Linux "tput" Command Line Options and Examples
initialize a terminal or query terminfo database

The tput utility uses the terminfo database to make the values of terminal-dependent capabilities and informa‐ tion 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 type: string tput writes the string to the standard output.


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

Command Line Options:

reports the version of ncurses which was used in this program, and exits.
tput -V ...
CommandsA few commands (init, reset and longname) are special; they are defined by the tput program. The others arethe names of capabilities from the terminal database (see terminfo(5) for a list). Although init and resetresemble capability names, tput uses several capabilities to perform these special functions.capnameindicates the capability from the terminal database.If the capability is a string that takes parameters, the arguments following the capability will beused as parameters for the string.Most parameters are numbers. Only a few terminal capabilities require string parameters; tput uses atable 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 substitu‐tion.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 suc‐cessively testing· the standard error,· standard output,· standard input and· ultimately “/dev/tty”to obtain terminal settings. Having retrieved these settings, tput remembers which file descrip‐tor to use when updating settings.(2) if the window size cannot be obtained from the operating system, but the terminal description (orenvironment, e.g., LINES and COLUMNS variables specify this), update the operating system's notionof the window size.(3) the terminal modes will be updated:· any delays (e.g., newline) specified in the entry will be set in the tty driver,· tabs expansion will be turned on or off according to the specification in the entry, and· 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 Initialization,(5) output is flushed.If an entry does not contain the information needed for any of these activities, that activity willsilently 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:· set cooked and echo modes,· turn off cbreak and raw modes,· turn on newline translation and· reset any unset special characters to their default values(2) Instead of putting out initialization strings, the terminal's reset strings will be output ifpresent (rs1, rs2, rs3, rf). If the reset strings are not present, but initialization stringsare, the initialization strings will be output.Otherwise, reset acts identically to init.longnameIf 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 lineof the terminal's description in the terminfo database [see term(5)].Aliasestput handles the clear, init and reset commands specially: it allows for the possibility that it is invoked bya 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 alsotreats a link named reset specially.Before ncurses 6.1, the two utilities were different from each other:· tset utility reset the terminal modes and special characters (not done with tput).· 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 areset by this utility.· The reset program is usually an alias for tset, because of this difference with resetting terminal modesand special characters.With the changes made for ncurses 6.1, the reset feature of the two programs is (mostly) the same. A few dif‐ferences remain:· The tset program waits one second when resetting, in case it happens to be a hardware terminal.· The two programs write the terminal initialization strings to different streams (i.e.,. the standard errorfor tset and the standard output for tput).Note: although these programs write to different streams, redirecting their output to a file will captureonly part of their actions. The changes to the terminal modes are not affected by redirecting the output.If tput is invoked by a link named init, this has the same effect as tput init. Again, you are less likely touse that link because another program named init has a more well-established use.EXAMPLEStput initInitialize the terminal according to the type of terminal in the environmental variable TERM. This com‐mand 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 resetReset an AT&T 5620 terminal, overriding the type of terminal in the environmental variable TERM.tput cup 0 0Send the sequence to move the cursor to row 0, column 0 (the upper left corner of the screen, usuallyknown as the “home” cursor position).tput clearEcho the clear-screen sequence for the current terminal.tput colsPrint the number of columns for the current terminal.tput -T450 colsPrint 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 modesequence, for the current terminal. This might be followed by a prompt: echo "${bold}Please type in yourname: ${offbold}\c"tput hcSet exit code to indicate if the current terminal is a hard copy terminal.tput cup 23 4Send the sequence to move the cursor to row 23, column 4.tput cupSend the terminfo string for cursor-movement, with no parameters substituted.tput longnamePrint the long name from the terminfo database for the type of terminal specified in the environmentalvariable TERM.tput -S <<!> clear> cup 10 10> bold> !This example shows tput processing several capabilities in one invocation. It clears the screen, movesthe cursor to position 10, 10 and turns on bold (extra bright) mode. The list is terminated by an excla‐mation mark (!) on a line by itself.FILES/etc/terminfocompiled terminal description database/usr/share/tabset/*tab settings for some terminals, in a format appropriate to be output to the terminal (escape sequencesthat set margins and tabs); for more information, see the Tabs and Initialization, section of ter‐minfo(5)EXIT CODESIf the -S option is used, tput checks for errors from each line, and if any errors are found, will set theexit code to 4 plus the number of lines with errors. If no errors are found, the exit code is 0. No indica‐tion of which line failed can be given so exit code 1 will never appear. Exit codes 2, 3, and 4 retain theirusual interpretation. If the -S option is not used, the exit code depends on the type of capname:booleana 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 isreturned on standard output); a value of 1 is set if capname is not defined for this terminal type(nothing is written to standard output).integera value of 0 is always set, whether or not capname is defined for this terminal type. To determineif capname is defined for this terminal type, the user must test the value written to standard out‐put. 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.DIAGNOSTICStput 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 inthe 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 error3 unknown terminal type or no terminfo database4 unknown terminfo capability capname>4 error occurred in -S─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────HISTORYThe 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, whose init and reset subcommands (more than half the pro‐gram) were incorporated from the reset feature of BSD tset written by Eric Allman.Keith Bostic replaced the BSD tput command in 1989 with a new implementation based on the AT&T System V pro‐gram 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 namesfor other capabilities. Also, Bostic's BSD tput did not modify the terminal I/O modes as the earlier BSD tsethad 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, pub‐lished on comp.sources.unix in December 1992. Ridge's program made more sophisticated use of the terminalcapabilities than the BSD program. Eric Raymond used the tput program (and other parts of mytinfo) in ncursesin June 1995. Using the portions dealing with terminal capabilities almost without change, Raymond madeimprovements to the way the command-line parameters were handled.PORTABILITYThis implementation of tput differs from AT&T tput in two important areas:· tput capname writes to the standard output. That need not be a regular terminal. However, the subcom‐mands 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 termi‐nal 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 aterminal, e.g., when running in cron, tput will return an error.· 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 parame‐ters in it. That function expects a mixture of numeric and string parameters, requiring tput to knowwhich type to use.This implementation uses a table to determine the parameter types for the standard capname operands, andan internal library function to analyze nonstandard capname operands.This implementation (unlike others) can accept both termcap and terminfo names for the capname feature, iftermcap support is compiled in. However, the predefined termcap and terminfo names have two ambiguities inthis case (and the terminfo name is assumed):· The termcap name dl corresponds to the terminfo name dl1 (delete one line).The terminfo name dl corresponds to the termcap name DL (delete a given number of lines).· The termcap name ed corresponds to the terminfo name rmdc (end delete mode).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 sup‐ported 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 forclear, init and reset. There are a few interesting observations to make regarding that:· In this implementation, clear is part of the capname support. The others (init and longname) do not cor‐respond to terminal capabilities.· Other implementations of tput on SVr4-based systems such as Solaris, IRIX64 and HPUX as well as otherssuch as AIX and Tru64 provide support for capname operands.· A few platforms such as FreeBSD recognize termcap names rather than terminfo capability names in theirrespective tput commands. Since 2010, NetBSD's tput uses terminfo names. Before that, it (like FreeBSD)recognized termcap names.Because (apparently) all of the certified Unix systems support the full set of capability names, the reasoningfor documenting only a few may not be apparent.· X/Open Curses Issue 7 documents tput differently, with capname and the other features used in this imple‐mentation.· 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 capabili‐ties database.· While it is certainly possible to write a tput program without using curses, none of the systems whichhave a curses implementation provide a tput utility which does not provide the capname feature.
tput -x ...