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RocketLink!--> Man page versions:
getch, wgetch, mvgetch, mvwgetch, ungetch - get (or push
back) characters from curses terminal keyboard
int wgetch(WINDOW *win);
int mvgetch(int y, int x);
int mvwgetch(WINDOW *win, int y, int x);
int ungetch(int ch);
int has_key(int ch);
The getch, wgetch, mvgetch and mvwgetch, routines read a
character from the window. In no-delay mode, if no input
is waiting, the value ERR is returned. In delay mode, the
program waits until the system passes text through to the
program. Depending on the setting of cbreak, this is
after one character (cbreak mode), or after the first new-
line (nocbreak mode). In half-delay mode, the program
waits until a character is typed or the specified timeout
has been reached.
If noecho has been set, then the character will also be
echoed into the designated window according to the follow-
ing rules: If the character is the current erase charac-
ter, left arrow, or backspace, the cursor is moved one
space to the left and that screen position is erased as if
delch had been called. If the character value is any
other KEY_ define, the user is alerted with a beep call.
Otherwise the character is simply output to the screen.
If the window is not a pad, and it has been moved or modi-
fied since the last call to wrefresh, wrefresh will be
called before another character is read.
If keypad is TRUE, and a function key is pressed, the
token for that function key is returned instead of the raw
characters. Possible function keys are defined in
<curses.h> as macros with values outside the range of
8-bit characters whose names begin with KEY_. Thus, a
variable intended to hold the return value of a function
key must be of short size or larger.
When a character that could be the beginning of a function
key is received (which, on modern terminals, means an
escape character), curses sets a timer. If the remainder
of the sequence does not come in within the designated
time, the character is passed through; otherwise, the
function key value is returned. For this reason, many
terminals experience a delay between the time a user
presses the escape key and the escape is returned to the
The ungetch routine places ch back onto the input queue to
be returned by the next call to wgetch. Note that there
is, in effect, just one input queue for all windows.
The following function keys, defined in <curses.h>, might
be returned by getch if keypad has been enabled. Note
that not all of these are necessarily supported on any
Name Key name
KEY_BREAK Break key
KEY_DOWN The four arrow keys ...
KEY_HOME Home key (upward+left arrow)
KEY_F0 Function keys; space for 64 keys
KEY_F(n) For 0 <= n <= 63
KEY_DL Delete line
KEY_IL Insert line
KEY_DC Delete character
KEY_IC Insert char or enter insert mode
KEY_EIC Exit insert char mode
KEY_CLEAR Clear screen
KEY_EOS Clear to end of screen
KEY_EOL Clear to end of line
KEY_SF Scroll 1 line forward
KEY_SR Scroll 1 line backward (reverse)
KEY_NPAGE Next page
KEY_PPAGE Previous page
KEY_STAB Set tab
KEY_CTAB Clear tab
KEY_CATAB Clear all tabs
KEY_ENTER Enter or send
KEY_SRESET Soft (partial) reset
KEY_RESET Reset or hard reset
KEY_PRINT Print or copy
KEY_LL Home down or bottom (lower left).
KEY_A1 Upper left of keypad
KEY_A3 Upper right of keypad
KEY_B2 Center of keypad
KEY_C1 Lower left of keypad
KEY_C3 Lower right of keypad
KEY_BTAB Back tab key
KEY_BEG Beg(inning) key
KEY_CANCEL Cancel key
KEY_CLOSE Close key
KEY_COMMAND Cmd (command) key
KEY_COPY Copy key
KEY_CREATE Create key
KEY_END End key
KEY_EXIT Exit key
KEY_FIND Find key
KEY_HELP Help key
KEY_MARK Mark key
KEY_MESSAGE Message key
KEY_MOUSE Mouse event read
KEY_MOVE Move key
KEY_NEXT Next object key
KEY_OPEN Open key
KEY_OPTIONS Options key
KEY_PREVIOUS Previous object key
KEY_REDO Redo key
KEY_REFERENCE Ref(erence) key
KEY_REFRESH Refresh key
KEY_REPLACE Replace key
KEY_RESIZE Screen resized
KEY_RESTART Restart key
KEY_RESUME Resume key
KEY_SAVE Save key
KEY_SBEG Shifted beginning key
KEY_SCANCEL Shifted cancel key
KEY_SCOMMAND Shifted command key
KEY_SCOPY Shifted copy key
KEY_SCREATE Shifted create key
KEY_SDC Shifted delete char key
KEY_SDL Shifted delete line key
KEY_SELECT Select key
KEY_SEND Shifted end key
KEY_SEOL Shifted clear line key
KEY_SEXIT Shifted exit key
KEY_SFIND Shifted find key
KEY_SHELP Shifted help key
KEY_SHOME Shifted home key
KEY_SIC Shifted input key
KEY_SLEFT Shifted left arrow key
KEY_SMESSAGE Shifted message key
KEY_SMOVE Shifted move key
KEY_SNEXT Shifted next key
KEY_SOPTIONS Shifted options key
KEY_SPREVIOUS Shifted prev key
KEY_SPRINT Shifted print key
KEY_SREDO Shifted redo key
KEY_SREPLACE Shifted replace key
KEY_SRIGHT Shifted right arrow
KEY_SRSUME Shifted resume key
KEY_SSAVE Shifted save key
KEY_SSUSPEND Shifted suspend key
KEY_SUNDO Shifted undo key
KEY_SUSPEND Suspend key
KEY_UNDO Undo key
Keypad is arranged like this:
| A1 | up | A3 |
|left | B2 | right |
| C1 | down | C3 |
The has_key routine takes a key value from the above list,
and returns TRUE or FALSE according as the current termi-
nal type recognizes a key with that value.
All routines return the integer ERR upon failure and an
integer value other than ERR (OK in the case of ungetch())
upon successful completion.
Use of the escape key by a programmer for a single charac-
ter function is discouraged, as it will cause a delay of
up to one second while the keypad code looks for a follow-
ing function-key sequence.
When using getch, wgetch, mvgetch, or mvwgetch, nocbreak
mode (nocbreak) and echo mode (echo) should not be used at
the same time. Depending on the state of the tty driver
when each character is typed, the program may produce
Note that getch, mvgetch, and mvwgetch may be macros.
Historically, the set of keypad macros was largely defined
by the extremely function-key-rich keyboard of the AT&T
7300, aka 3B1, aka Safari 4. Modern personal computers
usually have only a small subset of these. IBM PC-style
consoles typically support little more than KEY_UP,
KEY_DOWN, KEY_LEFT, KEY_RIGHT, KEY_HOME, KEY_END,
KEY_NPAGE, KEY_PPAGE, and function keys 1 through 12. The
Ins key is usually mapped to KEY_IC.
The *get* functions are described in the XSI Curses stan-
dard, Issue 4. They read single-byte characters only.
The standard specifies that they return ERR on failure,
but specifies no error conditions.
The echo behavior of these functions on input of KEY_ or
backspace characters was not specified in the SVr4 docu-
mentation. This description is adopted from the XSI
The behavior of getch and friends in the presence of han-
dled signals is unspecified in the SVr4 and XSI Curses
documentation. Under historical curses implementations,
it varied depending on whether the operating system's
implementation of handled signal receipt interrupts a
read(2) call in progress or not, and also (in some imple-
mentations) depending on whether an input timeout or non-
blocking mode hsd been set.
Programmers concerned about portability should be prepared
for either of two cases: (a) signal receipt does not
interrupt getch; (b) signal receipt interrupts getch and
causes it to return ERR with errno set to EINTR. Under
the ncurses implementation, handled signals never inter-
The has_key function is unique to ncurses. We recommend
that any code using it be conditionalized on the
NCURSES_VERSION feature macro.
curses(3), curs_inopts(3), curs_mouse(3), curs_move(3),
Source: OpenBSD 2.6 man pages. Copyright: Portions are copyrighted by BERKELEY
SOFTWARE DESIGN, INC., The Regents of the University of California, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD Inc., and others.
(Corrections, notes, and links courtesy of RocketAware.com)
FreeBSD Sources for curs_getch(3) functions
Up to: Curses - Curses (Library for text display interfaces)
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