SETTERM(1) User Commands SETTERM(1)
setterm - set terminal attributes
setterm writes to standard output a character string that will invoke the specified terminal capabilities. Where possible terminfo is consulted to find the string to use. Some options however (marked "virtual consoles only" below) do not correspond to a terminfo(5) capability. In this case, if the terminal type is "con" or "linux" the string that invokes the specified capabilities on the PC Minix virtual console driver is output. Options that are not implemented by the terminal are ignored.
For boolean options (on or off), the default is on. Below, an 8-color can be black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, or white. A 16-color can be an 8-color, or grey, or bright followed by red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, or white. The various color options may be set independently, at least on virtual consoles, though the results of setting multiple modes (for example, --underline and --half-bright) are hardware-dependent. The optional arguments require '=' (equals sign) and not space between the option and the argument. For example --option=argument. --appcursorkeys on|off Sets Cursor Key Application Mode on or off. When on, ESC O A, ESC O B, etc. will be sent for the cursor keys instead of ESC [ A, ESC [ B, etc. See the vi and Cursor-Keys section of the Text-Terminal-HOWTO for how this can cause problems for vi users. Virtual consoles only. --append console_number Like --dump, but appends to the snapshot file instead of overwriting it. Only works if no --dump options are given. --background 8-color|default Sets the background text color. --blank[=0-60|force|poke] Sets the interval of inactivity, in minutes, after which the screen will be automatically blanked (using APM if available). Without an argument, it gets the blank status (returns which vt was blanked, or zero for an unblanked vt). Virtual consoles only. The force argument keeps the screen blank even if a key is pressed. The poke argument unblanks the screen. --bfreq[=number] Sets the bell frequency in Hertz. Without an argument, it defaults to 0. Virtual consoles only. --blength[=0-2000] Sets the bell duration in milliseconds. Without an argument, it defaults to 0. Virtual consoles only. --blink on|off Turns blink mode on or off. Except on a virtual console, --blink off turns off all attributes (bold, half-brightness, blink, reverse). --bold on|off urns bold (extra bright) mode on or off. Except on a virtual console, --bold off turns off all attributes (bold, half-brightness, blink, reverse). --clear[=all|rest] Without an argument or with the argument all, the entire screen is cleared and the cursor is set to the home position, just like clear(1) does. With the argument rest, the screen is cleared from the current cursor position to the end. --clrtabs[=tab1 tab2 tab3 ...] Clears tab stops from the given horizontal cursor positions, in the range 1-160. Without arguments, it clears all tab stops. Virtual consoles only. --cursor on|off Turns the terminal’s cursor on or off. --default Sets the terminal’s rendering options to the default values. --dump[=console_number] Writes a snapshot of the virtual console with the given number to the file specified with the --file option, overwriting its contents; the default is screen.dump. Without an argument, it dumps the current virtual console. This overrides --append. --file filename Sets the snapshot file name for any --dump or --append options on the same command line. If this option is not present, the default is screen.dump in the current directory. A path name that exceeds the system maximum will be truncated, see PATH_MAX from linux/limits.h for the value. --foreground 8-color|default Sets the foreground text color. --half-bright on|off Turns dim (half-brightness) mode on or off. Except on a virtual console, --half-bright off turns off all attributes (bold, half-brightness, blink, reverse). --hbcolor [bright] 16-color Sets the color for half-bright characters. --initialize Displays the terminal initialization string, which typically sets the terminal’s rendering options, and other attributes to the default values. --inversescreen on|off Swaps foreground and background colors for the whole screen. --linewrap on|off Makes the terminal continue on a new line when a line is full. --msg on|off Enables or disables the sending of kernel printk() messages to the console. Virtual consoles only. --msglevel 0-8 Sets the console logging level for kernel printk() messages. All messages strictly more important than this will be printed, so a logging level of 0 has the same effect as --msg on and a logging level of 8 will print all kernel messages. klogd(8) may be a more convenient interface to the logging of kernel messages. Virtual consoles only. --powerdown[=0-60] Sets the VESA powerdown interval in minutes. Without an argument, it defaults to 0 (disable powerdown). If the console is blanked or the monitor is in suspend mode, then the monitor will go into vsync suspend mode or powerdown mode respectively after this period of time has elapsed. --powersave mode Valid values for mode are: vsync|on Puts the monitor into VESA vsync suspend mode. hsync Puts the monitor into VESA hsync suspend mode. powerdown Puts the monitor into VESA powerdown mode. off Turns monitor VESA powersaving features. --regtabs[=1-160] Clears all tab stops, then sets a regular tab stop pattern, with one tab every specified number of positions. Without an argument, it defaults to 8. Virtual consoles only. --repeat on|off Turns keyboard repeat on or off. Virtual consoles only. --reset Displays the terminal reset string, which typically resets the terminal to its power-on state. --resize Reset terminal size by assessing maximum row and column. This is useful when actual geometry and kernel terminal driver are not in sync. Most notable use case is with serial consoles, that do not use ioctl(3p) but just byte streams and breaks. --reverse on|off Turns reverse video mode on or off. Except on a virtual console, --reverse off turns off all attributes (bold, half-brightness, blink, reverse). --store Stores the terminal’s current rendering options (foreground and background colors) as the values to be used at reset-to-default. Virtual consoles only. --tabs[=tab1 tab2 tab3 ...] Sets tab stops at the given horizontal cursor positions, in the range 1-160. Without arguments, it shows the current tab stop settings. --term terminal_name Overrides the TERM environment variable. --ulcolor [bright] 16-color Sets the color for underlined characters. Virtual consoles only. --underline on|off Turns underline mode on or off. --version Displays version information and exits. --help Displays a help text and exits.
Since version 2.25 setterm has support for long options with two hyphens, for example --help, beside the historical long options with a single hyphen, for example -help. In scripts it is better to use the backward-compatible single hyphen rather than the double hyphen. Currently there are no plans nor good reasons to discontinue single-hyphen compatibility.
Differences between the Minix and Linux versions are not documented.
stty(1), tput(1), tty(4), terminfo(5)
For bug reports, use the issue tracker at https://github.com/karelzak/util-linux/issues.
The setterm command is part of the util-linux package which can be downloaded from Linux Kernel Archive <https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/>. This page is part of the util-linux (a random collection of Linux utilities) project. Information about the project can be found at ⟨https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/⟩. If you have a bug report for this manual page, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository ⟨git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/utils/util-linux/util-linux.git⟩ on 2021-08-27. (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the repository was 2021-08-24.) 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 to email@example.com util-linux 2.37.85-637cc 2021-04-02 SETTERM(1)
Pages that refer to this page: termios(3), console_codes(4), termio(7)