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* @Id: terminfo.head,v 1.16 2007/03/04 00:09:46 tom Exp @
* Head of terminfo man page ends here
* @Id: terminfo.tail,v 1.49 2008/02/16 20:57:43 tom Exp @
* Beginning of terminfo.tail file
* This file is part of ncurses.
* See "terminfo.head" for copyright.
*.in -2
*.in +2
*.in -2
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<TITLE>terminfo 5 File Formats</TITLE>
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<H1>terminfo 5 File Formats</H1>
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<STRONG><A HREF="terminfo.5.html">terminfo(5)</A></STRONG> File Formats <STRONG><A HREF="terminfo.5.html">terminfo(5)</A></STRONG>
terminfo - terminal capability data base
<EM>Terminfo</EM> is a data base describing terminals, used by
screen-oriented programs such as <STRONG><A HREF="nvi.1.html">nvi(1)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="rogue.1.html">rogue(1)</A></STRONG> and
libraries such as <STRONG><A HREF="ncurses.3x.html">curses(3x)</A></STRONG>. <EM>Terminfo</EM> describes termi-
nals by giving a set of capabilities which they have, by
specifying how to perform screen operations, and by speci-
fying padding requirements and initialization sequences.
This describes <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> version 5.6 (patch 20081011).
Entries in <EM>terminfo</EM> consist of a sequence of `,' separated
fields (embedded commas may be escaped with a backslash or
notated as \054). White space after the `,' separator is
ignored. The first entry for each terminal gives the
names which are known for the terminal, separated by `|'
characters. The first name given is the most common
abbreviation for the terminal, the last name given should
be a long name fully identifying the terminal, and all
others are understood as synonyms for the terminal name.
All names but the last should be in lower case and contain
no blanks; the last name may well contain upper case and
blanks for readability.
Lines beginning with a `#' in the first column are treated
as comments. While comment lines are legal at any point,
the output of <STRONG>captoinfo</STRONG> and <STRONG>infotocap</STRONG> (aliases for <STRONG>tic</STRONG>)
will move comments so they occur only between entries.
Newlines and leading tabs may be used for formatting
entries for readability. These are removed from parsed
entries. The <STRONG>infocmp</STRONG> <STRONG>-f</STRONG> option relies on this to format
if-then-else expressions: the result can be read by <STRONG>tic</STRONG>.
Terminal names (except for the last, verbose entry) should
be chosen using the following conventions. The particular
piece of hardware making up the terminal should have a
root name, thus ``hp2621''. This name should not contain
hyphens. Modes that the hardware can be in, or user pref-
erences, should be indicated by appending a hyphen and a
mode suffix. Thus, a vt100 in 132 column mode would be
vt100-w. The following suffixes should be used where pos-
-<EM>nn</EM> Number of lines on the screen aaa-60
-<EM>n</EM>p Number of pages of memory c100-4p
-am With automargins (usually the default) vt100-am
-m Mono mode; suppress color ansi-m
-mc Magic cookie; spaces when highlighting wy30-mc
-na No arrow keys (leave them in local) c100-na
-nam Without automatic margins vt100-nam
-nl No status line att4415-nl
-ns No status line hp2626-ns
-rv Reverse video c100-rv
-s Enable status line vt100-s
-vb Use visible bell instead of beep wy370-vb
-w Wide mode (&gt; 80 columns, usually 132) vt100-w
For more on terminal naming conventions, see the <STRONG>term(7)</STRONG>
manual page.
The following is a complete table of the capabilities
included in a terminfo description block and available to
terminfo-using code. In each line of the table,
The <STRONG>variable</STRONG> is the name by which the programmer (at the
terminfo level) accesses the capability.
The <STRONG>capname</STRONG> is the short name used in the text of the
database, and is used by a person updating the database.
Whenever possible, capnames are chosen to be the same as
or similar to the ANSI X3.64-1979 standard (now superseded
by ECMA-48, which uses identical or very similar names).
Semantics are also intended to match those of the specifi-
The termcap code is the old <STRONG>termcap</STRONG> capability name (some
capabilities are new, and have names which termcap did not
Capability names have no hard length limit, but an infor-
mal limit of 5 characters has been adopted to keep them
short and to allow the tabs in the source file <STRONG>Caps</STRONG> to
line up nicely.
Finally, the description field attempts to convey the
semantics of the capability. You may find some codes in
the description field:
(P) indicates that padding may be specified
#[1-9] in the description field indicates that the string
is passed through tparm with parms as given (#<EM>i</EM>).
(P*) indicates that padding may vary in proportion to
the number of lines affected
(#<EM>i</EM>) indicates the <EM>i</EM>th parameter.
These are the boolean capabilities:
auto_left_margin bw bw cub1 wraps from col-
umn 0 to last column
auto_right_margin am am terminal has auto-
matic margins
back_color_erase bce ut screen erased with
background color
can_change ccc cc terminal can re-
define existing col-
ceol_standout_glitch xhp xs standout not erased
by overwriting (hp)
col_addr_glitch xhpa YA only positive motion
for hpa/mhpa caps
cpi_changes_res cpix YF changing character
pitch changes reso-
cr_cancels_micro_mode crxm YB using cr turns off
micro mode
dest_tabs_magic_smso xt xt tabs destructive,
magic so char
eat_newline_glitch xenl xn newline ignored
after 80 cols (con-
erase_overstrike eo eo can erase over-
strikes with a blank
generic_type gn gn generic line type
hard_copy hc hc hardcopy terminal
hard_cursor chts HC cursor is hard to
has_meta_key km km Has a meta key
(i.e., sets 8th-bit)
has_print_wheel daisy YC printer needs opera-
tor to change char-
acter set
has_status_line hs hs has extra status
hue_lightness_saturation hls hl terminal uses only
HLS color notation
insert_null_glitch in in insert mode distin-
guishes nulls
lpi_changes_res lpix YG changing line pitch
changes resolution
memory_above da da display may be
retained above the
memory_below db db display may be
retained below the
move_insert_mode mir mi safe to move while
in insert mode
move_standout_mode msgr ms safe to move while
in standout mode
needs_xon_xoff nxon nx padding will not
work, xon/xoff
no_esc_ctlc xsb xb beehive (f1=escape,
f2=ctrl C)
no_pad_char npc NP pad character does
not exist
non_dest_scroll_region ndscr ND scrolling region is
non_rev_rmcup nrrmc NR smcup does not
reverse rmcup
over_strike os os terminal can over-
prtr_silent mc5i 5i printer will not
echo on screen
row_addr_glitch xvpa YD only positive motion
for vpa/mvpa caps
semi_auto_right_margin sam YE printing in last
column causes cr
status_line_esc_ok eslok es escape can be used
on the status line
tilde_glitch hz hz cannot print ~'s
transparent_underline ul ul underline character
xon_xoff xon xo terminal uses
xon/xoff handshaking
These are the numeric capabilities:
columns cols co number of columns in
a line
init_tabs it it tabs initially every
# spaces
label_height lh lh rows in each label
label_width lw lw columns in each
lines lines li number of lines on
screen or page
lines_of_memory lm lm lines of memory if &gt;
line. 0 means varies
magic_cookie_glitch xmc sg number of blank
characters left by
smso or rmso
max_attributes ma ma maximum combined
attributes terminal
can handle
max_colors colors Co maximum number of
colors on screen
max_pairs pairs pa maximum number of
color-pairs on the
maximum_windows wnum MW maximum number of
defineable windows
no_color_video ncv NC video attributes
that cannot be used
with colors
num_labels nlab Nl number of labels on
padding_baud_rate pb pb lowest baud rate
where padding needed
virtual_terminal vt vt virtual terminal
number (CB/unix)
width_status_line wsl ws number of columns in
status line
The following numeric capabilities are present in the
SVr4.0 term structure, but are not yet documented in the
man page. They came in with SVr4's printer support.
bit_image_entwining bitwin Yo number of passes for
each bit-image row
bit_image_type bitype Yp type of bit-image
buffer_capacity bufsz Ya numbers of bytes
buffered before
buttons btns BT number of buttons on
dot_horz_spacing spinh Yc spacing of dots hor-
izontally in dots
per inch
dot_vert_spacing spinv Yb spacing of pins ver-
tically in pins per
max_micro_address maddr Yd maximum value in
max_micro_jump mjump Ye maximum value in
micro_col_size mcs Yf character step size
when in micro mode
micro_line_size mls Yg line step size when
in micro mode
number_of_pins npins Yh numbers of pins in
output_res_char orc Yi horizontal resolu-
tion in units per
output_res_horz_inch orhi Yk horizontal resolu-
tion in units per
output_res_line orl Yj vertical resolution
in units per line
output_res_vert_inch orvi Yl vertical resolution
in units per inch
print_rate cps Ym print rate in char-
acters per second
wide_char_size widcs Yn character step size
when in double wide
These are the string capabilities:
acs_chars acsc ac graphics charset
pairs, based on
back_tab cbt bt back tab (P)
bell bel bl audible signal
(bell) (P)
carriage_return cr cr carriage return (P*)
change_char_pitch cpi ZA Change number of
characters per inch
to #1
change_line_pitch lpi ZB Change number of
lines per inch to #1
change_res_horz chr ZC Change horizontal
resolution to #1
change_res_vert cvr ZD Change vertical res-
olution to #1
change_scroll_region csr cs change region to
line #1 to line #2
char_padding rmp rP like ip but when in
insert mode
clear_all_tabs tbc ct clear all tab stops
clear_margins mgc MC clear right and left
soft margins
clear_screen clear cl clear screen and
home cursor (P*)
clr_bol el1 cb Clear to beginning
of line
clr_eol el ce clear to end of line
clr_eos ed cd clear to end of
screen (P*)
column_address hpa ch horizontal position
#1, absolute (P)
command_character cmdch CC terminal settable
cmd character in
prototype !?
create_window cwin CW define a window #1
from #2,#3 to #4,#5
cursor_address cup cm move to row #1
columns #2
cursor_down cud1 do down one line
cursor_home home ho home cursor (if no
cursor_invisible civis vi make cursor invisi-
cursor_left cub1 le move left one space
cursor_mem_address mrcup CM memory relative cur-
sor addressing, move
to row #1 columns #2
cursor_normal cnorm ve make cursor appear
normal (undo
cursor_right cuf1 nd non-destructive
space (move right
one space)
cursor_to_ll ll ll last line, first
column (if no cup)
cursor_up cuu1 up up one line
cursor_visible cvvis vs make cursor very
define_char defc ZE Define a character
#1, #2 dots wide,
descender #3
delete_character dch1 dc delete character
delete_line dl1 dl delete line (P*)
dial_phone dial DI dial number #1
dis_status_line dsl ds disable status line
display_clock dclk DK display clock
down_half_line hd hd half a line down
ena_acs enacs eA enable alternate
char set
enter_alt_charset_mode smacs as start alternate
character set (P)
enter_am_mode smam SA turn on automatic
enter_blink_mode blink mb turn on blinking
enter_bold_mode bold md turn on bold (extra
bright) mode
enter_ca_mode smcup ti string to start pro-
grams using cup
enter_delete_mode smdc dm enter delete mode
enter_dim_mode dim mh turn on half-bright
enter_doublewide_mode swidm ZF Enter double-wide
enter_draft_quality sdrfq ZG Enter draft-quality
enter_insert_mode smir im enter insert mode
enter_italics_mode sitm ZH Enter italic mode
enter_leftward_mode slm ZI Start leftward car-
riage motion
enter_micro_mode smicm ZJ Start micro-motion
enter_near_letter_quality snlq ZK Enter NLQ mode
enter_normal_quality snrmq ZL Enter normal-quality
enter_protected_mode prot mp turn on protected
enter_reverse_mode rev mr turn on reverse
video mode
enter_secure_mode invis mk turn on blank mode
(characters invisi-
enter_shadow_mode sshm ZM Enter shadow-print
enter_standout_mode smso so begin standout mode
enter_subscript_mode ssubm ZN Enter subscript mode
enter_superscript_mode ssupm ZO Enter superscript
enter_underline_mode smul us begin underline mode
enter_upward_mode sum ZP Start upward car-
riage motion
enter_xon_mode smxon SX turn on xon/xoff
erase_chars ech ec erase #1 characters
exit_alt_charset_mode rmacs ae end alternate char-
acter set (P)
exit_am_mode rmam RA turn off automatic
exit_attribute_mode sgr0 me turn off all
exit_ca_mode rmcup te strings to end pro-
grams using cup
exit_delete_mode rmdc ed end delete mode
exit_doublewide_mode rwidm ZQ End double-wide mode
exit_insert_mode rmir ei exit insert mode
exit_italics_mode ritm ZR End italic mode
exit_leftward_mode rlm ZS End left-motion mode
exit_micro_mode rmicm ZT End micro-motion
exit_shadow_mode rshm ZU End shadow-print
exit_standout_mode rmso se exit standout mode
exit_subscript_mode rsubm ZV End subscript mode
exit_superscript_mode rsupm ZW End superscript mode
exit_underline_mode rmul ue exit underline mode
exit_upward_mode rum ZX End reverse charac-
ter motion
exit_xon_mode rmxon RX turn off xon/xoff
fixed_pause pause PA pause for 2-3 sec-
flash_hook hook fh flash switch hook
flash_screen flash vb visible bell (may
not move cursor)
form_feed ff ff hardcopy terminal
page eject (P*)
from_status_line fsl fs return from status
goto_window wingo WG go to window #1
hangup hup HU hang-up phone
init_1string is1 i1 initialization
init_2string is2 is initialization
init_3string is3 i3 initialization
init_file if if name of initializa-
tion file
init_prog iprog iP path name of program
for initialization
initialize_color initc Ic initialize color #1
to (#2,#3,#4)
initialize_pair initp Ip Initialize color
pair #1 to
insert_character ich1 ic insert character (P)
insert_line il1 al insert line (P*)
insert_padding ip ip insert padding after
inserted character
key_a1 ka1 K1 upper left of keypad
key_a3 ka3 K3 upper right of key-
key_b2 kb2 K2 center of keypad
key_backspace kbs kb backspace key
key_beg kbeg @1 begin key
key_btab kcbt kB back-tab key
key_c1 kc1 K4 lower left of keypad
key_c3 kc3 K5 lower right of key-
key_cancel kcan @2 cancel key
key_catab ktbc ka clear-all-tabs key
key_clear kclr kC clear-screen or
erase key
key_close kclo @3 close key
key_command kcmd @4 command key
key_copy kcpy @5 copy key
key_create kcrt @6 create key
key_ctab kctab kt clear-tab key
key_dc kdch1 kD delete-character key
key_dl kdl1 kL delete-line key
key_down kcud1 kd down-arrow key
key_eic krmir kM sent by rmir or smir
in insert mode
key_end kend @7 end key
key_enter kent @8 enter/send key
key_eol kel kE clear-to-end-of-line
key_eos ked kS clear-to-end-of-
screen key
key_exit kext @9 exit key
key_f0 kf0 k0 F0 function key
key_f1 kf1 k1 F1 function key
key_f10 kf10 k; F10 function key
key_f11 kf11 F1 F11 function key
key_f12 kf12 F2 F12 function key
key_f13 kf13 F3 F13 function key
key_f14 kf14 F4 F14 function key
key_f15 kf15 F5 F15 function key
key_f16 kf16 F6 F16 function key
key_f17 kf17 F7 F17 function key
key_f18 kf18 F8 F18 function key
key_f19 kf19 F9 F19 function key
key_f2 kf2 k2 F2 function key
key_f20 kf20 FA F20 function key
key_f21 kf21 FB F21 function key
key_f22 kf22 FC F22 function key
key_f23 kf23 FD F23 function key
key_f24 kf24 FE F24 function key
key_f25 kf25 FF F25 function key
key_f26 kf26 FG F26 function key
key_f27 kf27 FH F27 function key
key_f28 kf28 FI F28 function key
key_f29 kf29 FJ F29 function key
key_f3 kf3 k3 F3 function key
key_f30 kf30 FK F30 function key
key_f31 kf31 FL F31 function key
key_f32 kf32 FM F32 function key
key_f33 kf33 FN F33 function key
key_f34 kf34 FO F34 function key
key_f35 kf35 FP F35 function key
key_f36 kf36 FQ F36 function key
key_f37 kf37 FR F37 function key
key_f38 kf38 FS F38 function key
key_f39 kf39 FT F39 function key
key_f4 kf4 k4 F4 function key
key_f40 kf40 FU F40 function key
key_f41 kf41 FV F41 function key
key_f42 kf42 FW F42 function key
key_f43 kf43 FX F43 function key
key_f44 kf44 FY F44 function key
key_f45 kf45 FZ F45 function key
key_f46 kf46 Fa F46 function key
key_f47 kf47 Fb F47 function key
key_f48 kf48 Fc F48 function key
key_f49 kf49 Fd F49 function key
key_f5 kf5 k5 F5 function key
key_f50 kf50 Fe F50 function key
key_f51 kf51 Ff F51 function key
key_f52 kf52 Fg F52 function key
key_f53 kf53 Fh F53 function key
key_f54 kf54 Fi F54 function key
key_f55 kf55 Fj F55 function key
key_f56 kf56 Fk F56 function key
key_f57 kf57 Fl F57 function key
key_f58 kf58 Fm F58 function key
key_f59 kf59 Fn F59 function key
key_f6 kf6 k6 F6 function key
key_f60 kf60 Fo F60 function key
key_f61 kf61 Fp F61 function key
key_f62 kf62 Fq F62 function key
key_f63 kf63 Fr F63 function key
key_f7 kf7 k7 F7 function key
key_f8 kf8 k8 F8 function key
key_f9 kf9 k9 F9 function key
key_find kfnd @0 find key
key_help khlp %1 help key
key_home khome kh home key
key_ic kich1 kI insert-character key
key_il kil1 kA insert-line key
key_left kcub1 kl left-arrow key
key_ll kll kH lower-left key (home
key_mark kmrk %2 mark key
key_message kmsg %3 message key
key_move kmov %4 move key
key_next knxt %5 next key
key_npage knp kN next-page key
key_open kopn %6 open key
key_options kopt %7 options key
key_ppage kpp kP previous-page key
key_previous kprv %8 previous key
key_print kprt %9 print key
key_redo krdo %0 redo key
key_reference kref &amp;1 reference key
key_refresh krfr &amp;2 refresh key
key_replace krpl &amp;3 replace key
key_restart krst &amp;4 restart key
key_resume kres &amp;5 resume key
key_right kcuf1 kr right-arrow key
key_save ksav &amp;6 save key
key_sbeg kBEG &amp;9 shifted begin key
key_scancel kCAN &amp;0 shifted cancel key
key_scommand kCMD *1 shifted command key
key_scopy kCPY *2 shifted copy key
key_screate kCRT *3 shifted create key
key_sdc kDC *4 shifted delete-char-
acter key
key_sdl kDL *5 shifted delete-line
key_select kslt *6 select key
key_send kEND *7 shifted end key
key_seol kEOL *8 shifted clear-to-
end-of-line key
key_sexit kEXT *9 shifted exit key
key_sf kind kF scroll-forward key
key_sfind kFND *0 shifted find key
key_shelp kHLP #1 shifted help key
key_shome kHOM #2 shifted home key
key_sic kIC #3 shifted insert-char-
acter key
key_sleft kLFT #4 shifted left-arrow
key_smessage kMSG %a shifted message key
key_smove kMOV %b shifted move key
key_snext kNXT %c shifted next key
key_soptions kOPT %d shifted options key
key_sprevious kPRV %e shifted previous key
key_sprint kPRT %f shifted print key
key_sr kri kR scroll-backward key
key_sredo kRDO %g shifted redo key
key_sreplace kRPL %h shifted replace key
key_sright kRIT %i shifted right-arrow
key_srsume kRES %j shifted resume key
key_ssave kSAV !1 shifted save key
key_ssuspend kSPD !2 shifted suspend key
key_stab khts kT set-tab key
key_sundo kUND !3 shifted undo key
key_suspend kspd &amp;7 suspend key
key_undo kund &amp;8 undo key
key_up kcuu1 ku up-arrow key
keypad_local rmkx ke leave 'key-
board_transmit' mode
keypad_xmit smkx ks enter 'key-
board_transmit' mode
lab_f0 lf0 l0 label on function
key f0 if not f0
lab_f1 lf1 l1 label on function
key f1 if not f1
lab_f10 lf10 la label on function
key f10 if not f10
lab_f2 lf2 l2 label on function
key f2 if not f2
lab_f3 lf3 l3 label on function
key f3 if not f3
lab_f4 lf4 l4 label on function
key f4 if not f4
lab_f5 lf5 l5 label on function
key f5 if not f5
lab_f6 lf6 l6 label on function
key f6 if not f6
lab_f7 lf7 l7 label on function
key f7 if not f7
lab_f8 lf8 l8 label on function
key f8 if not f8
lab_f9 lf9 l9 label on function
key f9 if not f9
label_format fln Lf label format
label_off rmln LF turn off soft labels
label_on smln LO turn on soft labels
meta_off rmm mo turn off meta mode
meta_on smm mm turn on meta mode
(8th-bit on)
micro_column_address mhpa ZY Like column_address
in micro mode
micro_down mcud1 ZZ Like cursor_down in
micro mode
micro_left mcub1 Za Like cursor_left in
micro mode
micro_right mcuf1 Zb Like cursor_right in
micro mode
micro_row_address mvpa Zc Like row_address #1
in micro mode
micro_up mcuu1 Zd Like cursor_up in
micro mode
newline nel nw newline (behave like
cr followed by lf)
order_of_pins porder Ze Match software bits
to print-head pins
orig_colors oc oc Set all color pairs
to the original ones
orig_pair op op Set default pair to
its original value
pad_char pad pc padding char
(instead of null)
parm_dch dch DC delete #1 characters
parm_delete_line dl DL delete #1 lines (P*)
parm_down_cursor cud DO down #1 lines (P*)
parm_down_micro mcud Zf Like parm_down_cur-
sor in micro mode
parm_ich ich IC insert #1 characters
parm_index indn SF scroll forward #1
lines (P)
parm_insert_line il AL insert #1 lines (P*)
parm_left_cursor cub LE move #1 characters
to the left (P)
parm_left_micro mcub Zg Like parm_left_cur-
sor in micro mode
parm_right_cursor cuf RI move #1 characters
to the right (P*)
parm_right_micro mcuf Zh Like parm_right_cur-
sor in micro mode
parm_rindex rin SR scroll back #1 lines
parm_up_cursor cuu UP up #1 lines (P*)
parm_up_micro mcuu Zi Like parm_up_cursor
in micro mode
pkey_key pfkey pk program function key
#1 to type string #2
pkey_local pfloc pl program function key
#1 to execute string
pkey_xmit pfx px program function key
#1 to transmit
string #2
plab_norm pln pn program label #1 to
show string #2
print_screen mc0 ps print contents of
prtr_non mc5p pO turn on printer for
#1 bytes
prtr_off mc4 pf turn off printer
prtr_on mc5 po turn on printer
pulse pulse PU select pulse dialing
quick_dial qdial QD dial number #1 with-
out checking
remove_clock rmclk RC remove clock
repeat_char rep rp repeat char #1 #2
times (P*)
req_for_input rfi RF send next input char
(for ptys)
reset_1string rs1 r1 reset string
reset_2string rs2 r2 reset string
reset_3string rs3 r3 reset string
reset_file rf rf name of reset file
restore_cursor rc rc restore cursor to
position of last
row_address vpa cv vertical position #1
absolute (P)
save_cursor sc sc save current cursor
position (P)
scroll_forward ind sf scroll text up (P)
scroll_reverse ri sr scroll text down (P)
select_char_set scs Zj Select character
set, #1
set_attributes sgr sa define video
attributes #1-#9
set_background setb Sb Set background color
set_bottom_margin smgb Zk Set bottom margin at
current line
set_bottom_margin_parm smgbp Zl Set bottom margin at
line #1 or (if smgtp
is not given) #2
lines from bottom
set_clock sclk SC set clock, #1 hrs #2
mins #3 secs
set_color_pair scp sp Set current color
pair to #1
set_foreground setf Sf Set foreground color
set_left_margin smgl ML set left soft margin
at current column.
See smgl. (ML is not
in BSD termcap).
set_left_margin_parm smglp Zm Set left (right)
margin at column #1
set_right_margin smgr MR set right soft mar-
gin at current col-
set_right_margin_parm smgrp Zn Set right margin at
column #1
set_tab hts st set a tab in every
row, current columns
set_top_margin smgt Zo Set top margin at
current line
set_top_margin_parm smgtp Zp Set top (bottom)
margin at row #1
set_window wind wi current window is
lines #1-#2 cols
start_bit_image sbim Zq Start printing bit
image graphics
start_char_set_def scsd Zr Start character set
definition #1, with
#2 characters in the
stop_bit_image rbim Zs Stop printing bit
image graphics
stop_char_set_def rcsd Zt End definition of
character set #1
subscript_characters subcs Zu List of subscript-
able characters
superscript_characters supcs Zv List of superscript-
able characters
tab ht ta tab to next 8-space
hardware tab stop
these_cause_cr docr Zw Printing any of
these characters
causes CR
to_status_line tsl ts move to status line,
column #1
tone tone TO select touch tone
underline_char uc uc underline char and
move past it
up_half_line hu hu half a line up
user0 u0 u0 User string #0
user1 u1 u1 User string #1
user2 u2 u2 User string #2
user3 u3 u3 User string #3
user4 u4 u4 User string #4
user5 u5 u5 User string #5
user6 u6 u6 User string #6
user7 u7 u7 User string #7
user8 u8 u8 User string #8
user9 u9 u9 User string #9
wait_tone wait WA wait for dial-tone
xoff_character xoffc XF XOFF character
xon_character xonc XN XON character
zero_motion zerom Zx No motion for subse-
quent character
The following string capabilities are present in the
SVr4.0 term structure, but were originally not documented
in the man page.
alt_scancode_esc scesa S8 Alternate escape
for scancode emu-
bit_image_carriage_return bicr Yv Move to beginning
of same row
bit_image_newline binel Zz Move to next row
of the bit image
bit_image_repeat birep Xy Repeat bit image
cell #1 #2 times
char_set_names csnm Zy Produce #1'th item
from list of char-
acter set names
code_set_init csin ci Init sequence for
multiple codesets
color_names colornm Yw Give name for
color #1
define_bit_image_region defbi Yx Define rectan-
gualar bit image
device_type devt dv Indicate lan-
guage/codeset sup-
display_pc_char dispc S1 Display PC charac-
ter #1
end_bit_image_region endbi Yy End a bit-image
enter_pc_charset_mode smpch S2 Enter PC character
display mode
enter_scancode_mode smsc S4 Enter PC scancode
exit_pc_charset_mode rmpch S3 Exit PC character
display mode
exit_scancode_mode rmsc S5 Exit PC scancode
get_mouse getm Gm Curses should get
button events,
parameter #1 not
key_mouse kmous Km Mouse event has
mouse_info minfo Mi Mouse status
pc_term_options pctrm S6 PC terminal
pkey_plab pfxl xl Program function
key #1 to type
string #2 and show
string #3
req_mouse_pos reqmp RQ Request mouse
scancode_escape scesc S7 Escape for scan-
code emulation
set0_des_seq s0ds s0 Shift to codeset 0
(EUC set 0, ASCII)
set1_des_seq s1ds s1 Shift to codeset 1
set2_des_seq s2ds s2 Shift to codeset 2
set3_des_seq s3ds s3 Shift to codeset 3
set_a_background setab AB Set background
color to #1, using
ANSI escape
set_a_foreground setaf AF Set foreground
color to #1, using
ANSI escape
set_color_band setcolor Yz Change to ribbon
color #1
set_lr_margin smglr ML Set both left and
right margins to
#1, #2. (ML is
not in BSD term-
set_page_length slines YZ Set page length to
#1 lines
set_tb_margin smgtb MT Sets both top and
bottom margins to
#1, #2
The XSI Curses standard added these. They are some
post-4.1 versions of System V curses, e.g., Solaris 2.5
and IRIX 6.x. The <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> termcap names for them are
invented; according to the XSI Curses standard, they have
no termcap names. If your compiled terminfo entries use
these, they may not be binary-compatible with System V
terminfo entries after SVr4.1; beware!
enter_horizontal_hl_mode ehhlm Xh Enter horizontal
highlight mode
enter_left_hl_mode elhlm Xl Enter left highlight
enter_low_hl_mode elohlm Xo Enter low highlight
enter_right_hl_mode erhlm Xr Enter right high-
light mode
enter_top_hl_mode ethlm Xt Enter top highlight
enter_vertical_hl_mode evhlm Xv Enter vertical high-
light mode
set_a_attributes sgr1 sA Define second set of
video attributes
set_pglen_inch slengthsL YI Set page length
to #1 hundredth of
an inch
The following entry, describing an ANSI-standard terminal,
is representative of what a <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> entry for a modern
terminal typically looks like.
ansi|ansi/pc-term compatible with color,
colors#8, ncv#3, pairs#64,
cub=\E[%p1%dD, cud=\E[%p1%dB, cuf=\E[%p1%dC,
cuu=\E[%p1%dA, dch=\E[%p1%dP, dl=\E[%p1%dM,
ech=\E[%p1%dX, el1=\E[1K, hpa=\E[%p1%dG, ht=\E[I,
ich=\E[%p1%d@, il=\E[%p1%dL, indn=\E[%p1%dS, .indn=\E[%p1%dT,
kbs=^H, kcbt=\E[Z, kcub1=\E[D, kcud1=\E[B,
kcuf1=\E[C, kcuu1=\E[A, kf1=\E[M, kf10=\E[V,
kf11=\E[W, kf12=\E[X, kf2=\E[N, kf3=\E[O, kf4=\E[P,
kf5=\E[Q, kf6=\E[R, kf7=\E[S, kf8=\E[T, kf9=\E[U,
kich1=\E[L, mc4=\E[4i, mc5=\E[5i, nel=\r\E[S,
op=\E[37;40m, rep=%p1%c\E[%p2%{1}%-%db,
rin=\E[%p1%dT, s0ds=\E(B, s1ds=\E)B, s2ds=\E*B,
s3ds=\E+B, setab=\E[4%p1%dm, setaf=\E[3%p1%dm,
sgr0=\E[0;10m, tbc=\E[2g, u6=\E[%d;%dR, u7=\E[6n,
u8=\E[?%[;0123456789]c, u9=\E[c, vpa=\E[%p1%dd,
Entries may continue onto multiple lines by placing white
space at the beginning of each line except the first.
Comments may be included on lines beginning with ``#''.
Capabilities in <EM>terminfo</EM> are of three types: Boolean capa-
bilities which indicate that the terminal has some partic-
ular feature, numeric capabilities giving the size of the
terminal or the size of particular delays, and string
capabilities, which give a sequence which can be used to
perform particular terminal operations.
All capabilities have names. For instance, the fact that
ANSI-standard terminals have <EM>automatic</EM> <EM>margins</EM> (i.e., an
automatic return and line-feed when the end of a line is
reached) is indicated by the capability <STRONG>am</STRONG>. Hence the
description of ansi includes <STRONG>am</STRONG>. Numeric capabilities are
followed by the character `#' and then a positive value.
Thus <STRONG>cols</STRONG>, which indicates the number of columns the ter-
minal has, gives the value `80' for ansi. Values for
numeric capabilities may be specified in decimal, octal or
hexadecimal, using the C programming language conventions
(e.g., 255, 0377 and 0xff or 0xFF).
Finally, string valued capabilities, such as <STRONG>el</STRONG> (clear to
end of line sequence) are given by the two-character code,
an `=', and then a string ending at the next following
A number of escape sequences are provided in the string
valued capabilities for easy encoding of characters there.
Both <STRONG>\E</STRONG> and <STRONG>\e</STRONG> map to an ESCAPE character, <STRONG>^x</STRONG> maps to a
control-x for any appropriate x, and the sequences <STRONG>\n</STRONG> <STRONG>\l</STRONG>
<STRONG>\r</STRONG> <STRONG>\t</STRONG> <STRONG>\b</STRONG> <STRONG>\f</STRONG> <STRONG>\s</STRONG> give a newline, line-feed, return, tab,
backspace, form-feed, and space. Other escapes include <STRONG>\^</STRONG>
for <STRONG>^</STRONG>, <STRONG>\\</STRONG> for <STRONG>\</STRONG>, <STRONG>\</STRONG>, for comma, <STRONG>\:</STRONG> for <STRONG>:</STRONG>, and <STRONG>\0</STRONG> for null.
(<STRONG>\0</STRONG> will produce \200, which does not terminate a string
but behaves as a null character on most terminals, provid-
ing CS7 is specified. See <STRONG><A HREF="stty.1.html">stty(1)</A></STRONG>.) Finally, characters
may be given as three octal digits after a <STRONG>\</STRONG>.
A delay in milliseconds may appear anywhere in a string
capability, enclosed in $&lt;..&gt; brackets, as in <STRONG>el</STRONG>=\EK$&lt;5&gt;,
and padding characters are supplied by <EM>tputs</EM> to provide
this delay. The delay must be a number with at most one
decimal place of precision; it may be followed by suffixes
`*' or '/' or both. A `*' indicates that the padding
required is proportional to the number of lines affected
by the operation, and the amount given is the per-
affected-unit padding required. (In the case of insert
character, the factor is still the number of <EM>lines</EM>
affected.) Normally, padding is advisory if the device
has the <STRONG>xon</STRONG> capability; it is used for cost computation
but does not trigger delays. A `/' suffix indicates that
the padding is mandatory and forces a delay of the given
number of milliseconds even on devices for which <STRONG>xon</STRONG> is
present to indicate flow control.
Sometimes individual capabilities must be commented out.
To do this, put a period before the capability name. For
example, see the second <STRONG>ind</STRONG> in the example above.
<STRONG>Fetching</STRONG> <STRONG>Compiled</STRONG> <STRONG>Descriptions</STRONG>
If the environment variable TERMINFO is set, it is inter-
preted as the pathname of a directory containing the com-
piled description you are working on. Only that directory
is searched.
If TERMINFO is not set, the <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> version of the ter-
minfo reader code will instead look in the directory
<STRONG>$HOME/.terminfo</STRONG> for a compiled description. If it fails
to find one there, and the environment variable TER-
MINFO_DIRS is set, it will interpret the contents of that
variable as a list of colon- separated directories to be
searched (an empty entry is interpreted as a command to
search <EM>/usr/share/terminfo</EM>). If no description is found
in any of the TERMINFO_DIRS directories, the fetch fails.
If neither TERMINFO nor TERMINFO_DIRS is set, the last
place tried will be the system terminfo directory,
(Neither the <STRONG>$HOME/.terminfo</STRONG> lookups nor TERMINFO_DIRS
extensions are supported under stock System V ter-
<STRONG>Preparing</STRONG> <STRONG>Descriptions</STRONG>
We now outline how to prepare descriptions of terminals.
The most effective way to prepare a terminal description
is by imitating the description of a similar terminal in
<EM>terminfo</EM> and to build up a description gradually, using
partial descriptions with <EM>vi</EM> or some other screen-oriented
program to check that they are correct. Be aware that a
very unusual terminal may expose deficiencies in the abil-
ity of the <EM>terminfo</EM> file to describe it or bugs in the
screen-handling code of the test program.
To get the padding for insert line right (if the terminal
manufacturer did not document it) a severe test is to edit
a large file at 9600 baud, delete 16 or so lines from the
middle of the screen, then hit the `u' key several times
quickly. If the terminal messes up, more padding is usu-
ally needed. A similar test can be used for insert char-
<STRONG>Basic</STRONG> <STRONG>Capabilities</STRONG>
The number of columns on each line for the terminal is
given by the <STRONG>cols</STRONG> numeric capability. If the terminal is
a CRT, then the number of lines on the screen is given by
the <STRONG>lines</STRONG> capability. If the terminal wraps around to the
beginning of the next line when it reaches the right mar-
gin, then it should have the <STRONG>am</STRONG> capability. If the termi-
nal can clear its screen, leaving the cursor in the home
position, then this is given by the <STRONG>clear</STRONG> string capabil-
ity. If the terminal overstrikes (rather than clearing a
position when a character is struck over) then it should
have the <STRONG>os</STRONG> capability. If the terminal is a printing
terminal, with no soft copy unit, give it both <STRONG>hc</STRONG> and <STRONG>os</STRONG>.
(<STRONG>os</STRONG> applies to storage scope terminals, such as TEKTRONIX
4010 series, as well as hard copy and APL terminals.) If
there is a code to move the cursor to the left edge of the
current row, give this as <STRONG>cr</STRONG>. (Normally this will be car-
riage return, control M.) If there is a code to produce
an audible signal (bell, beep, etc) give this as <STRONG>bel</STRONG>.
If there is a code to move the cursor one position to the
left (such as backspace) that capability should be given
as <STRONG>cub1</STRONG>. Similarly, codes to move to the right, up, and
down should be given as <STRONG>cuf1</STRONG>, <STRONG>cuu1</STRONG>, and <STRONG>cud1</STRONG>. These local
cursor motions should not alter the text they pass over,
for example, you would not normally use `<STRONG>cuf1</STRONG>= ' because
the space would erase the character moved over.
A very important point here is that the local cursor
motions encoded in <EM>terminfo</EM> are undefined at the left and
top edges of a CRT terminal. Programs should never
attempt to backspace around the left edge, unless <STRONG>bw</STRONG> is
given, and never attempt to go up locally off the top. In
order to scroll text up, a program will go to the bottom
left corner of the screen and send the <STRONG>ind</STRONG> (index) string.
To scroll text down, a program goes to the top left corner
of the screen and sends the <STRONG>ri</STRONG> (reverse index) string.
The strings <STRONG>ind</STRONG> and <STRONG>ri</STRONG> are undefined when not on their
respective corners of the screen.
Parameterized versions of the scrolling sequences are <STRONG>indn</STRONG>
and <STRONG>rin</STRONG> which have the same semantics as <STRONG>ind</STRONG> and <STRONG>ri</STRONG> except
that they take one parameter, and scroll that many lines.
They are also undefined except at the appropriate edge of
the screen.
The <STRONG>am</STRONG> capability tells whether the cursor sticks at the
right edge of the screen when text is output, but this
does not necessarily apply to a <STRONG>cuf1</STRONG> from the last column.
The only local motion which is defined from the left edge
is if <STRONG>bw</STRONG> is given, then a <STRONG>cub1</STRONG> from the left edge will
move to the right edge of the previous row. If <STRONG>bw</STRONG> is not
given, the effect is undefined. This is useful for draw-
ing a box around the edge of the screen, for example. If
the terminal has switch selectable automatic margins, the
<EM>terminfo</EM> file usually assumes that this is on; i.e., <STRONG>am</STRONG>.
If the terminal has a command which moves to the first
column of the next line, that command can be given as <STRONG>nel</STRONG>
(newline). It does not matter if the command clears the
remainder of the current line, so if the terminal has no
<STRONG>cr</STRONG> and <STRONG>lf</STRONG> it may still be possible to craft a working <STRONG>nel</STRONG>
out of one or both of them.
These capabilities suffice to describe hard-copy and
"glass-tty" terminals. Thus the model 33 teletype is
described as
33|tty33|tty|model 33 teletype,
bel=^G, cols#72, cr=^M, cud1=^J, hc, ind=^J, os,
while the Lear Siegler ADM-3 is described as
adm3|3|lsi adm3,
am, bel=^G, clear=^Z, cols#80, cr=^M, cub1=^H, cud1=^J,
ind=^J, lines#24,
<STRONG>Parameterized</STRONG> <STRONG>Strings</STRONG>
Cursor addressing and other strings requiring parameters
in the terminal are described by a parameterized string
capability, with <STRONG><A HREF="printf.3.html">printf(3)</A></STRONG> like escapes <STRONG>%x</STRONG> in it. For
example, to address the cursor, the <STRONG>cup</STRONG> capability is
given, using two parameters: the row and column to address
to. (Rows and columns are numbered from zero and refer to
the physical screen visible to the user, not to any unseen
memory.) If the terminal has memory relative cursor
addressing, that can be indicated by <STRONG>mrcup</STRONG>.
The parameter mechanism uses a stack and special <STRONG>%</STRONG> codes
to manipulate it. Typically a sequence will push one of
the parameters onto the stack and then print it in some
format. Print (e.g., "%d") is a special case. Other
operations, including "%t" pop their operand from the
stack. It is noted that more complex operations are often
necessary, e.g., in the <STRONG>sgr</STRONG> string.
The <STRONG>%</STRONG> encodings have the following meanings:
%% outputs `%'
as in <STRONG>printf</STRONG>, flags are [-+#] and space. Use a `:'
to allow the next character to be a `-' flag, avoid-
ing interpreting "%-" as an operator.
%c print pop() like %c in <STRONG>printf</STRONG>
%s print pop() like %s in <STRONG>printf</STRONG>
push <EM>i</EM>'th parameter
set dynamic variable [a-z] to pop()
get dynamic variable [a-z] and push it
set static variable [a-z] to pop()
get static variable [a-z] and push it
The terms "static" and "dynamic" are misleading.
Historically, these are simply two different sets of
variables, whose values are not reset between calls
to <STRONG>tparm</STRONG>. However, that fact is not documented in
other implementations. Relying on it will adversely
impact portability to other implementations.
%'<EM>c</EM>' char constant <EM>c</EM>
integer constant <EM>nn</EM>
%l push strlen(pop)
%+ %- %* %/ %m
arithmetic (%m is mod): push(pop() op pop())
%&amp; %| %^
bit operations (AND, OR and exclusive-OR): push(pop()
op pop())
%= %&gt; %&lt;
logical operations: push(pop() op pop())
%A, %O
logical AND and OR operations (for conditionals)
%! %~
unary operations (logical and bit complement):
push(op pop())
%i add 1 to first two parameters (for ANSI terminals)
%? <EM>expr</EM> %t <EM>thenpart</EM> %e <EM>elsepart</EM> %;
This forms an if-then-else. The %e <EM>elsepart</EM> is
optional. Usually the %? <EM>expr</EM> part pushes a value
onto the stack, and %t pops it from the stack, test-
ing if it is nonzero (true). If it is zero (false),
control passes to the %e (else) part.
It is possible to form else-if's a la Algol 68:
%? c1 %t b1 %e c2 %t b2 %e c3 %t b3 %e c4 %t b4 %e %;
where ci are conditions, bi are bodies.
Use the <STRONG>-f</STRONG> option of <STRONG>tic</STRONG> or <STRONG>infocmp</STRONG> to see the struc-
ture of if-the-else's. Some strings, e.g., <STRONG>sgr</STRONG> can
be very complicated when written on one line. The <STRONG>-f</STRONG>
option splits the string into lines with the parts
Binary operations are in postfix form with the operands in
the usual order. That is, to get x-5 one would use
"%gx%{5}%-". %P and %g variables are persistent across
escape-string evaluations.
Consider the HP2645, which, to get to row 3 and column 12,
needs to be sent \E&amp;a12c03Y padded for 6 milliseconds.
Note that the order of the rows and columns is inverted
here, and that the row and column are printed as two dig-
its. Thus its <STRONG>cup</STRONG> capability is "cup=6\E&amp;%p2%2dc%p1%2dY".
The Microterm ACT-IV needs the current row and column sent
preceded by a <STRONG>^T</STRONG>, with the row and column simply encoded
in binary, "cup=^T%p1%c%p2%c". Terminals which use "%c"
need to be able to backspace the cursor (<STRONG>cub1</STRONG>), and to
move the cursor up one line on the screen (<STRONG>cuu1</STRONG>). This is
necessary because it is not always safe to transmit <STRONG>\n</STRONG> <STRONG>^D</STRONG>
and <STRONG>\r</STRONG>, as the system may change or discard them. (The
library routines dealing with terminfo set tty modes so
that tabs are never expanded, so \t is safe to send. This
turns out to be essential for the Ann Arbor 4080.)
A final example is the LSI ADM-3a, which uses row and col-
umn offset by a blank character, thus "cup=\E=%p1%'
'%+%c%p2%' '%+%c". After sending `\E=', this pushes the
first parameter, pushes the ASCII value for a space (32),
adds them (pushing the sum on the stack in place of the
two previous values) and outputs that value as a charac-
ter. Then the same is done for the second parameter.
More complex arithmetic is possible using the stack.
If the terminal has a fast way to home the cursor (to very
upper left corner of screen) then this can be given as
<STRONG>home</STRONG>; similarly a fast way of getting to the lower left-
hand corner can be given as <STRONG>ll</STRONG>; this may involve going up
with <STRONG>cuu1</STRONG> from the home position, but a program should
never do this itself (unless <STRONG>ll</STRONG> does) because it can make
no assumption about the effect of moving up from the home
position. Note that the home position is the same as
addressing to (0,0): to the top left corner of the screen,
not of memory. (Thus, the \EH sequence on HP terminals
cannot be used for <STRONG>home</STRONG>.)
If the terminal has row or column absolute cursor address-
ing, these can be given as single parameter capabilities
<STRONG>hpa</STRONG> (horizontal position absolute) and <STRONG>vpa</STRONG> (vertical posi-
tion absolute). Sometimes these are shorter than the more
general two parameter sequence (as with the hp2645) and
can be used in preference to <STRONG>cup</STRONG>. If there are
parameterized local motions (e.g., move <EM>n</EM> spaces to the
right) these can be given as <STRONG>cud</STRONG>, <STRONG>cub</STRONG>, <STRONG>cuf</STRONG>, and <STRONG>cuu</STRONG> with a
single parameter indicating how many spaces to move.
These are primarily useful if the terminal does not have
<STRONG>cup</STRONG>, such as the TEKTRONIX 4025.
If the terminal needs to be in a special mode when running
a program that uses these capabilities, the codes to enter
and exit this mode can be given as <STRONG>smcup</STRONG> and <STRONG>rmcup</STRONG>. This
arises, for example, from terminals like the Concept with
more than one page of memory. If the terminal has only
memory relative cursor addressing and not screen relative
cursor addressing, a one screen-sized window must be fixed
into the terminal for cursor addressing to work properly.
This is also used for the TEKTRONIX 4025, where <STRONG>smcup</STRONG> sets
the command character to be the one used by terminfo. If
the <STRONG>smcup</STRONG> sequence will not restore the screen after an
<STRONG>rmcup</STRONG> sequence is output (to the state prior to outputting
<STRONG>rmcup</STRONG>), specify <STRONG>nrrmc</STRONG>.
If the terminal can clear from the current position to the
end of the line, leaving the cursor where it is, this
should be given as <STRONG>el</STRONG>. If the terminal can clear from the
beginning of the line to the current position inclusive,
leaving the cursor where it is, this should be given as
<STRONG>el1</STRONG>. If the terminal can clear from the current position
to the end of the display, then this should be given as
<STRONG>ed</STRONG>. <STRONG>Ed</STRONG> is only defined from the first column of a line.
(Thus, it can be simulated by a request to delete a large
number of lines, if a true <STRONG>ed</STRONG> is not available.)
<STRONG>Insert/delete</STRONG> <STRONG>line</STRONG> <STRONG>and</STRONG> <STRONG>vertical</STRONG> <STRONG>motions</STRONG>
If the terminal can open a new blank line before the line
where the cursor is, this should be given as <STRONG>il1</STRONG>; this is
done only from the first position of a line. The cursor
must then appear on the newly blank line. If the terminal
can delete the line which the cursor is on, then this
should be given as <STRONG>dl1</STRONG>; this is done only from the first
position on the line to be deleted. Versions of <STRONG>il1</STRONG> and
<STRONG>dl1</STRONG> which take a single parameter and insert or delete
that many lines can be given as <STRONG>il</STRONG> and <STRONG>dl</STRONG>.
If the terminal has a settable scrolling region (like the
vt100) the command to set this can be described with the
<STRONG>csr</STRONG> capability, which takes two parameters: the top and
bottom lines of the scrolling region. The cursor position
is, alas, undefined after using this command.
It is possible to get the effect of insert or delete line
using <STRONG>csr</STRONG> on a properly chosen region; the <STRONG>sc</STRONG> and <STRONG>rc</STRONG> (save
and restore cursor) commands may be useful for ensuring
that your synthesized insert/delete string does not move
the cursor. (Note that the <STRONG><A HREF="ncurses.3x.html">ncurses(3x)</A></STRONG> library does this
synthesis automatically, so you need not compose
insert/delete strings for an entry with <STRONG>csr</STRONG>).
Yet another way to construct insert and delete might be to
use a combination of index with the memory-lock feature
found on some terminals (like the HP-700/90 series, which
however also has insert/delete).
Inserting lines at the top or bottom of the screen can
also be done using <STRONG>ri</STRONG> or <STRONG>ind</STRONG> on many terminals without a
true insert/delete line, and is often faster even on ter-
minals with those features.
The boolean <STRONG>non_dest_scroll_region</STRONG> should be set if each
scrolling window is effectively a view port on a screen-
sized canvas. To test for this capability, create a
scrolling region in the middle of the screen, write some-
thing to the bottom line, move the cursor to the top of
the region, and do <STRONG>ri</STRONG> followed by <STRONG>dl1</STRONG> or <STRONG>ind</STRONG>. If the data
scrolled off the bottom of the region by the <STRONG>ri</STRONG> re-
appears, then scrolling is non-destructive. System V and
XSI Curses expect that <STRONG>ind</STRONG>, <STRONG>ri</STRONG>, <STRONG>indn</STRONG>, and <STRONG>rin</STRONG> will simu-
late destructive scrolling; their documentation cautions
you not to define <STRONG>csr</STRONG> unless this is true. This <STRONG>curses</STRONG>
implementation is more liberal and will do explicit erases
after scrolling if <STRONG>ndstr</STRONG> is defined.
If the terminal has the ability to define a window as part
of memory, which all commands affect, it should be given
as the parameterized string <STRONG>wind</STRONG>. The four parameters are
the starting and ending lines in memory and the starting
and ending columns in memory, in that order.
If the terminal can retain display memory above, then the
<STRONG>da</STRONG> capability should be given; if display memory can be
retained below, then <STRONG>db</STRONG> should be given. These indicate
that deleting a line or scrolling may bring non-blank
lines up from below or that scrolling back with <STRONG>ri</STRONG> may
bring down non-blank lines.
<STRONG>Insert/Delete</STRONG> <STRONG>Character</STRONG>
There are two basic kinds of intelligent terminals with
respect to insert/delete character which can be described
using <EM>terminfo.</EM> The most common insert/delete character
operations affect only the characters on the current line
and shift characters off the end of the line rigidly.
Other terminals, such as the Concept 100 and the Perkin
Elmer Owl, make a distinction between typed and untyped
blanks on the screen, shifting upon an insert or delete
only to an untyped blank on the screen which is either
eliminated, or expanded to two untyped blanks. You can
determine the kind of terminal you have by clearing the
screen and then typing text separated by cursor motions.
Type "abc def" using local cursor motions (not spaces)
between the "abc" and the "def". Then position the cursor
before the "abc" and put the terminal in insert mode. If
typing characters causes the rest of the line to shift
rigidly and characters to fall off the end, then your ter-
minal does not distinguish between blanks and untyped
positions. If the "abc" shifts over to the "def" which
then move together around the end of the current line and
onto the next as you insert, you have the second type of
terminal, and should give the capability <STRONG>in</STRONG>, which stands
for "insert null". While these are two logically separate
attributes (one line versus multi-line insert mode, and
special treatment of untyped spaces) we have seen no ter-
minals whose insert mode cannot be described with the sin-
gle attribute.
Terminfo can describe both terminals which have an insert
mode, and terminals which send a simple sequence to open a
blank position on the current line. Give as <STRONG>smir</STRONG> the
sequence to get into insert mode. Give as <STRONG>rmir</STRONG> the
sequence to leave insert mode. Now give as <STRONG>ich1</STRONG> any
sequence needed to be sent just before sending the
character to be inserted. Most terminals with a true
insert mode will not give <STRONG>ich1</STRONG>; terminals which send a
sequence to open a screen position should give it here.
If your terminal has both, insert mode is usually prefer-
able to <STRONG>ich1</STRONG>. Technically, you should not give both
unless the terminal actually requires both to be used in
combination. Accordingly, some non-curses applications
get confused if both are present; the symptom is doubled
characters in an update using insert. This requirement is
now rare; most <STRONG>ich</STRONG> sequences do not require previous smir,
and most smir insert modes do not require <STRONG>ich1</STRONG> before each
character. Therefore, the new <STRONG>curses</STRONG> actually assumes
this is the case and uses either <STRONG>rmir</STRONG>/<STRONG>smir</STRONG> or <STRONG>ich</STRONG>/<STRONG>ich1</STRONG> as
appropriate (but not both). If you have to write an entry
to be used under new curses for a terminal old enough to
need both, include the <STRONG>rmir</STRONG>/<STRONG>smir</STRONG> sequences in <STRONG>ich1</STRONG>.
If post insert padding is needed, give this as a number of
milliseconds in <STRONG>ip</STRONG> (a string option). Any other sequence
which may need to be sent after an insert of a single
character may also be given in <STRONG>ip</STRONG>. If your terminal needs
both to be placed into an `insert mode' and a special code
to precede each inserted character, then both <STRONG>smir</STRONG>/<STRONG>rmir</STRONG>
and <STRONG>ich1</STRONG> can be given, and both will be used. The <STRONG>ich</STRONG>
capability, with one parameter, <EM>n</EM>, will repeat the effects
of <STRONG>ich1</STRONG> <EM>n</EM> times.
If padding is necessary between characters typed while not
in insert mode, give this as a number of milliseconds
padding in <STRONG>rmp</STRONG>.
It is occasionally necessary to move around while in
insert mode to delete characters on the same line (e.g.,
if there is a tab after the insertion position). If your
terminal allows motion while in insert mode you can give
the capability <STRONG>mir</STRONG> to speed up inserting in this case.
Omitting <STRONG>mir</STRONG> will affect only speed. Some terminals
(notably Datamedia's) must not have <STRONG>mir</STRONG> because of the way
their insert mode works.
Finally, you can specify <STRONG>dch1</STRONG> to delete a single charac-
ter, <STRONG>dch</STRONG> with one parameter, <EM>n</EM>, to delete <EM>n</EM> <EM>characters,</EM>
and delete mode by giving <STRONG>smdc</STRONG> and <STRONG>rmdc</STRONG> to enter and exit
delete mode (any mode the terminal needs to be placed in
for <STRONG>dch1</STRONG> to work).
A command to erase <EM>n</EM> characters (equivalent to outputting
<EM>n</EM> blanks without moving the cursor) can be given as <STRONG>ech</STRONG>
with one parameter.
<STRONG>Highlighting,</STRONG> <STRONG>Underlining,</STRONG> <STRONG>and</STRONG> <STRONG>Visible</STRONG> <STRONG>Bells</STRONG>
If your terminal has one or more kinds of display
attributes, these can be represented in a number of dif-
ferent ways. You should choose one display form as <EM>stand-</EM>
<EM>out</EM> <EM>mode</EM>, representing a good, high contrast, easy-on-the-
eyes, format for highlighting error messages and other
attention getters. (If you have a choice, reverse video
plus half-bright is good, or reverse video alone.) The
sequences to enter and exit standout mode are given as
<STRONG>smso</STRONG> and <STRONG>rmso</STRONG>, respectively. If the code to change into
or out of standout mode leaves one or even two blank
spaces on the screen, as the TVI 912 and Teleray 1061 do,
then <STRONG>xmc</STRONG> should be given to tell how many spaces are left.
Codes to begin underlining and end underlining can be
given as <STRONG>smul</STRONG> and <STRONG>rmul</STRONG> respectively. If the terminal has
a code to underline the current character and move the
cursor one space to the right, such as the Microterm Mime,
this can be given as <STRONG>uc</STRONG>.
Other capabilities to enter various highlighting modes
include <STRONG>blink</STRONG> (blinking) <STRONG>bold</STRONG> (bold or extra bright) <STRONG>dim</STRONG>
(dim or half-bright) <STRONG>invis</STRONG> (blanking or invisible text)
<STRONG>prot</STRONG> (protected) <STRONG>rev</STRONG> (reverse video) <STRONG>sgr0</STRONG> (turn off <EM>all</EM>
attribute modes) <STRONG>smacs</STRONG> (enter alternate character set
mode) and <STRONG>rmacs</STRONG> (exit alternate character set mode).
Turning on any of these modes singly may or may not turn
off other modes.
If there is a sequence to set arbitrary combinations of
modes, this should be given as <STRONG>sgr</STRONG> (set attributes), tak-
ing 9 parameters. Each parameter is either 0 or nonzero,
as the corresponding attribute is on or off. The 9 param-
eters are, in order: standout, underline, reverse, blink,
dim, bold, blank, protect, alternate character set. Not
all modes need be supported by <STRONG>sgr</STRONG>, only those for which
corresponding separate attribute commands exist.
For example, the DEC vt220 supports most of the modes:
<STRONG>tparm</STRONG> <STRONG>parameter</STRONG> <STRONG>attribute</STRONG> <STRONG>escape</STRONG> <STRONG>sequence</STRONG>
none none \E[0m
p1 standout \E[0;1;7m
p2 underline \E[0;4m
p3 reverse \E[0;7m
p4 blink \E[0;5m
p5 dim not available
p6 bold \E[0;1m
p7 invis \E[0;8m
p8 protect not used
p9 altcharset ^O (off) ^N (on)
We begin each escape sequence by turning off any existing
modes, since there is no quick way to determine whether
they are active. Standout is set up to be the combination
of reverse and bold. The vt220 terminal has a protect
mode, though it is not commonly used in sgr because it
protects characters on the screen from the host's era-
sures. The altcharset mode also is different in that it
is either ^O or ^N, depending on whether it is off or on.
If all modes are turned on, the resulting sequence is
Some sequences are common to different modes. For exam-
ple, ;7 is output when either p1 or p3 is true, that is,
if either standout or reverse modes are turned on.
Writing out the above sequences, along with their depen-
dencies yields
<STRONG>sequence</STRONG> <STRONG>when</STRONG> <STRONG>to</STRONG> <STRONG>output</STRONG> <STRONG>terminfo</STRONG> <STRONG>translation</STRONG>
\E[0 always \E[0
;1 if p1 or p6 %?%p1%p6%|%t;1%;
;4 if p2 %?%p2%|%t;4%;
;5 if p4 %?%p4%|%t;5%;
;7 if p1 or p3 %?%p1%p3%|%t;7%;
;8 if p7 %?%p7%|%t;8%;
m always m
^N or ^O if p9 ^N, else ^O %?%p9%t^N%e^O%;
Putting this all together into the sgr sequence gives:
Remember that if you specify sgr, you must also specify
sgr0. Also, some implementations rely on sgr being given
if sgr0 is, Not all terminfo entries necessarily have an
sgr string, however. Many terminfo entries are derived
from termcap entries which have no sgr string. The only
drawback to adding an sgr string is that termcap also
assumes that sgr0 does not exit alternate character set
Terminals with the ``magic cookie'' glitch (<STRONG>xmc</STRONG>) deposit
special ``cookies'' when they receive mode-setting
sequences, which affect the display algorithm rather than
having extra bits for each character. Some terminals,
such as the HP 2621, automatically leave standout mode
when they move to a new line or the cursor is addressed.
Programs using standout mode should exit standout mode
before moving the cursor or sending a newline, unless the
<STRONG>msgr</STRONG> capability, asserting that it is safe to move in
standout mode, is present.
If the terminal has a way of flashing the screen to indi-
cate an error quietly (a bell replacement) then this can
be given as <STRONG>flash</STRONG>; it must not move the cursor.
If the cursor needs to be made more visible than normal
when it is not on the bottom line (to make, for example, a
non-blinking underline into an easier to find block or
blinking underline) give this sequence as <STRONG>cvvis</STRONG>. If there
is a way to make the cursor completely invisible, give
that as <STRONG>civis</STRONG>. The capability <STRONG>cnorm</STRONG> should be given which
undoes the effects of both of these modes.
If your terminal correctly generates underlined characters
(with no special codes needed) even though it does not
overstrike, then you should give the capability <STRONG>ul</STRONG>. If a
character overstriking another leaves both characters on
the screen, specify the capability <STRONG>os</STRONG>. If overstrikes are
erasable with a blank, then this should be indicated by
giving <STRONG>eo</STRONG>.
If the terminal has a keypad that transmits codes when the
keys are pressed, this information can be given. Note
that it is not possible to handle terminals where the key-
pad only works in local (this applies, for example, to the
unshifted HP 2621 keys). If the keypad can be set to
transmit or not transmit, give these codes as <STRONG>smkx</STRONG> and
<STRONG>rmkx</STRONG>. Otherwise the keypad is assumed to always transmit.
The codes sent by the left arrow, right arrow, up arrow,
down arrow, and home keys can be given as <STRONG>kcub1,</STRONG> <STRONG>kcuf1,</STRONG>
<STRONG>kcuu1,</STRONG> <STRONG>kcud1,</STRONG> and <STRONG>khome</STRONG> respectively. If there are func-
tion keys such as f0, f1, ..., f10, the codes they send
can be given as <STRONG>kf0,</STRONG> <STRONG>kf1,</STRONG> <STRONG>...,</STRONG> <STRONG>kf10</STRONG>. If these keys have
labels other than the default f0 through f10, the labels
can be given as <STRONG>lf0,</STRONG> <STRONG>lf1,</STRONG> <STRONG>...,</STRONG> <STRONG>lf10</STRONG>. The codes
transmitted by certain other special keys can be given:
<STRONG>kll</STRONG> (home down), <STRONG>kbs</STRONG> (backspace), <STRONG>ktbc</STRONG> (clear all tabs),
<STRONG>kctab</STRONG> (clear the tab stop in this column), <STRONG>kclr</STRONG> (clear
screen or erase key), <STRONG>kdch1</STRONG> (delete character), <STRONG>kdl1</STRONG>
(delete line), <STRONG>krmir</STRONG> (exit insert mode), <STRONG>kel</STRONG> (clear to end
of line), <STRONG>ked</STRONG> (clear to end of screen), <STRONG>kich1</STRONG> (insert
character or enter insert mode), <STRONG>kil1</STRONG> (insert line), <STRONG>knp</STRONG>
(next page), <STRONG>kpp</STRONG> (previous page), <STRONG>kind</STRONG> (scroll for-
ward/down), <STRONG>kri</STRONG> (scroll backward/up), <STRONG>khts</STRONG> (set a tab stop
in this column). In addition, if the keypad has a 3 by 3
array of keys including the four arrow keys, the other
five keys can be given as <STRONG>ka1</STRONG>, <STRONG>ka3</STRONG>, <STRONG>kb2</STRONG>, <STRONG>kc1</STRONG>, and <STRONG>kc3</STRONG>.
These keys are useful when the effects of a 3 by 3 direc-
tional pad are needed.
Strings to program function keys can be given as <STRONG>pfkey</STRONG>,
<STRONG>pfloc</STRONG>, and <STRONG>pfx</STRONG>. A string to program screen labels should
be specified as <STRONG>pln</STRONG>. Each of these strings takes two
parameters: the function key number to program (from 0 to
10) and the string to program it with. Function key num-
bers out of this range may program undefined keys in a
terminal dependent manner. The difference between the
capabilities is that <STRONG>pfkey</STRONG> causes pressing the given key
to be the same as the user typing the given string; <STRONG>pfloc</STRONG>
causes the string to be executed by the terminal in local;
and <STRONG>pfx</STRONG> causes the string to be transmitted to the com-
The capabilities <STRONG>nlab</STRONG>, <STRONG>lw</STRONG> and <STRONG>lh</STRONG> define the number of pro-
grammable screen labels and their width and height. If
there are commands to turn the labels on and off, give
them in <STRONG>smln</STRONG> and <STRONG>rmln</STRONG>. <STRONG>smln</STRONG> is normally output after one
or more pln sequences to make sure that the change becomes
If the terminal has hardware tabs, the command to advance
to the next tab stop can be given as <STRONG>ht</STRONG> (usually control
I). A ``back-tab'' command which moves leftward to the
preceding tab stop can be given as <STRONG>cbt</STRONG>. By convention, if
the teletype modes indicate that tabs are being expanded
by the computer rather than being sent to the terminal,
programs should not use <STRONG>ht</STRONG> or <STRONG>cbt</STRONG> even if they are
present, since the user may not have the tab stops prop-
erly set. If the terminal has hardware tabs which are
initially set every <EM>n</EM> spaces when the terminal is powered
up, the numeric parameter <STRONG>it</STRONG> is given, showing the number
of spaces the tabs are set to. This is normally used by
the <EM>tset</EM> command to determine whether to set the mode for
hardware tab expansion, and whether to set the tab stops.
If the terminal has tab stops that can be saved in non-
volatile memory, the terminfo description can assume that
they are properly set.
Other capabilities include <STRONG>is1</STRONG>, <STRONG>is2</STRONG>, and <STRONG>is3</STRONG>, initializa-
tion strings for the terminal, <STRONG>iprog</STRONG>, the path name of a
program to be run to initialize the terminal, and <STRONG>if</STRONG>, the
name of a file containing long initialization strings.
These strings are expected to set the terminal into modes
consistent with the rest of the terminfo description.
They are normally sent to the terminal, by the <EM>init</EM> option
of the <EM>tput</EM> program, each time the user logs in. They
will be printed in the following order:
run the program
output <STRONG>is1</STRONG> <STRONG>is2</STRONG>
set the margins using
set tabs using
print the file
and finally
output <STRONG>is3</STRONG>.
Most initialization is done with <STRONG>is2</STRONG>. Special terminal
modes can be set up without duplicating strings by putting
the common sequences in <STRONG>is2</STRONG> and special cases in <STRONG>is1</STRONG> and
A set of sequences that does a harder reset from a totally
unknown state can be given as <STRONG>rs1</STRONG>, <STRONG>rs2</STRONG>, <STRONG>rf</STRONG> and <STRONG>rs3</STRONG>, analo-
gous to <STRONG>is1</STRONG> <STRONG>,</STRONG> <STRONG>is2</STRONG> <STRONG>,</STRONG> <STRONG>if</STRONG> and <STRONG>is3</STRONG> respectively. These
strings are output by the <EM>reset</EM> program, which is used
when the terminal gets into a wedged state. Commands are
normally placed in <STRONG>rs1</STRONG>, <STRONG>rs2</STRONG> <STRONG>rs3</STRONG> and <STRONG>rf</STRONG> only if they pro-
duce annoying effects on the screen and are not necessary
when logging in. For example, the command to set the
vt100 into 80-column mode would normally be part of <STRONG>is2</STRONG>,
but it causes an annoying glitch of the screen and is not
normally needed since the terminal is usually already in
80 column mode.
The <EM>reset</EM> program writes strings including <STRONG>iprog</STRONG>, etc., in
the same order as the <EM>init</EM> program, using <STRONG>rs1</STRONG>, etc.,
instead of <STRONG>is1</STRONG>, etc. If any of <STRONG>rs1</STRONG>, <STRONG>rs2</STRONG>, <STRONG>rs3</STRONG>, or <STRONG>rf</STRONG> reset
capability strings are missing, the <EM>reset</EM> program falls
back upon the corresponding initialization capability
If there are commands to set and clear tab stops, they can
be given as <STRONG>tbc</STRONG> (clear all tab stops) and <STRONG>hts</STRONG> (set a tab
stop in the current column of every row). If a more com-
plex sequence is needed to set the tabs than can be
described by this, the sequence can be placed in <STRONG>is2</STRONG> or
Many older and slower terminals do not support either
XON/XOFF or DTR handshaking, including hard copy terminals
and some very archaic CRTs (including, for example, DEC
VT100s). These may require padding characters after cer-
tain cursor motions and screen changes.
If the terminal uses xon/xoff handshaking for flow control
(that is, it automatically emits ^S back to the host when
its input buffers are close to full), set <STRONG>xon</STRONG>. This capa-
bility suppresses the emission of padding. You can also
set it for memory-mapped console devices effectively that
do not have a speed limit. Padding information should
still be included so that routines can make better deci-
sions about relative costs, but actual pad characters will
not be transmitted.
If <STRONG>pb</STRONG> (padding baud rate) is given, padding is suppressed
at baud rates below the value of <STRONG>pb</STRONG>. If the entry has no
padding baud rate, then whether padding is emitted or not
is completely controlled by <STRONG>xon</STRONG>.
If the terminal requires other than a null (zero) charac-
ter as a pad, then this can be given as <STRONG>pad</STRONG>. Only the
first character of the <STRONG>pad</STRONG> string is used.
Some terminals have an extra `status line' which is not
normally used by software (and thus not counted in the
terminal's <STRONG>lines</STRONG> capability).
The simplest case is a status line which is cursor-
addressable but not part of the main scrolling region on
the screen; the Heathkit H19 has a status line of this
kind, as would a 24-line VT100 with a 23-line scrolling
region set up on initialization. This situation is indi-
cated by the <STRONG>hs</STRONG> capability.
Some terminals with status lines need special sequences to
access the status line. These may be expressed as a
string with single parameter <STRONG>tsl</STRONG> which takes the cursor to
a given zero-origin column on the status line. The capa-
bility <STRONG>fsl</STRONG> must return to the main-screen cursor positions
before the last <STRONG>tsl</STRONG>. You may need to embed the string
values of <STRONG>sc</STRONG> (save cursor) and <STRONG>rc</STRONG> (restore cursor) in <STRONG>tsl</STRONG>
and <STRONG>fsl</STRONG> to accomplish this.
The status line is normally assumed to be the same width
as the width of the terminal. If this is untrue, you can
specify it with the numeric capability <STRONG>wsl</STRONG>.
A command to erase or blank the status line may be speci-
fied as <STRONG>dsl</STRONG>.
The boolean capability <STRONG>eslok</STRONG> specifies that escape
sequences, tabs, etc., work ordinarily in the status line.
The <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> implementation does not yet use any of these
capabilities. They are documented here in case they ever
become important.
Many terminals have alternate character sets useful for
forms-drawing. Terminfo and <STRONG>curses</STRONG> build in support for
the drawing characters supported by the VT100, with some
characters from the AT&amp;T 4410v1 added. This alternate
character set may be specified by the <STRONG>acsc</STRONG> capability.
UK pound sign ACS_STERLING f }
arrow pointing down ACS_DARROW v .
arrow pointing left ACS_LARROW &lt; ,
arrow pointing right ACS_RARROW &gt; +
arrow pointing up ACS_UARROW ^ -
board of squares ACS_BOARD # h
bullet ACS_BULLET o ~
checker board (stipple) ACS_CKBOARD : a
degree symbol ACS_DEGREE \ f
diamond ACS_DIAMOND + `
greater-than-or-equal-to ACS_GEQUAL &gt; z
greek pi ACS_PI * {
horizontal line ACS_HLINE - q
lantern symbol ACS_LANTERN # i
large plus or crossover ACS_PLUS + n
less-than-or-equal-to ACS_LEQUAL &lt; y
lower left corner ACS_LLCORNER + m
lower right corner ACS_LRCORNER + j
not-equal ACS_NEQUAL ! |
plus/minus ACS_PLMINUS # g
scan line 1 ACS_S1 ~ o
scan line 3 ACS_S3 - p
scan line 7 ACS_S7 - r
scan line 9 ACS_S9 _ s
solid square block ACS_BLOCK # 0
tee pointing down ACS_TTEE + w
tee pointing left ACS_RTEE + u
tee pointing right ACS_LTEE + t
tee pointing up ACS_BTEE + v
upper left corner ACS_ULCORNER + l
upper right corner ACS_URCORNER + k
vertical line ACS_VLINE | x
The best way to define a new device's graphics set is to
add a column to a copy of this table for your terminal,
giving the character which (when emitted between
<STRONG>smacs</STRONG>/<STRONG>rmacs</STRONG> switches) will be rendered as the correspond-
ing graphic. Then read off the VT100/your terminal char-
acter pairs right to left in sequence; these become the
ACSC string.
Most color terminals are either `Tektronix-like' or `HP-
like'. Tektronix-like terminals have a predefined set of
N colors (where N usually 8), and can set character-cell
foreground and background characters independently, mixing
them into N * N color-pairs. On HP-like terminals, the
use must set each color pair up separately (foreground and
background are not independently settable). Up to M
color-pairs may be set up from 2*M different colors.
ANSI-compatible terminals are Tektronix-like.
Some basic color capabilities are independent of the color
method. The numeric capabilities <STRONG>colors</STRONG> and <STRONG>pairs</STRONG> specify
the maximum numbers of colors and color-pairs that can be
displayed simultaneously. The <STRONG>op</STRONG> (original pair) string
resets foreground and background colors to their default
values for the terminal. The <STRONG>oc</STRONG> string resets all colors
or color-pairs to their default values for the terminal.
Some terminals (including many PC terminal emulators)
erase screen areas with the current background color
rather than the power-up default background; these should
have the boolean capability <STRONG>bce</STRONG>.
To change the current foreground or background color on a
Tektronix-type terminal, use <STRONG>setaf</STRONG> (set ANSI foreground)
and <STRONG>setab</STRONG> (set ANSI background) or <STRONG>setf</STRONG> (set foreground)
and <STRONG>setb</STRONG> (set background). These take one parameter, the
color number. The SVr4 documentation describes only
<STRONG>setaf</STRONG>/<STRONG>setab</STRONG>; the XPG4 draft says that "If the terminal
supports ANSI escape sequences to set background and fore-
ground, they should be coded as <STRONG>setaf</STRONG> and <STRONG>setab</STRONG>, respec-
tively. If the terminal supports other escape sequences
to set background and foreground, they should be coded as
<STRONG>setf</STRONG> and <STRONG>setb</STRONG>, respectively. The <EM>vidputs()</EM> function and
the refresh functions use <STRONG>setaf</STRONG> and <STRONG>setab</STRONG> if they are
The <STRONG>setaf</STRONG>/<STRONG>setab</STRONG> and <STRONG>setf</STRONG>/<STRONG>setb</STRONG> capabilities take a single
numeric argument each. Argument values 0-7 of <STRONG>setaf</STRONG>/<STRONG>setab</STRONG>
are portably defined as follows (the middle column is the
symbolic #define available in the header for the <STRONG>curses</STRONG> or
<STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> libraries). The terminal hardware is free to map
these as it likes, but the RGB values indicate normal
locations in color space.
black <STRONG>COLOR_BLACK</STRONG> 0 0, 0, 0
red <STRONG>COLOR_RED</STRONG> 1 max,0,0
green <STRONG>COLOR_GREEN</STRONG> 2 0,max,0
yellow <STRONG>COLOR_YELLOW</STRONG> 3 max,max,0
blue <STRONG>COLOR_BLUE</STRONG> 4 0,0,max
magenta <STRONG>COLOR_MAGENTA</STRONG> 5 max,0,max
cyan <STRONG>COLOR_CYAN</STRONG> 6 0,max,max
white <STRONG>COLOR_WHITE</STRONG> 7 max,max,max
The argument values of <STRONG>setf</STRONG>/<STRONG>setb</STRONG> historically correspond
to a different mapping, i.e.,
black <STRONG>COLOR_BLACK</STRONG> 0 0, 0, 0
blue <STRONG>COLOR_BLUE</STRONG> 1 0,0,max
green <STRONG>COLOR_GREEN</STRONG> 2 0,max,0
cyan <STRONG>COLOR_CYAN</STRONG> 3 0,max,max
red <STRONG>COLOR_RED</STRONG> 4 max,0,0
magenta <STRONG>COLOR_MAGENTA</STRONG> 5 max,0,max
yellow <STRONG>COLOR_YELLOW</STRONG> 6 max,max,0
white <STRONG>COLOR_WHITE</STRONG> 7 max,max,max
It is important to not confuse the two sets of color capa-
bilities; otherwise red/blue will be interchanged on the
On an HP-like terminal, use <STRONG>scp</STRONG> with a color-pair number
parameter to set which color pair is current.
On a Tektronix-like terminal, the capability <STRONG>ccc</STRONG> may be
present to indicate that colors can be modified. If so,
the <STRONG>initc</STRONG> capability will take a color number (0 to <STRONG>colors</STRONG>
- 1)and three more parameters which describe the color.
These three parameters default to being interpreted as RGB
(Red, Green, Blue) values. If the boolean capability <STRONG>hls</STRONG>
is present, they are instead as HLS (Hue, Lightness, Satu-
ration) indices. The ranges are terminal-dependent.
On an HP-like terminal, <STRONG>initp</STRONG> may give a capability for
changing a color-pair value. It will take seven parame-
ters; a color-pair number (0 to <STRONG>max_pairs</STRONG> - 1), and two
triples describing first background and then foreground
colors. These parameters must be (Red, Green, Blue) or
(Hue, Lightness, Saturation) depending on <STRONG>hls</STRONG>.
On some color terminals, colors collide with highlights.
You can register these collisions with the <STRONG>ncv</STRONG> capability.
This is a bit-mask of attributes not to be used when col-
ors are enabled. The correspondence with the attributes
understood by <STRONG>curses</STRONG> is as follows:
A_DIM 4 16
A_BOLD 5 32
A_INVIS 6 64
For example, on many IBM PC consoles, the underline
attribute collides with the foreground color blue and is
not available in color mode. These should have an <STRONG>ncv</STRONG>
capability of 2.
SVr4 curses does nothing with <STRONG>ncv</STRONG>, ncurses recognizes it
and optimizes the output in favor of colors.
If the terminal requires other than a null (zero) charac-
ter as a pad, then this can be given as pad. Only the
first character of the pad string is used. If the termi-
nal does not have a pad character, specify npc. Note that
ncurses implements the termcap-compatible <STRONG>PC</STRONG> variable;
though the application may set this value to something
other than a null, ncurses will test <STRONG>npc</STRONG> first and use
napms if the terminal has no pad character.
If the terminal can move up or down half a line, this can
be indicated with <STRONG>hu</STRONG> (half-line up) and <STRONG>hd</STRONG> (half-line
down). This is primarily useful for superscripts and sub-
scripts on hard-copy terminals. If a hard-copy terminal
can eject to the next page (form feed), give this as <STRONG>ff</STRONG>
(usually control L).
If there is a command to repeat a given character a given
number of times (to save time transmitting a large number
of identical characters) this can be indicated with the
parameterized string <STRONG>rep</STRONG>. The first parameter is the
character to be repeated and the second is the number of
times to repeat it. Thus, tparm(repeat_char, 'x', 10) is
the same as `xxxxxxxxxx'.
If the terminal has a settable command character, such as
the TEKTRONIX 4025, this can be indicated with <STRONG>cmdch</STRONG>. A
prototype command character is chosen which is used in all
capabilities. This character is given in the <STRONG>cmdch</STRONG> capa-
bility to identify it. The following convention is sup-
ported on some UNIX systems: The environment is to be
searched for a <STRONG>CC</STRONG> variable, and if found, all occurrences
of the prototype character are replaced with the character
in the environment variable.
Terminal descriptions that do not represent a specific
kind of known terminal, such as <EM>switch</EM>, <EM>dialup</EM>, <EM>patch</EM>, and
<EM>network</EM>, should include the <STRONG>gn</STRONG> (generic) capability so
that programs can complain that they do not know how to
talk to the terminal. (This capability does not apply to
<EM>virtual</EM> terminal descriptions for which the escape
sequences are known.)
If the terminal has a ``meta key'' which acts as a shift
key, setting the 8th bit of any character transmitted,
this fact can be indicated with <STRONG>km</STRONG>. Otherwise, software
will assume that the 8th bit is parity and it will usually
be cleared. If strings exist to turn this ``meta mode''
on and off, they can be given as <STRONG>smm</STRONG> and <STRONG>rmm</STRONG>.
If the terminal has more lines of memory than will fit on
the screen at once, the number of lines of memory can be
indicated with <STRONG>lm</STRONG>. A value of <STRONG>lm</STRONG>#0 indicates that the
number of lines is not fixed, but that there is still more
memory than fits on the screen.
If the terminal is one of those supported by the UNIX vir-
tual terminal protocol, the terminal number can be given
Media copy strings which control an auxiliary printer con-
nected to the terminal can be given as <STRONG>mc0</STRONG>: print the con-
tents of the screen, <STRONG>mc4</STRONG>: turn off the printer, and <STRONG>mc5</STRONG>:
turn on the printer. When the printer is on, all text
sent to the terminal will be sent to the printer. It is
undefined whether the text is also displayed on the termi-
nal screen when the printer is on. A variation <STRONG>mc5p</STRONG> takes
one parameter, and leaves the printer on for as many char-
acters as the value of the parameter, then turns the
printer off. The parameter should not exceed 255. All
text, including <STRONG>mc4</STRONG>, is transparently passed to the
printer while an <STRONG>mc5p</STRONG> is in effect.
Hazeltine terminals, which do not allow `~' characters to
be displayed should indicate <STRONG>hz</STRONG>.
Terminals which ignore a line-feed immediately after an <STRONG>am</STRONG>
wrap, such as the Concept and vt100, should indicate <STRONG>xenl</STRONG>.
If <STRONG>el</STRONG> is required to get rid of standout (instead of
merely writing normal text on top of it), <STRONG>xhp</STRONG> should be
Teleray terminals, where tabs turn all characters moved
over to blanks, should indicate <STRONG>xt</STRONG> (destructive tabs).
Note: the variable indicating this is now
`dest_tabs_magic_smso'; in older versions, it was tel-
eray_glitch. This glitch is also taken to mean that it is
not possible to position the cursor on top of a ``magic
cookie'', that to erase standout mode it is instead neces-
sary to use delete and insert line. The ncurses implemen-
tation ignores this glitch.
The Beehive Superbee, which is unable to correctly trans-
mit the escape or control C characters, has <STRONG>xsb</STRONG>, indicat-
ing that the f1 key is used for escape and f2 for control
C. (Only certain Superbees have this problem, depending
on the ROM.) Note that in older terminfo versions, this
capability was called `beehive_glitch'; it is now
Other specific terminal problems may be corrected by
adding more capabilities of the form <STRONG>x</STRONG><EM>x</EM>.
If there are two very similar terminals, one (the variant)
can be defined as being just like the other (the base)
with certain exceptions. In the definition of the vari-
ant, the string capability <STRONG>use</STRONG> can be given with the name
of the base terminal. The capabilities given before <STRONG>use</STRONG>
override those in the base type named by <STRONG>use</STRONG>. If there
are multiple <STRONG>use</STRONG> capabilities, they are merged in reverse
order. That is, the rightmost <STRONG>use</STRONG> reference is processed
first, then the one to its left, and so forth. Capabili-
ties given explicitly in the entry override those brought
in by <STRONG>use</STRONG> references.
A capability can be canceled by placing <STRONG>xx@</STRONG> to the left of
the use reference that imports it, where <EM>xx</EM> is the capa-
bility. For example, the entry
2621-nl, smkx@, rmkx@, use=2621,
defines a 2621-nl that does not have the <STRONG>smkx</STRONG> or <STRONG>rmkx</STRONG>
capabilities, and hence does not turn on the function key
labels when in visual mode. This is useful for different
modes for a terminal, or for different user preferences.
Long terminfo entries are unlikely to be a problem; to
date, no entry has even approached terminfo's 4096-byte
string-table maximum. Unfortunately, the termcap transla-
tions are much more strictly limited (to 1023 bytes), thus
termcap translations of long terminfo entries can cause
The man pages for 4.3BSD and older versions of <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG>
instruct the user to allocate a 1024-byte buffer for the
termcap entry. The entry gets null-terminated by the
termcap library, so that makes the maximum safe length for
a termcap entry 1k-1 (1023) bytes. Depending on what the
application and the termcap library being used does, and
where in the termcap file the terminal type that <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG>
is searching for is, several bad things can happen.
Some termcap libraries print a warning message or exit if
they find an entry that's longer than 1023 bytes; others
do not; others truncate the entries to 1023 bytes. Some
application programs allocate more than the recommended 1K
for the termcap entry; others do not.
Each termcap entry has two important sizes associated with
it: before "tc" expansion, and after "tc" expansion. "tc"
is the capability that tacks on another termcap entry to
the end of the current one, to add on its capabilities.
If a termcap entry does not use the "tc" capability, then
of course the two lengths are the same.
The "before tc expansion" length is the most important
one, because it affects more than just users of that par-
ticular terminal. This is the length of the entry as it
exists in /etc/termcap, minus the backslash-newline pairs,
which <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG> strips out while reading it. Some termcap
libraries strip off the final newline, too (GNU termcap
does not). Now suppose:
* a termcap entry before expansion is more than 1023
bytes long,
* and the application has only allocated a 1k buffer,
* and the termcap library (like the one in BSD/OS 1.1
and GNU) reads the whole entry into the buffer, no
matter what its length, to see if it is the entry it
* and <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG> is searching for a terminal type that
either is the long entry, appears in the termcap file
after the long entry, or does not appear in the file
at all (so that <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG> has to search the whole
termcap file).
Then <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG> will overwrite memory, perhaps its stack,
and probably core dump the program. Programs like telnet
are particularly vulnerable; modern telnets pass along
values like the terminal type automatically. The results
are almost as undesirable with a termcap library, like
SunOS 4.1.3 and Ultrix 4.4, that prints warning messages
when it reads an overly long termcap entry. If a termcap
library truncates long entries, like OSF/1 3.0, it is
immune to dying here but will return incorrect data for
the terminal.
The "after tc expansion" length will have a similar effect
to the above, but only for people who actually set TERM to
that terminal type, since <STRONG>tgetent()</STRONG> only does "tc" expan-
sion once it is found the terminal type it was looking
for, not while searching.
In summary, a termcap entry that is longer than 1023 bytes
can cause, on various combinations of termcap libraries
and applications, a core dump, warnings, or incorrect
operation. If it is too long even before "tc" expansion,
it will have this effect even for users of some other ter-
minal types and users whose TERM variable does not have a
termcap entry.
When in -C (translate to termcap) mode, the <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> imple-
mentation of <STRONG><A HREF="tic.1m.html">tic(1m)</A></STRONG> issues warning messages when the pre-
tc length of a termcap translation is too long. The -c
(check) option also checks resolved (after tc expansion)
<STRONG>Binary</STRONG> <STRONG>Compatibility</STRONG>
It is not wise to count on portability of binary terminfo
entries between commercial UNIX versions. The problem is
that there are at least two versions of terminfo (under
HP-UX and AIX) which diverged from System V terminfo after
SVr1, and have added extension capabilities to the string
table that (in the binary format) collide with System V
and XSI Curses extensions.
Some SVr4 <STRONG>curses</STRONG> implementations, and all previous to
SVr4, do not interpret the %A and %O operators in parame-
ter strings.
SVr4/XPG4 do not specify whether <STRONG>msgr</STRONG> licenses movement
while in an alternate-character-set mode (such modes may,
among other things, map CR and NL to characters that do
not trigger local motions). The <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> implementation
ignores <STRONG>msgr</STRONG> in <STRONG>ALTCHARSET</STRONG> mode. This raises the possi-
bility that an XPG4 implementation making the opposite
interpretation may need terminfo entries made for <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG>
to have <STRONG>msgr</STRONG> turned off.
The <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> library handles insert-character and insert-
character modes in a slightly non-standard way to get bet-
ter update efficiency. See the <STRONG>Insert/Delete</STRONG> <STRONG>Character</STRONG>
subsection above.
The parameter substitutions for <STRONG>set_clock</STRONG> and <STRONG>dis-</STRONG>
<STRONG>play_clock</STRONG> are not documented in SVr4 or the XSI Curses
standard. They are deduced from the documentation for the
AT&amp;T 505 terminal.
Be careful assigning the <STRONG>kmous</STRONG> capability. The <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG>
wants to interpret it as <STRONG>KEY_MOUSE</STRONG>, for use by terminals
and emulators like xterm that can return mouse-tracking
information in the keyboard-input stream.
Different commercial ports of terminfo and curses support
different subsets of the XSI Curses standard and (in some
cases) different extension sets. Here is a summary, accu-
rate as of October 1995:
<STRONG>SVR4,</STRONG> <STRONG>Solaris,</STRONG> <STRONG>ncurses</STRONG> -- These support all SVr4 capabili-
<STRONG>SGI</STRONG> -- Supports the SVr4 set, adds one undocumented
extended string capability (<STRONG>set_pglen</STRONG>).
<STRONG>SVr1,</STRONG> <STRONG>Ultrix</STRONG> -- These support a restricted subset of ter-
minfo capabilities. The booleans end with <STRONG>xon_xoff</STRONG>; the
numerics with <STRONG>width_status_line</STRONG>; and the strings with
<STRONG>HP/UX</STRONG> -- Supports the SVr1 subset, plus the SVr[234]
numerics <STRONG>num_labels</STRONG>, <STRONG>label_height</STRONG>, <STRONG>label_width</STRONG>, plus func-
tion keys 11 through 63, plus <STRONG>plab_norm</STRONG>, <STRONG>label_on</STRONG>, and
<STRONG>label_off</STRONG>, plus some incompatible extensions in the string
<STRONG>AIX</STRONG> -- Supports the SVr1 subset, plus function keys 11
through 63, plus a number of incompatible string table
<STRONG>OSF</STRONG> -- Supports both the SVr4 set and the AIX extensions.
/usr/share/terminfo/?/* files containing terminal
<STRONG><A HREF="tic.1m.html">tic(1m)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="infocmp.1m.html">infocmp(1m)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="ncurses.3x.html">curses(3x)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="printf.3.html">printf(3)</A></STRONG>, <STRONG><A HREF="term.5.html">term(5)</A></STRONG>.
Zeyd M. Ben-Halim, Eric S. Raymond, Thomas E. Dickey.
Based on pcurses by Pavel Curtis.
<STRONG><A HREF="terminfo.5.html">terminfo(5)</A></STRONG>
Man(1) output converted with
<a href="">man2html</a>