MirBSD manpage: curses(3), ncurses(3)

ncurses(3)          UNIX Programmer's Manual           ncurses(3)


     ncurses - CRT screen handling and optimization package


     #include <curses.h>


     The ncurses library routines give the user a terminal-
     independent method of updating character screens with rea-
     sonable optimization.  This implementation is ``new curses''
     (ncurses) and is the approved replacement for 4.4BSD classic
     curses, which has been discontinued.

     The ncurses routines emulate the curses(3) library of System
     V Release 4 UNIX, and the XPG4 curses standard (XSI curses)
     but the ncurses library is freely redistributable in source
     form.  Differences from the SVr4 curses are summarized under
     the EXTENSIONS and PORTABILITY sections below and described
     in detail in the respective EXTENSIONS, PORTABILITY and BUGS
     sections of individual man pages.

     A program using these routines must be linked with the
     -lncurses option, or (if it has been generated) with the
     debugging library -lncurses_g. (Your system integrator may
     also have installed these libraries under the names -lcurses
     and -lcurses_g.) The ncurses_g library generates trace logs
     (in a file called 'trace' in the current directory) that
     describe curses actions.

     The ncurses package supports: overall screen, window and pad
     manipulation; output to windows and pads; reading terminal
     input; control over terminal and curses input and output
     options; environment query routines; color manipulation; use
     of soft label keys; terminfo capabilities; and access to
     low-level terminal-manipulation routines.

     To initialize the routines, the routine initscr or newterm
     must be called before any of the other routines that deal
     with windows and screens are used.  The routine endwin must
     be called before exiting.  To get character-at-a-time input
     without echoing (most interactive, screen oriented programs
     want this), the following sequence should be used:

           initscr(); cbreak(); noecho();

     Most programs would additionally use the sequence:

           intrflush(stdscr, FALSE);
           keypad(stdscr, TRUE);

     Before a curses program is run, the tab stops of the

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     terminal should be set and its initialization strings, if
     defined, must be output.  This can be done by executing the
     tput init command after the shell environment variable TERM
     has been exported. tset(1) is usually responsible for doing
     this. [See terminfo(5) for further details.]

     The ncurses library permits manipulation of data structures,
     called windows, which can be thought of as two-dimensional
     arrays of characters representing all or part of a CRT
     screen.  A default window called stdscr, which is the size
     of the terminal screen, is supplied.  Others may be created
     with newwin.

     Note that curses does not handle overlapping windows, that's
     done by the panel(3) library. This means that you can either
     use stdscr or divide the screen into tiled windows and not
     using stdscr at all. Mixing the two will result in
     unpredictable, and undesired, effects.

     Windows are referred to by variables declared as WINDOW *.
     These data structures are manipulated with routines
     described here and elsewhere in the ncurses manual pages.
     Among which the most basic routines are move and addch.
     More general versions of these routines are included with
     names beginning with w, allowing the user to specify a win-
     dow.  The routines not beginning with w affect stdscr.)

     After using routines to manipulate a window, refresh is
     called, telling curses to make the user's CRT screen look
     like stdscr.  The characters in a window are actually of
     type chtype, (character and attribute data) so that other
     information about the character may also be stored with each

     Special windows called pads may also be manipulated.  These
     are windows which are not constrained to the size of the
     screen and whose contents need not be completely displayed.
     See curs_pad(3) for more information.

     In addition to drawing characters on the screen, video
     attributes and colors may be supported, causing the charac-
     ters to show up in such modes as underlined, in reverse
     video, or in color on terminals that support such display
     enhancements.  Line drawing characters may be specified to
     be output. On input, curses is also able to translate arrow
     and function keys that transmit escape sequences into single
     values.  The video attributes, line drawing characters, and
     input values use names, defined in <curses.h>, such as

     If the environment variables LINES and COLUMNS are set, or
     if the program is executing in a window environment, line

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     and column information in the environment will override
     information read by terminfo.  This would effect a program
     running in an AT&T 630 layer, for example, where the size of
     a screen is changeable (see ENVIRONMENT).

     If the environment variable TERMINFO is defined, any program
     using curses checks for a local terminal definition before
     checking in the standard place.  For example, if TERM is set
     to att4424, then the compiled terminal definition is found


     (The a is copied from the first letter of att4424 to avoid
     creation of huge directories.)  However, if TERMINFO is set
     to $HOME/myterms, curses first checks


     and if that fails, it then checks


     This is useful for developing experimental definitions or
     when write permission in /usr/share/terminfo is not avail-

     The integer variables LINES and COLS are defined in
     <curses.h> and will be filled in by initscr with the size of
     the screen.  The constants TRUE and FALSE have the values 1
     and 0, respectively.

     The curses routines also define the WINDOW * variable curscr
     which is used for certain low-level operations like clearing
     and redrawing a screen containing garbage.  The curscr can
     be used in only a few routines.

     Routine and Argument Names
     Many curses routines have two or more versions.  The rou-
     tines prefixed with w require a window argument.  The rou-
     tines prefixed with p require a pad argument.  Those without
     a prefix generally use stdscr.

     The routines prefixed with mv require a y and x coordinate
     to move to before performing the appropriate action.  The mv
     routines imply a call to move before the call to the other
     routine.  The coordinate y always refers to the row (of the
     window), and x always refers to the column.  The upper left-
     hand corner is always (0,0), not (1,1).

     The routines prefixed with mvw take both a window argument
     and x and y coordinates.  The window argument is always

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     specified before the coordinates.

     In each case, win is the window affected, and pad is the pad
     affected; win and pad are always pointers to type WINDOW.

     Option setting routines require a Boolean flag bf with the
     value TRUE or FALSE; bf is always of type bool.  The vari-
     ables ch and attrs below are always of type chtype.  The
     types WINDOW, SCREEN, bool, and chtype are defined in
     <curses.h>.  The type TERMINAL is defined in <term.h>.  All
     other arguments are integers.

     Routine Name Index
     The following table lists each curses routine and the name
     of the manual page on which it is described.  Routines
     flagged with `*' are ncurses-specific, not described by XPG4
     or present in SVr4.

              curses Routine Name     Manual Page Name
              COLOR_PAIR              curs_color(3)
              PAIR_NUMBER             curs_attr(3)
              _nc_tracebits           curs_trace(3)*
              _traceattr              curs_trace(3)*
              _traceattr2             curs_trace(3)*
              _tracechar              curs_trace(3)*
              _tracechtype            curs_trace(3)*
              _tracechtype2           curs_trace(3)*
              _tracedump              curs_trace(3)*
              _tracef                 curs_trace(3)*
              _tracemouse             curs_trace(3)*
              add_wch                 curs_add_wch(3)
              add_wchnstr             curs_add_wchstr(3)
              add_wchstr              curs_add_wchstr(3)
              addch                   curs_addch(3)
              addchnstr               curs_addchstr(3)
              addchstr                curs_addchstr(3)
              addnstr                 curs_addstr(3)
              addnwstr                curs_addwstr(3)
              addstr                  curs_addstr(3)
              addwstr                 curs_addwstr(3)
              assume_default_colors   default_colors(3)*
              attr_get                curs_attr(3)
              attr_off                curs_attr(3)
              attr_on                 curs_attr(3)
              attr_set                curs_attr(3)
              attroff                 curs_attr(3)
              attron                  curs_attr(3)
              attrset                 curs_attr(3)
              baudrate                curs_termattrs(3)
              beep                    curs_beep(3)
              bkgd                    curs_bkgd(3)

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              bkgdset                 curs_bkgd(3)
              bkgrnd                  curs_bkgrnd(3)
              bkgrndset               curs_bkgrnd(3)
              border                  curs_border(3)
              border_set              curs_border_set(3)
              box                     curs_border(3)
              box_set                 curs_border_set(3)
              can_change_color        curs_color(3)
              cbreak                  curs_inopts(3)
              chgat                   curs_attr(3)
              clear                   curs_clear(3)
              clearok                 curs_outopts(3)
              clrtobot                curs_clear(3)
              clrtoeol                curs_clear(3)
              color_content           curs_color(3)
              color_set               curs_attr(3)
              copywin                 curs_overlay(3)
              curs_set                curs_kernel(3)
              curses_version          curs_extend(3)*
              def_prog_mode           curs_kernel(3)
              def_shell_mode          curs_kernel(3)
              define_key              define_key(3)*
              del_curterm             curs_terminfo(3)
              delay_output            curs_util(3)
              delch                   curs_delch(3)
              deleteln                curs_deleteln(3)
              delscreen               curs_initscr(3)
              delwin                  curs_window(3)
              derwin                  curs_window(3)
              doupdate                curs_refresh(3)
              dupwin                  curs_window(3)
              echo                    curs_inopts(3)
              echo_wchar              curs_add_wch(3)
              echochar                curs_addch(3)
              endwin                  curs_initscr(3)
              erase                   curs_clear(3)
              erasechar               curs_termattrs(3)
              erasewchar              curs_termattrs(3)
              filter                  curs_util(3)
              flash                   curs_beep(3)
              flushinp                curs_util(3)
              get_wch                 curs_get_wch(3)
              get_wstr                curs_get_wstr(3)
              getbegyx                curs_getyx(3)
              getbkgd                 curs_bkgd(3)
              getbkgrnd               curs_bkgrnd(3)
              getcchar                curs_getcchar(3)
              getch                   curs_getch(3)
              getmaxyx                curs_getyx(3)
              getmouse                curs_mouse(3)*
              getn_wstr               curs_get_wstr(3)
              getnstr                 curs_getstr(3)

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              getparyx                curs_getyx(3)
              getstr                  curs_getstr(3)
              getsyx                  curs_kernel(3)
              getwin                  curs_util(3)
              getyx                   curs_getyx(3)
              halfdelay               curs_inopts(3)
              has_colors              curs_color(3)
              has_ic                  curs_termattrs(3)
              has_il                  curs_termattrs(3)
              has_key                 curs_getch(3)*
              hline                   curs_border(3)
              hline_set               curs_border_set(3)
              idcok                   curs_outopts(3)
              idlok                   curs_outopts(3)
              immedok                 curs_outopts(3)
              in_wch                  curs_in_wch(3)
              in_wchnstr              curs_in_wchstr(3)
              in_wchstr               curs_in_wchstr(3)
              inch                    curs_inch(3)
              inchnstr                curs_inchstr(3)
              inchstr                 curs_inchstr(3)
              init_color              curs_color(3)
              init_pair               curs_color(3)
              initscr                 curs_initscr(3)
              innstr                  curs_instr(3)
              innwstr                 curs_inwstr(3)
              ins_nwstr               curs_ins_wstr(3)
              ins_wch                 curs_ins_wch(3)
              ins_wstr                curs_ins_wstr(3)
              insch                   curs_insch(3)
              insdelln                curs_deleteln(3)
              insertln                curs_deleteln(3)
              insnstr                 curs_insstr(3)
              insstr                  curs_insstr(3)
              instr                   curs_instr(3)
              intrflush               curs_inopts(3)
              inwstr                  curs_inwstr(3)
              is_linetouched          curs_touch(3)
              is_wintouched           curs_touch(3)
              isendwin                curs_initscr(3)
              key_defined             key_defined(3)*
              key_name                curs_util(3)
              keybound                keybound(3)*
              keyname                 curs_util(3)
              keyok                   keyok(3)*
              keypad                  curs_inopts(3)
              killchar                curs_termattrs(3)
              killwchar               curs_termattrs(3)
              leaveok                 curs_outopts(3)
              longname                curs_termattrs(3)
              mcprint                 curs_print(3)*
              meta                    curs_inopts(3)

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              mouse_trafo             curs_mouse(3)*
              mouseinterval           curs_mouse(3)*
              mousemask               curs_mouse(3)*
              move                    curs_move(3)
              mvadd_wch               curs_add_wch(3)
              mvadd_wchnstr           curs_add_wchstr(3)
              mvadd_wchstr            curs_add_wchstr(3)
              mvaddch                 curs_addch(3)
              mvaddchnstr             curs_addchstr(3)
              mvaddchstr              curs_addchstr(3)
              mvaddnstr               curs_addstr(3)
              mvaddnwstr              curs_addwstr(3)
              mvaddstr                curs_addstr(3)
              mvaddwstr               curs_addwstr(3)
              mvchgat                 curs_attr(3)
              mvcur                   curs_terminfo(3)
              mvdelch                 curs_delch(3)
              mvderwin                curs_window(3)
              mvget_wch               curs_get_wch(3)
              mvget_wstr              curs_get_wstr(3)
              mvgetch                 curs_getch(3)
              mvgetn_wstr             curs_get_wstr(3)
              mvgetnstr               curs_getstr(3)
              mvgetstr                curs_getstr(3)
              mvhline                 curs_border(3)
              mvhline_set             curs_border_set(3)
              mvin_wch                curs_in_wch(3)
              mvin_wchnstr            curs_in_wchstr(3)
              mvin_wchstr             curs_in_wchstr(3)
              mvinch                  curs_inch(3)
              mvinchnstr              curs_inchstr(3)
              mvinchstr               curs_inchstr(3)
              mvinnstr                curs_instr(3)
              mvinnwstr               curs_inwstr(3)
              mvins_nwstr             curs_ins_wstr(3)
              mvins_wch               curs_ins_wch(3)
              mvins_wstr              curs_ins_wstr(3)
              mvinsch                 curs_insch(3)
              mvinsnstr               curs_insstr(3)
              mvinsstr                curs_insstr(3)
              mvinstr                 curs_instr(3)
              mvinwstr                curs_inwstr(3)
              mvprintw                curs_printw(3)
              mvscanw                 curs_scanw(3)
              mvvline                 curs_border(3)
              mvvline_set             curs_border_set(3)
              mvwadd_wch              curs_add_wch(3)
              mvwadd_wchnstr          curs_add_wchstr(3)
              mvwadd_wchstr           curs_add_wchstr(3)
              mvwaddch                curs_addch(3)
              mvwaddchnstr            curs_addchstr(3)
              mvwaddchstr             curs_addchstr(3)

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              mvwaddnstr              curs_addstr(3)
              mvwaddnwstr             curs_addwstr(3)
              mvwaddstr               curs_addstr(3)
              mvwaddwstr              curs_addwstr(3)
              mvwchgat                curs_attr(3)
              mvwdelch                curs_delch(3)
              mvwget_wch              curs_get_wch(3)
              mvwget_wstr             curs_get_wstr(3)
              mvwgetch                curs_getch(3)
              mvwgetn_wstr            curs_get_wstr(3)
              mvwgetnstr              curs_getstr(3)
              mvwgetstr               curs_getstr(3)
              mvwhline                curs_border(3)
              mvwhline_set            curs_border_set(3)
              mvwin                   curs_window(3)
              mvwin_wch               curs_in_wch(3)
              mvwin_wchnstr           curs_in_wchstr(3)
              mvwin_wchstr            curs_in_wchstr(3)
              mvwinch                 curs_inch(3)
              mvwinchnstr             curs_inchstr(3)
              mvwinchstr              curs_inchstr(3)
              mvwinnstr               curs_instr(3)
              mvwinnwstr              curs_inwstr(3)
              mvwins_nwstr            curs_ins_wstr(3)
              mvwins_wch              curs_ins_wch(3)
              mvwins_wstr             curs_ins_wstr(3)
              mvwinsch                curs_insch(3)
              mvwinsnstr              curs_insstr(3)
              mvwinsstr               curs_insstr(3)
              mvwinstr                curs_instr(3)
              mvwinwstr               curs_inwstr(3)
              mvwprintw               curs_printw(3)
              mvwscanw                curs_scanw(3)
              mvwvline                curs_border(3)
              mvwvline_set            curs_border_set(3)
              napms                   curs_kernel(3)
              newpad                  curs_pad(3)
              newterm                 curs_initscr(3)
              newwin                  curs_window(3)
              nl                      curs_outopts(3)
              nocbreak                curs_inopts(3)
              nodelay                 curs_inopts(3)
              noecho                  curs_inopts(3)
              nonl                    curs_outopts(3)
              noqiflush               curs_inopts(3)
              noraw                   curs_inopts(3)
              notimeout               curs_inopts(3)
              overlay                 curs_overlay(3)
              overwrite               curs_overlay(3)
              pair_content            curs_color(3)
              pechochar               curs_pad(3)
              pnoutrefresh            curs_pad(3)

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              prefresh                curs_pad(3)
              printw                  curs_printw(3)
              putp                    curs_terminfo(3)
              putwin                  curs_util(3)
              qiflush                 curs_inopts(3)
              raw                     curs_inopts(3)
              redrawwin               curs_refresh(3)
              refresh                 curs_refresh(3)
              reset_prog_mode         curs_kernel(3)
              reset_shell_mode        curs_kernel(3)
              resetty                 curs_kernel(3)
              resizeterm              resizeterm(3)*
              restartterm             curs_terminfo(3)
              ripoffline              curs_kernel(3)
              savetty                 curs_kernel(3)
              scanw                   curs_scanw(3)
              scr_dump                curs_scr_dump(3)
              scr_init                curs_scr_dump(3)
              scr_restore             curs_scr_dump(3)
              scr_set                 curs_scr_dump(3)
              scrl                    curs_scroll(3)
              scroll                  curs_scroll(3)
              scrollok                curs_outopts(3)
              set_curterm             curs_terminfo(3)
              set_term                curs_initscr(3)
              setcchar                curs_getcchar(3)
              setscrreg               curs_outopts(3)
              setsyx                  curs_kernel(3)
              setterm                 curs_terminfo(3)
              setupterm               curs_terminfo(3)
              slk_attr                curs_slk(3)*
              slk_attr_off            curs_slk(3)
              slk_attr_on             curs_slk(3)
              slk_attr_set            curs_slk(3)
              slk_attroff             curs_slk(3)
              slk_attron              curs_slk(3)
              slk_attrset             curs_slk(3)
              slk_clear               curs_slk(3)
              slk_color               curs_slk(3)
              slk_init                curs_slk(3)
              slk_label               curs_slk(3)
              slk_noutrefresh         curs_slk(3)
              slk_refresh             curs_slk(3)
              slk_restore             curs_slk(3)
              slk_set                 curs_slk(3)
              slk_touch               curs_slk(3)
              standend                curs_attr(3)
              standout                curs_attr(3)
              start_color             curs_color(3)
              subpad                  curs_pad(3)
              subwin                  curs_window(3)
              syncok                  curs_window(3)

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              term_attrs              curs_termattrs(3)
              termattrs               curs_termattrs(3)
              termname                curs_termattrs(3)
              tgetent                 curs_termcap(3)
              tgetflag                curs_termcap(3)
              tgetnum                 curs_termcap(3)
              tgetstr                 curs_termcap(3)
              tgoto                   curs_termcap(3)
              tigetflag               curs_terminfo(3)
              tigetnum                curs_terminfo(3)
              tigetstr                curs_terminfo(3)
              timeout                 curs_inopts(3)
              touchline               curs_touch(3)
              touchwin                curs_touch(3)
              tparm                   curs_terminfo(3)
              tputs                   curs_termcap(3)
              tputs                   curs_terminfo(3)
              trace                   curs_trace(3)*
              typeahead               curs_inopts(3)
              unctrl                  curs_util(3)
              unget_wch               curs_get_wch(3)
              ungetch                 curs_getch(3)
              ungetmouse              curs_mouse(3)*
              untouchwin              curs_touch(3)
              use_default_colors      default_colors(3)*
              use_env                 curs_util(3)
              use_extended_names      curs_extend(3)*
              vid_attr                curs_terminfo(3)
              vid_puts                curs_terminfo(3)
              vidattr                 curs_terminfo(3)
              vidputs                 curs_terminfo(3)
              vline                   curs_border(3)
              vline_set               curs_border_set(3)
              vw_printw               curs_printw(3)
              vw_scanw                curs_scanw(3)
              vwprintw                curs_printw(3)
              vwscanw                 curs_scanw(3)
              wadd_wch                curs_add_wch(3)
              wadd_wchnstr            curs_add_wchstr(3)
              wadd_wchstr             curs_add_wchstr(3)
              waddch                  curs_addch(3)
              waddchnstr              curs_addchstr(3)
              waddchstr               curs_addchstr(3)
              waddnstr                curs_addstr(3)
              waddnwstr               curs_addwstr(3)
              waddstr                 curs_addstr(3)
              waddwstr                curs_addwstr(3)
              wattr_get               curs_attr(3)
              wattr_off               curs_attr(3)
              wattr_on                curs_attr(3)
              wattr_set               curs_attr(3)
              wattroff                curs_attr(3)

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              wattron                 curs_attr(3)
              wattrset                curs_attr(3)
              wbkgd                   curs_bkgd(3)
              wbkgdset                curs_bkgd(3)
              wbkgrnd                 curs_bkgrnd(3)
              wbkgrndset              curs_bkgrnd(3)
              wborder                 curs_border(3)
              wborder_set             curs_border_set(3)
              wchgat                  curs_attr(3)
              wclear                  curs_clear(3)
              wclrtobot               curs_clear(3)
              wclrtoeol               curs_clear(3)
              wcolor_set              curs_attr(3)
              wcursyncup              curs_window(3)
              wdelch                  curs_delch(3)
              wdeleteln               curs_deleteln(3)
              wecho_wchar             curs_add_wch(3)
              wechochar               curs_addch(3)
              wenclose                curs_mouse(3)*
              werase                  curs_clear(3)
              wget_wch                curs_get_wch(3)
              wget_wstr               curs_get_wstr(3)
              wgetbkgrnd              curs_bkgrnd(3)
              wgetch                  curs_getch(3)
              wgetn_wstr              curs_get_wstr(3)
              wgetnstr                curs_getstr(3)
              wgetstr                 curs_getstr(3)
              whline                  curs_border(3)
              whline_set              curs_border_set(3)
              win_wch                 curs_in_wch(3)
              win_wchnstr             curs_in_wchstr(3)
              win_wchstr              curs_in_wchstr(3)
              winch                   curs_inch(3)
              winchnstr               curs_inchstr(3)
              winchstr                curs_inchstr(3)
              winnstr                 curs_instr(3)
              winnwstr                curs_inwstr(3)
              wins_nwstr              curs_ins_wstr(3)
              wins_wch                curs_ins_wch(3)
              wins_wstr               curs_ins_wstr(3)
              winsch                  curs_insch(3)
              winsdelln               curs_deleteln(3)
              winsertln               curs_deleteln(3)
              winsnstr                curs_insstr(3)
              winsstr                 curs_insstr(3)
              winstr                  curs_instr(3)
              winwstr                 curs_inwstr(3)
              wmouse_trafo            curs_mouse(3)*
              wmove                   curs_move(3)
              wnoutrefresh            curs_refresh(3)
              wprintw                 curs_printw(3)
              wredrawln               curs_refresh(3)

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              wrefresh                curs_refresh(3)
              wresize                 wresize(3)*
              wscanw                  curs_scanw(3)
              wscrl                   curs_scroll(3)
              wsetscrreg              curs_outopts(3)
              wstandend               curs_attr(3)
              wstandout               curs_attr(3)
              wsyncdown               curs_window(3)
              wsyncup                 curs_window(3)
              wtimeout                curs_inopts(3)
              wtouchln                curs_touch(3)
              wunctrl                 curs_util(3)
              wvline                  curs_border(3)
              wvline_set              curs_border_set(3)


     Routines that return an integer return ERR upon failure and
     an integer value other than ERR upon successful completion,
     unless otherwise noted in the routine descriptions.

     All macros return the value of the w version, except
     setscrreg, wsetscrreg, getyx, getbegyx, and getmaxyx.  The
     return values of setscrreg, wsetscrreg, getyx, getbegyx, and
     getmaxyx are undefined (i.e., these should not be used as
     the right-hand side of assignment statements).

     Routines that return pointers return NULL on error.


     The following environment symbols are useful for customizing
     the runtime behavior of the ncurses library.  The most
     important ones have been already discussed in detail.

          The debugging library checks this environment symbol
          when the application has redirected output to a file.
          The symbol's numeric value is used for the baudrate. If
          no value is found, ncurses uses 9600. This allows tes-
          ters to construct repeatable test-cases that take into
          account costs that depend on baudrate.

     CC   When set, change occurrences of the command_character
          (i.e., the cmdch capability) of the loaded terminfo
          entries to the value of this symbol. Very few terminfo
          entries provide this feature.

          Specify the width of the screen in characters. Applica-
          tions running in a windowing environment usually are
          able to obtain the width of the window in which they
          are executing. If neither the COLUMNS value nor the
          terminal's screen size is available, ncurses uses the

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          size which may be specified in the terminfo database
          (i.e., the cols capability).

          It is important that your application use a correct
          size for the screen. This is not always possible
          because your application may be running on a host which
          does not honor NAWS (Negotiations About Window Size),
          or because you are temporarily running as another user.
          However, setting COLUMNS and/or LINES overrides the
          library's use of the screen size obtained from the
          operating system.

          Either COLUMNS or LINES symbols may be specified
          independently. This is mainly useful to circumvent
          legacy misfeatures of terminal descriptions, e.g.,
          xterm which commonly specifies a 65 line screen. For
          best results, lines and cols should not be specified in
          a terminal description for terminals which are run as

          Use the use_env function to disable all use of external
          environment (including system calls) to determine the
          screen size.

          Specifies the total time, in milliseconds, for which
          ncurses will await a character sequence, e.g., a func-
          tion key. The default value, 1000 milliseconds, is
          enough for most uses. However, it is made a variable to
          accommodate unusual applications.

          The most common instance where you may wish to change
          this value is to work with slow hosts, e.g., running on
          a network. If the host cannot read characters rapidly
          enough, it will have the same effect as if the terminal
          did not send characters rapidly enough. The library
          will still see a timeout.

          Note that xterm mouse events are built up from charac-
          ter sequences received from the xterm. If your applica-
          tion makes heavy use of multiple-clicking, you may wish
          to lengthen this default value because the timeout
          applies to the composed multi-click event as well as
          the individual clicks.

          In addition to the environment variable, this implemen-
          tation provides a global variable with the same name.
          Portable applications should not rely upon the presence
          of ESCDELAY in either form, but setting the environment
          variable rather than the global variable does not
          create problems when compiling an application.

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     HOME Tells ncurses where your home directory is. That is
          where it may read and write auxiliary terminal descrip-


          Like COLUMNS, specify the height of the screen in char-
          acters. See COLUMNS for a detailed description.

          This applies only to the OS/2 EMX port. It specifies
          the order of buttons on the mouse. OS/2 numbers a 3-
          button mouse inconsistently from other platforms:

          1 = left
          2 = right
          3 = middle.

          This symbol lets you customize the mouse. The symbol
          must be three numeric digits 1-3 in any order, e.g.,
          123 or 321. If it is not specified, ncurses uses 132.

          Override the compiled-in assumption that the terminal's
          default colors are white-on-black (see
          assume_default_colors(3)). You may set the foreground
          and background color values with this environment vari-
          able by proving a 2-element list:
          foreground,background. For example, to tell ncurses to
          not assume anything about the colors, set this to "-1,-
          1". To make it green-on-black, set it to "2,0". Any
          positive value from zero to the terminfo max_colors
          value is allowed.

          Most of the terminal descriptions in the terminfo data-
          base are written for real "hardware" terminals. Many
          people use terminal emulators which run in a windowing
          environment and use curses-based applications. Terminal
          emulators can duplicate all of the important aspects of
          a hardware terminal, but they do not have the same lim-
          itations. The chief limitation of a hardware terminal
          from the standpoint of your application is the manage-
          ment of dataflow, i.e., timing. Unless a hardware ter-
          minal is interfaced into a terminal concentrator (which
          does flow control), it (or your application) must
          manage dataflow, preventing overruns. The cheapest
          solution (no hardware cost) is for your program to do
          this by pausing after operations that the terminal does
          slowly, such as clearing the display.

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          As a result, many terminal descriptions (including the
          vt100) have delay times embedded.  You may wish to use
          these descriptions, but not want to pay the performance

          Set the NCURSES_NO_PADDING symbol to disable all but
          mandatory padding.  Mandatory padding is used as a part
          of special control sequences such as flash.

          Normally ncurses enables buffered output during termi-
          nal initialization. This is done (as in SVr4 curses)
          for performance reasons. For testing purposes, both of
          ncurses and certain applications, this feature is made
          optional.  Setting the NCURSES_NO_SETBUF variable dis-
          ables output buffering, leaving the output in the ori-
          ginal (usually line buffered) mode.

          During initialization, the ncurses library checks for
          special cases where VT100 line-drawing (and the
          corresponding alternate character set capabilities)
          described in the terminfo are known to be missing.
          Specifically, when running in a UTF-8 locale, the Linux
          console emulator and the GNU screen program ignore
          these. Ncurses checks the TERM environment variable for
          these. For other special cases, you should set this
          environment variable. Doing this tells ncurses to use
          Unicode values which correspond to the VT100 line-
          drawing glyphs. That works for the special cases cited,
          and is likely to work for terminal emulators.

          When setting this variable, you should set it to a
          nonzero value. Setting it to zero (or to a nonnumber)
          disables the special check for Linux and screen.

          During initialization, the ncurses debugging library
          checks the NCURSES_TRACE symbol. If it is defined, to a
          numeric value, ncurses calls the trace function, using
          that value as the argument.

          The argument values, which are defined in curses.h,
          provide several types of information. When running with
          traces enabled, your application will write the file
          trace to the current directory.

     TERM Denotes your terminal type. Each terminal type is dis-
          tinct, though many are similar.

          If the ncurses library has been configured with termcap

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          support, ncurses will check for a terminal's descrip-
          tion in termcap form if it is not available in the ter-
          minfo database.

          The TERMCAP symbol contains either a terminal descrip-
          tion (with newlines stripped out), or a file name tel-
          ling where the information denoted by the TERM symbol
          exists. In either case, setting it directs ncurses to
          ignore the usual place for this information, e.g.,

          Overrides the directory in which ncurses searches for
          your terminal description. This is the simplest, but
          not the only way to change the list of directories. The
          complete list of directories in order follows:

          -  the last directory to which ncurses wrote, if any,
             is searched first

          -  the directory specified by the TERMINFO symbol

          -  $HOME/.terminfo

          -  directories listed in the TERMINFO_DIRS symbol

          -  one or more directories whose names are configured
             and compiled into the ncurses library, e.g.,

          Specifies a list of directories to search for terminal
          descriptions. The list is separated by colons (i.e.,
          ":") on Unix, semicolons on OS/2 EMX. All of the termi-
          nal descriptions are in terminfo form, which makes a
          subdirectory named for the first letter of the terminal
          names therein.

          If TERMCAP does not hold a file name then ncurses
          checks the TERMPATH symbol. This is a list of filenames
          separated by spaces or colons (i.e., ":") on Unix,
          semicolons on OS/2 EMX. If the TERMPATH symbol is not
          set, ncurses looks in the files /etc/termcap,
          /usr/share/misc/termcap and $HOME/.termcap, in that

     The library may be configured to disregard the following
     variables when the current user is the superuser (root), or
     if the application uses setuid or setgid permissions: $TER-

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          directory containing initialization files for the ter-
          minal capability database /usr/share/terminfo terminal
          capability database


     terminfo(5) and related pages whose names begin "curs_" for
     detailed routine descriptions.


     The ncurses library can be compiled with an option (-
     DUSE_GETCAP) that falls back to the old-style /etc/termcap
     file if the terminal setup code cannot find a terminfo entry
     corresponding to TERM.  Use of this feature is not recom-
     mended, as it essentially includes an entire termcap com-
     piler in the ncurses startup code, at significant cost in
     core and startup cycles.

     The ncurses library includes facilities for capturing mouse
     events on certain terminals (including xterm). See the
     curs_mouse(3) manual page for details.

     The ncurses library includes facilities for responding to
     window resizing events, e.g., when running in an xterm. See
     the resizeterm(3) and wresize(3) manual pages for details.
     In addition, the library may be configured with a SIGWINCH

     The ncurses library extends the fixed set of function key
     capabilities of terminals by allowing the application
     designer to define additional key sequences at runtime. See
     the define_key(3) key_defined(3), and keyok(3) manual pages
     for details.

     The ncurses library can exploit the capabilities of termi-
     nals which implement the ISO-6429 SGR 39 and SGR 49 con-
     trols, which allow an application to reset the terminal to
     its original foreground and background colors. From the
     users' perspective, the application is able to draw colored
     text on a background whose color is set independently, pro-
     viding better control over color contrasts. See the
     default_colors(3) manual page for details.

     The ncurses library includes a function for directing appli-
     cation output to a printer attached to the terminal device.
     See the curs_print(3) manual page for details.


     The ncurses library is intended to be BASE-level conformant
     with the XSI Curses standard.  The EXTENDED XSI Curses func-
     tionality (including color support) is supported.

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     A small number of local differences (that is, individual
     differences between the XSI Curses and ncurses calls) are
     described in PORTABILITY sections of the library man pages.

     The routine has_key is not part of XPG4, nor is it present
     in SVr4.  See the curs_getch(3) manual page for details.

     The routine slk_attr is not part of XPG4, nor is it present
     in SVr4.  See the curs_slk(3) manual page for details.

     The routines getmouse, mousemask, ungetmouse, mouseinterval,
     and wenclose relating to mouse interfacing are not part of
     XPG4, nor are they present in SVr4.  See the curs_mouse(3)
     manual page for details.

     The routine mcprint was not present in any previous curses
     implementation.  See the curs_print(3) manual page for

     The routine wresize is not part of XPG4, nor is it present
     in SVr4.  See the wresize(3) manual page for details.

     In historic curses versions, delays embedded in the capabil-
     ities cr, ind, cub1, ff and tab activated corresponding
     delay bits in the UNIX tty driver.  In this implementation,
     all padding is done by NUL sends.  This method is slightly
     more expensive, but narrows the interface to the UNIX kernel
     significantly and increases the package's portability


     The header file <curses.h> automatically includes the header
     files <stdio.h> and <unctrl.h>.

     If standard output from a ncurses program is re-directed to
     something which is not a tty, screen updates will be
     directed to standard error.  This was an undocumented
     feature of AT&T System V Release 3 curses.


     Zeyd M. Ben-Halim, Eric S. Raymond, Thomas E. Dickey. Based
     on pcurses by Pavel Curtis.

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