curs_terminfo, setupterm, setterm, set_curterm, del_curterm, restart‐
term, tparm, tputs, putp, vidputs, vidattr, mvcur, tigetflag, tigetnum,
tigetstr - curses interfaces to terminfo database
cc [ flag ... ] file ... -lcurses [ library ... ]
int setupterm(char *term, int fildes, int *errret);
int setterm(char *term);
int set_curterm(TERMINAL *nterm);
int del_curterm(TERMINAL *oterm);
int restartterm(char *term, int fildes, int *errret);
char *tparm(char *str, long int p1, long int p2, long int p3, long int p4,
long int p5, long int p6, long int p7, long int p8, long int p9);
int tputs(char *str, int affcnt, int (*putc)(char));
int putp(char *str);
int vidputs(chtype attrs, int (*putc)(char));
int vidattr(chtype attrs);
int mvcur(int oldrow, int oldcol, int newrow, int newcol);
int tigetflag(char *capname);
int tigetnum(char *capname);
char *tigetstr(char *capname);
These low-level routines must be called by programs that have to deal
directly with the terminfo database to handle certain terminal capabil‐
ities, such as programming function keys. For all other functionality,
curses routines are more suitable and their use is recommended.
Initially, setupterm() should be called. Note that setupterm() is auto‐
matically called by initscr() and newterm(). This defines the set of
terminal-dependent variables (listed in terminfo(4)). The terminfo
variables lines and columns are initialized by setupterm() as follows:
If use_env(FALSE) has been called, values for lines and columns speci‐
fied 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 cur‐
rent 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.
The headers <curses.h> and <term.h> should be included (in this order)
to get the definitions for these strings, numbers, and flags. Parame‐
terized 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 the reset_shell_mode() routine to
restore the tty modes before exiting (see curs_kernel(3CURSES)). Pro‐
grams which use cursor addressing should output enter_ca_mode upon
startup and should output exit_ca_mode before exiting. Programs desir‐
ing shell escapes should call reset_shell_mode and output exit_ca_mode
before the shell is called and should 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 out‐
put 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 status of 1 in
errret is normal, 0 means that the terminal could not be found, and −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 is being replaced by setupterm(). The call:
setupterm(term, 1, (int *)0)
provides the same functionality as setterm(term). The setterm() routine
is included here for compatibility and is supported at Level 2.
The set_curterm() routine sets the variable cur_term to nterm, and
makes all of the terminfo boolean, numeric, and string variables use
the values from nterm.
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, refer‐
ences 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. It
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
The tparm() routine instantiates the string str with parameters pi. A
pointer is returned to the result of str with the parameters applied.
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 rou‐
tine to which the characters are passed, one at a time.
The putp() routine calls tputs(str, 1, putchar). Note that the output
of putpA() 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(3CURSES). 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 mvcur() routine provides low-level cursor motion.
The tigetflag(), tigetnum() and tigetstr() routines return the value of
the capability corresponding to the terminfo capname passed to them,
such as xenl.
With the tigetflag() routine, the value −1 is returned if capname is
not a boolean capability.
With the tigetnum() routine, the value −2 is returned if capname is not
a numeric capability.
With the tigetstr() routine, the value (char *)−1 is returned if cap‐
name is not a string capability.
The capname for each capability is given in the table column entitled
capname code in the capabilities section of terminfo(4).
char *boolnames, *boolcodes, *boolfnames
char *numnames, *numcodes, *numfnames
char *strnames, *strcodes, *strfnames
These null-terminated arrays contain the capnames, the termcap codes,
and the full C names, for each of the terminfo variables.
All routines return the integer ERR upon failure and an integer value
other than ERR upon successful completion, unless otherwise noted in
the preceding routine descriptions.
Routines that return pointers always return NULL on error.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
│ATTRIBUTE TYPE │ ATTRIBUTE VALUE │
│MT-Level │ Unsafe │
SEE ALSOcurs_initscr(3CURSES), curs_kernel(3CURSES), curs_termcap(3CURSES),
curses(3CURSES), putc(3C), terminfo(4), attributes(5)NOTES
The header <curses.h> automatically includes the headers <stdio.h> and
The setupterm() routine should be used in place of setterm().
Note that vidattr() and vidputs() may be macros.
Dec 31, 1996 CURS_TERMINFO(3CURSES)