bkgdset, wbkgdset, bkgd, wbkgd, getbkgd -
curses window background manipulation routines
void bkgdset(chtype ch);
void wbkgdset(WINDOW *win, chtype ch);
int bkgd(chtype ch);
int wbkgd(WINDOW *win, chtype ch);
chtype getbkgd(WINDOW *win);
The bkgdset and wbkgdset routines set the background for a
window. A window's background is a chtype consisting of any combination
of attributes (i.e., rendition) and a character:
- The attribute part of the background is combined (OR'ed) with all
non-blank characters that are written into the window with
- Both the character and attribute parts of the background are combined with
blank characters that are written into the window.
The background becomes a property of each character and moves with
the character through any scrolling and insert/delete line/character
To the extent possible on a particular terminal, the attribute
part of the background is displayed as the graphic rendition of the
character put on the screen.
The bkgd and wbkgd functions set the background property of the
current or specified window and then apply this setting to every character
position in that window. According to X/Open Curses, it should do this:
- The rendition of every character on the screen is changed to the new
- Wherever the former background character appears, it is changed to the new
Neither X/Open Curses nor the SVr4 manual pages give details about
the way the rendition of characters on the screen is updated when
bkgd or wbkgd is used to change the background character.
This implementation, like SVr4 curses, does not store the
background and window attribute contributions to each cell separately. It
updates the rendition by comparing the character, non-color attributes and
colors contained in the background. For each cell in the window, whether or
not it is blank:
- The library first compares the character, and if it matches the
current character part of the background, it replaces that with the new
- When bkgdset is used to set the background character, that does not
update each cell in the window. A subsequent call to bkgd will only
modify the character in cells which match the current background
- The library then checks if the cell uses color, i.e., its color pair value
is nonzero. If not, it simply replaces the attributes and color pair in
the cell with those from the new background character.
- If the cell uses color, and that matches the color in the current
background, the library removes attributes which may have come from the
current background and adds attributes from the new background. It
finishes by setting the cell to use the color from the new
- If the cell uses color, and that does not match the color in the current
background, the library updates only the non-color attributes, first
removing those which may have come from the current background, and then
adding attributes from the new background.
If the background's character value is zero (0), a space is
If the terminal does not support color, or if color has not been
started with start_color, the new background character's color
attribute will be ignored.
The getbkgd function returns the given window's current background
These functions are described in the XSI Curses standard, Issue 4. It specifies
that bkgd and wbkgd return ERR on failure, but gives no
The routines bkgd and wbkgd return the integer
OK, unless the library has not been initialized.
In contrast, the SVr4.0 manual says bkgd and wbkgd
may return OK "or a non-negative integer if immedok is
set", which refers to the return value from wrefresh (used to
implement the immediate repainting). The SVr4 curses wrefresh returns
the number of characters written to the screen during the refresh. This
implementation does not do that.
Note that bkgdset and bkgd may be macros.
X/Open Curses mentions that the character part of the background
must be a single-byte value. This implementation, like SVr4, checks to
ensure that, and will reuse the old background character if the check
These functions are described in the XSI Curses standard, Issue 4 (X/Open