tput -- initialize a terminal or query terminfo database


tput [-Ttype] capname [parms ...]

tput [-Ttype] init

tput [-Ttype] reset

tput [-Ttype] longname

tput -S <<


tput uses the terminfo database to make the values of terminal-dependent capabilities and information available to the shell (see sh(1)), to initialize or reset the terminal, or return the long name of the requested terminal type. tput outputs a string if the attribute (capability name) is of type string, or an integer if the attribute is of type integer. If the attribute is of type boolean, tput simply sets the exit code (``0'' for TRUE if the terminal has the capability, ``1'' for FALSE if it does not), and produces no output. Before using a value returned on standard output, the user should test the exit code ($?, see sh(1)) 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(4).

indicates the type of terminal. Normally this option is unnecessary, because the default is taken from the environment variable TERM. If -T is specified, then the shell variables LINES and COLUMNS and the layer size will not be referenced.

indicates the attribute from the terminfo database.

If the attribute is a string that takes parameters, the arguments parms will be instantiated into the string. An all numeric argument will be passed to the attribute as a number.

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 capname is allowed per line. The -S option changes the meaning of the ``0'' and ``1'' boolean and string exit codes (see the ``Exit codes'' section).

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 (is1, is2, is3, if, iprog),

  2. any delays (for example, 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 skipped.

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 database.

International functions

capnames for international functionality can also be specified.


compiled terminal description database

libcurses header file (see Intro(3curses))

terminfo header file (see term(4))

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(4)

Exit codes

If capname is of type boolean, a value of ``0'' is set for TRUE and ``1'' for FALSE unless the -S option is used.

If capname is of type string, a value of ``0'' is set if the capname is defined for this terminal 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 (a null value is returned on standard output).

If capname is of type boolean or string and the -S option is used, a value of ``0'' is returned to indicate that all lines were successful. 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 capname is of type integer, 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 of standard output. A value of ``-1'' means that capname is not defined for this terminal type.

Any other exit code indicates an error; see the ``Diagnostics'' section.


tput sets the following exit codes and prints the corresponding diagnostics:

-1 (capname is a numeric variable that is not specified in the terminfo database for this terminal type; for example: tput -T450 lines and tput -T2621 xmc)

No error message is printed; see the ``Exit codes'' section.

Usage error

Unknown terminal type or no terminfo database

Unknown terminfo capability capname


This command works with the enhanced terminfo format specified by The Single UNIX Specification, Version 2; see terminfo(4). Earlier versions of this command used the older terminfo format described on oldterminfo(4).


clear(1), profile(4), stty(1), tabs(1), terminfo(4)


tput bold
In Terminal windows on the Desktop (xterm windows), tput bold will change the font used to the font defined with the -fb option or the boldFont resource of xterm; if these are not used, this option to tput will result in an unusable font in the Terminal window. The Fonts application in the Preferences folder of the Desktop will change the xterm font class to a single font, so that both the ``font'' and ``boldFont'' resources are the same font; this makes xterm use artificial emboldening to achieve a bold font for Terminal windows. The use of tput sgr0 will turn off the bold mode in a Terminal window.

tput init
Initialize the terminal according to the type of terminal in the environment variable TERM. This command should be included in everyone's .profile after the environment variable TERM has been exported, as illustrated on the profile(4) manual page.

tput -T5620 reset
Reset an AT&T 5620 terminal, overriding the type of terminal in the environment variable TERM.

tput cup 0 0
Send the sequence to move the cursor to row zero, column zero (the upper left corner of the screen, usually known as the ``home'' cursor position).

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 standout mode sequence (usually reverse video in a Desktop Terminal window), and offbold, to end standout mode sequence, for the current terminal. This might be followed by a prompt:
   echo "${bold}Please enter your name: ${offbold}\c"

tput hc
Set exit code to indicate if the current terminal is a hardcopy terminal.

tput cup 23 4
Send the sequence to move the cursor to row 23, column 4.

tput longname
Print the long name from the terminfo database for the type of terminal specified in the environment variable TERM.

tput -S <<!

> clear

> cup 10 10

> bold

> !
This example shows tput processing several capabilities in one invocation. This example clears the screen, moves the cursor to position 10, 10 and turns on bold (extra bright) mode. The list is terminated by an exclamation mark ``!'' on a line by itself.

© 2004 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
UnixWare 7 Release 7.1.4 - 25 April 2004