRONG> are initialized
by <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> as follows:
<STRONG>o</STRONG> If <STRONG>use_env(FALSE)</STRONG> has been called, values for <STRONG>lines</STRONG>
and <STRONG>columns</STRONG> specified in <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> are used.
<STRONG>o</STRONG> Otherwise, if the environment variables <STRONG>LINES</STRONG> and <STRONG>COL-</STRONG>
<STRONG>UMNS</STRONG> exist, their values are used. If these environ-
ment variables do not exist and the program is running
in a window, the current window size is used. Other-
wise, if the environment variables do not exist, the
values for <STRONG>lines</STRONG> and <STRONG>columns</STRONG> specified in the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG>
database are used.
Parameterized strings should be passed through <STRONG>tparm</STRONG> to
instantiate them. All <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> strings [including the
output of <STRONG>tparm</STRONG>] should be printed with <STRONG>tputs</STRONG> or <STRONG>putp</STRONG>.
Call <STRONG>reset_shell_mode</STRONG> to restore the tty modes before ex-
iting [see <STRONG><A HREF="curs_kernel.3x.html">curs_kernel(3x)</A></STRONG>].
Programs which use cursor addressing should
<STRONG>o</STRONG> output <STRONG>enter_ca_mode</STRONG> upon startup and
<STRONG>o</STRONG> output <STRONG>exit_ca_mode</STRONG> before exiting.
Programs which execute shell subprocesses should
<STRONG>o</STRONG> call <STRONG>reset_shell_mode</STRONG> and output <STRONG>exit_ca_mode</STRONG> before
the shell is called and
<STRONG>o</STRONG> output <STRONG>enter_ca_mode</STRONG> and call <STRONG>reset_prog_mode</STRONG> after
returning from the shell.
The <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> routine reads in the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> database, ini-
tializing the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> structures, but does not set up the
output virtualization structures used by <STRONG>curses</STRONG>. The ter-
minal type is the character string <EM>term</EM>; if <EM>term</EM> is null,
the environment variable <STRONG>TERM</STRONG> is used. All output is to
file descriptor <STRONG>fildes</STRONG> which is initialized for output.
If <EM>errret</EM> is not null, then <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> returns <STRONG>OK</STRONG> or <STRONG>ERR</STRONG>
and stores a status value in the integer pointed to by <EM>er-</EM>
<EM>rret</EM>. A return value of <STRONG>OK</STRONG> combined with status of <STRONG>1</STRONG> in
<EM>errret</EM> is normal. If <STRONG>ERR</STRONG> is returned, examine <EM>errret</EM>:
<STRONG>1</STRONG> means that the terminal is hardcopy, cannot be used
for curses applications.
<STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> determines if the entry is a hardcopy type
by checking the <EM>hc</EM> (<EM>hardcopy</EM>) capability.
<STRONG>0</STRONG> means that the terminal could not be found, or that
it is a generic type, having too little information
for curses applications to run.
<STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> determines if the entry is a generic type
by checking the <EM>gn</EM> (<EM>generic</EM>) capability.
<STRONG>-1</STRONG> means that the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> database could not be found.
If <EM>errret</EM> is null, <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> prints an error message upon
finding an error and exits. Thus, the simplest call is:
<STRONG>setupterm((char</STRONG> <STRONG>*)0,</STRONG> <STRONG>1,</STRONG> <STRONG>(int</STRONG> <STRONG>*)0);</STRONG>,
which uses all the defaults and sends the output to <STRONG>std-</STRONG>
The <STRONG>setterm</STRONG> routine was replaced by <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG>. The call:
provides the same functionality as <STRONG>setterm(</STRONG><EM>term</EM><STRONG>)</STRONG>. The
<STRONG>setterm</STRONG> routine is provided for BSD compatibility, and is
not recommended for new programs.
<H3><a name="h3-The-Terminal-State">The Terminal State</a></H3><PRE>
The <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> routine stores its information about the
terminal in a <STRONG>TERMINAL</STRONG> structure pointed to by the global
variable <STRONG>cur_term</STRONG>. If it detects an error, or decides
that the terminal is unsuitable (hardcopy or generic), it
discards this information, making it not available to ap-
If <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> is called repeatedly for the same terminal
type, it will reuse the information. It maintains only
one copy of a given terminal's capabilities in memory. If
it is called for different terminal types, <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> allo-
cates new storage for each set of terminal capabilities.
The <STRONG>set_curterm</STRONG> routine sets <STRONG>cur_term</STRONG> to <EM>nterm</EM>, and makes
all of the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> boolean, numeric, and string variables
use the values from <EM>nterm</EM>. It returns the old value of
The <STRONG>del_curterm</STRONG> routine frees the space pointed to by
<EM>oterm</EM> and makes it available for further use. If <EM>oterm</EM> is
the same as <STRONG>cur_term</STRONG>, references to any of the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG>
boolean, numeric, and string variables thereafter may re-
fer to invalid memory locations until another <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG>
has been called.
The <STRONG>restartterm</STRONG> routine is similar to <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> and
<STRONG>initscr</STRONG>, except that it is called after restoring memory
to a previous state (for example, when reloading a game
saved as a core image dump). <STRONG>restartterm</STRONG> assumes that the
windows and the input and output options are the same as
when memory was saved, but the terminal type and baud rate
may be different. Accordingly, <STRONG>restartterm</STRONG> saves various
tty state bits, calls <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG>, and then restores the
<H3><a name="h3-Formatting-Output">Formatting Output</a></H3><PRE>
The <STRONG>tparm</STRONG> routine instantiates the string <EM>str</EM> with parame-
ters <EM>pi</EM>. A pointer is returned to the result of <EM>str</EM> with
the parameters applied.
<STRONG>tiparm</STRONG> is a newer form of <STRONG>tparm</STRONG> which uses <EM>&lt;stdarg.h&gt;</EM>
rather than a fixed-parameter list. Its numeric parame-
ters are integers (int) rather than longs.
<H3><a name="h3-Output-Functions">Output Functions</a></H3><PRE>
The <STRONG>tputs</STRONG> routine applies padding information to the
string <EM>str</EM> and outputs it. The <EM>str</EM> must be a terminfo
string variable or the return value from <STRONG>tparm</STRONG>, <STRONG>tgetstr</STRONG>,
or <STRONG>tgoto</STRONG>. <EM>affcnt</EM> is the number of lines affected, or 1 if
not applicable. <EM>putc</EM> is a <STRONG>putchar</STRONG>-like routine to which
the characters are passed, one at a time.
The <STRONG>putp</STRONG> routine calls <STRONG>tputs(</STRONG><EM>str</EM><STRONG>,</STRONG> <STRONG>1,</STRONG> <STRONG>putchar)</STRONG>. Note that
the output of <STRONG>putp</STRONG> always goes to <STRONG>stdout</STRONG>, not to the
<EM>fildes</EM> specified in <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG>.
The <STRONG>vidputs</STRONG> routine displays the string on the terminal in
the video attribute mode <EM>attrs</EM>, which is any combination
of the attributes listed in <STRONG><A HREF="ncurses.3x.html">curses(3x)</A></STRONG>. The characters
are passed to the <STRONG>putchar</STRONG>-like routine <EM>putc</EM>.
The <STRONG>vidattr</STRONG> routine is like the <STRONG>vidputs</STRONG> routine, except
that it outputs through <STRONG>putchar</STRONG>.
The <STRONG>vid_attr</STRONG> and <STRONG>vid_puts</STRONG> routines correspond to vidattr
and vidputs, respectively. They use a set of arguments
for representing the video attributes plus color, i.e.,
one of type attr_t for the attributes and one of short for
the color_pair number. The <STRONG>vid_attr</STRONG> and <STRONG>vid_puts</STRONG> routines
are designed to use the attribute constants with the <EM>WA</EM><STRONG>_</STRONG>
prefix. The opts argument is reserved for future use.
Currently, applications must provide a null pointer for
that argument.
The <STRONG>mvcur</STRONG> routine provides low-level cursor motion. It
takes effect immediately (rather than at the next re-
<H3><a name="h3-Terminal-Capability-Functions">Terminal Capability Functions</a></H3><PRE>
The <STRONG>tigetflag</STRONG>, <STRONG>tigetnum</STRONG> and <STRONG>tigetstr</STRONG> routines return the
value of the capability corresponding to the <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> <EM>cap-</EM>
<EM>name</EM> passed to them, such as <STRONG>xenl</STRONG>. The <EM>capname</EM> for each
capability is given in the table column entitled <EM>capname</EM>
code in the capabilities section of <STRONG><A HREF="terminfo.5.html">terminfo(5)</A></STRONG>.
These routines return special values to denote errors.
The <STRONG>tigetflag</STRONG> routine returns
<STRONG>-1</STRONG> if <EM>capname</EM> is not a boolean capability, or
<STRONG>0</STRONG> if it is canceled or absent from the terminal de-
The <STRONG>tigetnum</STRONG> routine returns
<STRONG>-2</STRONG> if <EM>capname</EM> is not a numeric capability, or
<STRONG>-1</STRONG> if it is canceled or absent from the terminal de-
The <STRONG>tigetstr</STRONG> routine returns
if <EM>capname</EM> is not a string capability, or
<STRONG>0</STRONG> if it is canceled or absent from the terminal de-
<H3><a name="h3-Terminal-Capability-Names">Terminal Capability Names</a></H3><PRE>
These null-terminated arrays contain the short terminfo
names ("codes"), the <STRONG>termcap</STRONG> names, and the long terminfo
names ("fnames") for each of the predefined <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> vari-
<STRONG>char</STRONG> <STRONG>*boolnames[]</STRONG>, <STRONG>*boolcodes[]</STRONG>, <STRONG>*boolfnames[]</STRONG>
<STRONG>char</STRONG> <STRONG>*numnames[]</STRONG>, <STRONG>*numcodes[]</STRONG>, <STRONG>*numfnames[]</STRONG>
<STRONG>char</STRONG> <STRONG>*strnames[]</STRONG>, <STRONG>*strcodes[]</STRONG>, <STRONG>*strfnames[]</STRONG>
<H2><a name="h2-RETURN-VALUE">RETURN VALUE</a></H2><PRE>
Routines that return an integer return <STRONG>ERR</STRONG> upon failure
and <STRONG>OK</STRONG> (SVr4 only specifies "an integer value other than
<STRONG>ERR</STRONG>") upon successful completion, unless otherwise noted
in the preceding routine descriptions.
Routines that return pointers always return <STRONG>NULL</STRONG> on error.
X/Open defines no error conditions. In this implementa-
returns an error if its terminal parameter is
<STRONG>putp</STRONG> calls <STRONG>tputs</STRONG>, returning the same error-codes.
returns an error if the associated call to <STRONG>se-</STRONG>
<STRONG>tupterm</STRONG> returns an error.
returns an error if it cannot allocate enough
memory, or create the initial windows (stdscr,
curscr, newscr). Other error conditions are
documented above.
returns an error if the string parameter is
null. It does not detect I/O errors: X/Open
states that <STRONG>tputs</STRONG> ignores the return value of
the output function <EM>putc</EM>.
<H2><a name="h2-PORTABILITY">PORTABILITY</a></H2><PRE>
X/Open notes that <STRONG>vidattr</STRONG> and <STRONG>vidputs</STRONG> may be macros.
The function <STRONG>setterm</STRONG> is not described by X/Open and must
be considered non-portable. All other functions are as
described by X/Open.
<STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> copies the terminal name to the array <STRONG>ttytype</STRONG>.
This is not part of X/Open Curses, but is assumed by some
If configured to use the terminal-driver, e.g., for the
MinGW port,
<STRONG>o</STRONG> <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> interprets a missing/empty TERM variable as
the special value "unknown".
<STRONG>o</STRONG> <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> allows explicit use of the the windows con-
sole driver by checking if $TERM is set to "#win32con"
or an abbreviation of that string.
Older versions of <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> assumed that the file descriptor
passed to <STRONG>setupterm</STRONG> from <STRONG>initscr</STRONG> or <STRONG>newterm</STRONG> uses buffered
I/O, and would write to the corresponding stream. In ad-
dition to the limitation that the terminal was left in
block-buffered mode on exit (like SystemV curses), it was
problematic because <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> did not allow a reliable way
to cleanup on receiving SIGTSTP. The current version uses
output buffers managed directly by <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG>. Some of the
low-level functions described in this manual page write to
the standard output. They are not signal-safe. The high-
level functions in <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> use alternate versions of these
functions using the more reliable buffering scheme.
In System V Release 4, <STRONG>set_curterm</STRONG> has an <STRONG>int</STRONG> return type
and returns <STRONG>OK</STRONG> or <STRONG>ERR</STRONG>. We have chosen to implement the
X/Open Curses semantics.
In System V Release 4, the third argument of <STRONG>tputs</STRONG> has the
type <STRONG>int</STRONG> <STRONG>(*putc)(char)</STRONG>.
At least one implementation of X/Open Curses (Solaris) re-
turns a value other than OK/ERR from <STRONG>tputs</STRONG>. That returns
the length of the string, and does no error-checking.
X/Open Curses prototypes <STRONG>tparm</STRONG> with a fixed number of pa-
rameters, rather than a variable argument list. This im-
plementation uses a variable argument list, but can be
configured to use the fixed-parameter list. Portable ap-
plications should provide 9 parameters after the format;
zeroes are fine for this purpose.
In response to comments by Thomas E. Dickey, X/Open Curses
Issue 7 proposed the <STRONG>tiparm</STRONG> function in mid-2009.
X/Open notes that after calling <STRONG>mvcur</STRONG>, the curses state
may not match the actual terminal state, and that an ap-
plication should touch and refresh the window before re-
suming normal curses calls. Both <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> and System V Re-
lease 4 curses implement <STRONG>mvcur</STRONG> using the SCREEN data allo-
cated in either <STRONG>initscr</STRONG> or <STRONG>newterm</STRONG>. So though it is docu-
mented as a terminfo function, <STRONG>mvcur</STRONG> is really a curses
function which is not well specified.
X/Open states that the old location must be given for
<STRONG>mvcur</STRONG>. This implementation allows the caller to use -1's
for the old ordinates. In that case, the old location is
Other implementions may not declare the capability name
arrays. Some provide them without declaring them. X/Open
does not specify them.
Extended terminal capability names, e.g., as defined by
<STRONG>tic</STRONG> <STRONG>-x</STRONG>, are not stored in the arrays described here.
<H2><a name="h2-SEE-ALSO">SEE ALSO</a></H2><PRE>
<STRONG><A HREF="ncurses.3x.html">curses(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="curs_initscr.3x.html">curs_initscr(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="curs_kernel.3x.html">curs_kernel(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG>curs_term-</STRONG>
<STRONG><A HREF="curs_termcap.3x.html">cap(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="curs_variables.3x.html">curs_variables(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="term_variables.3x.html">term_variables(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG>putc(3)</STRONG>,
<STRONG><A HREF="terminfo.5.html">terminfo(5)</A></STRONG>
<STRONG><A HREF="curs_terminfo.3x.html">curs_terminfo(3x)</A></STRONG>
<div class="nav">
<li><a href="#h2-NAME">NAME</a></li>
<li><a href="#h2-SYNOPSIS">SYNOPSIS</a></li>
<li><a href="#h2-DESCRIPTION">DESCRIPTION</a>
<li><a href="#h3-Initialization">Initialization</a></li>
<li><a href="#h3-The-Terminal-State">The Terminal State</a></li>
<li><a href="#h3-Formatting-Output">Formatting Output</a></li>
<li><a href="#h3-Output-Functions">Output Functions</a></li>
<li><a href="#h3-Terminal-Capability-Functions">Terminal Capability Functions</a></li>
<li><a href="#h3-Terminal-Capability-Names">Terminal Capability Names</a></li>
<li><a href="#h2-RETURN-VALUE">RETURN VALUE</a></li>
<li><a href="#h2-PORTABILITY">PORTABILITY</a></li>
<li><a href="#h2-SEE-ALSO">SEE ALSO</a></li>