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       console_codes - Linux console escape and control sequences


       The   Linux  console  implements  a  large  subset  of  the  VT102  and
       ECMA-48/ISO 6429/ANSI X3.64 terminal controls,  plus  certain  private-
       mode  sequences  for changing the color palette, character-set mapping,
       etc.  In the  tabular  descriptions  below,  the  second  column  gives
       ECMA-48  or  DEC  mnemonics  (the  latter if prefixed with DEC) for the
       given function.  Sequences without a mnemonic are neither  ECMA-48  nor

       After  all  the normal output processing has been done, and a stream of
       characters arrives at the console driver for actual printing, the first
       thing  that  happens is a translation from the code used for processing
       to the code used for printing.

       If the console is in UTF-8 mode, then  the  incoming  bytes  are  first
       assembled   into   16-bit   Unicode  codes.   Otherwise  each  byte  is
       transformed according to the current mapping table (which translates it
       to  a  Unicode  value).   See  the  CHARACTER  SETS  section  below for

       In the normal case, the Unicode value is converted to a font index, and
       this  is  stored  in  video memory, so that the corresponding glyph (as
       found in video ROM) appears on  the  screen.   Note  that  the  use  of
       Unicode  (and  the  design  of  the  PC  hardware) allows us to use 512
       different glyphs simultaneously.

       If the current  Unicode  value  is  a  control  character,  or  we  are
       currently  processing  an  escape  sequence,  the  value  will  treated
       specially.  Instead of being turned into a font index and rendered as a
       glyph,  it may trigger cursor movement or other control functions.  See
       the LINUX CONSOLE CONTROLS section below for discussion.

       It is generally not good practice to hard-wire terminal  controls  into
       programs.    Linux   supports   a   terminfo(5)  database  of  terminal
       capabilities.  Rather than emitting console escape sequences  by  hand,
       you  will  almost always want to use a terminfo-aware screen library or
       utility such as ncurses(3), tput(1), or reset(1).

   Linux Console Controls
       This section describes all the control characters and escape  sequences
       that  invoke  special  functions  (i.e.,  anything other than writing a
       glyph at the current cursor location) on the Linux console.

       Control characters

       A character is a control character if (before transformation  according
       to the mapping table) it has one of the 14 codes 00 (NUL), 07 (BEL), 08
       (BS), 09 (HT), 0a (LF), 0b (VT), 0c (FF), 0d (CR), 0e (SO), 0f (SI), 18
       (CAN),  1a  (SUB),  1b (ESC), 7f (DEL).  One can set a ‘display control
       characters’ mode (see below), and allow 07, 09, 0b, 18, 1a,  7f  to  be
       displayed  as glyphs.  On the other hand, in UTF-8 mode all codes 00-1f
       are regarded as control characters, regardless of any ‘display  control
       characters’ mode.

       If  we  have a control character, it is acted upon immediately and then
       discarded (even in the middle of an escape  sequence)  and  the  escape
       sequence continues with the next character.  (However, ESC starts a new
       escape sequence, possibly aborting a previous unfinished one,  and  CAN
       and  SUB abort any escape sequence.)  The recognized control characters
       are BEL, BS, HT, LF, VT, FF, CR, SO, SI, CAN, SUB, ESC, DEL, CSI.  They
       do what one would expect:

       BEL (0x07, ^G) beeps;

       BS  (0x08, ^H) backspaces one column (but not past the beginning of the

       HT (0x09, ^I) goes to the next tab stop or to the end of  the  line  if
              there is no earlier tab stop;

       LF (0x0A, ^J), VT (0x0B, ^K) and FF (0x0C, ^L) all give a linefeed, and
              if LF/NL (new line mode) is set also a carriage return;

       CR (0x0D, ^M) gives a carriage return;

       SO (0x0E, ^N) activates the G1 character set;

       SI (0x0F, ^O) activates the G0 character set;

       CAN (0x18, ^X) and SUB (0x1A, ^Z) interrupt escape sequences;

       ESC (0x1B, ^[) starts an escape sequence;

       DEL (0x7F) is ignored;

       CSI (0x9B) is equivalent to ESC [.

       ESC- but not CSI-sequences

       ESC c     RIS      Reset.
       ESC D     IND      Linefeed.
       ESC E     NEL      Newline.
       ESC H     HTS      Set tab stop at current column.
       ESC M     RI       Reverse linefeed.
       ESC Z     DECID    DEC private identification. The kernel returns the
                          string   ESC [ ? 6 c, claiming that it is a VT102.
       ESC 7     DECSC    Save   current    state    (cursor    coordinates,
                          attributes,  character sets pointed at by G0, G1).
       ESC 8     DECRC    Restore state most recently saved by ESC 7.
       ESC [     CSI      Control sequence introducer
       ESC %              Start sequence selecting character set
       ESC % @               Select default (ISO 646 / ISO 8859-1)
       ESC % G               Select UTF-8
       ESC % 8               Select UTF-8 (obsolete)
       ESC # 8   DECALN   DEC screen alignment test - fill screen with E’s.
       ESC (              Start sequence defining G0 character set
       ESC ( B               Select default (ISO 8859-1 mapping)
       ESC ( 0               Select VT100 graphics mapping
       ESC ( U               Select null mapping - straight to character ROM
       ESC ( K               Select user mapping - the map that is loaded by
                             the utility mapscrn(8).
       ESC )              Start sequence defining G1
                          (followed by one of B, 0, U, K, as above).
       ESC >     DECPNM   Set numeric keypad mode
       ESC =     DECPAM   Set application keypad mode
       ESC ]     OSC      (Should be: Operating  system  command)  ESC  ]  P
                          nrrggbb:  set  palette,  with parameter given in 7
                          hexadecimal digits after the final P :-(.  Here  n
                          is  the  color  (0-15),  and  rrggbb indicates the
                          red/green/blue values (0-255).   ESC  ]  R:  reset

       ECMA-48 CSI sequences

       CSI  (or  ESC  [) is followed by a sequence of parameters, at most NPAR
       (16), that are decimal numbers separated by semicolons.   An  empty  or
       absent  parameter  is taken to be 0.  The sequence of parameters may be
       preceded by a single question mark.

       However, after CSI [ (or ESC [ [) a single character is read  and  this
       entire  sequence is ignored.  (The idea is to ignore an echoed function

       The action of a CSI sequence is determined by its final character.

       @   ICH       Insert the indicated # of blank characters.
       A   CUU       Move cursor up the indicated # of rows.
       B   CUD       Move cursor down the indicated # of rows.
       C   CUF       Move cursor right the indicated # of columns.
       D   CUB       Move cursor left the indicated # of columns.
       E   CNL       Move cursor down the indicated # of rows, to column 1.
       F   CPL       Move cursor up the indicated # of rows, to column 1.
       G   CHA       Move cursor to indicated column in current row.
       H   CUP       Move cursor to the indicated row, column (origin at 1,1).
       J   ED        Erase display (default: from cursor to end of display).
                     ESC [ 1 J: erase from start to cursor.
                     ESC [ 2 J: erase whole display.
       K   EL        Erase line (default: from cursor to end of line).
                     ESC [ 1 K: erase from start of line to cursor.
                     ESC [ 2 K: erase whole line.
       L   IL        Insert the indicated # of blank lines.
       M   DL        Delete the indicated # of lines.
       P   DCH       Delete the indicated # of characters on the current line.
       X   ECH       Erase the indicated # of characters on the current line.
       a   HPR       Move cursor right the indicated # of columns.
       c   DA        Answer ESC [ ? 6 c: ‘I am a VT102’.
       d   VPA       Move cursor to the indicated row, current column.
       e   VPR       Move cursor down the indicated # of rows.
       f   HVP       Move cursor to the indicated row, column.
       g   TBC       Without parameter: clear tab stop at the current position.
                     ESC [ 3 g: delete all tab stops.
       h   SM        Set Mode (see below).
       l   RM        Reset Mode (see below).
       m   SGR       Set attributes (see below).
       n   DSR       Status report (see below).
       q   DECLL     Set keyboard LEDs.
                     ESC [ 0 q: clear all LEDs
                     ESC [ 1 q: set Scroll Lock LED
                     ESC [ 2 q: set Num Lock LED
                     ESC [ 3 q: set Caps Lock LED
       r   DECSTBM   Set scrolling region; parameters are top and bottom row.
       s   ?         Save cursor location.
       u   ?         Restore cursor location.
       ‘   HPA       Move cursor to indicated column in current row.

       ECMA-48 Set Graphics Rendition

       The ECMA-48 SGR sequence ESC [ parameters m  sets  display  attributes.
       Several  attributes  can  be  set  in  the  same sequence, separated by
       semicolons.  An empty parameter (between semicolons or string initiator
       or terminator) is interpreted as a zero.

       param   result
       0       reset all attributes to their defaults
       1       set bold
       2       set half-bright (simulated with color on a color display)
       4       set  underscore (simulated with color on a color display)
               (the colors used to simulate dim  or  underline  are  set
               using ESC ] ...)
       5       set blink

       7       set reverse video
       10      reset  selected mapping, display control flag, and toggle
               meta flag (ECMA-48 says "primary font").
       11      select null mapping,  set  display  control  flag,  reset
               toggle meta flag (ECMA-48 says "first alternate font").
       12      select null mapping, set display control flag, set toggle
               meta flag (ECMA-48 says "second  alternate  font").   The
               toggle  meta  flag  causes  the  high bit of a byte to be
               toggled before the mapping table translation is done.
       21      set normal intensity (ECMA-48 says "doubly underlined")
       22      set normal intensity
       24      underline off
       25      blink off
       27      reverse video off
       30      set black foreground
       31      set red foreground
       32      set green foreground
       33      set brown foreground
       34      set blue foreground
       35      set magenta foreground
       36      set cyan foreground
       37      set white foreground
       38      set underscore on, set default foreground color
       39      set underscore off, set default foreground color
       40      set black background
       41      set red background
       42      set green background
       43      set brown background
       44      set blue background
       45      set magenta background
       46      set cyan background
       47      set white background
       49      set default background color

       ECMA-48 Mode Switches

       ESC [ 3 h
              DECCRM (default off): Display control chars.

       ESC [ 4 h
              DECIM (default off): Set insert mode.

       ESC [ 20 h
              LF/NL (default off): Automatically follow echo of LF, VT  or  FF
              with CR.

       ECMA-48 Status Report Commands

       ESC [ 5 n
              Device status report (DSR): Answer is ESC [ 0 n (Terminal OK).

       ESC [ 6 n
              Cursor position report (CPR): Answer is ESC [ y ; x R, where x,y
              is the cursor location.

       DEC Private Mode (DECSET/DECRST) sequences

       These are not described in ECMA-48.  We list the  Set  Mode  sequences;
       the  Reset  Mode  sequences  are obtained by replacing the final ’h’ by

       ESC [ ? 1 h
              DECCKM (default off): When set, the cursor keys send  an  ESC  O
              prefix, rather than ESC [.

       ESC [ ? 3 h
              DECCOLM (default off = 80 columns): 80/132 col mode switch.  The
              driver sources note that this alone does not suffice; some user-
              mode  utility  such  as resizecons(8) has to change the hardware
              registers on the console video card.

       ESC [ ? 5 h
              DECSCNM (default off): Set reverse-video mode.

       ESC [ ? 6 h
              DECOM (default off): When set, cursor addressing is relative  to
              the upper left corner of the scrolling region.

       ESC [ ? 7 h
              DECAWM  (default  on): Set autowrap on.  In this mode, a graphic
              character emitted after column 80 (or column 132 of  DECCOLM  is
              on)  forces a wrap to the beginning of the following line first.

       ESC [ ? 8 h
              DECARM (default on): Set keyboard autorepreat on.

       ESC [ ? 9 h
              X10 Mouse Reporting (default off): Set reporting mode to  1  (or
              reset to 0) — see below.

       ESC [ ? 25 h
              DECTECM (default on): Make cursor visible.

       ESC [ ? 1000 h
              X11  Mouse  Reporting (default off): Set reporting mode to 2 (or
              reset to 0) — see below.

       Linux Console Private CSI Sequences

       The following sequences are neither ECMA-48 nor native VT102.  They are
       native  to the Linux console driver.  Colors are in SGR parameters: 0 =
       black, 1 = red, 2 = green, 3 = brown, 4 = blue, 5 = magenta, 6 =  cyan,
       7 = white.

       ESC [ 1 ; n ]       Set color n as the underline color
       ESC [ 2 ; n ]       Set color n as the dim color
       ESC [ 8 ]           Make the current color pair the default attributes.
       ESC [ 9 ; n ]       Set screen blank timeout to n minutes.
       ESC [ 10 ; n ]      Set bell frequency in Hz.
       ESC [ 11 ; n ]      Set bell duration in msec.
       ESC [ 12 ; n ]      Bring specified console to the front.
       ESC [ 13 ]          Unblank the screen.
       ESC [ 14 ; n ]      Set the VESA powerdown interval in minutes.

   Character Sets
       The  kernel  knows  about  4  translations of bytes into console-screen
       symbols.  The four tables are: a) Latin1 -> PC, b)  VT100  graphics  ->
       PC, c) PC -> PC, d) user-defined.

       There  are two character sets, called G0 and G1, and one of them is the
       current character set. (Initially G0.)  Typing ^N causes G1  to  become
       current, ^O causes G0 to become current.

       These  variables  G0  and  G1  point at a translation table, and can be
       changed by the user.   Initially  they  point  at  tables  a)  and  b),
       respectively.   The sequences ESC ( B and ESC ( 0 and ESC ( U and ESC (
       K  cause  G0  to  point  at  translation  table  a),  b),  c)  and  d),
       respectively.   The sequences ESC ) B and ESC ) 0 and ESC ) U and ESC )
       K  cause  G1  to  point  at  translation  table  a),  b),  c)  and  d),

       The  sequence  ESC c causes a terminal reset, which is what you want if
       the screen is all garbled.  The oft-advised "echo ^V^O" will only  make
       G0  current,  but there is no guarantee that G0 points at table a).  In
       some distributions there is a program reset(1)  that  just  does  "echo
       ^[c".   If  your  terminfo entry for the console is correct (and has an
       entry rs1=\Ec), then "tput reset" will also work.

       The user-defined mapping table can be set using mapscrn(8).  The result
       of  the mapping is that if a symbol c is printed, the symbol s = map[c]
       is sent to the video memory.  The bitmap that corresponds to s is found
       in the character ROM, and can be changed using setfont(8).

   Mouse Tracking
       The  mouse  tracking  facility  is  intended to return xterm-compatible
       mouse status reports.  Because the console driver has no  way  to  know
       the  device  or  type  of  the mouse, these reports are returned in the
       console input stream only when the virtual terminal driver  receives  a
       mouse  update  ioctl.   These ioctls must be generated by a mouse-aware
       user-mode application such as the gpm(8) daemon.

       The mouse tracking escape sequences generated by xterm  encode  numeric
       parameters  in a single character as value+040.  For example, ’!’ is 1.
       The screen coordinate system is 1-based.

       The X10 compatibility mode sends an escape  sequence  on  button  press
       encoding  the  location and the mouse button pressed.  It is enabled by
       sending ESC [ ? 9 h and disabled with ESC [ ? 9 l.   On  button  press,
       xterm  sends ESC [ M bxy (6 characters).  Here b is button-1, and x and
       y are the x and y coordinates of the mouse when the button was pressed.
       This is the same code the kernel also produces.

       Normal  tracking mode (not implemented in Linux 2.0.24) sends an escape
       sequence on both button press and  release.   Modifier  information  is
       also  sent.   It is enabled by sending ESC [ ? 1000 h and disabled with
       ESC [ 1000 l.  On button press or release, xterm sends  ESC  [  M  bxy.
       The  low  two bits of b encode button information: 0=MB1 pressed, 1=MB2
       pressed,  2=MB3  pressed,  3=release.   The  upper  bits  encode   what
       modifiers were down when the button was pressed and are added together:
       4=Shift, 8=Meta, 16=Control.  Again x and y are the x and y coordinates
       of the mouse event.  The upper left corner is (1,1).

   Comparisons With Other Terminals
       Many different terminal types are described, like the Linux console, as
       being ‘VT100-compatible’.  Here  we  discuss  differences  between  the
       Linux  console  and  the  two  most important others, the DEC VT102 and

       Control-character handling

       The VT102 also recognized the following control characters:

       NUL (0x00) was ignored;

       ENQ (0x05) triggered an answerback message;

       DC1 (0x11, ^Q, XON) resumed transmission;

       DC3 (0x13, ^S, XOFF) caused VT100 to ignore (and stop transmitting) all
              codes except XOFF and XON.

       VT100-like DC1/DC3 processing may be enabled by the tty driver.

       The  xterm  program  (in  VT100 mode) recognizes the control characters
       BEL, BS, HT, LF, VT, FF, CR, SO, SI, ESC.

       Escape sequences

       VT100 console sequences not implemented on the Linux console:

       ESC N       SS2   Single shift 2. (Select G2 character set for the next
                         character only.)
       ESC O       SS3   Single shift 3. (Select G3 character set for the next

                         character only.)
       ESC P       DCS   Device control string (ended by ESC \)
       ESC X       SOS   Start of string.
       ESC ^       PM    Privacy message (ended by ESC \)
       ESC \       ST    String terminator
       ESC * ...         Designate G2 character set
       ESC + ...         Designate G3 character set

       The program xterm (in VT100 mode) recognizes ESC c, ESC # 8, ESC >, ESC
       =,  ESC  D, ESC E, ESC H, ESC M, ESC N, ESC O, ESC P ... ESC  ESC Z (it
       answers ESC [ ? 1 ; 2 c, ‘I am a VT100 with advanced video option’) and
       ESC  ^  ... ESC  with the same meanings as indicated above.  It accepts
       ESC (, ESC ), ESC *,  ESC + followed by 0, A, B  for  the  DEC  special
       character and line drawing set, UK, and US-ASCII, respectively.

       The  user  can  configure  xterm  to  respond to VT220-specific control
       sequences, and it will  identify  itself  as  a  VT52,  VT100,  and  up
       depending on the way it is configured and initialized.

       It  accepts  ESC  ]  (OSC)  for  the  setting of certain resources.  In
       addition to the ECMA-48 string terminator (ST), xterm accepts a BEL  to
       terminate  an OSC string.  These are a few of the OSC control sequences
       recognized by xterm:

       ESC ] 0 ; txt ST        Set icon name and window title to txt.
       ESC ] 1 ; txt ST        Set icon name to txt.
       ESC ] 2 ; txt ST        Set window title to txt.
       ESC ] 4 ; num; txt ST   Set ANSI color num to txt.
       ESC ] 10 ; txt ST       Set dynamic text color to txt.
       ESC ] 4 6 ; name ST     Change log file to name (normally disabled
                               by a compile-time option)
       ESC ] 5 0 ; fn ST       Set font to fn.

       It recognizes the following with slightly modified meaning (saving more
       state, behaving closer to VT100/VT220):

       ESC 7  DECSC   Save cursor
       ESC 8  DECRC   Restore cursor

       It also recognizes

       ESC F          Cursor to lower left corner of screen (if enabled by
                      xterm’s hpLowerleftBugCompat resource)
       ESC l          Memory lock (per HP terminals).
                      Locks memory above the cursor.
       ESC m          Memory unlock (per HP terminals).
       ESC n   LS2    Invoke the G2 character set.
       ESC o   LS3    Invoke the G3 character set.
       ESC |   LS3R   Invoke the G3 character set as GR.
                      Has no visible effect in xterm.
       ESC }   LS2R   Invoke the G2 character set as GR.
                      Has no visible effect in xterm.
       ESC ~   LS1R   Invoke the G1 character set as GR.
                      Has no visible effect in xterm.

       It   also   recognizes  ESC  %  and  provides  a  more  complete  UTF-8
       implementation than Linux console.

       CSI Sequences

       Old versions of xterm, for example, from X11R5, interpret the blink SGR
       as  a  bold  SGR.   Later  versions  which implemented ANSI colors, for
       example, XFree86 3.1.2A in 1995, improved this by  allowing  the  blink
       attribute  to  be  displayed  as  a  color.   Modern  versions of xterm
       implement blink SGR as blinking text and still allow colored text as an
       alternate  rendering  of  SGRs.  Stock X11R6 versions did not recognize
       the color-setting SGRs until the X11R6.8  release,  which  incorporated
       XFree86  xterm.  All ECMA-48 CSI sequences recognized by Linux are also
       recognized by xterm, however xterm implements several ECMA-48  and  DEC
       control sequences not recognized by Linux.

       The  xterm  program  recognizes  all  of the DEC Private Mode sequences
       listed above, but  none  of  the  Linux  private-mode  sequences.   For
       discussion  of  xterm’s  own private-mode sequences, refer to the Xterm
       Control Sequences document by Edward Moy, Stephen Gildea, and Thomas E.
       Dickey available with the X distribution.  That document, though terse,
       is much longer than this manual page.  For a chronological overview,


       details changes to xterm.

       The vttest program


       demonstrates  many  of  these  control  sequences.   The  xterm  source
       distribution   also   contains  sample  scripts  which  exercise  other


       ESC 8 (DECRC) is not able to restore the character set changed with ESC


       In  2.0.23,  CSI  is  broken,  and  NUL  is  not  ignored inside escape

       Some  older  kernel  versions  (after  2.0)  interpret  8-bit   control
       sequences.   These  "C1  controls"  use  codes  between  128 and 159 to
       replace ESC [, ESC ] and similar two-byte control sequence  initiators.
       There  are  fragments  of  that in modern kernels (either overlooked or
       broken  by  changes  to  support  UTF-8),  but  the  implementation  is
       incomplete and should be regarded as unreliable.

       Linux  "private  mode" sequences do not follow the rules in ECMA-48 for
       private mode control sequences.  In particular, those ending with ]  do
       not  use  a  standard  terminating  character.   The  OSC (set palette)
       sequence is a greater problem, since xterm  may  interpret  this  as  a
       control  sequence  which requires a string terminator (ST).  Unlike the
       setterm sequences which will be ignored (since they are invalid control
       sequences), the palette sequence will make xterm appear to hang (though
       pressing the return-key will fix that).   To  accommodate  applications
       which have been hardcoded to use Linux control sequences, set the xterm
       resource brokenLinuxOSC to true.

       An older version of this document implied  that  Linux  recognizes  the
       ECMA-48 control sequence for invisible text.  It is ignored.


       console(4), console_ioctl(4), charsets(7)


       This  page  is  part of release 2.77 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, and information about reporting  bugs,  can
       be found at