curs_add_wch.3x - Man Page

add a complex character and rendition to a curses window, then advance the cursor


#include <curses.h>

int add_wch( const cchar_t *wch );
int wadd_wch( WINDOW *win, const cchar_t *wch );
int mvadd_wch( int y, int x, const cchar_t *wch );
int mvwadd_wch( WINDOW *win, int y, int x, const cchar_t *wch );

int echo_wchar( const cchar_t *wch );
int wecho_wchar( WINDOW *win, const cchar_t *wch );



The add_wch, wadd_wch, mvadd_wch, and mvwadd_wch functions put the complex character wch into the given window at its current position, which is then advanced. These functions perform wrapping and special-character processing as follows:

  • If wch refers to a spacing character, then any previous character at that location is removed. A new character specified by wch is placed at that location with rendition specified by wch. The cursor then advances to the next spacing character on the screen.
  • If wch refers to a non-spacing character, all previous characters at that location are preserved. The non-spacing characters of wch are added to the spacing complex character, and the rendition specified by wch is ignored.
  • If the character part of wch is a tab, newline, backspace or other control character, the window is updated and the cursor moves as if addch were called.


The echo_wchar function is functionally equivalent to a call to add_wch followed by a call to refresh(3X). Similarly, the wecho_wchar is functionally equivalent to a call to wadd_wch followed by a call to wrefresh. The knowledge that only a single character is being output is taken into consideration and, for non-control characters, a considerable performance gain might be seen by using the *echo* functions instead of their equivalents.

Line Graphics

Like addch(3X), addch_wch accepts symbols which make it simple to draw lines and other frequently used special characters. These symbols correspond to the same VT100 line-drawing set as addch(3X).

WACS_BLOCK0x25ae #0solid square block
WACS_BOARD0x2592 #hboard of squares
WACS_BTEE0x2534 +vbottom tee
WACS_BULLET0x00b7 o~bullet
WACS_CKBOARD0x2592 :achecker board (stipple)
WACS_DARROW0x2193 v.arrow pointing down
WACS_DEGREE0x00b0 'fdegree symbol
WACS_DIAMOND0x25c6 +`diamond
WACS_GEQUAL0x2265 >>greater-than-or-equal-to
WACS_HLINE0x2500 -qhorizontal line
WACS_LANTERN0x2603 #ilantern symbol
WACS_LARROW0x2190 <,arrow pointing left
WACS_LEQUAL0x2264 <yless-than-or-equal-to
WACS_LLCORNER0x2514 +mlower left-hand corner
WACS_LRCORNER0x2518 +jlower right-hand corner
WACS_LTEE0x2524 +tleft tee
WACS_NEQUAL0x2260 !|not-equal
WACS_PI0x03c0 *{greek pi
WACS_PLMINUS0x00b1 #gplus/minus
WACS_PLUS0x253c +nplus
WACS_RARROW0x2192 >+arrow pointing right
WACS_RTEE0x251c +uright tee
WACS_S10x23ba -oscan line 1
WACS_S30x23bb -pscan line 3
WACS_S70x23bc -rscan line 7
WACS_S90x23bd _sscan line 9
WACS_STERLING0x00a3 f}pound-sterling symbol
WACS_TTEE0x252c +wtop tee
WACS_UARROW0x2191  ^-arrow pointing up
WACS_ULCORNER0x250c +lupper left-hand corner
WACS_URCORNER0x2510 +kupper right-hand corner
WACS_VLINE0x2502 |xvertical line

The wide-character configuration of ncurses also defines symbols for thick lines (acsc “J” to “V”):

WACS_T_BTEE0x253b+Vthick tee pointing up
WACS_T_HLINE0x2501-Qthick horizontal line
WACS_T_LLCORNER0x2517+Mthick lower left corner
WACS_T_LRCORNER0x251b+Jthick lower right corner
WACS_T_LTEE0x252b+Tthick tee pointing right
WACS_T_PLUS0x254b+Nthick large plus
WACS_T_RTEE0x2523+Uthick tee pointing left
WACS_T_TTEE0x2533+Wthick tee pointing down
WACS_T_ULCORNER0x250f+Lthick upper left corner
WACS_T_URCORNER0x2513+Kthick upper right corner
WACS_T_VLINE0x2503|Xthick vertical line

and for double-lines (acsc “A” to “I”):

WACS_D_BTEE0x2569+Hdouble tee pointing up
WACS_D_HLINE0x2550-Rdouble horizontal line
WACS_D_LLCORNER0x255a+Ddouble lower left corner
WACS_D_LRCORNER0x255d+Adouble lower right corner
WACS_D_LTEE0x2560+Fdouble tee pointing right
WACS_D_PLUS0x256c+Edouble large plus
WACS_D_RTEE0x2563+Gdouble tee pointing left
WACS_D_TTEE0x2566+Idouble tee pointing down
WACS_D_ULCORNER0x2554+Cdouble upper left corner
WACS_D_URCORNER0x2557+Bdouble upper right corner
WACS_D_VLINE0x2551|Ydouble vertical line

Unicode's descriptions for these characters differs slightly from ncurses, by introducing the term “light” (along with less important details). Here are its descriptions for the normal, thick, and double horizontal lines:


Return Value

All routines return the integer ERR upon failure and OK on success.

X/Open does not define any error conditions. This implementation returns an error

The latter may be due to different causes:

Functions with a “mv” prefix first perform a cursor movement using wmove, and return an error if the position is outside the window, or if the window pointer is null.


Note that add_wch, mvadd_wch, mvwadd_wch, and echo_wchar may be macros.


All of these functions are described in the XSI Curses standard, Issue 4. The defaults specified for line-drawing characters apply in the POSIX locale.

X/Open Curses makes it clear that the WACS_ symbols should be defined as a pointer to cchar_t data, e.g., in the discussion of border_set. A few implementations are problematic:

X/Open Curses does not define symbols for thick- or double-lines. SVr4 curses implementations defined their line-drawing symbols in terms of intermediate symbols. This implementation extends those symbols, providing new definitions which are not in the SVr4 implementations.

Not all Unicode-capable terminals provide support for VT100-style alternate character sets (i.e., the acsc capability), with their corresponding line-drawing characters. X/Open Curses did not address the aspect of integrating Unicode with line-drawing characters. Existing implementations of Unix curses (AIX, HPUX, Solaris) use only the acsc character-mapping to provide this feature. As a result, those implementations can only use single-byte line-drawing characters. Ncurses 5.3 (2002) provided a table of Unicode values to solve these problems. NetBSD curses incorporated that table in 2010.

In this implementation, the Unicode values are used instead of the terminal description's acsc mapping as discussed in ncurses(3X) for the environment variable NCURSES_NO_UTF8_ACS. In contrast, for the same cases, the line-drawing characters described in curs_addch(3X) will use only the ASCII default values.

Having Unicode available does not solve all of the problems with line-drawing for curses:

See Also

curses(3X), curs_addch(3X), curs_attr(3X), curs_clear(3X), curs_outopts(3X), curs_refresh(3X), putwc(3)

Referenced By

The man pages add_wch.3x(3), echo_wchar.3x(3), mvadd_wch.3x(3), mvwadd_wch.3x(3), wadd_wch.3x(3) and wecho_wchar.3x(3) are aliases of curs_add_wch.3x(3).