tgetent(), tgetflag(), tgetnum(), tgetstr(), tgoto(), tputs()

direct curses interface to the terminfo capability database 

Curses Function


#include <curses.h>

#include <term.h>

int tgetent(const char *bp, char *name);

int tgetflag(const char *id);

int tgetnum(const char *id);

char *tgetstr(const char *id, char **area);

char *tgoto(const char *cap, int col, int row);

int tputs(const char *str, int affcnt, int (*putc(int));


These routines are included as a conversion aid for programs that use the termcap library. Their parameters are the same and the routines are emulated using the terminifo database. Thus, they can only be used to query the capabilities of entries for which a terminfo entry has been compiled.

The tgetent() routine loads the entry for name. It returns 1 on success, 0 if there is no such entry, and -1 if the terminfo database could not be found. The emulation ignores the buffer pointer bp.

The tgetflag() routine gets the boolean entry for id.

The tgetnum() routine gets the numeric entry for id.

The tgetstr() routine returns the string entry for id. Use tputs() to output the returned string.

The tgoto() routine instantiates the parameters into the given capability. The output from this routine is to be passed to tputs().

The tputs() routine is described on the curs_terminfo() manual page. It can retrieve capabilities by either termcap or terminfo name.


Except where explicitly noted, routines that return an integer return ERR upon failure and OK (SVr4 only specifies "an integer value other than ERR") upon successful completion.

Routines that return pointers return NULL on error.


If you call tgetstr() to fetch ca or any other parameterized string, be aware that it will be returned in terminfo notation, not the older and not-quite-compatible termcap notation. This won't cause problems if all you do with it is call tgoto() or tparm(), which both expand terminfo-style.

Because terminfo conventions for representing padding in string capabilities differ from termcap's, tputs("50"); will put out a literal "50" rather than busy-waiting for 50 milliseconds. Cope with it.


The XSI Curses standard, Issue 4 describes these functions. However, they are marked TO BE WITHDRAWN and may be removed in future versions.

Neither the XSI Curses standard nor the SVr4 man pages documented the return values of tgetent() correctly, though all three were in fact returned ever since SVr1.


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curses(), putc()


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