Content-type: text/html Man page of getch


Section: X/Open Curses Library Functions (3XCURSES)
Updated: 5 Jun 2002
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getch, wgetch, mvgetch, mvwgetch - get a single-byte character from the terminal  


cc [ flag... ] file... -I /usr/xpg4/include -L /usr/xpg4/lib \
-R /usr/xpg4/lib -lcurses [ library... ]

c89 [ flag... ] file... -lcurses [ library... ]
#include <curses.h>

int getch(void);

int wgetch(WINDOW *win);

int mvgetch(int y, int x);

int mvwgetch(WINDOW *win, int y, int x);  


win Is a pointer to the window associated with the terminal from which the character is to be read.

y Is the y (row) coordinate for the position of the character to be read.

x Is the x (column) coordinate for the position of the character to be read.



These functions read a single-byte character from the terminal associated with the current or specified window. The results are unspecified if the input is not a single-byte character. If keypad(3XCURSES) is enabled, these functions respond to the pressing of a function key by returning the corresponding KEY_ value defined in <curses.h>

Processing of terminal input is subject to the general rules described on the keypad(3XCURSES) manual page.

If echoing is enabled, then the character is echoed as though it were provided as an input argument to addch(3XCURSES), except for the following characters:

<backspace> The input is interpreted as follows: unless the cursor already was in column 0, <backspace> moves the cursor one column toward the start of the current line and any characters after the <backspace> are added or inserted starting there. The character at the resulting cursor position it then deleted as though delch(3XCURSES) were called, except that if the cursor was originally in the first column of the line, the user is alerted as though beep(3XCURSES) were called.

Function keys The user is alerted as though beep() were called. Information concerning the function keys is not returned to the caller.

If the current or specified window is not a pad, and it has been moved modified since the last refresh operation, then it will be refreshed before another character is read.  

Constant Values for Function Keys

The following is a list of tokens for function keys that are returned by the getch() set of functions if keypad handling is enabled (some terminals may not support all tokens).

KEY_BREAKBreak key
KEY_DOWNThe down arrow key
KEY_UPThe up arrow key
KEY_LEFTThe left arrow key
KEY_RIGHTThe right arrow key
KEY_HOMEHome key
KEY_F0 Function keys. Space for 64 keys is reserved.
KEY_F(n) For 0 <= n <= 63
KEY_DLDelete line
KEY_ILInsert line
KEY_DCDelete character
KEY_ICInsert char or enter insert mode
KEY_EICExit insert char mode
KEY_CLEARClear screen
KEY_EOSClear to end of screen
KEY_EOLClear to end of line
KEY_SFScroll 1 line forward

Scroll 1 line backwards
KEY_NPAGENext page
KEY_PPAGEPrevious page
KEY_CTABClear tab
KEY_CATABClear all tabs
KEY_ENTEREnter or send
KEY_SRESETSoft (partial) reset
KEY_RESETReset or hard reset
KEY_PRINTPrint or copy
KEY_LLHome down or bottom (lower left)
KEY_A1Upper left of keypad
KEY_A3Upper right of keypad
KEY_B2Center of keypad
KEY_C1Lower left of keypad
KEY_C3Lower right of
KEY_BTABBack tab
KEY_BEGBeginning key
KEY_CANCELCancel key
KEY_CLOSEClose key
KEY_COMMANDCmd (command) key
KEY_COPYCopy key
KEY_CREATECreate key
KEY_ENDEnd key
KEY_EXITExit key
KEY_FINDFind key
KEY_HELPHelp key
KEY_MARKMark key
KEY_MESSAGEMessage key
KEY_MOVEMove key
KEY_NEXTNext object key
KEY_OPENOpen key
KEY_OPTIONSOptions key
KEY_PREVIOUSPrevious object key
KEY_REDORedo key
KEY_REFERENCEReference key
KEY_REFRESHRefresh key
KEY_REPLACEReplace key
KEY_RESTARTRestart key
KEY_RESUMEResume key
KEY_SAVESave key
KEY_SBEGShifted beginning key
KEY_SCANCELShifted cancel key
KEY_SCOMMANDShifted command key
KEY_SCOPYShifted copy key
KEY_SCREATEShifted create key
KEY_SDCShifted delete char key
KEY_SDLShifted delete line key
KEY_SELECTSelect key
KEY_SENDShifted end key
KEY_SEOLShifted clear line key
KEY_SEXITShifted exit key
KEY_SFINDShifted find key
KEY_SHELPShifted help key
KEY_SHOMEShifted home key
KEY_SICShifted input key
KEY_SLEFT Shifted left arrow key
KEY_SMESSAGESShifted messages key
KEY_SMOVEShifted move key
KEY_SNEXTShifted next key
KEY_SOPTIONSShifted options key
KEY_SPREVIOUSShifted previous key
KEY_SPRINTShifted print key
KEY_SREDOShifted redo key
KEY_SREPLACEShifted replace key
KEY_SRIGHTShifted right arrow key
KEY_SRSUMEShifted resume key
KEY_SSAVEShifted save key
KEY_SSUSPENDShifted suspend key
KEY_SUNDOShifted undo key
KEY_SUSPENDSuspend key
KEY_UNDOUndo key



Upon successful completion, these functions return the single-byte character, KEY_ value, or ERR. When in the nodelay mode and no data is available, ERR is returned.  


No errors are defined.  


Applications should not define the escape key by itself as a single-character function.

When using these functions, nocbreak mode (cbreak(3XCURSES)) and echo mode (echo(3XCURSES)) should not be used at the same time. Depending on the state of the terminal when each character is typed, the application may produce undesirable results.  


See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface StabilityStandard



cbreak(3XCURSES), echo(3XCURSES), halfdelay(3XCURSES), keypad(3XCURSES), libcurses(3XCURSES), nodelay(3XCURSES), notimeout(3XCURSES), raw(3XCURSES), timeout(3XCURSES), attributes(5), standards(5)



Constant Values for Function Keys

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Time: 02:39:10 GMT, October 02, 2010