tic 1m

tic(1m)                                                                tic(1m)


       tic - the terminfo entry-description compiler


       tic  [-01CDGIKLNTUVWacfgqrstx]  [-e names] [-o dir] [-Q[n]] [-R subset]
       [-v[n]] [-w[n]] file


       The tic command translates a terminfo  file  from  source  format  into
       compiled  format.   The  compiled  format is necessary for use with the
       library routines in ncurses(3x).

       As described in term(5), the database may be either  a  directory  tree
       (one  file  per  terminal  entry)  or a hashed database (one record per
       entry).  The tic command writes only one type of  entry,  depending  on
       how it was built:

       o   For    directory    trees,    the    top-level   directory,   e.g.,
           /usr/share/terminfo, specifies the location of the database.

       o   For hashed databases, a filename is needed.  If the given  file  is
           not  found  by  that  name,  but  can be found by adding the suffix
           ".db", then that is used.

           The default name for the hashed database is the same as the default
           directory name (only adding a ".db" suffix).

       In  either  case  (directory  or  hashed database), tic will create the
       container if it does not exist.  For a directory,  this  would  be  the
       "terminfo" leaf, versus a "terminfo.db" file.

       The  results  are  normally  placed  in  the  system  terminfo database
       /usr/share/terminfo.  The compiled terminal description can  be  placed
       in a different terminfo database.  There are two ways to achieve this:

       o   First,  you  may override the system default either by using the -o
           option,  or  by  setting  the  variable  TERMINFO  in  your   shell
           environment to a valid database location.

       o   Secondly,  if  tic  cannot  write  in  /usr/share/terminfo  or  the
           location specified using your TERMINFO variable, it looks  for  the
           directory  $HOME/.terminfo (or hashed database $HOME/.terminfo.db);
           if that location exists, the entry is placed there.

       Libraries  that  read  terminfo  entries  are  expected  to  check   in

       o   a location specified with the TERMINFO environment variable,

       o   $HOME/.terminfo,

       o   directories listed in the TERMINFO_DIRS environment variable,

       o   a compiled-in list of directories (no default value), and

       o   the system terminfo database (/usr/share/terminfo).


       This  is the same program as infotocap and captoinfo; usually those are
       linked to, or copied from this program:

       o   When invoked as infotocap, tic sets the -I option.

       o   When invoked as captoinfo, tic sets the -C option.


       -0     restricts the output to a single line

       -1     restricts the output to a single column

       -a     tells tic  to  retain  commented-out  capabilities  rather  than
              discarding  them.   Capabilities are commented by prefixing them
              with a period.  This sets the -x option, because it  treats  the
              commented-out  entries  as user-defined names.  If the source is
              termcap, accept the 2-character names  required  by  version  6.
              Otherwise these are ignored.

       -C     Force  source translation to termcap format.  Note: this differs
              from the -C option of infocmp(1m) in that  it  does  not  merely
              translate capability names, but also translates terminfo strings
              to termcap format.  Capabilities that are not  translatable  are
              left  in  the entry under their terminfo names but commented out
              with two preceding dots.  The actual  format  used  incorporates
              some  improvements  for escaped characters from terminfo format.
              For a stricter BSD-compatible translation, add the -K option.

              If this is combined with -c,  tic  makes  additional  checks  to
              report  cases  where  the  terminfo  values do not have an exact
              equivalent in termcap form.  For example:

              o   sgr usually will not  convert,  because  termcap  lacks  the
                  ability  to  work with more than two parameters, and because
                  termcap lacks many of the arithmetic/logical operators  used
                  in terminfo.

              o   capabilities  with more than one delay or with delays before
                  the end of the string will not convert completely.

       -c     tells tic to  only  check  file  for  errors,  including  syntax
              problems  and  bad  use-links.  If you specify -C (-I) with this
              option, the code will print warnings about entries which,  after
              use  resolution, are more than 1023 (4096) bytes long.  Due to a
              fixed buffer length in older termcap libraries, as well as buggy
              checking  for  the  buffer  length  (and  a  documented limit in
              terminfo),  these  entries  may  cause  core  dumps  with  other

              tic  checks  string  capabilities  to  ensure  that  those  with
              parameters will be valid expressions.  It does this  check  only
              for  the predefined string capabilities; those which are defined
              with the -x option are ignored.

       -D     tells tic to print the database locations that it  knows  about,
              and exit.  The first location shown is the one to which it would
              write compiled terminal descriptions.  If tic  is  not  able  to
              find  a  writable  database  location  according  to  the  rules
              summarized above, it will print a diagnostic and  exit  with  an
              error rather than printing a list of database locations.

       -e names
              Limit  writes  and translations to the following comma-separated
              list of terminals.  If any name or alias of a  terminal  matches
              one  of  the  names  in  the  list, the entry will be written or
              translated as normal.  Otherwise no output will be generated for
              it.   The  option  value is interpreted as a file containing the
              list if it contains a '/'.  (Note:  depending  on  how  tic  was
              compiled, this option may require -I or -C.)

       -f     Display     complex     terminfo     strings    which    contain
              if/then/else/endif expressions indented for readability.

       -G     Display constant literals in  decimal  form  rather  than  their
              character equivalents.

       -g     Display  constant  character literals in quoted form rather than
              their decimal equivalents.

       -I     Force source translation to terminfo format.

       -K     Suppress some longstanding ncurses extensions to termcap format,
              e.g., "\s" for space.

       -L     Force  source  translation  to  terminfo format using the long C
              variable names listed in <term.h>

       -N     Disable smart defaults.  Normally, when translating from termcap
              to  terminfo,  the  compiler makes a number of assumptions about
              the   defaults    of    string    capabilities    reset1_string,
              carriage_return,  cursor_left, cursor_down, scroll_forward, tab,
              newline, key_backspace, key_left, and key_down, then attempts to
              use  obsolete termcap capabilities to deduce correct values.  It
              also normally suppresses output of obsolete termcap capabilities
              such  as bs.  This option forces a more literal translation that
              also preserves the obsolete capabilities.

       -odir  Write compiled entries to given  database  location.   Overrides
              the TERMINFO environment variable.

       -Qn    Rather  than  show  source  in terminfo (text) format, print the
              compiled  (binary)  format  in  hexadecimal  or   base64   form,
              depending on the option's value:

               1  hexadecimal

               2  base64

               3  hexadecimal and base64

       -q     Suppress  comments  and  blank  lines  when  showing  translated

              Restrict output to a given subset.  This option is for use  with
              archaic  versions of terminfo like those on SVr1, Ultrix, or HP-
              UX that do not support the full set of SVR4/XSI Curses terminfo;
              and  outright  broken  ports  like  AIX  3.x that have their own
              extensions incompatible with SVr4/XSI.   Available  subsets  are
              "SVr1",  "Ultrix",  "HP",  "BSD"  and "AIX"; see terminfo(5) for

       -r     Force  entry  resolution  (so  there   are   no   remaining   tc
              capabilities)  even  when  doing  translation to termcap format.
              This may be needed if you are preparing a  termcap  file  for  a
              termcap  library (such as GNU termcap through version 1.3 or BSD
              termcap  through  4.3BSD)  that  does  not  handle  multiple  tc
              capabilities per entry.

       -s     Summarize  the  compile  by  showing  the database location into
              which entries are written, and the number of entries  which  are

       -T     eliminates  size-restrictions  on  the  generated text.  This is
              mainly useful for  testing  and  analysis,  since  the  compiled
              descriptions  are  limited  (e.g.,  1023  for  termcap, 4096 for

       -t     tells tic to discard commented-out capabilities.  Normally  when
              translating    from    terminfo   to   termcap,   untranslatable
              capabilities are commented-out.

       -U   tells tic to not post-process the data after  parsing  the  source
            file.  Normally, it infers data which is commonly missing in older
            terminfo data, or in termcaps.

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

       -vn  specifies that (verbose) output be written to standard error trace
            information showing tic's progress.

            The optional parameter n is a  number  from  1  to  9,  inclusive,
            indicating the desired level of detail of information.

            o   If  ncurses  is  built  without  tracing support, the optional
                parameter is ignored.

            o   If n is omitted, the default level is 1.

            o   If n is specified and greater than 1, the level of  detail  is
                increased,   and   the   output   is   written  (with  tracing
                information) to the "trace" file.

            The debug flag levels are as follows:

            1   Names of files created and linked

            2   Information related to the "use" facility

            3   Statistics from the hashing algorithm

            4   Details of extended capabilities

            5   (unused)

            6   (unused)

            7   Entries into the string-table

            8   List of tokens encountered by scanner

            9   All values computed in construction of the hash table

       -W   By itself, the -w  option  will  not  force  long  strings  to  be
            wrapped.  Use the -W option to do this.

            If  you specify both -f and -W options, the latter is ignored when
            -f has already split the line.

       -wn  specifies the width of the output.  The parameter is optional.  If
            it is omitted, it defaults to 60.

       -x   Treat  unknown  capabilities  as  user-defined (see user_caps(5)).
            That is, if you supply  a  capability  name  which  tic  does  not
            recognize, it will infer its type (boolean, number or string) from
            the syntax and make an  extended  table  entry  for  that.   User-
            defined  capability strings whose name begins with "k" are treated
            as function keys.


       file   contains one or more terminfo terminal  descriptions  in  source
              format   [see   terminfo(5)].   Each  description  in  the  file
              describes the capabilities of a particular terminal.

              If file is "-", then the data is read from the  standard  input.
              The file parameter may also be the path of a character-device.


       All  but  one  of  the capabilities recognized by tic are documented in
       terminfo(5).  The exception is the use capability.

       When a use=entry-name field is discovered in a terminal entry currently
       being  compiled,  tic  reads  in the binary from /usr/share/terminfo to
       complete the entry.  (Entries created from file  will  be  used  first.
       tic  duplicates  the  capabilities in entry-name for the current entry,
       with the exception of those capabilities that explicitly are defined in
       the current entry.

       When  an  entry, e.g., entry_name_1, contains a use=entry_name_2 field,
       any  canceled  capabilities  in  entry_name_2  must  also   appear   in
       entry_name_1  before  use=  for  these  capabilities  to be canceled in

       Total compiled entries cannot exceed 4096 bytes.  The name field cannot
       exceed  512  bytes.   Terminal names exceeding the maximum alias length
       (32 characters on systems with long filenames, 14 characters otherwise)
       will  be  truncated  to  the maximum alias length and a warning message
       will be printed.


       System V Release 2 provided  a  tic  utility.   It  accepted  a  single
       option:  -v  (optionally  followed  by  a  number).   According to Ross
       Ridge's comment in mytinfo, this version of tic was unable to represent
       cancelled capabilities.

       System  V  Release 3 provided a different tic utility, written by Pavel
       Curtis, (originally named "compile" in pcurses).  This added an  option
       -c  to check the file for errors, with the caveat that errors in "use="
       links would not be reported.  System  V  Release  3  documented  a  few
       warning  messages  which  did not appear in pcurses.  While the program
       itself was changed  little  as  development  continued  with  System  V
       Release  4,  the  table  of capabilities grew from 180 (pcurses) to 464

       In early development of ncurses (1993), Zeyd Ben-Halim used  the  table
       from  mytinfo  to  extend  the  pcurses  table to 469 capabilities (456
       matched SVr4, 8 were only in SVr4, 13 were not in SVr4).  Of those  13,
       11  were  ultimately  discarded  (perhaps  to match the draft of X/Open
       Curses).  The exceptions were memory_lock_above and memory_unlock  (see

       Eric  Raymond  incorporated  parts of mytinfo into ncurses to implement
       the termcap-to-terminfo source conversion, and extended that  to  begin
       development of the corresponding terminfo-to-termcap source conversion,
       Thomas Dickey completed that development over  the  course  of  several

       In  1999,  Thomas  Dickey  added  the -x option to support user-defined

       In 2010, Roy Marples provided a tic program and  terminfo  library  for
       NetBSD.   That  implementation  adapts  several  features from ncurses,
       including tic's -x option.

       The -c option tells tic to check for problems in  the  terminfo  source
       file.  Continued development provides additional checks:

       o   pcurses had 8 warnings

       o   ncurses in 1996 had 16 warnings

       o   Solaris (SVr4) curses has 28 warnings

       o   NetBSD tic in 2019 has 19 warnings.

       o   ncurses in 2019 has 96 warnings

       The checking done in ncurses' tic helps with the conversion to termcap,
       as well as pointing out errors and inconsistencies.  It is also used to
       ensure  consistency  with the user-defined capabilities.  There are 527
       distinct capabilities in ncurses' terminal database; 128 of  those  are


       X/Open  Curses, Issue 7 (2009) provides a brief description of tic.  It
       lists one option: -c.  The omission of -v is  unexpected.   The  change
       history  states  that  the  description  is  derived  from True64 UNIX.
       According to its manual  pages,  that  system  also  supported  the  -v

       Shortly  after  Issue  7  was  released, Tru64 was discontinued.  As of
       2019, the surviving implementations of tic are  SVr4  (AIX,  HP-UX  and
       Solaris), ncurses and NetBSD curses.  The SVr4 tic programs all support
       the -v option.  The NetBSD tic program follows X/Open's  documentation,
       omitting the -v option.

       The  X/Open  rationale  states  that  some  implementations of tic read
       terminal descriptions from the standard input if the file parameter  is
       omitted.   None of these implementations do that.  Further, it comments
       that some  may  choose  to  read  from  "./terminfo.src"  but  that  is
       obsolescent  behavior  from SVr2, and is not (for example) a documented
       feature of SVr3.


       There is  some  evidence  that  historic  tic  implementations  treated
       description  fields with no whitespace in them as additional aliases or
       short names.  This tic  does  not  do  that,  but  it  does  warn  when
       description fields may be treated that way and check them for dangerous


       Unlike the SVr4 tic command, this implementation can  actually  compile
       termcap  sources.   In fact, entries in terminfo and termcap syntax can
       be mixed in a single source file.  See  terminfo(5)  for  the  list  of
       termcap names taken to be equivalent to terminfo names.

       The  SVr4  manual  pages  are not clear on the resolution rules for use
       capabilities.   This  implementation  of  tic  will  find  use  targets
       anywhere  in  the  source  file, or anywhere in the file tree rooted at
       TERMINFO (if TERMINFO is defined), or  in  the  user's  $HOME/.terminfo
       database  (if  it  exists),  or (finally) anywhere in the system's file
       tree of compiled entries.

       The error messages from this tic have the same format as  GNU  C  error
       messages, and can be parsed by GNU Emacs's compile facility.

       Aside from -c and -v, options are not portable:

       o   Most of tic's options are not supported by SVr4 tic:

           -0 -1 -C -G -I -N -R -T -V -a -e -f -g -o -r -s -t -x

       o   The NetBSD tic  supports a few of the ncurses options

           -a -o -x

           and  adds  -S  (a feature which does the same thing as infocmp's -e
           and -E options).

       The SVr4 -c mode does not report bad "use=" links.

       System V does  not  compile  entries  to  or  read  entries  from  your
       $HOME/.terminfo database unless TERMINFO is explicitly set to it.


            Compiled terminal description database.


       captoinfo(1m),   infocmp(1m),   infotocap(1m),   toe(1m),   curses(3x),
       term(5).  terminfo(5).  user_caps(5).

       This describes ncurses version 6.4 (patch 20230311).


       Eric S. Raymond <> and
       Thomas E. Dickey <>