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termcap (5)
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  • termcap (5) ( FreeBSD man: Форматы файлов )
  • termcap (5) ( Русские man: Форматы файлов )
  • >> termcap (5) ( Linux man: Форматы файлов )


    termcap - terminal capability database


    The termcap database is an obsolete facility for describing the capabilities of character-cell terminals and printers. It is retained only for capability with old programs; new ones should use the terminfo(5) database and associated libraries.

    /etc/termcap is an ASCII file (the database master) that lists the capabilities of many different types of terminals. Programs can read termcap to find the particular escape codes needed to control the visual attributes of the terminal actually in use. (Other aspects of the terminal are handled by stty(1).) The termcap database is indexed on the TERM environment variable.

    Termcap entries must be defined on a single logical line, with aq\aq used to suppress the newline. Fields are separated by aq:aq. The first field of each entry starts at the left-hand margin, and contains a list of names for the terminal, separated by aq|aq.

    The first subfield may (in BSD termcap entries from versions 4.3 and prior) contain a short name consisting of two characters. This short name may consist of capital or small letters. In 4.4BSD termcap entries this field is omitted.

    The second subfield (first, in the newer 4.4BSD format) contains the name used by the environment variable TERM. It should be spelled in lowercase letters. Selectable hardware capabilities should be marked by appending a hyphen and a suffix to this name. See below for an example. Usual suffixes are w (more than 80 characters wide), am (automatic margins), nam (no automatic margins), and rv (reverse video display). The third subfield contains a long and descriptive name for this termcap entry.

    Subsequent fields contain the terminal capabilities; any continued capability lines must be indented one tab from the left margin.

    Although there is no defined order, it is suggested to write first boolean, then numeric, and then string capabilities, each sorted alphabetically without looking at lower or upper spelling. Capabilities of similar functions can be written in one line.

    Example for:
    Head line: vt|vt101|DEC VT 101 terminal in 80 character mode:\
    Head line: Vt|vt101-w|DEC VT 101 terminal in (wide) 132 character mode:\
    Boolean: :bs:\
    Numeric: :co#80:\
    String: :sr=\E[H:\

    Boolean Capabilities

    5i      Printer will not echo on screen
    am      Automatic margins which means automatic line wrap
    bs      Control-H (8 dec.) performs a backspace
    bw      Backspace on left margin wraps to previous line and right margin
    da      Display retained above screen
    db      Display retained below screen
    eo      A space erases all characters at cursor position
    es      Escape sequences and special characters work in status line
    gn      Generic device
    hc      This is a hardcopy terminal
    HC      The cursor is hard to see when not on bottom line
    hs      Has a status line
    hz      Hazeltine bug, the terminal can not print tilde characters
    in      Terminal inserts null bytes, not spaces, to fill whitespace
    km      Terminal has a meta key
    mi      Cursor movement works in insert mode
    ms      Cursor movement works in standout/underline mode
    NP      No pad character
    NR      ti does not reverse te
    nx      No padding, must use XON/XOFF
    os      Terminal can overstrike
    ul      Terminal underlines although it can not overstrike
    xb      Beehive glitch, f1 sends ESCAPE, f2 sends ^C
    xn      Newline/wraparound glitch
    xo      Terminal uses xon/xoff protocol
    xs      Text typed over standout text will be displayed in standout
    xt      Teleray glitch, destructive tabs and odd standout mode

    Numeric Capabilities

    co      Number of columns
    dB      Delay in milliseconds for backspace on hardcopy terminals
    dC      Delay in milliseconds for carriage return on hardcopy terminals
    dF      Delay in milliseconds for form feed on hardcopy terminals
    dN      Delay in milliseconds for new line on hardcopy terminals
    dT      Delay in milliseconds for tabulator stop on hardcopy terminals
    dV      Delay in milliseconds for vertical tabulator stop on
            hardcopy terminals
    it      Difference between tab positions
    lh      Height of soft labels
    lm      Lines of memory
    lw      Width of soft labels
    li      Number of lines
    Nl      Number of soft labels
    pb      Lowest baud rate which needs padding
    sg      Standout glitch
    ug      Underline glitch
    vt      virtual terminal number
    ws      Width of status line if different from screen width

    String Capabilities

    !1      shifted save key
    !2      shifted suspend key
    !3      shifted undo key
    #1      shifted help key
    #2      shifted home key
    #3      shifted input key
    #4      shifted cursor left key
    %0      redo key
    %1      help key
    %2      mark key
    %3      message key
    %4      move key
    %5      next-object key
    %6      open key
    %7      options key
    %8      previous-object key
    %9      print key
    %a      shifted message key
    %b      shifted move key
    %c      shifted next key
    %d      shifted options key
    %e      shifted previous key
    %f      shifted print key
    %g      shifted redo key
    %h      shifted replace key
    %i      shifted cursor right key
    %j      shifted resume key
    &0      shifted cancel key
    &1      reference key
    &2      refresh key
    &3      replace key
    &4      restart key
    &5      resume key
    &6      save key
    &7      suspend key
    &8      undo key
    &9      shifted begin key
    *0      shifted find key
    *1      shifted command key
    *2      shifted copy key
    *3      shifted create key
    *4      shifted delete character
    *5      shifted delete line
    *6      select key
    *7      shifted end key
    *8      shifted clear line key
    *9      shifted exit key
    @0      find key
    @1      begin key
    @2      cancel key
    @3      close key
    @4      command key
    @5      copy key
    @6      create key
    @7      end key
    @8      enter/send key
    @9      exit key
    al      Insert one line
    AL      Insert %1 lines
    ac      Pairs of block graphic characters to map alternate character set
    ae      End alternative character set
    as      Start alternative character set for block graphic characters
    bc      Backspace, if not ^H
    bl      Audio bell
    bt      Move to previous tab stop
    cb      Clear from beginning of line to cursor
    cc      Dummy command character
    cd      Clear to end of screen
    ce      Clear to end of line
    ch      Move cursor horizontally only to column %1
    cl      Clear screen and cursor home
    cm      Cursor move to row %1 and column %2 (on screen)
    CM      Move cursor to row %1 and column %2 (in memory)
    cr      Carriage return
    cs      Scroll region from line %1 to %2
    ct      Clear tabs
    cv      Move cursor vertically only to line %1
    dc      Delete one character
    DC      Delete %1 characters
    dl      Delete one line
    DL      Delete %1 lines
    dm      Begin delete mode
    do      Cursor down one line
    DO      Cursor down #1 lines
    ds      Disable status line
    eA      Enable alternate character set
    ec      Erase %1 characters starting at cursor
    ed      End delete mode
    ei      End insert mode
    ff      Formfeed character on hardcopy terminals
    fs      Return character to its position before going to status line
    F1      The string sent by function key f11
    F2      The string sent by function key f12
    F3      The string sent by function key f13
    ...     ...
    F9      The string sent by function key f19
    FA      The string sent by function key f20
    FB      The string sent by function key f21
    ...     ...
    FZ      The string sent by function key f45
    Fa      The string sent by function key f46
    Fb      The string sent by function key f47
    ...     ...
    Fr      The string sent by function key f63
    hd      Move cursor a half line down
    ho      Cursor home
    hu      Move cursor a half line up
    i1      Initialization string 1 at login
    i3      Initialization string 3 at login
    is      Initialization string 2 at login
    ic      Insert one character
    IC      Insert %1 characters
    if      Initialization file
    im      Begin insert mode
    ip      Insert pad time and needed special characters after insert
    iP      Initialization program
    K1      upper left key on keypad
    K2      center key on keypad
    K3      upper right key on keypad
    K4      bottom left key on keypad
    K5      bottom right key on keypad
    k0      Function key 0
    k1      Function key 1
    k2      Function key 2
    k3      Function key 3
    k4      Function key 4
    k5      Function key 5
    k6      Function key 6
    k7      Function key 7
    k8      Function key 8
    k9      Function key 9
    k;      Function key 10
    ka      Clear all tabs key
    kA      Insert line key
    kb      Backspace key
    kB      Back tab stop
    kC      Clear screen key
    kd      Cursor down key
    kD      Key for delete character under cursor
    ke      turn keypad off
    kE      Key for clear to end of line
    kF      Key for scrolling forward/down
    kh      Cursor home key
    kH      Cursor hown down key
    kI      Insert character/Insert mode key
    kl      Cursor left key
    kL      Key for delete line
    kM      Key for exit insert mode
    kN      Key for next page
    kP      Key for previous page
    kr      Cursor right key
    kR      Key for scrolling backward/up
    ks      Turn keypad on
    kS      Clear to end of screen key
    kt      Clear this tab key
    kT      Set tab here key
    ku      Cursor up key
    l0      Label of zeroth function key, if not f0
    l1      Label of first function key, if not f1
    l2      Label of first function key, if not f2
    ...     ...
    la      Label of tenth function key, if not f10
    le      Cursor left one character
    ll      Move cursor to lower left corner
    LE      Cursor left %1 characters
    LF      Turn soft labels off
    LO      Turn soft labels on
    mb      Start blinking
    MC      Clear soft margins
    md      Start bold mode
    me      End all mode like so, us, mb, md and mr
    mh      Start half bright mode
    mk      Dark mode (Characters invisible)
    ML      Set left soft margin
    mm      Put terminal in meta mode
    mo      Put terminal out of meta mode
    mp      Turn on protected attribute
    mr      Start reverse mode
    MR      Set right soft margin
    nd      Cursor right one character
    nw      Carriage return command
    pc      Padding character
    pf      Turn printer off
    pk      Program key %1 to send string %2 as if typed by user
    pl      Program key %1 to execute string %2 in local mode
    pn      Program soft label %1 to show string %2
    po      Turn the printer on
    pO      Turn the printer on for %1 (<256) bytes
    ps      Print screen contents on printer
    px      Program key %1 to send string %2 to computer
    r1      Reset string 1 to set terminal to sane modes
    r2      Reset string 2 to set terminal to sane modes
    r3      Reset string 3 to set terminal to sane modes
    RA      disable automatic margins
    rc      Restore saved cursor position
    rf      Reset string filename
    RF      Request for input from terminal
    RI      Cursor right %1 characters
    rp      Repeat character %1 for %2 times
    rP      Padding after character sent in replace mode
    rs      Reset string
    RX      Turn off XON/XOFF flow control
    sa      Set %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9 attributes
    SA      enable automatic margins
    sc      Save cursor position
    se      End standout mode
    sf      Normal scroll one line
    SF      Normal scroll %1 lines
    so      Start standout mode
    sr      Reverse scroll
    SR      scroll back %1 lines
    st      Set tabulator stop in all rows at current column
    SX      Turn on XON/XOFF flow control
    ta      move to next hardware tab
    tc      Read in terminal description from another entry
    te      End program that uses cursor motion
    ti      Begin program that uses cursor motion
    ts      Move cursor to column %1 of status line
    uc      Underline character under cursor and move cursor right
    ue      End underlining
    up      Cursor up one line
    UP      Cursor up %1 lines
    us      Start underlining
    vb      Visible bell
    ve      Normal cursor visible
    vi      Cursor invisible
    vs      Standout cursor
    wi      Set window from line %1 to %2 and column %3 to %4
    XF      XOFF character if not ^S

    There are several ways of defining the control codes for string capabilities:

    Every normal character represents itself, except aq^aq, aq\aq, and aq%aq.

    A ^x means Control-x. Control-A equals 1 decimal.

    \x means a special code. x can be one of the following characters:

    E Escape (27)
    n Linefeed (10)
    r Carriage return (13)
    t Tabulation (9)
    b Backspace (8)
    f Form feed (12)
    0 Null character. A \xxx specifies the octal character xxx.
    Increments parameters by one.
    Single parameter capability
    Add value of next character to this parameter and do binary output
    Do ASCII output of this parameter with a field with of 2
    Do ASCII output of this parameter with a field with of 3
    Print a aq%aq

    If you use binary output, then you should avoid the null character because it terminates the string. You should reset tabulator expansion if a tabulator can be the binary output of a parameter.

    The above metacharacters for parameters may be wrong, they document Minix termcap which may not be compatible with Linux termcap.

    The block graphic characters can be specified by three string capabilities:

    start the alternative charset
    end it
    pairs of characters. The first character is the name of the block graphic symbol and the second characters is its definition.

    The following names are available:

    +       right arrow (>)
    ,       left arrow (<)
    .       down arrow (v)
    0       full square (#)
    I       lantern (#)
    -       upper arrow (^)
    '       rhombus (+)
    a       chess board (:)
    f       degree (')
    g       plus-minus (#)
    h       square (#)
    j       right bottom corner (+)
    k       right upper corner (+)
    l       left upper corner (+)
    m       left bottom corner (+)
    n       cross (+)
    o       upper horizontal line (-)
    q       middle horizontal line (-)
    s       bottom horizontal line (_)
    t       left tee (+)
    u       right tee (+)
    v       bottom tee (+)
    w       normal tee (+)
    x       vertical line (|)
    ~       paragraph (???)

    The values in parentheses are suggested defaults which are used by curses, if the capabilities are missing.  


    ncurses(3), termcap(3), terminfo(5)  


    This page is part of release 3.14 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at



    Boolean Capabilities
    Numeric Capabilities
    String Capabilities

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