tput Man page

tput General Commands Manual tput


tput, reset – initialize a terminal or query terminfo database


tput [-Ttype] capname [parms … ] 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 ter‐
minal-dependent capabilities and information available to the shell
(see sh), to initialize or reset the terminal, or return the long
name of the requested terminal type. The result depends upon the capa‐
bility’s type:

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) 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).

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

indicates the capability from the terminfo database. When term‐
cap support is compiled in, the termcap name for the capability
is also accepted.

parms If the capability is a string that takes parameters, the argu‐
ments parms will be instantiated into the string.

Most parameters are numbers. Only a few terminfo 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.

-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 cap‐
name is allowed per line. The -S option changes the meaning of
the 0 and 1 boolean and string exit codes (see the EXIT CODES

Again, tput uses a table and the presence of parameters in its
input to decide whether to use tparm (3X), and how to interpret
the parameters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

If an entry does not contain the information needed for any of
the four above activities, that activity will silently be

reset 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 terminfo 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 data‐
base [see term(5)].

If tput is invoked by a link named reset, this has the same effect as
tput reset. See tset for comparison, which has similar behavior.

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 termi‐
nal. 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 termi‐
nated 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 cap‐

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 ter‐
minal 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 codes.

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 -T2621 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 longname and -S options, and the parameter-substitution features
used in the cup example, are not supported in BSD curses or in AT&T/USL
curses before SVr4.

X/Open documents only the operands for clear, init and reset. In this
implementation, clear is part of the capname support. Other implemen‐
tations 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 op‐

A few platforms such as FreeBSD and NetBSD recognize termcap names
rather than terminfo capability names in their respective tput com‐

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 that for
the standard capname operands, and an internal library function to ana‐
lyze nonstandard capname operands. Other implementations may simply
guess that an operand containing only digits is intended to be a num‐


clear, stty, tabs, terminfo(5), termcap(3NCURSES).

This describes ncurses version 6.0 (patch 20160213).