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tput(1)                      General Commands Manual                     tput(1)


       tput, reset - initialize a terminal or query terminfo database


       tput [-Ttype] capname [parameters]
       tput [-Ttype] [-x] clear
       tput [-Ttype] init
       tput [-Ttype] reset
       tput [-Ttype] longname
       tput -S  <<
       tput -V


       The tput utility uses the terminfo database to make the values of
       terminal-dependent capabilities and information available to the shell
       (see sh(1)), to initialize or reset the terminal, or return the long name
       of the requested terminal type.  The result depends upon the capability's

               tput writes the string to the standard output.  No trailing
               newline is supplied.

               tput writes the decimal value to the standard output, with a
               trailing newline.

               tput simply sets the exit code (0 for TRUE if the terminal has
               the capability, 1 for FALSE if it does not), and writes nothing
               to the standard output.

       Before using a value returned on the standard output, the application
       should test the exit code (e.g., $?, see sh(1)) to be sure it is 0.  (See
       the EXIT CODES and DIAGNOSTICS sections.)  For a complete list of
       capabilities and the capname associated with each, see terminfo(5).

       -S     allows more than one capability per invocation of tput.  The
              capabilities must be passed to tput from the standard input
              instead of from the command line (see example).  Only one capname
              is allowed per line.  The -S option changes the meaning of the 0
              and 1 boolean and string exit codes (see the EXIT CODES section).

              Because some capabilities may use string parameters rather than
              numbers, tput uses a table and the presence of parameters in its
              input to decide whether to use tparm(3X), and how to interpret the

       -Ttype indicates the type of terminal.  Normally this option is
              unnecessary, because the default is taken from the environment
              variable TERM.  If -T is specified, then the shell variables LINES
              and COLUMNS will also be ignored.

       -V     reports the version of ncurses which was used in this program, and

       -x     do not attempt to clear the terminal's scrollback buffer using the
              extended "E3" capability.

       A few commands (init, reset and longname) are special; they are defined
       by the tput program.  The others are the names of capabilities from the
       terminal database (see terminfo(5) for a list).  Although init and reset
       resemble capability names, tput uses several capabilities to perform
       these special functions.

              indicates the capability from the terminal database.

              If the capability is a string that takes parameters, the arguments
              following the capability will be used as parameters for the

              Most parameters are numbers.  Only a few terminal capabilities
              require string parameters; tput uses a table to decide which to
              pass as strings.  Normally tput uses tparm(3X) to perform the
              substitution.  If no parameters are given for the capability, tput
              writes the string without performing the substitution.

       init   If the terminal database is present and an entry for the user's
              terminal exists (see -Ttype, above), the following will occur:

              (1)  first, tput retrieves the current terminal mode settings for
                   your terminal.  It does this by successively testing

                   o   the standard error,

                   o   standard output,

                   o   standard input and

                   o   ultimately "/dev/tty"

                   to obtain terminal settings.  Having retrieved these
                   settings, tput remembers which file descriptor to use when
                   updating settings.

              (2)  if the window size cannot be obtained from the operating
                   system, but the terminal description (or environment, e.g.,
                   LINES and COLUMNS variables specify this), update the
                   operating system's notion of the window size.

              (3)  the terminal modes will be updated:

                   o   any delays (e.g., newline) specified in the entry will be
                       set in the tty driver,

                   o   tabs expansion will be turned on or off according to the
                       specification in the entry, and

                   o   if tabs are not expanded, standard tabs will be set
                       (every 8 spaces).

              (4)  if present, the terminal's initialization strings will be
                   output as detailed in the terminfo(5) section on Tabs and

              (5)  output is flushed.

              If an entry does not contain the information needed for any of
              these activities, that activity will silently be skipped.

       reset  This is similar to init, with two differences:

              (1)  before any other initialization, the terminal modes will be
                   reset to a "sane" state:

                   o   set cooked and echo modes,

                   o   turn off cbreak and raw modes,

                   o   turn on newline translation and

                   o   reset any unset special characters to their default

              (2)  Instead of putting out initialization strings, the terminal's
                   reset strings will be output if present (rs1, rs2, rs3, rf).
                   If the reset strings are not present, but initialization
                   strings are, the initialization strings will be output.

              Otherwise, reset acts identically to init.

              If the terminal database is present and an entry for the user's
              terminal exists (see -Ttype above), then the long name of the
              terminal will be put out.  The long name is the last name in the
              first line of the terminal's description in the terminfo database
              [see term(5)].

       tput handles the clear, init and reset commands specially: it allows for
       the possibility that it is invoked by a link with those names.

       If tput is invoked by a link named reset, this has the same effect as
       tput reset.  The tset(1) utility also treats a link named reset

       Before ncurses 6.1, the two utilities were different from each other:

       o   tset utility reset the terminal modes and special characters (not
           done with tput).

       o   On the other hand, tset's repertoire of terminal capabilities for
           resetting the terminal was more limited, i.e., only reset_1string,
           reset_2string and reset_file in contrast to the tab-stops and margins
           which are set by this utility.

       o   The reset program is usually an alias for tset, because of this
           difference with resetting terminal modes and special characters.

       With the changes made for ncurses 6.1, the reset feature of the two
       programs is (mostly) the same.  A few differences remain:

       o   The tset program waits one second when resetting, in case it happens
           to be a hardware terminal.

       o   The two programs write the terminal initialization strings to
           different streams (i.e., the standard error for tset and the standard
           output for tput).

           Note: although these programs write to different streams, redirecting
           their output to a file will capture only part of their actions.  The
           changes to the terminal modes are not affected by redirecting the

       If tput is invoked by a link named init, this has the same effect as tput
       init.  Again, you are less likely to use that link because another
       program named init has a more well-established use.

   Terminal Size
       Besides the special commands (e.g., clear), tput treats certain terminfo
       capabilities specially: lines and cols.  tput calls setupterm(3X) to
       obtain the terminal size:

       o   first, it gets the size from the terminal database (which generally
           is not provided for terminal emulators which do not have a fixed
           window size)

       o   then it asks the operating system for the terminal's size (which
           generally works, unless connecting via a serial line which does not
           support NAWS: negotiations about window size).

       o   finally, it inspects the environment variables LINES and COLUMNS
           which may override the terminal size.

       If the -T option is given tput ignores the environment variables by
       calling use_tioctl(TRUE), relying upon the operating system (or finally,
       the terminal database).


       tput init
            Initialize the terminal according to the type of terminal in the
            environmental variable TERM.  This command should be included in
            everyone's .profile after the environmental variable TERM has been
            exported, as illustrated on the profile(5) manual page.

       tput -T5620 reset
            Reset an AT&T 5620 terminal, overriding the type of terminal in the
            environmental variable TERM.

       tput cup 0 0
            Send the sequence to move the cursor to row 0, column 0 (the upper
            left corner of the screen, usually known as the "home" cursor

       tput clear
            Echo the clear-screen sequence for the current terminal.

       tput cols
            Print the number of columns for the current terminal.

       tput -T450 cols
            Print the number of columns for the 450 terminal.

       bold=`tput smso` offbold=`tput rmso`
            Set the shell variables bold, to begin stand-out mode sequence, and
            offbold, to end standout mode sequence, for the current terminal.
            This might be followed by a prompt: echo "${bold}Please type in your
            name: ${offbold}\c"

       tput hc
            Set exit code to indicate if the current terminal is a hard copy

       tput cup 23 4
            Send the sequence to move the cursor to row 23, column 4.

       tput cup
            Send the terminfo string for cursor-movement, with no parameters

       tput longname
            Print the long name from the terminfo database for the type of
            terminal specified in the environmental variable TERM.

            tput -S <<!
            > clear
            > cup 10 10
            > bold
            > !

            This example shows tput processing several capabilities in one
            invocation.  It clears the screen, moves the cursor to position 10,
            10 and turns on bold (extra bright) mode.  The list is terminated by
            an exclamation mark (!) on a line by itself.


              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); for more information, see the Tabs and Initialization,
              section of terminfo(5)


       If the -S option is used, tput checks for errors from each line, and if
       any errors are found, will set the exit code to 4 plus the number of
       lines with errors.  If no errors are found, the exit code is 0.  No
       indication of which line failed can be given so exit code 1 will never
       appear.  Exit codes 2, 3, and 4 retain their usual interpretation.  If
       the -S option is not used, the exit code depends on the type of capname:

                 a value of 0 is set for TRUE and 1 for FALSE.

          string a value of 0 is set if the capname is defined for this terminal
                 type (the value of capname is returned on standard output); a
                 value of 1 is set if capname is not defined for this terminal
                 type (nothing is written to standard output).

                 a value of 0 is always set, whether or not capname is defined
                 for this terminal type.  To determine if capname is defined for
                 this terminal type, the user must test the value written to
                 standard output.  A value of -1 means that capname is not
                 defined for this terminal type.

          other  reset or init may fail to find their respective files.  In that
                 case, the exit code is set to 4 + errno.

       Any other exit code indicates an error; see the DIAGNOSTICS section.


       tput prints the following error messages and sets the corresponding exit

       exit code   error message
       0           (capname is a numeric variable that is not specified in
                   the terminfo(5) database for this terminal type, e.g.
                   tput -T450 lines and tput -Thp2621 xmc)
       1           no error message is printed, see the EXIT CODES section.
       2           usage error
       3           unknown terminal type or no terminfo database
       4           unknown terminfo capability capname
       >4          error occurred in -S


       The tput command was begun by Bill Joy in 1980.  The initial version only
       cleared the screen.

       AT&T System V provided a different tput command:

       o   SVr2 provided a rudimentary tput which checked the parameter against
           each predefined capability and returned the corresponding value.
           This version of tput did not use tparm(3X) for the capabilities which
           are parameterized.

       o   SVr3 replaced that, a year later, by a more extensive program whose
           init and reset subcommands (more than half the program) were
           incorporated from the reset feature of BSD tset written by Eric

       o   SVr4 added color initialization using the orig_colors and orig_pair
           capabilities in the init subcommand.

       Keith Bostic replaced the BSD tput command in 1989 with a new
       implementation based on the AT&T System V program tput.  Like the AT&T
       program, Bostic's version accepted some parameters named for terminfo
       capabilities (clear, init, longname and reset).  However (because he had
       only termcap available), it accepted termcap names for other
       capabilities.  Also, Bostic's BSD tput did not modify the terminal I/O
       modes as the earlier BSD tset had done.

       At the same time, Bostic added a shell script named "clear", which used
       tput to clear the screen.

       Both of these appeared in 4.4BSD, becoming the "modern" BSD
       implementation of tput.

       This implementation of tput began from a different source than AT&T or
       BSD: Ross Ridge's mytinfo package, published on comp.sources.unix in
       December 1992.  Ridge's program made more sophisticated use of the
       terminal capabilities than the BSD program.  Eric Raymond used that tput
       program (and other parts of mytinfo) in ncurses in June 1995.  Using the
       portions dealing with terminal capabilities almost without change,
       Raymond made improvements to the way the command-line parameters were


       This implementation of tput differs from AT&T tput in two important

       o   tput capname writes to the standard output.  That need not be a
           regular terminal.  However, the subcommands which manipulate terminal
           modes may not use the standard output.

           The AT&T implementation's init and reset commands use the BSD (4.1c)
           tset source, which manipulates terminal modes.  It successively tries
           standard output, standard error, standard input before falling back
           to "/dev/tty" and finally just assumes a 1200Bd terminal.  When
           updating terminal modes, it ignores errors.

           Until changes made after ncurses 6.0, tput did not modify terminal
           modes.  tput now uses a similar scheme, using functions shared with
           tset (and ultimately based on the 4.4BSD tset).  If it is not able to
           open a terminal, e.g., when running in cron(1), tput will return an

       o   AT&T tput guesses the type of its capname operands by seeing if all
           of the characters are numeric, or not.

           Most implementations which provide support for capname operands use
           the tparm function to expand parameters in it.  That function expects
           a mixture of numeric and string parameters, requiring tput to know
           which type to use.

           This implementation uses a table to determine the parameter types for
           the standard capname operands, and an internal library function to
           analyze nonstandard capname operands.

           Besides providing more reliable operation than AT&T's utility, a
           portability problem is introduced by this analysis: An OpenBSD
           developer adapted the internal library function from ncurses to port
           NetBSD's termcap-based tput to terminfo.  That had been modified to
           interpret multiple commands on a line.  Portable applications should
           not rely upon this feature; ncurses provides it to support
           applications written specifically for OpenBSD.

       This implementation (unlike others) can accept both termcap and terminfo
       names for the capname feature, if termcap support is compiled in.
       However, the predefined termcap and terminfo names have two ambiguities
       in this case (and the terminfo name is assumed):

       o   The termcap name dl corresponds to the terminfo name dl1 (delete one
           The terminfo name dl corresponds to the termcap name DL (delete a
           given number of lines).

       o   The termcap name ed corresponds to the terminfo name rmdc (end delete
           The terminfo name ed corresponds to the termcap name cd (clear to end
           of screen).

       The longname and -S options, and the parameter-substitution features used
       in the cup example, were not supported in BSD curses before 4.3reno
       (1989) or in AT&T/USL curses before SVr4 (1988).

       IEEE Std 1003.1/The Open Group  Base Specifications Issue 7
       (POSIX.1-2008) documents only the operands for clear, init and reset.
       There are a few interesting observations to make regarding that:

       o   In this implementation, clear is part of the capname support.  The
           others (init and longname) do not correspond to terminal

       o   Other implementations of tput on SVr4-based systems such as Solaris,
           IRIX64 and HPUX as well as others such as AIX and Tru64 provide
           support for capname operands.

       o   A few platforms such as FreeBSD recognize termcap names rather than
           terminfo capability names in their respective tput commands.  Since
           2010, NetBSD's tput uses terminfo names.  Before that, it (like
           FreeBSD) recognized termcap names.

           Beginning in 2021, FreeBSD uses the ncurses tput, configured for both
           terminfo (tested first) and termcap (as a fallback).

       Because (apparently) all of the certified Unix systems support the full
       set of capability names, the reasoning for documenting only a few may not
       be apparent.

       o   X/Open Curses Issue 7 documents tput differently, with capname and
           the other features used in this implementation.

       o   That is, there are two standards for tput: POSIX (a subset) and
           X/Open Curses (the full implementation).  POSIX documents a subset to
           avoid the complication of including X/Open Curses and the terminal
           capabilities database.

       o   While it is certainly possible to write a tput program without using
           curses, none of the systems which have a curses implementation
           provide a tput utility which does not provide the capname feature.

       X/Open Curses Issue 7 (2009) is the first version to document utilities.
       However that part of X/Open Curses does not follow existing practice
       (i.e., Unix features documented in SVID 3):

       o   It assigns exit code 4 to "invalid operand", which may be the same as
           unknown capability.  For instance, the source code for Solaris'
           xcurses uses the term "invalid" in this case.

       o   It assigns exit code 255 to a numeric variable that is not specified
           in the terminfo database.  That likely is a documentation error,
           confusing the -1 written to the standard output for an absent or
           cancelled numeric value versus an (unsigned) exit code.

       The various Unix systems (AIX, HPUX, Solaris) use the same exit-codes as

       NetBSD curses documents different exit codes which do not correspond to
       either ncurses or X/Open.


       clear(1), stty(1), tabs(1), tset(1), curs_termcap(3X), terminfo(5).

       This describes ncurses version 6.4 (patch 20221231).


ncurses 6.4 - Generated Tue Jan 3 09:51:46 CST 2023
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