These routines return the character, of type chtype, at the
current position in the named window. If any attributes are set
for that position, their values are OR'ed into the value
returned. Constants defined in <curses.h> can be used with the &
(logical AND) operator to extract the character or attributes
The following bit-masks may be AND-ed with characters returned by
A_CHARTEXT Bit-mask to extract character
A_ATTRIBUTES Bit-mask to extract attributes
A_COLOR Bit-mask to extract color-pair field information
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.
The winch function does not return an error if the window
contains characters larger than 8-bits (255). Only the low-order
8 bits of the character are used by winch.
These functions are described in the XSI Curses standard, Issue
Very old systems (before standardization) provide a different
function with the same name:
• The winch function was part of the original BSD curses
library, which stored a 7-bit character combined with the
In BSD curses, winch returned only the character (as an
integer) with the standout attribute removed.
• System V curses added support for several video attributes
which could be combined with characters in the window.
Reflecting this improvement, the function was altered to
return the character combined with all video attributes in a
X/Open Curses does not specify the size and layout of attributes,
color and character values in chtype; it is implementation-
dependent. This implementation uses 8 bits for character values.
An application using more bits, e.g., a Unicode value, should use
the wide-character equivalents to these functions.
gives an overview of the WINDOW and chtype data types.
goes into more detail, pointing out portability problems and
constraints on the use of chtype for returning window
describes comparable functions for the wide-character
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