TERMINFO(5) File Formats and Configurations TERMINFO(5)

terminfo - terminal and printer capability database


The terminfo database describes the capabilities of devices such as terminals and printers. Devices are described in terminfo source files by specifying a set of capabilities, by quantifying certain aspects of the device, and by specifying character sequences that affect particular results. This database is often used by screen oriented applications such as vi and curses-based programs, as well as by some system commands such as ls and more. This usage allows them to work with a variety of devices without changes to the programs.

terminfo descriptions are located in the directory pointed to by the environment variable TERMINFO or in /usr/share/lib/terminfo. terminfo descriptions are generated by tic(8).

terminfo source files consist of one or more device descriptions. Each description consists of a header (beginning in column 1) and one or more lines that list the features for that particular device. Every line in a terminfo source file must end in a comma (,). Every line in a terminfo source file except the header must be indented with one or more white spaces (either spaces or tabs).

Entries in terminfo source files consist of a number of comma-separated fields. White space after each comma is ignored. Embedded commas must be escaped by using a backslash. Each device entry has the following format:

alias1 | alias2 | ... | aliasn | fullname,

capability1, capability2,

The first line, commonly referred to as the header line, must begin in column one and must contain at least two aliases separated by vertical bars. The last field in the header line must be the long name of the device and it may contain any string. Alias names must be unique in the terminfo database and they must conform to system file naming conventions. See tic(8). They cannot, for example, contain white space or slashes.

Every device must be assigned a name, such as "vt100". Device names (except the long name) should be chosen using the following conventions. The name should not contain hyphens because hyphens are reserved for use when adding suffixes that indicate special modes.

These special modes may be modes that the hardware can be in, or user preferences. To assign a special mode to a particular device, append a suffix consisting of a hyphen and an indicator of the mode to the device name. For example, the -w suffix means "wide mode". When specified, it allows for a width of 132 columns instead of the standard 80 columns. Therefore, if you want to use a "vt100" device set to wide mode, name the device "vt100-w". Use the following suffixes where possible.

Suffix Meaning Example
-w Wide mode (more than 80 columns) 5410-w
-am With auto. margins (usually default) vt100-am
-nam Without automatic margins vt100-nam
-n Number of lines on the screen 2300-40
-na No arrow keys (leave them in local) c100-na
-np Number of pages of memory c100-4p
-rv Reverse video 4415-rv

The terminfo reference manual page is organized in two sections:


Capabilities in terminfo are of three types: Boolean capabilities (which show that a device has or does not have a particular feature), numeric capabilities (which quantify particular features of a device), and string capabilities (which provide sequences that can be used to perform particular operations on devices).

In the following table, a Variable is the name by which a C programmer accesses a capability (at the terminfo level). A Capname is the short name for a capability specified in the terminfo source file. It is used by a person updating the source file and by the tput command. A Termcap Code is a two-letter sequence that corresponds to the termcap capability name. (Note that termcap is no longer supported.)

Capability names have no real length limit, but an informal limit of five characters has been adopted to keep them short. Whenever possible, capability names are chosen to be the same as or similar to those specified by the ANSI X3.64-1979 standard. Semantics are also intended to match those of the ANSI standard.

All string capabilities listed below may have padding specified, with the exception of those used for input. Input capabilities, listed under the Strings section in the following tables, have names beginning with key_. The #i symbol in the description field of the following tables refers to the ith parameter.


Cap- Termcap Variable name Code Description ________________________________________________________________ auto_left_margin bw bw cub1 wraps from column 0 to
last column auto_right_margin am am Terminal has automatic margins back_color_erase bce be Screen erased with background
color can_change ccc cc Terminal can re-define existing
color ceol_standout_glitch xhp xs Standout not erased by
overwriting (hp) col_addr_glitch xhpa YA Only positive motion
for hpa/mhpa caps cpi_changes_res cpix YF Changing character pitch
changes resolution cr_cancels_micro_mode crxm YB Using cr turns off micro mode dest_tabs_magic_smso xt xt Destructive tabs, magic
smso char (t1061) eat_newline_glitch xenl xn Newline ignored after
80 columns (Concept) erase_overstrike eo eo Can erase overstrikes with a
blank generic_type gn gn Generic line type
(for example, dialup, switch) hard_copy hc hc Hardcopy terminal hard_cursor chts HC Cursor is hard to see has_meta_key km km Has a meta key (shift,
sets parity bit) has_print_wheel daisy YC Printer needs operator
to change character set has_status_line hs hs Has extra "status line" hue_lightness_saturation hls hl Terminal uses only HLS
color notation (Tektronix) insert_null_glitch in in Insert mode distinguishes nulls lpi_changes_res lpix YG Changing line pitch
changes resolution memory_above da da Display may be retained
above the screen memory_below db db Display may be retained
below the screen move_insert_mode mir mi Safe to move while in insert
mode move_standout_mode msgr ms Safe to move in standout modes needs_xon_xoff nxon nx Padding won't work,
xon/xoff required no_esc_ctlc xsb xb Beehive (f1=escape, f2=ctrl C) no_pad_char npc NP Pad character doesn't exist non_dest_scroll_region ndscr ND Scrolling region
is nondestructive non_rev_rmcup nrrmc NR smcup does not reverse rmcup over_strike os os Terminal overstrikes
on hard-copy terminal prtr_silent mc5i 5i Printer won't echo on screen row_addr_glitch xvpa YD Only positive motion
for vpa/mvpa caps semi_auto_right_margin sam YE Printing in last column causes
cr status_line_esc_ok eslok es Escape can be used on
the status line tilde_glitch hz hz Hazeltine; can't print tilde (~) transparent_underline ul ul Underline character overstrikes xon_xoff xon xo Terminal uses xon/xoff


Cap- Termcap Variable name Code Description ________________________________________________________________ bit_image_entwining bitwin Yo Number of passes for each
bit-map row bit_image_type bitype Yp Type of bit image device buffer_capacity bufsz Ya Number of bytes buffered
before printing buttons btns BT Number of buttons on the mouse columns cols co Number of columns in a line dot_horz_spacing spinh Yc Spacing of dots horizontally
in dots per inch dot_vert_spacing spinv Yb Spacing of pins vertically
in pins per inch init_tabs it it Tabs initially every # spaces label_height lh lh Number of rows in each label label_width lw lw Number of columns in each label lines lines li Number of lines on a screen or
a page lines_of_memory lm lm Lines of memory if > lines;
0 means varies max_attributes ma ma Maximum combined video attributes
terminal can display magic_cookie_glitch xmc sg Number of blank characters
left by smso or rmso max_colors colors Co Maximum number of colors
on the screen max_micro_address maddr Yd Maximum value in
micro_..._address max_micro_jump mjump Ye Maximum value in parm_..._micro max_pairs pairs pa Maximum number of
color-pairs on the screen maximum_windows Wnum MW Maximum number of definable windows micro_char_size mcs Yf Character step size when
in micro mode micro_line_size mls Yg Line step size when in micro mode no_color_video ncv NC Video attributes that
can't be used with colors num_labels nlab Nl Number of labels on screen number_of_pins npins Yh Number of pins in print-head output_res_char orc Yi Horizontal resolution in
units per character output_res_line orl Yj Vertical resolution in units per
line output_res_horz_inch orhi Yk Horizontal resolution in
units per inch output_res_vert_inch orvi Yl Vertical resolution in
units per inch padding_baud_rate pb pb Lowest baud rate print_rate cps Ym Print rate in characters per second
where padding needed virtual_terminal vt vt Virtual terminal number (system) wide_char_size widcs Yn Character step size when
in double wide mode width_status_line wsl ws Number of columns in status line


Cap- Termcap Variable name Code Description ________________________________________________________________ acs_chars acsc ac Graphic charset pairs aAbBcC alt_scancode_esc scesa S8 Alternate escape for
scancode emulation
(default is for vt100) back_tab cbt bt Back tab bell bel bl Audible signal (bell) bit_image_carriage_return bicr Yv Move to beginning of
same row (use tparm) bit_image_newline binel Zz Move to next row of
the bit image (use tparm) bit_image_repeat birep Zy Repeat bit-image cell
#1 #2 times (use tparm) carriage_return cr cr Carriage return change_char_pitch cpi ZA Change number of
characters per inch change_line_pitch lpi ZB Change number of lines per inch change_res_horz chr ZC Change horizontal resolution change_res_vert cvr ZD Change vertical resolution change_scroll_region csr cs Change to lines #1
through #2 (vt100) char_padding rmp rP Like ip but when in replace
mode char_set_names csnm Zy List of character set names clear_all_tabs tbc ct Clear all tab stops clear_margins mgc MC Clear all margins
(top, bottom, and sides) clear_screen clear cl Clear screen and home cursor clr_bol el1 cb Clear to beginning of
line, inclusive clr_eol el ce Clear to end of line clr_eos ed cd Clear to end of display code_set_init csin ci Init sequence
for multiple codesets color_names colornm Yw Give name for color #1 column_address hpa ch Horizontal position command_character cmdch CC Terminal settable cmd
character in prototype create_window cwin CW Define win #1 to go
from #2,#3to #4,#5 cursor_address cup cm Move to row #1 col #2 cursor_down cud1 do Down one line cursor_home home ho Home cursor (if no cup) cursor_invisible civis vi Make cursor invisible cursor_left cub1 le Move left one space. cursor_mem_address mrcup CM Memory relative cursor
addressing cursor_normal cnorm ve Make cursor appear
normal (undo vs/vi) cursor_right cuf1 nd Non-destructive space
(cursor or carriage right) cursor_to_ll ll ll Last line, first
column (if no cup) cursor_up cuu1 up Upline (cursor up) cursor_visible cvvis vs Make cursor very visible define_bit_image_region defbi Yx Define rectangular bit-
image region (use tparm) define_char defc ZE Define a character in
a character set delete_character dch1 dc Delete character delete_line dl1 dl Delete line device_type devt dv Indicate language/
codeset support dial_phone dial DI Dial phone number #1 dis_status_line dsl ds Disable status line display_clock dclk DK Display time-of-day clock display_pc_char dispc S1 Display PC character down_half_line hd hd Half-line down (forward
1/2 linefeed) ena_acs enacs eA Enable alternate character set end_bit_image_region endbi Yy End a bit-image region
(use tparm) enter_alt_charset_mode smacs as Start alternate character set enter_am_mode smam SA Turn on automatic margins enter_blink_mode blink mb Turn on blinking enter_bold_mode bold md Turn on bold (extra
bright) mode enter_ca_mode smcup ti String to begin programs
that use cup enter_delete_mode smdc dm Delete mode (enter) enter_dim_mode dim mh Turn on half-bright mode enter_doublewide_mode swidm ZF Enable double wide printing enter_draft_quality sdrfq ZG Set draft quality print mode enter_insert_mode smir im Insert mode (enter) enter_italics_mode sitm ZH Enable italics enter_leftward_mode slm ZI Enable leftward carriage
motion enter_micro_mode smicm ZJ Enable micro motion
capabilities enter_near_letter_quality snlq ZK Set near-letter quality print enter_normal_quality snrmq ZL Set normal quality enter_pc_charset_mode smpch S2 Enter PC character display mode enter_protected_mode prot mp Turn on protected mode enter_reverse_mode rev mr Turn on reverse video mode enter_scancode_mode smsc S4 Enter PC scancode mode enter_scancode_mode smsc S4 Enter PC scancode mode enter_secure_mode invis mk Turn on blank mode
(characters invisible) enter_shadow_mode sshm ZM Enable shadow printing enter_standout_mode smso so Begin standout mode enter_subscript_mode ssubm ZN Enable subscript printing enter_superscript_mode ssupm ZO Enable superscript printing enter_underline_mode smul us Start underscore mode enter_upward_mode sum ZP Enable upward carriage motion
mode enter_xon_mode smxon SX Turn on xon/xoff handshaking erase_chars ech ec Erase #1 characters exit_alt_charset_mode rmacs ae End alternate character set exit_am_mode rmam RA Turn off automatic margins exit_attribute_mode sgr0 me Turn off all attributes exit_ca_mode rmcup te String to end programs
that use cup exit_delete_mode rmdc ed End delete mode exit_doublewide_mode rwidm ZQ Disable double wide printing exit_insert_mode rmir ei End insert mode exit_italics_mode ritm ZR Disable italics exit_leftward_mode rlm ZS Enable rightward (normal)
carriage motion exit_micro_mode rmicm ZT Disable micro motion
capabilities exit_pc_charset_mode rmpch S3 Disable PC character
display mode exit_scancode_mode rmsc S5 Disable PC scancode mode exit_shadow_mode rshm ZU Disable shadow printing exit_standout_mode rmso se End standout mode exit_subscript_mode rsubm ZV Disable subscript printing exit_superscript_mode rsupm ZW Disable superscript printing exit_underline_mode rmul ue End underscore mode exit_upward_mode rum ZX Enable downward (normal)
carriage motion exit_xon_mode rmxon RX Turn off xon/xoff handshaking fixed_pause pause PA Pause for 2-3 seconds flash_hook hook fh Flash the switch hook flash_screen flash vb Visible bell (may
not move cursor) form_feed ff ff Hardcopy terminal page eject from_status_line fsl fs Return from status line get_mouse getm Gm Curses should get button events goto_window wingo WG Go to window #1 hangup hup HU Hang-up phone init_1string is1 i1 Terminal or printer
initialization string init_2string is2 is Terminal or printer
initialization string init_3string is3 i3 Terminal or printer
initialization string init_file if if Name of initialization file init_prog iprog iP Path name of program
for initialization initialize_color initc Ic Initialize the
definition of color initialize_pair initp Ip Initialize color-pair insert_character ich1 ic Insert character insert_line il1 al Add new blank line insert_padding ip ip Insert pad after
character inserted

The ``key_'' strings are sent by specific keys. The ``key_'' descriptions include the macro, defined in <curses.h>, for the code returned by the curses routine getch when the key is pressed (see curs_getch(3CURSES)).


Cap- Termcap Variable name Code Description ________________________________________________________________ key_a1 ka1 K1 KEY_A1, upper left of keypad key_a3 ka3 K3 KEY_A3, upper right of keypad key_b2 kb2 K2 KEY_B2, center of keypad key_backspace kbs kb KEY_BACKSPACE, sent by
backspace key key_beg kbeg @1 KEY_BEG, sent by beg(inning) key key_btab kcbt kB KEY_BTAB, sent by back-tab key key_c1 kc1 K4 KEY_C1, lower left of keypad key_c3 kc3 K5 KEY_C3, lower right of keypad key_cancel kcan @2 KEY_CANCEL, sent by cancel key key_catab ktbc ka KEY_CATAB, sent by
clear-all-tabs key key_clear kclr kC KEY_CLEAR, sent by
clear-screen or erase key key_close kclo @3 KEY_CLOSE, sent by close key key_command kcmd @4 KEY_COMMAND, sent by
cmd (command) key key_copy kcpy @5 KEY_COPY, sent by copy key key_create kcrt @6 KEY_CREATE, sent by create key key_ctab kctab kt KEY_CTAB, sent by clear-tab key key_dc kdch1 kD KEY_DC, sent by delete-character
key key_dl kdl1 kL KEY_DL, sent by delete-line key key_down kcud1 kd KEY_DOWN, sent by terminal
down-arrow key key_eic krmir kM KEY_EIC, sent by rmir or smir in
insert mode key_end kend @7 KEY_END, sent by end key key_enter kent @8 KEY_ENTER, sent by enter/send
key key_eol kel kE KEY_EOL, sent by
clear-to-end-of-line key key_eos ked kS KEY_EOS, sent by
clear-to-end-of-screen key key_exit kext @9 KEY_EXIT, sent by exit key key_f0 kf0 k0 KEY_F(0), sent by function key f0 key_f1 kf1 k1 KEY_F(1), sent by function key f1 key_f2 kf2 k2 KEY_F(2), sent by function key f2 key_f3 kf3 k3 KEY_F(3), sent by function key f3 key_fB kf4 k4 KEY_F(4), sent by function key fB key_f5 kf5 k5 KEY_F(5), sent by function key f5 key_f6 kf6 k6 KEY_F(6), sent by function key f6 key_f7 kf7 k7 KEY_F(7), sent by function key f7 key_f8 kf8 k8 KEY_F(8), sent by function key f8 key_f9 kf9 k9 KEY_F(9), sent by function key f9 key_f10 kf10 k; KEY_F(10), sent by function key
f10 key_f11 kf11 F1 KEY_F(11), sent by function key
f11 key_f12 kf12 F2 KEY_F(12), sent by function key
f12 key_f13 kf13 F3 KEY_F(13), sent by function key
f13 key_f14 kf14 F4 KEY_F(14), sent by function key
f14 key_f15 kf15 F5 KEY_F(15), sent by function key
f15 key_f16 kf16 F6 KEY_F(16), sent by function key
f16 key_f17 kf17 F7 KEY_F(17), sent by function key
f17 key_f18 kf18 F8 KEY_F(18), sent by function key
f18 key_f19 kf19 F9 KEY_F(19), sent by function key
f19 key_f20 kf20 FA KEY_F(20), sent by function key
f20 key_f21 kf21 FB KEY_F(21), sent by function key
f21 key_f22 kf22 FC KEY_F(22), sent by function key
f22 key_f23 kf23 FD KEY_F(23), sent by function key
f23 key_f24 kf24 FE KEY_F(24), sent by function key
f24 key_f25 kf25 FF KEY_F(25), sent by function key
f25 key_f26 kf26 FG KEY_F(26), sent by function key
f26 key_f27 kf27 FH KEY_F(27), sent by function key
f27 key_f28 kf28 FI KEY_F(28), sent by function key
f28 key_f29 kf29 FJ KEY_F(29), sent by function key
f29 key_f30 kf30 FK KEY_F(30), sent by function key
f30 key_f31 kf31 FL KEY_F(31), sent by function key
f31 key_f32 kf32 FM KEY_F(32), sent by function key
f32 key_f33 kf33 FN KEY_F(13), sent by function key
f13 key_f34 kf34 FO KEY_F(34), sent by function key
f34 key_f35 kf35 FP KEY_F(35), sent by function key
f35 key_f36 kf36 FQ KEY_F(36), sent by function key
f36 key_f37 kf37 FR KEY_F(37), sent by function key
f37 key_f38 kf38 FS KEY_F(38), sent by function key
f38 key_f39 kf39 FT KEY_F(39), sent by function key
f39 key_fB0 kf40 FU KEY_F(40), sent by function key
fB0 key_fB1 kf41 FV KEY_F(41), sent by function key
fB1 key_fB2 kf42 FW KEY_F(42), sent by function key
fB2 key_fB3 kf43 FX KEY_F(43), sent by function key
fB3 key_fB4 kf44 FY KEY_F(44), sent by function key
fB4 key_fB5 kf45 FZ KEY_F(45), sent by function key
fB5 key_fB6 kf46 Fa KEY_F(46), sent by function key
fB6 key_fB7 kf47 Fb KEY_F(47), sent by function key
fB7 key_fB8 kf48 Fc KEY_F(48), sent by function key
fB8 key_fB9 kf49 Fd KEY_F(49), sent by function key
fB9 key_f50 kf50 Fe KEY_F(50), sent by function key
f50 key_f51 kf51 Ff KEY_F(51), sent by function key
f51 key_f52 kf52 Fg KEY_F(52), sent by function key
f52 key_f53 kf53 Fh KEY_F(53), sent by function key
f53 key_f54 kf54 Fi KEY_F(54), sent by function key
f54 key_f55 kf55 Fj KEY_F(55), sent by function key
f55 key_f56 kf56 Fk KEY_F(56), sent by function key
f56 key_f57 kf57 Fl KEY_F(57), sent by function key
f57 key_f58 kf58 Fm KEY_F(58), sent by function key
f58 key_f59 kf59 Fn KEY_F(59), sent by function key
f59 key_f60 kf60 Fo KEY_F(60), sent by function key
f60 key_f61 kf61 Fp KEY_F(61), sent by function key
f61 key_f62 kf62 Fq KEY_F(62), sent by function key
f62 key_f63 kf63 Fr KEY_F(63), sent by function key
f63 key_find kfnd @0 KEY_FIND, sent by find key key_help khlp %1 KEY_HELP, sent by help key key_home khome kh KEY_HOME, sent by home key key_ic kich1 kI KEY_IC, sent by ins-char/enter
ins-mode key key_il kil1 kA KEY_IL, sent by insert-line key key_left kcub1 kl KEY_LEFT, sent by
terminal left-arrow key key_ll kll kH KEY_LL, sent by home-down key key_mark kmrk %2 KEY_MARK, sent by key_message kmsg %3 KEY_MESSAGE, sent by message key key_mouse kmous Km 0631, Mouse event has occurred key_move kmov %4 KEY_MOVE, sent by move key key_next knxt %5 KEY_NEXT, sent by next-object
key key_npage knp kN KEY_NPAGE, sent by next-page
key key_open kopn %6 KEY_OPEN, sent by open key key_options kopt %7 KEY_OPTIONS, sent by options
key key_ppage kpp kP KEY_PPAGE, sent by
previous-page key key_previous kprv %8 KEY_PREVIOUS, sent by
previous-object key key_print kprt %9 KEY_PRINT, sent by
print or copy key key_redo krdo %0 KEY_REDO, sent by redo key key_reference kref &1 KEY_REFERENCE, sent by
reference key key_refresh krfr &2 KEY_REFRESH, sent by
refresh key key_replace krpl &3 KEY_REPLACE, sent by
replace key key_restart krst &4 KEY_RESTART, sent by
restart key key_resume kres &5 KEY_RESUME, sent by resume key key_right kcuf1 kr KEY_RIGHT, sent by terminal
right-arrow key key_save ksav &6 KEY_SAVE, sent by save key key_sbeg kBEG &9 KEY_SBEG, sent by
shifted beginning key key_scancel kCAN &0 KEY_SCANCEL, sent by
shifted cancel key key_scommand kCMD *1 KEY_SCOMMAND, sent by
shifted command key key_scopy kCPY *2 KEY_SCOPY, sent by
shifted copy key key_screate kCRT *3 KEY_SCREATE, sent by
shifted create key key_sdc kDC *4 KEY_SDC, sent by
shifted delete-char key key_sdl kDL *5 KEY_SDL, sent by
shifted delete-line key key_select kslt *6 KEY_SELECT, sent by
select key key_send kEND *7 KEY_SEND, sent by
shifted end key key_seol kEOL *8 KEY_SEOL, sent by
shifted clear-line key key_sexit kEXT *9 KEY_SEXIT, sent by
shifted exit key key_sf kind kF KEY_SF, sent by
scroll-forward/down key key_sfind kFND *0 KEY_SFIND, sent by
shifted find key key_shelp kHLP #1 KEY_SHELP, sent by
shifted help key key_shome kHOM #2 KEY_SHOME, sent by
shifted home key key_sic kIC #3 KEY_SIC, sent by
shifted input key key_sleft kLFT #4 KEY_SLEFT, sent by
shifted left-arrow key key_smessage kMSG %a KEY_SMESSAGE, sent by
shifted message key key_smove kMOV %b KEY_SMOVE, sent by
shifted move key key_snext kNXT %c KEY_SNEXT, sent by
shifted next key key_soptions kOPT %d KEY_SOPTIONS, sent by
shifted options key key_sprevious kPRV %e KEY_SPREVIOUS, sent by
shifted prev key key_sprint kPRT %f KEY_SPRINT, sent by
shifted print key key_sr kri kR KEY_SR, sent by
scroll-backward/up key key_sredo kRDO %g KEY_SREDO, sent by
shifted redo key key_sreplace kRPL %h KEY_SREPLACE, sent by
shifted replace key key_sright kRIT %i KEY_SRIGHT, sent by shifted
right-arrow key key_srsume kRES %j KEY_SRSUME, sent by
shifted resume key key_ssave kSAV !1 KEY_SSAVE, sent by
shifted save key key_ssuspend kSPD !2 KEY_SSUSPEND, sent by
shifted suspend key key_stab khts kT KEY_STAB, sent by
set-tab key key_sundo kUND !3 KEY_SUNDO, sent by
shifted undo key key_suspend kspd &7 KEY_SUSPEND, sent by
suspend key key_undo kund &8 KEY_UNDO, sent by undo key key_up kcuu1 ku KEY_UP, sent by
terminal up-arrow key keypad_local rmkx ke Out of
``keypad-transmit'' mode keypad_xmit smkx ks Put terminal in
``keypad-transmit'' mode lab_f0 lf0 l0 Labels on function key
f0 if not f0 lab_f1 lf1 l1 Labels on function key
f1 if not f1 lab_f2 lf2 l2 Labels on function key
f2 if not f2 lab_f3 lf3 l3 Labels on function key
f3 if not f3 lab_fB lfB l4 Labels on function key
fB if not fB lab_f5 lf5 l5 Labels on function key
f5 if not f5 lab_f6 lf6 l6 Labels on function key
f6 if not f6 lab_f7 lf7 l7 Labels on function key
f7 if not f7 lab_f8 lf8 l8 Labels on function key
f8 if not f8 lab_f9 lf9 l9 Labels on function key
f9 if not f9 lab_f10 lf10 la Labels on function key
f10 if not f10 label_format fln Lf Label format label_off rmln LF Turn off soft labels label_on smln LO Turn on soft labels meta_off rmm mo Turn off "meta mode" meta_on smm mm Turn on "meta mode" (8th bit) micro_column_address mhpa ZY Like column_address
for micro adjustment micro_down mcud1 ZZ Like cursor_down
for micro adjustment micro_left mcub1 Za Like cursor_left
for micro adjustment micro_right mcuf1 Zb Like cursor_right
for micro adjustment micro_row_address mvpa Zc Like row_address
for micro adjustment micro_up mcuu1 Zd Like cursor_up
for micro adjustment mouse_info minfo Mi Mouse status information newline nel nw Newline (behaves like
cr followed by lf) order_of_pins porder Ze Matches software bits
to print-head pins orig_colors oc oc Set all color(-pair)s
to the original ones orig_pair op op Set default color-pair
to the original one pad_char pad pc Pad character (rather than null) parm_dch dch DC Delete #1 chars parm_delete_line dl DL Delete #1 lines parm_down_cursor cud DO Move down #1 lines parm_down_micro mcud Zf Like parm_down_cursor
for micro adjust parm_ich ich IC Insert #1 blank chars parm_index indn SF Scroll forward #1 lines parm_insert_line il AL Add #1 new blank lines parm_left_cursor cub LE Move cursor left #1 spaces parm_left_micro mcub Zg Like parm_left_cursor
for micro adjust parm_right_cursor cuf RI Move right #1 spaces parm_right_micro mcuf Zh Like parm_right_cursor
for micro adjust parm_rindex rin SR Scroll backward #1 lines parm_up_cursor cuu UP Move cursor up #1 lines parm_up_micro mcuu Zi Like parm_up_cursor
for micro adjust pc_term_options pctrm S6 PC terminal options pkey_key pfkey pk Prog funct key #1 to
type string #2 pkey_local pfloc pl Prog funct key #1 to
execute string #2 pkey_plab pfxl xl Prog key #1 to xmit
string #2 and show string #3 pkey_xmit pfx px Prog funct key #1 to
xmit string #2 plab_norm pln pn Prog label #1 to show
string #2 print_screen mc0 ps Print contents of the screen prtr_non mc5p pO Turn on the printer for #1 bytes prtr_off mc4 pf Turn off the printer prtr_on mc5 po Turn on the printer pulse pulse PU Select pulse dialing quick_dial qdial QD Dial phone number #1, without
progress detection remove_clock rmclk RC Remove time-of-day clock repeat_char rep rp Repeat char #1 #2 times req_for_input rfi RF Send next input char (for ptys) req_mouse_pos reqmp RQ Request mouse position report reset_1string rs1 r1 Reset terminal completely to
sane modes reset_2string rs2 r2 Reset terminal completely to
sane modes reset_3string rs3 r3 Reset terminal completely to
sane modes reset_file rf rf Name of file containing
reset string restore_cursor rc rc Restore cursor to
position of last sc row_address vpa cv Vertical position absolute save_cursor sc sc Save cursor position scancode_escape scesc S7 Escape for scancode emulation scroll_forward ind sf Scroll text up scroll_reverse ri sr Scroll text down select_char_set scs Zj Select character set set0_des_seq s0ds s0 Shift into codeset 0
(EUC set 0, ASCII) set1_des_seq s1ds s1 Shift into codeset 1 set2_des_seq s2ds s2 Shift into codeset 2 set3_des_seq s3ds s3 Shift into codeset 3
attributes #1-#6 set_a_background setab AB Set background color
using ANSI escape set_a_foreground setaf AF Set foreground color
using ANSI escape set_attributes sgr sa Define the video
attributes #1-#9 set_background setb Sb Set current background color set_bottom_margin smgb Zk Set bottom margin at
current line set_bottom_margin_parm smgbp Zl Set bottom margin at
line #1 or #2
lines from bottom set_clock sclk SC Set time-of-day clock set_color_band setcolor YzChange to ribbon color #1 set_color_pair scp sp Set current color-pair set_foreground setf Sf Set current foreground color1 set_left_margin smgl ML Set left margin at current line set_left_margin_parm smglp Zm Set left (right) margin
at column #1 (#2) set_lr_margin smglr ML Sets both left and right margins set_page_length slines YZ Set page length to #1 lines
(use tparm) of an inch set_right_margin smgr MR Set right margin at
current column set_right_margin_parm smgrp Zn Set right margin at column #1 set_tab hts st Set a tab in all rows,
current column set_tb_margin smgtb MT Sets both top and bottom margins set_top_margin smgt Zo Set top margin at current line set_top_margin_parm smgtp Zp Set top (bottom) margin
at line #1 (#2) set_window wind wi Current window is lines
#1-#2 cols #3-#4 start_bit_image sbim Zq Start printing bit image graphics start_char_set_def scsd Zr Start definition of a character
set stop_bit_image rbim Zs End printing bit image graphics stop_char_set_def rcsd Zt End definition of a character set subscript_characters subcs Zu List of ``subscript-able''
characters superscript_characters supcs Zv List of ``superscript-able''
characters tab ht ta Tab to next 8-space hardware tab
stop these_cause_cr docr Zw Printing any of these
chars causes cr to_status_line tsl ts Go to status line, col #1 tone tone TO Select touch tone dialing user0 u0 u0 User string 0 user1 u1 u1 User string 1 user2 u2 u2 User string 2 user3 u3 u3 User string 3 user4 u4 u4 User string 4 user5 u5 u5 User string 5 user6 u6 u6 User string 6 user7 u7 u7 User string 7 user8 u8 u8 User string 8 user9 u9 u9 User string 9 underline_char uc uc Underscore one char
and move past it up_half_line hu hu Half-line up (reverse
1/2 linefeed) wait_tone wait WA Wait for dial tone xoff_character xoffc XF X-off character xon_character xonc XN X-on character zero_motion zerom Zx No motion for the
subsequent character

The following entry, which describes the AT&T 610 terminal, is among the more complex entries in the terminfo file as of this writing.

610|610bct|ATT610|att610|AT&T610;80column;98key keyboard

am, eslok, hs, mir, msgr, xenl, xon,
cols#80, it#8, lh#2, lines#24, lw#8, nlab#8, wsl#80,
bel=^G, blink=\E[5m, bold=\E[1m, cbt=\E[Z,
civis=\E[?25l, clear=\E[H\E[J, cnorm=\E[?25h\E[?12l,
cr=\r, csr=\E[%i%p1%d;%p2%dr, cub=\E[%p1%dD, cub1=\b,
cud=\E[%p1%dB, cud1=\E[B, cuf=\E[%p1%dC, cuf1=\E[C,
cup=\E[%i%p1%d;%p2%dH, cuu=\E[%p1%dA, cuu1=\E[A,
cvvis=\E[?12;25h, dch=\E[%p1%dP, dch1=\E[P, dim=\E[2m,
dl=\E[%p1%dM, dl1=\E[M, ed=\E[J, el=\E[K, el1=\E[1K,
flash=\E[?5h$<200>\E[?5l, fsl=\E8, home=\E[H, ht=\t,
ich=\E[%p1%d@, il=\E[%p1%dL, il1=\E[L, ind=\ED, .ind=\ED$<9>,
is1=\E[8;0 | \E[?3;4;5;13;15l\E[13;20l\E[?7h\E[12h\E(B\E)0,
is2=\E[0m^O, is3=\E(B\E)0, kLFT=\E[\s@, kRIT=\E[\sA,
kbs=^H, kcbt=\E[Z, kclr=\E[2J, kcub1=\E[D, kcud1=\E[B,
kcuf1=\E[C, kcuu1=\E[A, kf1=\EOc, kf10=\ENp,
kf11=\ENq, kf12=\ENr, kf13=\ENs, kf14=\ENt, kf2=\EOd,
kf3=\EOe, kf4=\EOf, kf5=\EOg, kf6=\EOh, kf7=\EOi,
kf8=\EOj, kf9=\ENo, khome=\E[H, kind=\E[S, kri=\E[T,
ll=\E[24H, mc4=\E[?4i, mc5=\E[?5i, nel=\EE,
pfxl=\E[%p1%d;%p2%l%02dq%?%p1%{9}%<%t\s\s\sF%p1%1d\s\s\s\s\s \s\s\s\s\s\s%%p2%s,
pln=\E[%p1%d;0;0;0q%p2%:-16.16s, rc=\E8, rev=\E[7m,
ri=\EM, rmacs=^O, rmir=\E[4l, rmln=\E[2p, rmso=\E[m,
rmul=\E[m, rs2=\Ec\E[?3l, sc=\E7,
sgr=\E[0%?%p6%t;1%%?%p5%t;2%%?%p2%t;4%%?%p4%t;5% %?%p3%p1% | %t;7%%?%p7%t;8%m%?%p9%t^N%e^O%,
sgr0=\E[m^O, smacs=^N, smir=\E[4h, smln=\E[p,
smso=\E[7m, smul=\E[4m, tsl=\E7\E[25;%i%p1%dx,

The sample entry shows the formats for the three types of terminfo capabilities listed: Boolean, numeric, and string. All capabilities specified in the terminfo source file must be followed by commas, including the last capability in the source file. In terminfo source files, capabilities are referenced by their capability names (as shown in the previous tables).

Boolean capabilities are specified simply by their comma separated cap names.

Numeric capabilities are followed by the character `#' and then a positive integer value. Thus, in the sample, cols (which shows the number of columns available on a device) is assigned the value 80 for the AT&T 610. (Values for numeric capabilities may be specified in decimal, octal, or hexadecimal, using normal C programming language conventions.)

Finally, string-valued capabilities such as el (clear to end of line sequence) are listed by a two- to five-character capname, an `=', and a string ended by the next occurrence of a comma. A delay in milliseconds may appear anywhere in such a capability, preceded by $ and enclosed in angle brackets, as in el=\EK$<3>. Padding characters are supplied by tput. The delay can be any of the following: a number, a number followed by an asterisk, such as 5*, a number followed by a slash, such as 5/, or a number followed by both, such as 5*/. A `*' shows that the padding required is proportional to the number of lines affected by the operation, and the amount given is the per-affected-unit padding required. (In the case of insert characters, the factor is still the number of lines affected. This is always 1 unless the device has in and the software uses it.) When a `*' is specified, it is sometimes useful to give a delay of the form 3.5 to specify a delay per unit to tenths of milliseconds. (Only one decimal place is allowed.)

A `/' indicates that the padding is mandatory. If a device has xon defined, the padding information is advisory and will only be used for cost estimates or when the device is in raw mode. Mandatory padding will be transmitted regardless of the setting of xon. If padding (whether advisory or mandatory) is specified for bel or flash, however, it will always be used, regardless of whether xon is specified.

terminfo offers notation for encoding special characters. Both \E and \e map to an ESCAPE character, ^x maps to a control x for any appropriate x, and the sequences \n, \l, \r, \t, \b, \f, and \s give a newline, linefeed, return, tab, backspace, formfeed, and space, respectively. Other escapes include: \^ for caret (^); \\ for backslash (\); \, for comma (,); \: for colon (:); and \0 for null. (\0 will actually produce \200, which does not terminate a string but behaves as a null character on most devices, providing CS7 is specified. (See stty(1)). Finally, characters may be given as three octal digits after a backslash (for example, \123).

Sometimes individual capabilities must be commented out. To do this, put a period before the capability name. For example, see the second ind in the example above. Note that capabilities are defined in a left-to-right order and, therefore, a prior definition will override a later definition.

The most effective way to prepare a device description is by imitating the description of a similar device in terminfo and building up a description gradually, using partial descriptions with vi to check that they are correct. Be aware that a very unusual device may expose deficiencies in the ability of the terminfo file to describe it or the inability of vi to work with that device. To test a new device description, set the environment variable TERMINFO to the pathname of a directory containing the compiled description you are working on and programs will look there rather than in /usr/share/lib/terminfo. To get the padding for insert-line correct (if the device manufacturer did not document it) a severe test is to comment out xon, edit a large file at 9600 baud with vi, delete 16 or so lines from the middle of the screen, and then press the u key several times quickly. If the display is corrupted, more padding is usually needed. A similar test can be used for insert-character.

The number of columns on each line for the device is given by the cols numeric capability. If the device has a screen, then the number of lines on the screen is given by the lines capability. If the device wraps around to the beginning of the next line when it reaches the right margin, then it should have the am capability. If the terminal can clear its screen, leaving the cursor in the home position, then this is given by the clear string capability. If the terminal overstrikes (rather than clearing a position when a character is struck over) then it should have the os capability. If the device is a printing terminal, with no soft copy unit, specify both hc and os. If there is a way to move the cursor to the left edge of the current row, specify this as cr. (Normally this will be carriage return, control M.) If there is a way to produce an audible signal (such as a bell or a beep), specify it as bel. If, like most devices, the device uses the xon-xoff flow-control protocol, specify xon.

If there is a way to move the cursor one position to the left (such as backspace), that capability should be given as cub1. Similarly, sequences to move to the right, up, and down should be given as cuf1, cuu1, and cud1, respectively. These local cursor motions must not alter the text they pass over; for example, you would not normally use ``cuf1=\s'' because the space would erase the character moved over.

A very important point here is that the local cursor motions encoded in terminfo are undefined at the left and top edges of a screen terminal. Programs should never attempt to backspace around the left edge, unless bw is specified, and should never attempt to go up locally off the top. To scroll text up, a program goes to the bottom left corner of the screen and sends the ind (index) string.

To scroll text down, a program goes to the top left corner of the screen and sends the ri (reverse index) string. The strings ind and ri are undefined when not on their respective corners of the screen.

Parameterized versions of the scrolling sequences are indn and rin. These versions have the same semantics as ind and ri, except that they take one parameter and scroll the number of lines specified by that parameter. They are also undefined except at the appropriate edge of the screen.

The am capability tells whether the cursor sticks at the right edge of the screen when text is output, but this does not necessarily apply to a cuf1 from the last column. Backward motion from the left edge of the screen is possible only when bw is specified. In this case, cub1 will move to the right edge of the previous row. If bw is not given, the effect is undefined. This is useful for drawing a box around the edge of the screen, for example. If the device has switch selectable automatic margins, am should be specified in the terminfo source file. In this case, initialization strings should turn on this option, if possible. If the device has a command that moves to the first column of the next line, that command can be given as nel (newline). It does not matter if the command clears the remainder of the current line, so if the device has no cr and lf it may still be possible to craft a working nel out of one or both of them.

These capabilities suffice to describe hardcopy and screen terminals. Thus the AT&T 5320 hardcopy terminal is described as follows:

5320|att5320|AT&T 5320 hardcopy terminal,

am, hc, os,
bel=^G, cr=\r, cub1=\b, cnd1=\n,
dch1=\E[P, dl1=\E[M,

while the Lear Siegler ADM−3 is described as

adm3 | lsi adm3,

am, bel=^G, clear=^Z, cols#80, cr=^M, cub1=^H,
cud1=^J, ind=^J, lines#24,

Cursor addressing and other strings requiring parameters are described by a parameterized string capability, with printf-like escapes (%x) in it. For example, to address the cursor, the cup capability is given, using two parameters: the row and column to address to. (Rows and columns are numbered from zero and refer to the physical screen visible to the user, not to any unseen memory.) If the terminal has memory relative cursor addressing, that can be indicated by mrcup.

The parameter mechanism uses a stack and special % codes to manipulate the stack in the manner of Reverse Polish Notation (postfix). Typically a sequence will push one of the parameters onto the stack and then print it in some format. Often more complex operations are necessary. Operations are in postfix form with the operands in the usual order. That is, to subtract 5 from the first parameter, one would use %p1%{5}%−.

The % encodings have the following meanings:


outputs `%'


as in printf, flags are [−+#] and space


print pop gives %c


push ith parm


set dynamic variable [a-z] to pop


get dynamic variable [a-z] and push it


set static variable [a-z] to pop


get static variable [a-z] and push it


push char constant c


push decimal constant nn


push strlen(pop)

%+ %− %* %/ %m

arithmetic (%m is mod): push(pop integer2 op pop integer1)

%& %| %^

bit operations: push(pop integer2 op pop integer1)

%= %> %<

logical operations: push(pop integer2 op pop integer1)

%A %O

logical operations: and, or

%! %~

unary operations: push(op pop)


(for ANSI terminals) add 1 to first parm, if one parm present, or first two parms, if more than one parm present

%? expr %t thenpart %e elsepart %

if-then-else, %e elsepart is optional; else-if's are possible ala Algol 68: %? c(1) %t b(1) %e c(2) %t b(2) %e c(3) %t b(3) %e c(4) %t b(4) %e b(5)% c(i) are conditions, b(i) are bodies.

If the ``'' flag is used with ``%[doxXs]'', then a colon (:) must be placed between the ``%'' and the ``'' to differentiate the flag from the binary ``%−'' operator, for example ``%:−16.16s''.

Consider the Hewlett-Packard 2645, which, to get to row 3 and column 12, needs to be sent \E&a12c03Y padded for 6 milliseconds. Note that the order of the rows and columns is inverted here, and that the row and column are zero-padded as two digits. Thus its cup capability is: cup=\E&a%p2%2.2dc%p1%2.2dY$<6>

The Micro-Term ACT-IV needs the current row and column sent preceded by a ^T, with the row and column simply encoded in binary, ``cup=^T%p1%c%p2%c''. Devices that use ``%c'' need to be able to backspace the cursor (cub1), and to move the cursor up one line on the screen (cuu1). This is necessary because it is not always safe to transmit \n, ^D, and \r, as the system may change or discard them. (The library routines dealing with terminfo set tty modes so that tabs are never expanded, so \t is safe to send. This turns out to be essential for the Ann Arbor 4080.)

A final example is the LSI ADM-3a, which uses row and column offset by a blank character, thus ``cup=\E=%p1%'\s'%+%c%p2%'\s'%+%c''. After sending ``\E='', this pushes the first parameter, pushes the ASCII value for a space (32), adds them (pushing the sum on the stack in place of the two previous values), and outputs that value as a character. Then the same is done for the second parameter. More complex arithmetic is possible using the stack.

If the terminal has a fast way to home the cursor (to very upper left corner of screen) then this can be given as home; similarly a fast way of getting to the lower left-hand corner can be given as ll; this may involve going up with cuu1 from the home position, but a program should never do this itself (unless ll does) because it can make no assumption about the effect of moving up from the home position. Note that the home position is the same as addressing to (0,0): to the top left corner of the screen, not of memory. (Thus, the \EH sequence on Hewlett-Packard terminals cannot be used for home without losing some of the other features on the terminal.)

If the device has row or column absolute-cursor addressing, these can be given as single parameter capabilities hpa (horizontal position absolute) and vpa (vertical position absolute). Sometimes these are shorter than the more general two-parameter sequence (as with the Hewlett-Packard 2645) and can be used in preference to cup. If there are parameterized local motions (for example, move n spaces to the right) these can be given as cud, cub, cuf, and cuu with a single parameter indicating how many spaces to move. These are primarily useful if the device does not have cup, such as the Tektronix 4025.

If the device needs to be in a special mode when running a program that uses these capabilities, the codes to enter and exit this mode can be given as smcup and rmcup. This arises, for example, from terminals, such as the Concept, with more than one page of memory. If the device has only memory relative cursor addressing and not screen relative cursor addressing, a one screen-sized window must be fixed into the device for cursor addressing to work properly. This is also used for the Tektronix 4025, where smcup sets the command character to be the one used by terminfo. If the smcup sequence will not restore the screen after an rmcup sequence is output (to the state prior to outputting rmcup), specify nrrmc.

If the terminal can clear from the current position to the end of the line, leaving the cursor where it is, this should be given as el. If the terminal can clear from the beginning of the line to the current position inclusive, leaving the cursor where it is, this should be given as el1. If the terminal can clear from the current position to the end of the display, then this should be given as ed. ed is only defined from the first column of a line. (Thus, it can be simulated by a request to delete a large number of lines, if a true ed is not available.)

If the terminal can open a new blank line before the line where the cursor is, this should be given as il1; this is done only from the first position of a line. The cursor must then appear on the newly blank line. If the terminal can delete the line which the cursor is on, then this should be given as dl1; this is done only from the first position on the line to be deleted. Versions of il1 and dl1 which take a single parameter and insert or delete that many lines can be given as il and dl.

If the terminal has a settable destructive scrolling region (like the VT100) the command to set this can be described with the csr capability, which takes two parameters: the top and bottom lines of the scrolling region. The cursor position is, alas, undefined after using this command. It is possible to get the effect of insert or delete line using this command — the sc and rc (save and restore cursor) commands are also useful. Inserting lines at the top or bottom of the screen can also be done using ri or ind on many terminals without a true insert/delete line, and is often faster even on terminals with those features.

To determine whether a terminal has destructive scrolling regions or non-destructive scrolling regions, create a scrolling region in the middle of the screen, place data on the bottom line of the scrolling region, move the cursor to the top line of the scrolling region, and do a reverse index (ri) followed by a delete line (dl1) or index (ind). If the data that was originally on the bottom line of the scrolling region was restored into the scrolling region by the dl1 or ind, then the terminal has non-destructive scrolling regions. Otherwise, it has destructive scrolling regions. Do not specify csr if the terminal has non-destructive scrolling regions, unless ind, ri, indn, rin, dl, and dl1 all simulate destructive scrolling.

If the terminal has the ability to define a window as part of memory, which all commands affect, it should be given as the parameterized string wind. The four parameters are the starting and ending lines in memory and the starting and ending columns in memory, in that order.

If the terminal can retain display memory above, then the da capability should be given; if display memory can be retained below, then db should be given. These indicate that deleting a line or scrolling a full screen may bring non-blank lines up from below or that scrolling back with ri may bring down non-blank lines.

There are two basic kinds of intelligent terminals with respect to insert/delete character operations which can be described using terminfo. The most common insert/delete character operations affect only the characters on the current line and shift characters off the end of the line rigidly. Other terminals, such as the Concept 100 and the Perkin Elmer Owl, make a distinction between typed and untyped blanks on the screen, shifting upon an insert or delete only to an untyped blank on the screen which is either eliminated, or expanded to two untyped blanks. You can determine the kind of terminal you have by clearing the screen and then typing text separated by cursor motions. Type ``abc def'' using local cursor motions (not spaces) between the abc and the def. Then position the cursor before the abc and put the terminal in insert mode. If typing characters causes the rest of the line to shift rigidly and characters to fall off the end, then your terminal does not distinguish between blanks and untyped positions. If the abc shifts over to the def which then move together around the end of the current line and onto the next as you insert, you have the second type of terminal, and should give the capability in, which stands for ``insert null.'' While these are two logically separate attributes (one line versus multiline insert mode, and special treatment of untyped spaces) we have seen no terminals whose insert mode cannot be described with the single attribute.

terminfo can describe both terminals that have an insert mode and terminals which send a simple sequence to open a blank position on the current line. Give as smir the sequence to get into insert mode. Give as rmir the sequence to leave insert mode. Now give as ich1 any sequence needed to be sent just before sending the character to be inserted. Most terminals with a true insert mode will not give ich1; terminals that send a sequence to open a screen position should give it here. (If your terminal has both, insert mode is usually preferable to ich1. Do not give both unless the terminal actually requires both to be used in combination.) If post-insert padding is needed, give this as a number of milliseconds padding in ip (a string option). Any other sequence which may need to be sent after an insert of a single character may also be given in ip. If your terminal needs both to be placed into an `insert mode' and a special code to precede each inserted character, then both smir/rmir and ich1 can be given, and both will be used. The ich capability, with one parameter, n, will insert n blanks.

If padding is necessary between characters typed while not in insert mode, give this as a number of milliseconds padding in rmp.

It is occasionally necessary to move around while in insert mode to delete characters on the same line (for example, if there is a tab after the insertion position). If your terminal allows motion while in insert mode you can give the capability mir to speed up inserting in this case. Omitting mir will affect only speed. Some terminals (notably Datamedia's) must not have mir because of the way their insert mode works.

Finally, you can specify dch1 to delete a single character, dch with one parameter, n, to delete n characters, and delete mode by giving smdc and rmdc to enter and exit delete mode (any mode the terminal needs to be placed in for dch1 to work).

A command to erase n characters (equivalent to outputting n blanks without moving the cursor) can be given as ech with one parameter.

Your device may have one or more kinds of display attributes that allow you to highlight selected characters when they appear on the screen. The following display modes (shown with the names by which they are set) may be available: a blinking screen (blink), bold or extra-bright characters (bold), dim or half-bright characters (dim), blanking or invisible text (invis), protected text (prot), a reverse-video screen (rev), and an alternate character set (smacs to enter this mode and rmacs to exit it). (If a command is necessary before you can enter alternate character set mode, give the sequence in enacs or "enable alternate-character-set" mode.) Turning on any of these modes singly may or may not turn off other modes.

sgr0 should be used to turn off all video enhancement capabilities. It should always be specified because it represents the only way to turn off some capabilities, such as dim or blink.

You should choose one display method as standout mode and use it to highlight error messages and other kinds of text to which you want to draw attention. Choose a form of display that provides strong contrast but that is easy on the eyes. (We recommend reverse-video plus half-bright or reverse-video alone.) The sequences to enter and exit standout mode are given as smso and rmso, respectively. If the code to change into or out of standout mode leaves one or even two blank spaces on the screen, as the TVI 912 and Teleray 1061 do, then xmc should be given to tell how many spaces are left.

Sequences to begin underlining and end underlining can be specified as smul and rmul, respectively. If the device has a sequence to underline the current character and to move the cursor one space to the right (such as the Micro-Term MIME), this sequence can be specified as uc.

Terminals with the ``magic cookie'' glitch (xmc) deposit special ``cookies'' when they receive mode-setting sequences, which affect the display algorithm rather than having extra bits for each character. Some terminals, such as the Hewlett-Packard 2621, automatically leave standout mode when they move to a new line or the cursor is addressed. Programs using standout mode should exit standout mode before moving the cursor or sending a newline, unless the msgr capability, asserting that it is safe to move in standout mode, is present.

If the terminal has a way of flashing the screen to indicate an error quietly (a bell replacement), then this can be given as flash; it must not move the cursor. A good flash can be done by changing the screen into reverse video, pad for 200 ms, then return the screen to normal video.

If the cursor needs to be made more visible than normal when it is not on the bottom line (to make, for example, a non-blinking underline into an easier to find block or blinking underline) give this sequence as cvvis. The boolean chts should also be given. If there is a way to make the cursor completely invisible, give that as civis. The capability cnorm should be given which undoes the effects of either of these modes.

If your terminal generates underlined characters by using the underline character (with no special sequences needed) even though it does not otherwise overstrike characters, then you should specify the capability ul. For devices on which a character overstriking another leaves both characters on the screen, specify the capability os. If overstrikes are erasable with a blank, then this should be indicated by specifying eo.

If there is a sequence to set arbitrary combinations of modes, this should be given as sgr (set attributes), taking nine parameters. Each parameter is either 0 or non-zero, as the corresponding attribute is on or off. The nine parameters are, in order: standout, underline, reverse, blink, dim, bold, blank, protect, alternate character set. Not all modes need to be supported by sgr; only those for which corresponding separate attribute commands exist should be supported. For example, let's assume that the terminal in question needs the following escape sequences to turn on various modes.

parameter attribute escape sequence
none \E[0m
p1 standout \E[0;4;7m
p2 underline \E[0;3m
p3 reverse \E[0;4m
p4 blink \E[0;5m
p5 dim \E[0;7m
p6 bold \E[0;3;4m
p7 invis \E[0;8m
p8 protect not available
p9 altcharset ^O (off) ^N (on)

Note that each escape sequence requires a 0 to turn off other modes before turning on its own mode. Also note that, as suggested above, standout is set up to be the combination of reverse and dim. Also, because this terminal has no bold mode, bold is set up as the combination of reverse and underline. In addition, to allow combinations, such as underline+blink, the sequence to use would be \E[0;3;5m. The terminal doesn't have protect mode, either, but that cannot be simulated in any way, so p8 is ignored. The altcharset mode is different in that it is either ^O or ^N, depending on whether it is off or on. If all modes were to be turned on, the sequence would be \E[0;3;4;5;7;8m^N.

Now look at when different sequences are output. For example, ;3 is output when either p2 or p6 is true, that is, if either underline or bold modes are turned on. Writing out the above sequences, along with their dependencies, gives the following:

sequence when to output terminfo translation
\E[0 always \E[0
;3 if p2 or p6 %?%p2%p6%|%t;3%
;4 if p1 or p3 or p6 %?%p1%p3%|%p6%|%t;4%
;5 if p4 %?%p4%t;5%
;7 if p1 or p5 %?%p1%p5%|%t;7%
;8 if p7 %?%p7%t;8%
m always m
^N or ^O if p9 ^N, else ^O %?%p9%t^N%e^O%

Putting this all together into the sgr sequence gives:

sgr=\E[0%?%p2%p6%|%t;3%%?%p1%p3%|%p6% |%t;4%%?%p5%t;5%%?%p1%p5% |%t;7%%?%p7%t;8%m%?%p9%t^N%e^O%,

Remember that sgr and sgr0 must always be specified.

If the device has a keypad that transmits sequences when the keys are pressed, this information can also be specified. Note that it is not possible to handle devices where the keypad only works in local (this applies, for example, to the unshifted Hewlett-Packard 2621 keys). If the keypad can be set to transmit or not transmit, specify these sequences as smkx and rmkx. Otherwise the keypad is assumed to always transmit.

The sequences sent by the left arrow, right arrow, up arrow, down arrow, and home keys can be given as kcub1, kcuf1, kcuu1, kcud1,and khome, respectively. If there are function keys such as f0, f1, ..., f63, the sequences they send can be specified as kf0, kf1, ..., kf63. If the first 11 keys have labels other than the default f0 through f10, the labels can be given as lf0, lf1, ..., lf10. The codes transmitted by certain other special keys can be given: kll (home down), kbs (backspace), ktbc (clear all tabs), kctab (clear the tab stop in this column), kclr (clear screen or erase key), kdch1 (delete character), kdl1 (delete line), krmir (exit insert mode), kel (clear to end of line), ked (clear to end of screen), kich1 (insert character or enter insert mode), kil1 (insert line), knp (next page), kpp (previous page), kind (scroll forward/down), kri (scroll backward/up), khts (set a tab stop in this column). In addition, if the keypad has a 3 by 3 array of keys including the four arrow keys, the other five keys can be given as ka1, ka3, kb2, kc1, and kc3. These keys are useful when the effects of a 3 by 3 directional pad are needed. Further keys are defined above in the capabilities list.

Strings to program function keys can be specified as pfkey, pfloc, and pfx. A string to program screen labels should be specified as pln. Each of these strings takes two parameters: a function key identifier and a string to program it with. pfkey causes pressing the given key to be the same as the user typing the given string; pfloc causes the string to be executed by the terminal in local mode; and pfx causes the string to be transmitted to the computer. The capabilities nlab, lw and lh define the number of programmable screen labels and their width and height. If there are commands to turn the labels on and off, give them in smln and rmln. smln is normally output after one or more pln sequences to make sure that the change becomes visible.

If the device has hardware tabs, the command to advance to the next tab stop can be given as ht (usually control I). A ``backtab'' command that moves leftward to the next tab stop can be given as cbt. By convention, if tty modes show that tabs are being expanded by the computer rather than being sent to the device, programs should not use ht or cbt (even if they are present) because the user may not have the tab stops properly set. If the device has hardware tabs that are initially set every n spaces when the device is powered up, the numeric parameter it is given, showing the number of spaces the tabs are set to. This is normally used by tput init (see tput(1)) to determine whether to set the mode for hardware tab expansion and whether to set the tab stops. If the device has tab stops that can be saved in nonvolatile memory, the terminfo description can assume that they are properly set. If there are commands to set and clear tab stops, they can be given as tbc (clear all tab stops) and hts (set a tab stop in the current column of every row).

Other capabilities include: is1, is2, and is3, initialization strings for the device; iprog, the path name of a program to be run to initialize the device; and if, the name of a file containing long initialization strings. These strings are expected to set the device into modes consistent with the rest of the terminfo description. They must be sent to the device each time the user logs in and be output in the following order: run the program iprog; output is1; output is2; set the margins using mgc, smgl and smgr; set the tabs using tbc and hts; print the file if; and finally output is3. This is usually done using the init option of tput.

Most initialization is done with is2. Special device modes can be set up without duplicating strings by putting the common sequences in is2 and special cases in is1 and is3. Sequences that do a reset from a totally unknown state can be given as rs1, rs2, rf, and rs3, analogous to is1, is2, is3, and if. (The method using files, if and rf, is used for a few terminals, from /usr/share/lib/tabset/*; however, the recommended method is to use the initialization and reset strings.) These strings are output by tput reset, which is used when the terminal gets into a wedged state. Commands are normally placed in rs1, rs2, rs3, and rf only if they produce annoying effects on the screen and are not necessary when logging in. For example, the command to set a terminal into 80-column mode would normally be part of is2, but on some terminals it causes an annoying glitch on the screen and is not normally needed because the terminal is usually already in 80-column mode.

If a more complex sequence is needed to set the tabs than can be described by using tbc and hts, the sequence can be placed in is2 or if.

Any margin can be cleared with mgc. (For instructions on how to specify commands to set and clear margins, see "Margins" below under "PRINTER CAPABILITIES".)

Certain capabilities control padding in the tty driver. These are primarily needed by hard-copy terminals, and are used by tput init to set tty modes appropriately. Delays embedded in the capabilities cr, ind, cub1, ff, and tab can be used to set the appropriate delay bits to be set in the tty driver. If pb (padding baud rate) is given, these values can be ignored at baud rates below the value of pb.

If the terminal has an extra ``status line'' that is not normally used by software, this fact can be indicated. If the status line is viewed as an extra line below the bottom line, into which one can cursor address normally (such as the Heathkit h19's 25th line, or the 24th line of a VT100 which is set to a 23-line scrolling region), the capability hs should be given. Special strings that go to a given column of the status line and return from the status line can be given as tsl and fsl. (fsl must leave the cursor position in the same place it was before tsl. If necessary, the sc and rc strings can be included in tsl and fsl to get this effect.) The capability tsl takes one parameter, which is the column number of the status line the cursor is to be moved to.

If escape sequences and other special commands, such as tab, work while in the status line, the flag eslok can be given. A string which turns off the status line (or otherwise erases its contents) should be given as dsl. If the terminal has commands to save and restore the position of the cursor, give them as sc and rc. The status line is normally assumed to be the same width as the rest of the screen, for example, cols. If the status line is a different width (possibly because the terminal does not allow an entire line to be loaded) the width, in columns, can be indicated with the numeric parameter wsl.

If the device has a line drawing alternate character set, the mapping of glyph to character would be given in acsc. The definition of this string is based on the alternate character set used in the DEC VT100 terminal, extended slightly with some characters from the AT&T 4410v1 terminal.

Glyph Name vt100+ Character
arrow pointing right +
arrow pointing left ,
arrow pointing down .
solid square block 0
lantern symbol I
arrow pointing up
diamond `
checker board (stipple) a
degree symbol f
plus/minus g
board of squares h
lower right corner j
upper right corner k
upper left corner l
lower left corner m
plus n
scan line 1 o
horizontal line q
scan line 9 s
left tee t
right tee u
bottom tee v
top tee w
vertical line x
bullet ~

The best way to describe a new device's line graphics set is to add a third column to the above table with the characters for the new device that produce the appropriate glyph when the device is in the alternate character set mode. For example,

Glyph Name vt100+ Char New tty Char
upper left corner l R
lower left corner m F
upper right corner k T
lower right corner j G
horizontal line q ,
vertical line x .

Now write down the characters left to right, as in ``acsc=lRmFkTjGq\,x.''.

In addition, terminfo allows you to define multiple character sets. See Section 2-5 for details.

Let us define two methods of color manipulation: the Tektronix method and the HP method. The Tektronix method uses a set of N predefined colors (usually 8) from which a user can select "current" foreground and background colors. Thus a terminal can support up to N colors mixed into N*N color-pairs to be displayed on the screen at the same time. When using an HP method the user cannot define the foreground independently of the background, or vice-versa. Instead, the user must define an entire color-pair at once. Up to M color-pairs, made from 2*M different colors, can be defined this way. Most existing color terminals belong to one of these two classes of terminals.

The numeric variables colors and pairs define the number of colors and color-pairs that can be displayed on the screen at the same time. If a terminal can change the definition of a color (for example, the Tektronix 4100 and 4200 series terminals), this should be specified with ccc (can change color). To change the definition of a color (Tektronix 4200 method), use initc (initialize color). It requires four arguments: color number (ranging from 0 to colors−1) and three RGB (red, green, and blue) values or three HLS colors (Hue, Lightness, Saturation). Ranges of RGB and HLS values are terminal dependent.

Tektronix 4100 series terminals only use HLS color notation. For such terminals (or dual-mode terminals to be operated in HLS mode) one must define a boolean variable hls; that would instruct the curses init_color routine to convert its RGB arguments to HLS before sending them to the terminal. The last three arguments to the initc string would then be HLS values.

If a terminal can change the definitions of colors, but uses a color notation different from RGB and HLS, a mapping to either RGB or HLS must be developed.

To set current foreground or background to a given color, use setaf (set ANSI foreground) and setab (set ANSI background). They require one parameter: the number of the color. To initialize a color-pair (HP method), use initp (initialize pair). It requires seven parameters: the number of a color-pair (range=0 to pairs−1), and six RGB values: three for the foreground followed by three for the background. (Each of these groups of three should be in the order RGB.) When initc or initp are used, RGB or HLS arguments should be in the order "red, green, blue" or "hue, lightness, saturation"), respectively. To make a color-pair current, use scp (set color-pair). It takes one parameter, the number of a color-pair.

Some terminals (for example, most color terminal emulators for PCs) erase areas of the screen with current background color. In such cases, bce (background color erase) should be defined. The variable op (original pair) contains a sequence for setting the foreground and the background colors to what they were at the terminal start-up time. Similarly, oc (original colors) contains a control sequence for setting all colors (for the Tektronix method) or color-pairs (for the HP method) to the values they had at the terminal start-up time.

Some color terminals substitute color for video attributes. Such video attributes should not be combined with colors. Information about these video attributes should be packed into the ncv (no color video) variable. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the nine least significant bits of that variable and the video attributes. The following table depicts this correspondence.

Attribute Bit Position Decimal Value
A_DIM 4 16
A_BOLD 5 32
A_INVIS 6 64

When a particular video attribute should not be used with colors, the corresponding ncv bit should be set to 1; otherwise it should be set to zero. To determine the information to pack into the ncv variable, you must add together the decimal values corresponding to those attributes that cannot coexist with colors. For example, if the terminal uses colors to simulate reverse video (bit number 2 and decimal value 4) and bold (bit number 5 and decimal value 32), the resulting value for ncv will be 36 (4 + 32).

If the terminal requires other than a null (zero) character as a pad, then this can be given as pad. Only the first character of the pad string is used. If the terminal does not have a pad character, specify npc.

If the terminal can move up or down half a line, this can be indicated with hu (half-line up) and hd (half-line down). This is primarily useful for superscripts and subscripts on hardcopy terminals. If a hardcopy terminal can eject to the next page (form feed), give this as ff (usually control L).

If there is a command to repeat a given character a given number of times (to save time transmitting a large number of identical characters) this can be indicated with the parameterized string rep. The first parameter is the character to be repeated and the second is the number of times to repeat it. Thus, tparm(repeat_char, 'x', 10) is the same as xxxxxxxxxx.

If the terminal has a settable command character, such as the Tektronix 4025, this can be indicated with cmdch. A prototype command character is chosen which is used in all capabilities. This character is given in the cmdch capability to identify it. The following convention is supported on some systems: If the environment variable CC exists, all occurrences of the prototype character are replaced with the character in CC.

Terminal descriptions that do not represent a specific kind of known terminal, such as switch, dialup, patch, and network, should include the gn (generic) capability so that programs can complain that they do not know how to talk to the terminal. (This capability does not apply to virtual terminal descriptions for which the escape sequences are known.) If the terminal is one of those supported by the system virtual terminal protocol, the terminal number can be given as vt. A line-turn-around sequence to be transmitted before doing reads should be specified in rfi.

If the device uses xon/xoff handshaking for flow control, give xon. Padding information should still be included so that routines can make better decisions about costs, but actual pad characters will not be transmitted. Sequences to turn on and off xon/xoff handshaking may be given in smxon and rmxon. If the characters used for handshaking are not ^S and ^Q, they may be specified with xonc and xoffc.

If the terminal has a ``meta key'' which acts as a shift key, setting the 8th bit of any character transmitted, this fact can be indicated with km. Otherwise, software will assume that the 8th bit is parity and it will usually be cleared. If strings exist to turn this ``meta mode'' on and off, they can be given as smm and rmm.

If the terminal has more lines of memory than will fit on the screen at once, the number of lines of memory can be indicated with lm. A value of lm#0 indicates that the number of lines is not fixed, but that there is still more memory than fits on the screen.

Media copy strings which control an auxiliary printer connected to the terminal can be given as mc0: print the contents of the screen, mc4: turn off the printer, and mc5: turn on the printer. When the printer is on, all text sent to the terminal will be sent to the printer. A variation, mc5p, takes one parameter, and leaves the printer on for as many characters as the value of the parameter, then turns the printer off. The parameter should not exceed 255. If the text is not displayed on the terminal screen when the printer is on, specify mc5i (silent printer). All text, including mc4, is transparently passed to the printer while an mc5p is in effect.

The working model used by terminfo fits most terminals reasonably well. However, some terminals do not completely match that model, requiring special support by terminfo. These are not meant to be construed as deficiencies in the terminals; they are just differences between the working model and the actual hardware. They may be unusual devices or, for some reason, do not have all the features of the terminfo model implemented.

Terminals that cannot display tilde (~) characters, such as certain Hazeltine terminals, should indicate hz.

Terminals that ignore a linefeed immediately after an am wrap, such as the Concept 100, should indicate xenl. Those terminals whose cursor remains on the right-most column until another character has been received, rather than wrapping immediately upon receiving the right-most character, such as the VT100, should also indicate xenl.

If el is required to get rid of standout (instead of writing normal text on top of it), xhp should be given.

Those Teleray terminals whose tabs turn all characters moved over to blanks, should indicate xt (destructive tabs). This capability is also taken to mean that it is not possible to position the cursor on top of a ``magic cookie.'' Therefore, to erase standout mode, it is necessary, instead, to use delete and insert line.

Those Beehive Superbee terminals which do not transmit the escape or control−C characters, should specify xsb, indicating that the f1 key is to be used for escape and the f2 key for control C.

If there are two very similar terminals, one can be defined as being just like the other with certain exceptions. The string capability use can be given with the name of the similar terminal. The capabilities given before use override those in the terminal type invoked by use. A capability can be canceled by placing xx@ to the left of the capability definition, where xx is the capability. For example, the entry

att4424-2|Teletype4424 in display function group ii,
rev@, sgr@, smul@, use=att4424,

defines an AT&T4424 terminal that does not have the rev, sgr, and smul capabilities, and hence cannot do highlighting. This is useful for different modes for a terminal, or for different user preferences. More than one use capability may be given.

The terminfo database allows you to define capabilities of printers as well as terminals. To find out what capabilities are available for printers as well as for terminals, see the two lists under "DEVICE CAPABILITIES" that list capabilities by variable and by capability name.

Because parameterized string capabilities work only with integer values, we recommend that terminfo designers create strings that expect numeric values that have been rounded. Application designers should note this and should always round values to the nearest integer before using them with a parameterized string capability.

A printer's resolution is defined to be the smallest spacing of characters it can achieve. In general printers have independent resolution horizontally and vertically. Thus the vertical resolution of a printer can be determined by measuring the smallest achievable distance between consecutive printing baselines, while the horizontal resolution can be determined by measuring the smallest achievable distance between the left-most edges of consecutive printed, identical, characters.

All printers are assumed to be capable of printing with a uniform horizontal and vertical resolution. The view of printing that terminfo currently presents is one of printing inside a uniform matrix: All characters are printed at fixed positions relative to each ``cell'' in the matrix; furthermore, each cell has the same size given by the smallest horizontal and vertical step sizes dictated by the resolution. (The cell size can be changed as will be seen later.)

Many printers are capable of ``proportional printing,'' where the horizontal spacing depends on the size of the character last printed. terminfo does not make use of this capability, although it does provide enough capability definitions to allow an application to simulate proportional printing.

A printer must not only be able to print characters as close together as the horizontal and vertical resolutions suggest, but also of ``moving'' to a position an integral multiple of the smallest distance away from a previous position. Thus printed characters can be spaced apart a distance that is an integral multiple of the smallest distance, up to the length or width of a single page.

Some printers can have different resolutions depending on different ``modes.'' In ``normal mode,'' the existing terminfo capabilities are assumed to work on columns and lines, just like a video terminal. Thus the old lines capability would give the length of a page in lines, and the cols capability would give the width of a page in columns. In ``micro mode,'' many terminfo capabilities work on increments of lines and columns. With some printers the micro mode may be concomitant with normal mode, so that all the capabilities work at the same time.

The printing resolution of a printer is given in several ways. Each specifies the resolution as the number of smallest steps per distance:

Specification of Printer Resolution
Characteristic Number of Smallest Steps
orhi Steps per inch horizontally
orvi Steps per inch vertically
orc Steps per column
orl Steps per line

When printing in normal mode, each character printed causes movement to the next column, except in special cases described later; the distance moved is the same as the per-column resolution. Some printers cause an automatic movement to the next line when a character is printed in the rightmost position; the distance moved vertically is the same as the per-line resolution. When printing in micro mode, these distances can be different, and may be zero for some printers.

Specification of Printer Resolution
Automatic Motion after Printing
Normal Mode:
orc Steps moved horizontally
orl Steps moved vertically
Micro Mode:
mcs Steps moved horizontally
mls Steps moved vertically

Some printers are capable of printing wide characters. The distance moved when a wide character is printed in normal mode may be different from when a regular width character is printed. The distance moved when a wide character is printed in micro mode may also be different from when a regular character is printed in micro mode, but the differences are assumed to be related: If the distance moved for a regular character is the same whether in normal mode or micro mode (mcs=orc), then the distance moved for a wide character is also the same whether in normal mode or micro mode. This doesn't mean the normal character distance is necessarily the same as the wide character distance, just that the distances don't change with a change in normal to micro mode. However, if the distance moved for a regular character is different in micro mode from the distance moved in normal mode (mcs<orc), the micro mode distance is assumed to be the same for a wide character printed in micro mode, as the table below shows.

Specification of Printer Resolution
Automatic Motion after Printing Wide Character
Normal Mode or Micro Mode (mcs = orc):
widcs Steps moved horizontally
Micro Mode (mcs < orc):
mcs Steps moved horizontally

There may be control sequences to change the number of columns per inch (the character pitch) and to change the number of lines per inch (the line pitch). If these are used, the resolution of the printer changes, but the type of change depends on the printer:

Specification of Printer Resolution
Changing the Character/Line Pitches
cpi Change character pitch
cpix If set, cpi changes orhi, otherwise changes
lpi Change line pitch
lpix If set, lpi changes orvi, otherwise changes
chr Change steps per column
cvr Change steps per line

The cpi and lpi string capabilities are each used with a single argument, the pitch in columns (or characters) and lines per inch, respectively. The chr and cvr string capabilities are each used with a single argument, the number of steps per column and line, respectively.

Using any of the control sequences in these strings will imply a change in some of the values of orc, orhi, orl, and orvi. Also, the distance moved when a wide character is printed, widcs, changes in relation to orc. The distance moved when a character is printed in micro mode, mcs, changes similarly, with one exception: if the distance is 0 or 1, then no change is assumed (see items marked with * in the following table).

Programs that use cpi, lpi, chr, or cvr should recalculate the printer resolution (and should recalculate other values— see "Effect of Changing Printing Resolution" under "Dot-Mapped Graphics").

Specification of Printer Resolution
Effects of Changing the Character/Line Pitches
Before After Using cpi with cpix clear:
$bold orhi '$ orhi
$bold orc '$ $bold orc = bold orhi over V sub italic cpi$
Using cpi with cpix set:
$bold orhi '$ $bold orhi = bold orc cdot V sub italic cpi$
$bold orc '$ $bold orc$
Using lpi with lpix clear:
$bold orvi '$ $bold orvi$
$bold orl '$ $bold orl = bold orvi over V sub italic lpi$
Using lpi with lpix set:
$bold orvi '$ $bold orvi = bold orl cdot V sub italic lpi$
$bold orl '$ $bold orl$
Using chr:
$bold orhi '$ $bold orhi$
$bold orc '$ $V sub italic chr$
Using cvr:
$bold orvi '$ $bold orvi$
$bold orl '$ $V sub italic cvr$
Using cpi or chr:
$bold widcs '$ $bold widcs = bold {widcs '} bold orc over { bold {orc '} }$
$bold mcs '$ $bold mcs = bold {mcs '} bold orc over { bold {orc '} }$

$V sub italic cpi$, $V sub italic lpi$, $V sub italic chr$, and $V sub italic cvr$ are the arguments used with cpi, lpi, chr, and cvr, respectively. The prime marks (') indicate the old values.

In the following descriptions, ``movement'' refers to the motion of the ``current position.'' With video terminals this would be the cursor; with some printers this is the carriage position. Other printers have different equivalents. In general, the current position is where a character would be displayed if printed.

terminfo has string capabilities for control sequences that cause movement a number of full columns or lines. It also has equivalent string capabilities for control sequences that cause movement a number of smallest steps.

String Capabilities for Motion

mcub1 Move 1 step left
mcuf1 Move 1 step right
mcuu1 Move 1 step up
mcud1 Move 1 step down
mcub Move N steps left
mcuf Move N steps right
mcuu Move N steps up
mcud Move N steps down
mhpa Move N steps from the left
mvpa Move N steps from the top

The latter six strings are each used with a single argument, N.

Sometimes the motion is limited to less than the width or length of a page. Also, some printers don't accept absolute motion to the left of the current position. terminfo has capabilities for specifying these limits.

Limits to Motion

mjump Limit on use of mcub1, mcuf1, mcuu1, mcud1
maddr Limit on use of mhpa, mvpa
xhpa If set, hpa and mhpa can't move left
xvpa If set, vpa and mvpa can't move up

If a printer needs to be in a ``micro mode'' for the motion capabilities described above to work, there are string capabilities defined to contain the control sequence to enter and exit this mode. A boolean is available for those printers where using a carriage return causes an automatic return to normal mode.

Entering/Exiting Micro Mode
smicm Enter micro mode
rmicm Exit micro mode
crxm Using cr exits micro mode

The movement made when a character is printed in the rightmost position varies among printers. Some make no movement, some move to the beginning of the next line, others move to the beginning of the same line. terminfo has boolean capabilities for describing all three cases.

What Happens After Character
Printed in Rightmost Position
sam Automatic move to beginning of same line

Some printers can be put in a mode where the normal direction of motion is reversed. This mode can be especially useful when there are no capabilities for leftward or upward motion, because those capabilities can be built from the motion reversal capability and the rightward or downward motion capabilities. It is best to leave it up to an application to build the leftward or upward capabilities, though, and not enter them in the terminfo database. This allows several reverse motions to be strung together without intervening wasted steps that leave and reenter reverse mode.

Entering/Exiting Reverse Modes

slm Reverse sense of horizontal motions
rlm Restore sense of horizontal motions
sum Reverse sense of vertical motions
rum Restore sense of vertical motions
While sense of horizontal motions reversed:
mcub1 Move 1 step right
mcuf1 Move 1 step left
mcub Move N steps right
mcuf Move N steps left
cub1 Move 1 column right
cuf1 Move 1 column left
cub Move N columns right
cuf Move N columns left
While sense of vertical motions reversed:
mcuu1 Move 1 step down
mcud1 Move 1 step up
mcuu Move N steps down
mcud Move N steps up
cuu1 Move 1 line down
cud1 Move 1 line up
cuu Move N lines down
cud Move N lines up

The reverse motion modes should not affect the mvpa and mhpa absolute motion capabilities. The reverse vertical motion mode should, however, also reverse the action of the line ``wrapping'' that occurs when a character is printed in the right-most position. Thus printers that have the standard terminfo capability am defined should experience motion to the beginning of the previous line when a character is printed in the right-most position under reverse vertical motion mode.

The action when any other motion capabilities are used in reverse motion modes is not defined; thus, programs must exit reverse motion modes before using other motion capabilities.

Two miscellaneous capabilities complete the list of new motion capabilities. One of these is needed for printers that move the current position to the beginning of a line when certain control characters, such as ``line-feed'' or ``form-feed,'' are used. The other is used for the capability of suspending the motion that normally occurs after printing a character.

Miscellaneous Motion Strings

docr List of control characters causing cr
zerom Prevent auto motion after printing next single character

terminfo provides two strings for setting margins on terminals: one for the left and one for the right margin. Printers, however, have two additional margins, for the top and bottom margins of each page. Furthermore, some printers require not using motion strings to move the current position to a margin and then fixing the margin there, but require the specification of where a margin should be regardless of the current position. Therefore terminfo offers six additional strings for defining margins with printers.

Setting Margins

smgl Set left margin at current column
smgr Set right margin at current column
smgb Set bottom margin at current line
smgt Set top margin at current line
smgbp Set bottom margin at line N
smglp Set left margin at column N
smgrp Set right margin at column N
smgtp Set top margin at line N

The last four strings are used with one or more arguments that give the position of the margin or margins to set. If both of smglp and smgrp are set, each is used with a single argument, N, that gives the column number of the left and right margin, respectively. If both of smgtp and smgbp are set, each is used to set the top and bottom margin, respectively: smgtp is used with a single argument, N, the line number of the top margin; however, smgbp is used with two arguments, N and M, that give the line number of the bottom margin, the first counting from the top of the page and the second counting from the bottom. This accommodates the two styles of specifying the bottom margin in different manufacturers' printers. When coding a terminfo entry for a printer that has a settable bottom margin, only the first or second parameter should be used, depending on the printer. When writing an application that uses smgbp to set the bottom margin, both arguments must be given.

If only one of smglp and smgrp is set, then it is used with two arguments, the column number of the left and right margins, in that order. Likewise, if only one of smgtp and smgbp is set, then it is used with two arguments that give the top and bottom margins, in that order, counting from the top of the page. Thus when coding a terminfo entry for a printer that requires setting both left and right or top and bottom margins simultaneously, only one of smglp and smgrp or smgtp and smgbp should be defined; the other should be left blank. When writing an application that uses these string capabilities, the pairs should be first checked to see if each in the pair is set or only one is set, and should then be used accordingly.

In counting lines or columns, line zero is the top line and column zero is the left-most column. A zero value for the second argument with smgbp means the bottom line of the page.

All margins can be cleared with mgc.

Five new sets of strings describe the capabilities printers have of enhancing printed text.

Enhanced Printing

sshm Enter shadow-printing mode
rshm Exit shadow-printing mode
sitm Enter italicizing mode
ritm Exit italicizing mode
swidm Enter wide character mode
rwidm Exit wide character mode
ssupm Enter superscript mode
m Exit superscript mode
supcs List of characters available as superscripts
ssubm Enter subscript mode
rsubm Exit subscript mode
subcs List of characters available as subscripts

If a printer requires the sshm control sequence before every character to be shadow-printed, the rshm string is left blank. Thus programs that find a control sequence in sshm but none in rshm should use the sshm control sequence before every character to be shadow-printed; otherwise, the sshm control sequence should be used once before the set of characters to be shadow-printed, followed by rshm. The same is also true of each of the sitm/ritm, swidm/rwidm, ssupm/rsupm, and ssubm/ rsubm pairs.

Note that terminfo also has a capability for printing emboldened text (bold). While shadow printing and emboldened printing are similar in that they ``darken'' the text, many printers produce these two types of print in slightly different ways. Generally, emboldened printing is done by overstriking the same character one or more times. Shadow printing likewise usually involves overstriking, but with a slight movement up and/or to the side so that the character is ``fatter.''

It is assumed that enhanced printing modes are independent modes, so that it would be possible, for instance, to shadow print italicized subscripts.

As mentioned earlier, the amount of motion automatically made after printing a wide character should be given in widcs.

If only a subset of the printable ASCII characters can be printed as superscripts or subscripts, they should be listed in supcs or subcs strings, respectively. If the ssupm or ssubm strings contain control sequences, but the corresponding supcs or subcs strings are empty, it is assumed that all printable ASCII characters are available as superscripts or subscripts.

Automatic motion made after printing a superscript or subscript is assumed to be the same as for regular characters. Thus, for example, printing any of the following three examples will result in equivalent motion:

Bi B(i) B^i

Note that the existing msgr boolean capability describes whether motion control sequences can be used while in ``standout mode.'' This capability is extended to cover the enhanced printing modes added here. msgr should be set for those printers that accept any motion control sequences without affecting shadow, italicized, widened, superscript, or subscript printing. Conversely, if msgr is not set, a program should end these modes before attempting any motion.

In addition to allowing you to define line graphics (described in Section 1-12), terminfo lets you define alternate character sets. The following capabilities cover printers and terminals with multiple selectable or definable character sets.

Alternate Character Sets

scs Select character set N
scsd Start definition of character set N, M characters
defc Define character A, B dots wide, descender D
rcsd End definition of character set N
csnm List of character set names
daisy Printer has manually changed print-wheels

The scs, rcsd, and csnm strings are used with a single argument, N, a number from 0 to 63 that identifies the character set. The scsd string is also used with the argument N and another, M, that gives the number of characters in the set. The defc string is used with three arguments: A gives the ASCII code representation for the character, B gives the width of the character in dots, and D is zero or one depending on whether the character is a ``descender'' or not. The defc string is also followed by a string of ``image-data'' bytes that describe how the character looks (see below).

Character set 0 is the default character set present after the printer has been initialized. Not every printer has 64 character sets, of course; using scs with an argument that doesn't select an available character set should cause a null result from tparm.

If a character set has to be defined before it can be used, the scsd control sequence is to be used before defining the character set, and the rcsd is to be used after. They should also cause a null result from tparm when used with an argument N that doesn't apply. If a character set still has to be selected after being defined, the scs control sequence should follow the rcsd control sequence. By examining the results of using each of the scs, scsd, and rcsd strings with a character set number in a call to tparm, a program can determine which of the three are needed.

Between use of the scsd and rcsd strings, the defc string should be used to define each character. To print any character on printers covered by terminfo, the ASCII code is sent to the printer. This is true for characters in an alternate set as well as ``normal'' characters. Thus the definition of a character includes the ASCII code that represents it. In addition, the width of the character in dots is given, along with an indication of whether the character should descend below the print line (such as the lower case letter ``g'' in most character sets). The width of the character in dots also indicates the number of image-data bytes that will follow the defc string. These image-data bytes indicate where in a dot-matrix pattern ink should be applied to ``draw'' the character; the number of these bytes and their form are defined below under ``Dot-Mapped Graphics.''

It's easiest for the creator of terminfo entries to refer to each character set by number; however, these numbers will be meaningless to the application developer. The csnm string alleviates this problem by providing names for each number.

When used with a character set number in a call to tparm, the csnm string will produce the equivalent name. These names should be used as a reference only. No naming convention is implied, although anyone who creates a terminfo entry for a printer should use names consistent with the names found in user documents for the printer. Application developers should allow a user to specify a character set by number (leaving it up to the user to examine the csnm string to determine the correct number), or by name, where the application examines the csnm string to determine the corresponding character set number.

These capabilities are likely to be used only with dot-matrix printers. If they are not available, the strings should not be defined. For printers that have manually changed print-wheels or font cartridges, the boolean daisy is set.

Dot-matrix printers typically have the capability of reproducing ``raster-graphics'' images. Three new numeric capabilities and three new string capabilities can help a program draw raster-graphics images independent of the type of dot-matrix printer or the number of pins or dots the printer can handle at one time.

Dot-Matrix Graphics

npins Number of pins, N, in print-head
spinv Spacing of pins vertically in pins per inch
spinh Spacing of dots horizontally in dots per inch
porder Matches software bits to print-head pins
sbim Start printing bit image graphics, B bits wide
rbim End printing bit image graphics

The sbim string is used with a single argument, B, the width of the image in dots.

The model of dot-matrix or raster-graphics that terminfo presents is similar to the technique used for most dot-matrix printers: each pass of the printer's print-head is assumed to produce a dot-matrix that is N dots high and B dots wide. This is typically a wide, squat, rectangle of dots. The height of this rectangle in dots will vary from one printer to the next; this is given in the npins numeric capability. The size of the rectangle in fractions of an inch will also vary; it can be deduced from the spinv and spinh numeric capabilities. With these three values an application can divide a complete raster-graphics image into several horizontal strips, perhaps interpolating to account for different dot spacing vertically and horizontally.

The sbim and rbim strings are used to start and end a dot-matrix image, respectively. The sbim string is used with a single argument that gives the width of the dot-matrix in dots. A sequence of ``image-data bytes'' are sent to the printer after the sbim string and before the rbim string. The number of bytes is a integral multiple of the width of the dot-matrix; the multiple and the form of each byte is determined by the porder string as described below.

The porder string is a comma separated list of pin numbers optionally followed by an numerical offset. The offset, if given, is separated from the list with a semicolon. The position of each pin number in the list corresponds to a bit in an 8-bit data byte. The pins are numbered consecutively from 1 to npins, with 1 being the top pin. Note that the term ``pin'' is used loosely here; ``ink-jet'' dot-matrix printers don't have pins, but can be considered to have an equivalent method of applying a single dot of ink to paper. The bit positions in porder are in groups of 8, with the first position in each group the most significant bit and the last position the least significant bit. An application produces 8-bit bytes in the order of the groups in porder.

An application computes the ``image-data bytes'' from the internal image, mapping vertical dot positions in each print-head pass into 8-bit bytes, using a 1 bit where ink should be applied and 0 where no ink should be applied. This can be reversed (0 bit for ink, 1 bit for no ink) by giving a negative pin number. If a position is skipped in porder, a 0 bit is used. If a position has a lower case `x' instead of a pin number, a 1 bit is used in the skipped position. For consistency, a lower case `o' can be used to represent a 0 filled, skipped bit. There must be a multiple of 8 bit positions used or skipped in porder; if not, 0 bits are used to fill the last byte in the least significant bits. The offset, if given, is added to each data byte; the offset can be negative.

Some examples may help clarify the use of the porder string. The AT&T 470, AT&T 475 and C.Itoh 8510 printers provide eight pins for graphics. The pins are identified top to bottom by the 8 bits in a byte, from least significant to most. The porder strings for these printers would be 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. The AT&T 478 and AT&T 479 printers also provide eight pins for graphics. However, the pins are identified in the reverse order. The porder strings for these printers would be 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. The AT&T 5310, AT&T 5320, DEC LA100, and DEC LN03 printers provide six pins for graphics. The pins are identified top to bottom by the decimal values 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32. These correspond to the low six bits in an 8-bit byte, although the decimal values are further offset by the value 63. The porder string for these printers would be ,,6,5,4,3,2,1;63, or alternately o,o,6,5,4,3,2,1;63.

If the control sequences to change the character pitch or the line pitch are used, the pin or dot spacing may change:

Dot-Matrix Graphics
Changing the Character/Line Pitches
cpi Change character pitch
cpix If set, cpi changes spinh
lpi Change line pitch
lpix If set, lpi changes spinv

Programs that use cpi or lpi should recalculate the dot spacing:

Dot-Matrix Graphics

Effects of Changing the Character/Line Pitches
Before After Using cpi with cpix clear:
$bold spinh '$ $bold spinh$ Using cpi with cpix set:
$bold spinh '$ $bold spinh = bold spinh ' cdot bold orhi over
{ bold {orhi '} }$ Using lpi with lpix clear:
$bold spinv '$ $bold spinv$ Using lpi with lpix set:
$bold spinv '$ $bold spinv = bold {spinv '} cdot bold orhi over
{ bold {orhi '}}$ Using chr:
$bold spinh '$ $bold spinh$ Using cvr:
$bold spinv '$ $bold spinv$

orhi' and orhi are the values of the horizontal resolution in steps per inch, before using cpi and after using cpi, respectively. Likewise, orvi' and orvi are the values of the vertical resolution in steps per inch, before using lpi and after using lpi, respectively. Thus, the changes in the dots per inch for dot-matrix graphics follow the changes in steps per inch for printer resolution.

Many dot-matrix printers can alter the dot spacing of printed text to produce near ``letter quality'' printing or ``draft quality'' printing. Usually it is important to be able to choose one or the other because the rate of printing generally falls off as the quality improves. There are three new strings used to describe these capabilities.

Print Quality

snlq Set near-letter quality print
snrmq Set normal quality print
sdrfq Set draft quality print

The capabilities are listed in decreasing levels of quality. If a printer doesn't have all three levels, one or two of the strings should be left blank as appropriate.

Because there is no standard protocol that can be used to keep a program synchronized with a printer, and because modern printers can buffer data before printing it, a program generally cannot determine at any time what has been printed. Two new numeric capabilities can help a program estimate what has been printed.

Print Rate/Buffer Size

cps Nominal print rate in characters per second
bufsz Buffer capacity in characters

cps is the nominal or average rate at which the printer prints characters; if this value is not given, the rate should be estimated at one-tenth the prevailing baud rate. bufsz is the maximum number of subsequent characters buffered before the guaranteed printing of an earlier character, assuming proper flow control has been used. If this value is not given it is assumed that the printer does not buffer characters, but prints them as they are received.

As an example, if a printer has a 1000-character buffer, then sending the letter ``a'' followed by 1000 additional characters is guaranteed to cause the letter ``a'' to print. If the same printer prints at the rate of 100 characters per second, then it should take 10 seconds to print all the characters in the buffer, less if the buffer is not full. By keeping track of the characters sent to a printer, and knowing the print rate and buffer size, a program can synchronize itself with the printer.

Note that most printer manufacturers advertise the maximum print rate, not the nominal print rate. A good way to get a value to put in for cps is to generate a few pages of text, count the number of printable characters, and then see how long it takes to print the text.

Applications that use these values should recognize the variability in the print rate. Straight text, in short lines, with no embedded control sequences will probably print at close to the advertised print rate and probably faster than the rate in cps. Graphics data with a lot of control sequences, or very long lines of text, will print at well below the advertised rate and below the rate in cps. If the application is using cps to decide how long it should take a printer to print a block of text, the application should pad the estimate. If the application is using cps to decide how much text has already been printed, it should shrink the estimate. The application will thus err in favor of the user, who wants, above all, to see all the output in its correct place.


compiled terminal description database


subset of compiled terminal description database


tab settings for some terminals, in a format appropriate to be output to the terminal (escape sequences that set margins and tabs)

ls(1), pg(1), stty(1), tput(1), tty(1), vi(1), printf(3C), curses(3CURSES), curses(3XCURSES), infocmp(8), tic(8)

The most effective way to prepare a terminal description is by imitating the description of a similar terminal in terminfo and to build up a description gradually, using partial descriptions with a screen oriented editor, such as vi, to check that they are correct. To easily test a new terminal description the environment variable TERMINFO can be set to the pathname of a directory containing the compiled description, and programs will look there rather than in /usr/share/lib/terminfo.

February 17, 2023 OmniOS