These functions provide an interface to mouse events from
ncurses(3X). Mouse events are represented by KEY_MOUSE pseudo-
key values in the wgetch(3X) input stream.
To make mouse events visible, use the mousemask function. This
will set the mouse events to be reported. By default, no mouse
events are reported. The function will return a mask to indicate
which of the specified mouse events can be reported; on complete
failure it returns 0. If oldmask is non-NULL, this function
fills the indicated location with the previous value of the given
window's mouse event mask.
As a side effect, setting a zero mousemask may turn off the mouse
pointer; setting a nonzero mask may turn it on. Whether this
happens is device-dependent.
Here are the mouse event type masks which may be defined:
BUTTON1_PRESSED mouse button 1 down
BUTTON1_RELEASED mouse button 1 up
BUTTON1_CLICKED mouse button 1 clicked
BUTTON1_DOUBLE_CLICKED mouse button 1 double clicked
BUTTON1_TRIPLE_CLICKED mouse button 1 triple clicked
BUTTON2_PRESSED mouse button 2 down
BUTTON2_RELEASED mouse button 2 up
BUTTON2_CLICKED mouse button 2 clicked
BUTTON2_DOUBLE_CLICKED mouse button 2 double clicked
BUTTON2_TRIPLE_CLICKED mouse button 2 triple clicked
BUTTON3_PRESSED mouse button 3 down
BUTTON3_RELEASED mouse button 3 up
BUTTON3_CLICKED mouse button 3 clicked
BUTTON3_DOUBLE_CLICKED mouse button 3 double clicked
BUTTON3_TRIPLE_CLICKED mouse button 3 triple clicked
BUTTON4_PRESSED mouse button 4 down
BUTTON4_RELEASED mouse button 4 up
BUTTON4_CLICKED mouse button 4 clicked
BUTTON4_DOUBLE_CLICKED mouse button 4 double clicked
BUTTON4_TRIPLE_CLICKED mouse button 4 triple clicked
BUTTON5_PRESSED mouse button 5 down
BUTTON5_RELEASED mouse button 5 up
BUTTON5_CLICKED mouse button 5 clicked
BUTTON5_DOUBLE_CLICKED mouse button 5 double clicked
BUTTON5_TRIPLE_CLICKED mouse button 5 triple clicked
BUTTON_SHIFT shift was down during button state change
BUTTON_CTRL control was down during button state change
BUTTON_ALT alt was down during button state change
ALL_MOUSE_EVENTS report all button state changes
REPORT_MOUSE_POSITION report mouse movement
Once a class of mouse events has been made visible in a window,
calling the wgetch function on that window may return KEY_MOUSE
as an indicator that a mouse event has been queued. To read the
event data and pop the event off the queue, call getmouse. This
function will return OK if a mouse event is actually visible in
the given window, ERR otherwise. When getmouse returns OK, the
data deposited as y and x in the event structure coordinates will
be screen-relative character-cell coordinates. The returned
state mask will have exactly one bit set to indicate the event
type. The corresponding data in the queue is marked invalid. A
subsequent call to getmouse will retrieve the next older item
from the queue.
The ungetmouse function behaves analogously to ungetch. It
pushes a KEY_MOUSE event onto the input queue, and associates
with that event the given state data and screen-relative
The wenclose function tests whether a given pair of screen-
relative character-cell coordinates is enclosed by a given
window, returning TRUE if it is and FALSE otherwise. It is
useful for determining what subset of the screen windows enclose
the location of a mouse event.
The wmouse_trafo function transforms a given pair of coordinates
from stdscr-relative coordinates to coordinates relative to the
given window or vice versa. The resulting stdscr-relative
coordinates are not always identical to window-relative
coordinates due to the mechanism to reserve lines on top or
bottom of the screen for other purposes (see the ripoffline and
slk_init(3X) calls, for example).
• If the parameter to_screen is TRUE, the pointers pY, pX must
reference the coordinates of a location inside the window
win. They are converted to window-relative coordinates and
returned through the pointers. If the conversion was
successful, the function returns TRUE.
• If one of the parameters was NULL or the location is not
inside the window, FALSE is returned.
• If to_screen is FALSE, the pointers pY, pX must reference
window-relative coordinates. They are converted to stdscr-
relative coordinates if the window win encloses this point.
In this case the function returns TRUE.
• If one of the parameters is NULL or the point is not inside
the window, FALSE is returned. The referenced coordinates
are only replaced by the converted coordinates if the
transformation was successful.
The mouse_trafo function performs the same translation as
wmouse_trafo, using stdscr for win.
The mouseinterval function sets the maximum time (in thousands of
a second) that can elapse between press and release events for
them to be recognized as a click. Use mouseinterval(0) to
disable click resolution. This function returns the previous
interval value. Use mouseinterval(-1) to obtain the interval
without altering it. The default is one sixth of a second.
The has_mouse function returns TRUE if the mouse driver has been
Note that mouse events will be ignored when input is in cooked
mode, and will cause an error beep when cooked mode is being
simulated in a window by a function such as getstr that expects a
linefeed for input-loop termination.
getmouse and ungetmouse return the integer ERR upon failure or OK
upon successful completion:
returns an error.
• If no mouse driver was initialized, or if the mask
parameter is zero,
• It also returns an error if no more events remain in the
returns an error if the FIFO is full.
mousemask returns the mask of reportable events.
mouseinterval returns the previous interval value, unless the
terminal was not initialized. In that case, it returns the
maximum interval value (166).
wenclose and wmouse_trafo are boolean functions returning TRUE or
FALSE depending on their test result.
These calls were designed for ncurses(3X), and are not found in
SVr4 curses, 4.4BSD curses, or any other previous version of
SVr4 curses had support for the mouse in a variant of xterm. It
is mentioned in a few places, but with no supporting
• the “libcurses” manual page lists functions for this feature
which are prototyped in curses.h:
extern int mouse_set(long int);
extern int mouse_on(long int);
extern int mouse_off(long int);
extern int request_mouse_pos(void);
extern int map_button(unsigned long);
extern void wmouse_position(WINDOW *, int *, int *);
extern unsigned long getmouse(void), getbmap(void);
• the “terminfo” manual page lists capabilities for the feature
buttons btns BT Number of buttons on the mouse
get_mouse getm Gm Curses should get button events
key_mouse kmous Km 0631, Mouse event has occurred
mouse_info minfo Mi Mouse status information
req_mouse_pos reqmp RQ Request mouse position report
• the interface made assumptions (as does ncurses) about the
escape sequences sent to and received from the terminal.
For instance the SVr4 curses library used the get_mouse
capability to tell the terminal which mouse button events it
should send, passing the mouse-button bit-mask to the
terminal. Also, it could ask the terminal where the mouse
was using the req_mouse_pos capability.
Those features required a terminal which had been modified to
work with curses. They were not part of the X Consortium's
When developing the xterm mouse support for ncurses in September
1995, Eric Raymond was uninterested in using the same interface
due to its lack of documentation. Later, in 1998, Mark Hesseling
provided support in PDCurses 2.3 using the SVr4 interface.
PDCurses, however, does not use video terminals, making it
unnecessary to be concerned about compatibility with the escape
The feature macro NCURSES_MOUSE_VERSION is provided so the
preprocessor can be used to test whether these features are
present. If the interface is changed, the value of
NCURSES_MOUSE_VERSION will be incremented. These values for
NCURSES_MOUSE_VERSION may be specified when configuring ncurses:
1 has definitions for reserved events. The mask uses 28
2 adds definitions for button 5, removes the definitions for
reserved events. The mask uses 29 bits.
The order of the MEVENT structure members is not guaranteed.
Additional fields may be added to the structure in the future.
Under ncurses(3X), these calls are implemented using either
xterm's built-in mouse-tracking API or platform-specific drivers
• Alessandro Rubini's gpm server
• FreeBSD sysmouse
• OS/2 EMX
If you are using an unsupported configuration, mouse events will
not be visible to ncurses(3X) (and the mousemask function will
always return 0).
If the terminfo entry contains a XM string, this is used in the
xterm mouse driver to control the way the terminal is initialized
for mouse operation. The default, if XM is not found,
corresponds to private mode 1000 of xterm:
The mouse driver also recognizes a newer xterm private mode 1006,
The z member in the event structure is not presently used. It is
intended for use with touch screens (which may be pressure-
sensitive) or with 3D-mice/trackballs/power gloves.
The ALL_MOUSE_EVENTS class does not include
REPORT_MOUSE_POSITION. They are distinct. For example, in
xterm, wheel/scrolling mice send position reports as a sequence
of presses of buttons 4 or 5 without matching button-releases.
Mouse events under xterm will not in fact be ignored during
cooked mode, if they have been enabled by mousemask. Instead,
the xterm mouse report sequence will appear in the string read.
Mouse events under xterm will not be detected correctly in a
window with its keypad bit off, since they are interpreted as a
variety of function key. Your terminfo description should have
kmous set to “\E[M” (the beginning of the response from xterm for
mouse clicks). Other values for kmous are permitted, but under
the same assumption, i.e., it is the beginning of the response.
Because there are no standard terminal responses that would serve
to identify terminals which support the xterm mouse protocol,
ncurses assumes that if kmous is defined in the terminal
description, or if the terminal description's primary name or
aliases contain the string “xterm”, then the terminal may send
mouse events. The kmous capability is checked first, allowing
the use of newer xterm mouse protocols such as xterm's private
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