curs_scanw(3x) — Linux manual page


curs_scanw(3X)                                            curs_scanw(3X)

NAME         top

       scanw, wscanw, mvscanw, mvwscanw, vwscanw, vw_scanw - convert
       formatted input from a curses window

SYNOPSIS         top

       #include <curses.h>

       int scanw(const char *fmt, ...);
       int wscanw(WINDOW *win, const char *fmt, ...);
       int mvscanw(int y, int x, const char *fmt, ...);
       int mvwscanw(WINDOW *win, int y, int x, const char *fmt, ...);

       int vw_scanw(WINDOW *win, const char *fmt, va_list varglist);

       /* obsolete */
       int vwscanw(WINDOW *win, const char *fmt, va_list varglist);

DESCRIPTION         top

       The scanw, wscanw and mvscanw routines are analogous to scanf
       [see scanf(3)].  The effect of these routines is as though
       wgetstr were called on the window, and the resulting line used as
       input for sscanf(3).  Fields which do not map to a variable in
       the fmt field are lost.

       The vwscanw and vw_scanw routines are analogous to vscanf(3).
       They perform a wscanw using a variable argument list.  The third
       argument is a va_list, a pointer to a list of arguments, as
       defined in <stdarg.h>.

RETURN VALUE         top

       vwscanw returns ERR on failure and an integer equal to the number
       of fields scanned on success.

       Applications may use the return value from the scanw, wscanw,
       mvscanw and mvwscanw routines to determine the number of fields
       which were mapped in the call.

       Functions with a “mv” prefix first perform a cursor movement
       using wmove, and return an error if the position is outside the
       window, or if the window pointer is null.

HISTORY         top

       While scanw was implemented in 4BSD, none of the BSD releases
       used it until 4.4BSD (in a game).  That early version of curses
       was before the ANSI C standard.  It did not use <varargs.h>,
       though that was available.  In 1991 (a couple of years after SVr4
       was generally available, and after the C standard was published),
       other developers updated the library, using <stdarg.h> internally
       in 4.4BSD curses.  Even with this improvement, BSD curses did not
       use function prototypes (or even declare functions) in the
       <curses.h> header until 1992.

       SVr2 documented scanw, wscanw tersely as “scanf through stdscr”
       and tersely as “scanf through win”, respectively.

       SVr3 added mvscanw, and mvwscanw, with a three-line summary
       saying that they were analogous to scanf(3), explaining that the
       string which would be output from scanf(3) would instead be
       output using waddstr on the given window.  SVr3 also added
       vwscanw, saying that the third parameter is a va_list, defined in
       <varargs.h>, and referring the reader to the manual pages for
       varargs and vprintf for detailed descriptions.  (Because the SVr3
       documentation does not mention vscanf, that reference to vprintf
       may not be an error).

       SVr4 added no new variations of scanw, but provided for using
       <varargs.h> or <stdarg.h> to define the va_list type.

       X/Open Curses added vw_scanw to replace vwscanw, stating that its
       va_list definition requires <stdarg.h>.

PORTABILITY         top

       In this implementation, vw_scanw and vwscanw are equivalent, to
       support legacy applications.  However, the latter (vwscanw) is

       •   The XSI Curses standard, Issue 4 described these functions,
           noting that the function vwscanw is marked TO BE WITHDRAWN,
           and is to be replaced by a function vw_scanw using the
           <stdarg.h> interface.

       •   The Single Unix Specification, Version 2 states that vw_scanw
           is preferred to vwscanw since the latter requires including
           <varargs.h>, which cannot be used in the same file as
           <stdarg.h>.  This implementation uses <stdarg.h> for both,
           because that header is included in <curses.h>.

       •   X/Open Curses, Issue 5 (December 2007) marked vwscanw (along
           with vwprintw and the termcap interface) as withdrawn.

       Both XSI and The Single Unix Specification, Version 2 state that
       these functions return ERR or OK.

       •   Since the underlying scanf(3) can return the number of items
           scanned, and the SVr4 code was documented to use this
           feature, this is probably an editing error which was
           introduced in XSI, rather than being done intentionally.

       •   This implementation returns the number of items scanned, for
           compatibility with SVr4 curses.  As of 2018, NetBSD curses
           also returns the number of items scanned.  Both ncurses and
           NetBSD curses call vsscanf to scan the string, which returns
           EOF on error.

       •   Portable applications should only test if the return value is
           ERR, since the OK value (zero) is likely to be misleading.

           One possible way to get useful results would be to use a "%n"
           conversion at the end of the format string to ensure that
           something was processed.

SEE ALSO         top

       curses(3X), curs_getstr(3X), curs_printw(3X), curs_termcap(3X),

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
       ⟨⟩ on 2023-12-22.  (At that
       time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the
       repository was 2023-03-12.)  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