GETCH(3XCURSES) X/Open Curses Library Functions GETCH(3XCURSES)

getch, wgetch, mvgetch, mvwgetch - get a single-byte character from the terminal

cc [ flag... ] file... -I /usr/xpg4/include  -L  /usr/xpg4/lib \
 -R  /usr/xpg4/lib  -lcurses  [ library... ]
c89 [ flag... ] file... -lcurses [ library... ]
#include <curses.h>
int getch(void);

int wgetch(WINDOW *win);

int mvgetch(int y, int x);

int mvwgetch(WINDOW *win, int y, int x);

Is a pointer to the window associated with the terminal from which the character is to be read.


Is the y (row) coordinate for the position of the character to be read.


Is the x (column) coordinate for the position of the character to be read.

These functions read a single-byte character from the terminal associated with the current or specified window. The results are unspecified if the input is not a single-byte character. If keypad(3XCURSES) is enabled, these functions respond to the pressing of a function key by returning the corresponding KEY_ value defined in <curses.h>

Processing of terminal input is subject to the general rules described on the keypad(3XCURSES) manual page.

If echoing is enabled, then the character is echoed as though it were provided as an input argument to addch(3XCURSES), except for the following characters:


The input is interpreted as follows: unless the cursor already was in column 0, <backspace> moves the cursor one column toward the start of the current line and any characters after the <backspace> are added or inserted starting there. The character at the resulting cursor position it then deleted as though delch(3XCURSES) were called, except that if the cursor was originally in the first column of the line, the user is alerted as though beep(3XCURSES) were called.

Function keys

The user is alerted as though beep() were called. Information concerning the function keys is not returned to the caller.

If the current or specified window is not a pad, and it has been moved modified since the last refresh operation, then it will be refreshed before another character is read.

The following is a list of tokens for function keys that are returned by the getch() set of functions if keypad handling is enabled (some terminals may not support all tokens).

Constant Description
KEY_BREAK Break key
KEY_DOWN The down arrow key
KEY_UP The up arrow key
KEY_LEFT The left arrow key
KEY_RIGHT The right arrow key
KEY_HOME Home key
KEY_F0 Function keys. Space for 64 keys is reserved.
KEY_F(n) For 0 <= n <= 63
KEY_DL Delete line
KEY_IL Insert line
KEY_DC Delete character
KEY_IC Insert char or enter insert mode
KEY_EIC Exit insert char mode
KEY_CLEAR Clear screen
KEY_EOS Clear to end of screen
KEY_EOL Clear to end of line
KEY_SF Scroll 1 line forward
KEY_SR Scroll 1 line backwards
KEY_NPAGE Next page
KEY_PPAGE Previous page
KEY_STAB Set tab
KEY_CTAB Clear tab
KEY_CATAB Clear all tabs
KEY_ENTER Enter or send
KEY_SRESET Soft (partial) reset
KEY_RESET Reset or hard reset
KEY_PRINT Print or copy
KEY_LL Home down or bottom (lower left)
KEY_A1 Upper left of keypad
KEY_A3 Upper right of keypad
KEY_B2 Center of keypad
KEY_C1 Lower left of keypad
KEY_C3 Lower right of keypad
KEY_BTAB Back tab
KEY_BEG Beginning key
KEY_CANCEL Cancel key
KEY_CLOSE Close key
KEY_COMMAND Cmd (command) key
KEY_COPY Copy key
KEY_CREATE Create key
KEY_END End key
KEY_EXIT Exit key
KEY_FIND Find key
KEY_HELP Help key
KEY_MARK Mark key
KEY_MESSAGE Message key
KEY_MOVE Move key
KEY_NEXT Next object key
KEY_OPEN Open key
KEY_OPTIONS Options key
KEY_PREVIOUS Previous object key
KEY_REDO Redo key
KEY_REFERENCE Reference key
KEY_REFRESH Refresh key
KEY_REPLACE Replace key
KEY_RESTART Restart key
KEY_RESUME Resume key
KEY_SAVE Save key
KEY_SBEG Shifted beginning key
KEY_SCANCEL Shifted cancel key
KEY_SCOMMAND Shifted command key
KEY_SCOPY Shifted copy key
KEY_SCREATE Shifted create key
KEY_SDC Shifted delete char key
KEY_SDL Shifted delete line key
KEY_SELECT Select key
KEY_SEND Shifted end key
KEY_SEOL Shifted clear line key
KEY_SEXIT Shifted exit key
KEY_SFIND Shifted find key
KEY_SHELP Shifted help key
KEY_SHOME Shifted home key
KEY_SIC Shifted input key
KEY_SLEFT Shifted left arrow key
KEY_SMESSAGES Shifted messages key
KEY_SMOVE Shifted move key
KEY_SNEXT Shifted next key
KEY_SOPTIONS Shifted options key
KEY_SPREVIOUS Shifted previous key
KEY_SPRINT Shifted print key
KEY_SREDO Shifted redo key
KEY_SREPLACE Shifted replace key
KEY_SRIGHT Shifted right arrow key
KEY_SRSUME Shifted resume key
KEY_SSAVE Shifted save key
KEY_SSUSPEND Shifted suspend key
KEY_SUNDO Shifted undo key
KEY_SUSPEND Suspend key
KEY_UNDO Undo key

Upon successful completion, these functions return the single-byte character, KEY_ value, or ERR. When in the nodelay mode and no data is available, ERR is returned.

No errors are defined.

Applications should not define the escape key by itself as a single-character function.

When using these functions, nocbreak mode (cbreak(3XCURSES)) and echo mode (echo(3XCURSES)) should not be used at the same time. Depending on the state of the terminal when each character is typed, the application may produce undesirable results.

See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface Stability Standard
MT-Level Unsafe

cbreak(3XCURSES), echo(3XCURSES), halfdelay(3XCURSES), keypad(3XCURSES), libcurses(3XCURSES), nodelay(3XCURSES), notimeout(3XCURSES), raw(3XCURSES), timeout(3XCURSES), attributes(5), standards(5)

June 5, 2002 OmniOS