The form library provides terminal-independent facilities for
composing form screens on character-cell terminals. The library
includes: field routines, which create and modify form fields;
and form routines, which group fields into forms, display forms
on the screen, and handle interaction with the user.
The form library uses the curses libraries. To use the form
library, link with the options -lform -lcurses.
Your program should set up the locale, e.g.,
so that input/output processing will work.
A curses initialization routine such as initscr must be called
before using any of these functions.
Current Default Values for Field Attributes
The form library maintains a default value for field attributes.
You can get or set this default by calling the appropriate set_
or retrieval routine with a NULL field pointer. Changing this
default with a set_ function affects future field creations, but
does not change the rendering of fields already created.
Routine Name Index
The following table lists each form routine and the name of the
manual page on which it is described. Routines flagged with “*”
are ncurses-specific, not present in SVr4.
curses Routine Name Manual Page Name
Routines that return pointers return NULL on error, and set errno
to the corresponding error-code returned by functions returning
an integer. Routines that return an integer return one of the
following error codes:
E_OK The routine succeeded.
Routine detected an incorrect or out-of-range argument.
Routine was called from an initialization or termination
The field is already connected to a form.
Contents of a field are not valid.
No fields are connected to the form.
The form has not been posted.
Form is too large for its window.
The form is already posted.
The form driver could not process the request.
System error occurred (see errno(3)).
The form driver code saw an unknown request code.
The header file <form.h> automatically includes the header files
<curses.h> and <eti.h>.
In your library list, libform.a should be before libncurses.a;
that is, you want to say “-lform -lncurses”, not the other way
around (which would give you a link error when using static
These routines emulate the System V forms library. They were not
supported on Version 7 or BSD versions.
The menu facility was documented in SVr4.2 in Character UserInterface Programming (UNIX SVR4.2).
It is not part of X/Open Curses.
Aside from ncurses, there are few implementations:
• systems based on SVr4 source code, e.g., Solaris.
• NetBSD curses.
A few functions in this implementation are extensions added for
ncurses, but not provided by other implementations, e.g.,
This page is part of the ncurses (new curses) project.
Information about the project can be found at
⟨https://www.gnu.org/software/ncurses/ncurses.html⟩. If you have
a bug report for this manual page, send it to
email@example.com. This page was obtained from the
project's upstream Git mirror of the CVS repository
⟨https://github.com/mirror/ncurses.git⟩ on 2023-06-23. (At that
time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the
repository was 2023-03-12.) If you discover any rendering
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is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
(which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to