curs_terminfo(3X)                                          curs_terminfo(3X)

NAME         top

       del_curterm, mvcur, putp, restartterm, set_curterm, setterm,
       setupterm, tigetflag, tigetnum, tigetstr, tiparm, tparm, tputs,
       vid_attr, vid_puts, vidattr, vidputs - curses interfaces to terminfo

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <curses.h>
       #include <term.h>

       int setupterm(char *term, int fildes, int *errret);
       int setterm(char *term);
       TERMINAL *set_curterm(TERMINAL *nterm);
       int del_curterm(TERMINAL *oterm);
       int restartterm(char *term, int fildes, int *errret);
       char *tparm(char *str, ...);
       int tputs(const char *str, int affcnt, int (*putc)(int));
       int putp(const char *str);
       int vidputs(chtype attrs, int (*putc)(int));
       int vidattr(chtype attrs);
       int vid_puts(attr_t attrs, short pair, void *opts, int (*putc)(int));
       int vid_attr(attr_t attrs, short pair, void *opts);
       int mvcur(int oldrow, int oldcol, int newrow, int newcol);
       int tigetflag(char *capname);
       int tigetnum(char *capname);
       char *tigetstr(char *capname);
       char *tiparm(const char *str, ...);

DESCRIPTION         top

       These low-level routines must be called by programs that have to deal
       directly with the terminfo database to handle certain terminal
       capabilities, such as programming function keys.  For all other
       functionality, curses routines are more suitable and their use is

       Initially, setupterm should be called.  Note that setupterm is
       automatically called by initscr and newterm.  This defines the set of
       terminal-dependent variables [listed in terminfo(5)].

       Each initialization routine provides applications with the terminal
       capabilities either directly (via header definitions), or by special
       functions.  The header files curses.h and term.h should be included
       (in this order) to get the definitions for these strings, numbers,
       and flags.

       The terminfo variables lines and columns are initialized by setupterm
       as follows:

       ·   If use_env(FALSE) has been called, values for lines and columns
           specified in terminfo are used.

       ·   Otherwise, if the environment variables LINES and COLUMNS exist,
           their values are used.  If these environment variables do not
           exist and the program is running in a window, the current window
           size is used.  Otherwise, if the environment variables do not
           exist, the values for lines and columns specified in the terminfo
           database are used.

       Parameterized strings should be passed through tparm to instantiate
       them.  All terminfo strings [including the output of tparm] should be
       printed with tputs or putp.  Call reset_shell_mode to restore the tty
       modes before exiting [see curs_kernel(3X)].

       Programs which use cursor addressing should

       ·   output enter_ca_mode upon startup and

       ·   output exit_ca_mode before exiting.

       Programs which execute shell subprocesses should

       ·   call reset_shell_mode and output exit_ca_mode before the shell is
           called and

       ·   output enter_ca_mode and call reset_prog_mode after returning
           from the shell.

       The setupterm routine reads in the terminfo database, initializing
       the terminfo structures, but does not set up the output
       virtualization structures used by curses.  The terminal type is the
       character string term; if term is null, the environment variable TERM
       is used.  All output is to file descriptor fildes which is
       initialized for output.  If errret is not null, then setupterm
       returns OK or ERR and stores a status value in the integer pointed to
       by errret.  A return value of OK combined with status of 1 in errret
       is normal.  If ERR is returned, examine errret:

       1    means that the terminal is hardcopy, cannot be used for curses

            setupterm determines if the entry is a hardcopy type by checking
            the hc (hardcopy) capability.

       0    means that the terminal could not be found, or that it is a
            generic type, having too little information for curses
            applications to run.

            setupterm determines if the entry is a generic type by checking
            the gn (generic) capability.

       -1   means that the terminfo database could not be found.

       If errret is null, setupterm prints an error message upon finding an
       error and exits.  Thus, the simplest call is:

             setupterm((char *)0, 1, (int *)0);,

       which uses all the defaults and sends the output to stdout.

       The setterm routine was replaced by setupterm.  The call:

             setupterm(term, 1, (int *)0)

       provides the same functionality as setterm(term).  The setterm
       routine is provided for BSD compatibility, and is not recommended for
       new programs.

   The Terminal State
       The setupterm routine stores its information about the terminal in a
       TERMINAL structure pointed to by the global variable cur_term.  If it
       detects an error, or decides that the terminal is unsuitable
       (hardcopy or generic), it discards this information, making it not
       available to applications.

       If setupterm 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, setupterm allocates new storage for each set of
       terminal capabilities.

       The set_curterm routine sets cur_term to nterm, and makes all of the
       terminfo boolean, numeric, and string variables use the values from
       nterm.  It returns the old value of cur_term.

       The del_curterm routine frees the space pointed to by oterm and makes
       it available for further use.  If oterm is the same as cur_term,
       references to any of the terminfo boolean, numeric, and string
       variables thereafter may refer to invalid memory locations until
       another setupterm has been called.

       The restartterm routine is similar to setupterm and initscr, except
       that it is called after restoring memory to a previous state (for
       example, when reloading a game saved as a core image dump).
       restartterm 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, restartterm saves various tty
       state bits, calls setupterm, and then restores the bits.

   Formatting Output
       The tparm routine instantiates the string str with parameters pi.  A
       pointer is returned to the result of str with the parameters applied.

       tiparm is a newer form of tparm which uses <stdarg.h> rather than a
       fixed-parameter list.  Its numeric parameters are integers (int)
       rather than longs.

   Output Functions
       The tputs routine applies padding information to the string str and
       outputs it:

       ·   The str must be a terminfo string variable or the return value
           from tparm, tgetstr, or tgoto.

       ·   affcnt is the number of lines affected, or 1 if not applicable.

       ·   putc is a putchar-like routine to which the characters are
           passed, one at a time.

       The putp routine calls tputs(str, 1, putchar).  Note that the output
       of putp always goes to stdout, not to the fildes specified in

       The vidputs routine displays the string on the terminal in the video
       attribute mode attrs, which is any combination of the attributes
       listed in curses(3X).  The characters are passed to the putchar-like
       routine putc.

       The vidattr routine is like the vidputs routine, except that it
       outputs through putchar.

       The vid_attr and vid_puts 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 vid_attr and
       vid_puts routines are designed to use the attribute constants with
       the WA_ prefix.  The opts argument is reserved for future use.
       Currently, applications must provide a null pointer for that

       The mvcur routine provides low-level cursor motion.  It takes effect
       immediately (rather than at the next refresh).

   Terminal Capability Functions
       The tigetflag, tigetnum and tigetstr routines return the value of the
       capability corresponding to the terminfo capname passed to them, such
       as xenl.  The capname for each capability is given in the table
       column entitled capname code in the capabilities section of

       These routines return special values to denote errors.

       The tigetflag routine returns

       -1     if capname is not a boolean capability, or

       0      if it is canceled or absent from the terminal description.

       The tigetnum routine returns

       -2     if capname is not a numeric capability, or

       -1     if it is canceled or absent from the terminal description.

       The tigetstr routine returns

       (char *)-1
              if capname is not a string capability, or

       0      if it is canceled or absent from the terminal description.

   Terminal Capability Names
       These null-terminated arrays contain the short terminfo names
       ("codes"), the termcap names, and the long terminfo names ("fnames")
       for each of the predefined terminfo variables:
              char *boolnames[], *boolcodes[], *boolfnames[]

              char *numnames[], *numcodes[], *numfnames[]

              char *strnames[], *strcodes[], *strfnames[]

RETURN VALUE         top

       Routines that return an integer return ERR upon failure and OK (SVr4
       only specifies "an integer value other than ERR") upon successful
       completion, unless otherwise noted in the preceding routine

       Routines that return pointers always return NULL on error.

       X/Open defines no error conditions.  In this implementation

                 returns an error if its terminal parameter is null.

            putp calls tputs, returning the same error-codes.

                 returns an error if the associated call to setupterm
                 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 tputs ignores the
                 return value of the output function putc.

PORTABILITY         top

       X/Open notes that vidattr and vidputs may be macros.

       The function setterm is not described by X/Open and must be
       considered non-portable.  All other functions are as described by

       setupterm copies the terminal name to the array ttytype.  This is not
       part of X/Open Curses, but is assumed by some applications.

       If configured to use the terminal-driver, e.g., for the MinGW port,

       ·   setupterm interprets a missing/empty TERM variable as the special
           value “unknown”.

       ·   setupterm allows explicit use of the the windows console driver
           by checking if $TERM is set to “#win32con” or an abbreviation of
           that string.

       Older versions of ncurses assumed that the file descriptor passed to
       setupterm from initscr or newterm uses buffered I/O, and would write
       to the corresponding stream.  In addition to the limitation that the
       terminal was left in block-buffered mode on exit (like System V
       curses), it was problematic because ncurses did not allow a reliable
       way to cleanup on receiving SIGTSTP.  The current version uses output
       buffers managed directly by ncurses.  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 ncurses use alternate
       versions of these functions using the more reliable buffering scheme.

       In System V Release 4, set_curterm has an int return type and returns
       OK or ERR.  We have chosen to implement the X/Open Curses semantics.

       In System V Release 4, the third argument of tputs has the type int

       At least one implementation of X/Open Curses (Solaris) returns a
       value other than OK/ERR from tputs.  That returns the length of the
       string, and does no error-checking.

       X/Open Curses prototypes tparm with a fixed number of parameters,
       rather than a variable argument list.  This implementation uses a
       variable argument list, but can be configured to use the fixed-
       parameter list.  Portable applications 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 tiparm function in mid-2009.

       X/Open notes that after calling mvcur, the curses state may not match
       the actual terminal state, and that an application should touch and
       refresh the window before resuming normal curses calls.  Both ncurses
       and System V Release 4 curses implement mvcur using the SCREEN data
       allocated in either initscr or newterm.  So though it is documented
       as a terminfo function, mvcur is really a curses function which is
       not well specified.

       X/Open states that the old location must be given for mvcur.  This
       implementation allows the caller to use -1's for the old ordinates.
       In that case, the old location is unknown.

       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 @TIC@ -x, are
       not stored in the arrays described here.

SEE ALSO         top

       curses(3X), curs_initscr(3X), curs_kernel(3X), curs_termcap(3X),
       curs_variables(3X), term_variables(3X), putc(3), terminfo(5)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the ncurses (new curses) project.  Information
       about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a
       bug report for this manual page, send it to  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git mirror of the CVS repository 
       ⟨git://⟩ on 2017-03-13.  If you
       discover any rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or
       you believe there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page,
       or you have corrections or improvements to the information in this
       COLOPHON (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail