doupdate, redrawwin, refresh, wnoutrefresh, wredrawln, wrefresh -
refresh curses windows and lines
int wrefresh(WINDOW *win);
int wnoutrefresh(WINDOW *win);
int redrawwin(WINDOW *win);
int wredrawln(WINDOW *win, int beg_line, int num_lines);
The refresh and wrefresh routines (or wnoutrefresh and doupdate) must
be called to get actual output to the terminal, as other routines mere‐
ly manipulate data structures. The routine wrefresh copies the named
window to the physical screen, taking into account what is already
there to do optimizations. The refresh routine is the same, using std‐
scr as the default window. Unless leaveok has been enabled, the physi‐
cal cursor of the terminal is left at the location of the cursor for
The wnoutrefresh and doupdate routines allow multiple updates with more
efficiency than wrefresh alone. In addition to all the window struc‐
tures, curses keeps two data structures representing the terminal
· a physical screen, describing what is actually on the screen, and
· a virtual screen, describing what the programmer wants to have on
The routine wrefresh works by
· first calling wnoutrefresh, which copies the named window to the
virtual screen, and
· then calling doupdate, which compares the virtual screen to the
physical screen and does the actual update.
If the programmer wishes to output several windows at once, a series of
calls to wrefresh results in alternating calls to wnoutrefresh and
doupdate, causing several bursts of output to the screen. By first
calling wnoutrefresh for each window, it is then possible to call doup‐
date once, resulting in only one burst of output, with fewer total
characters transmitted and less CPU time used.
If the win argument to wrefresh is the physical screen (i.e., the glob‐
al variable curscr), the screen is immediately cleared and repainted
The phrase “copies the named window to the virtual screen” above is am‐
biguous. What actually happens is that all touched (changed) lines in
the window are copied to the virtual screen. This affects programs
that use overlapping windows; it means that if two windows overlap, you
can refresh them in either order and the overlap region will be modi‐
fied only when it is explicitly changed. (But see the section on
PORTABILITY below for a warning about exploiting this behavior.)
The wredrawln routine indicates to curses that some screen lines are
corrupted and should be thrown away before anything is written over
them. It touches the indicated lines (marking them changed). The rou‐
tine redrawwin touches the entire window.
Routines that return an integer return ERR upon failure, and OK (SVr4
only specifies "an integer value other than ERR") upon successful com‐
X/Open does not define any error conditions. In this implementation
returns an error if the window pointer is null, or if the win‐
dow is really a pad.
returns an error if the associated call to touchln returns an
Note that refresh and redrawwin may be macros.
The XSI Curses standard, Issue 4 describes these functions.
Whether wnoutrefresh copies to the virtual screen the entire contents
of a window or just its changed portions has never been well-documented
in historic curses versions (including SVr4). It might be unwise to
rely on either behavior in programs that might have to be linked with
other curses implementations. Instead, you can do an explicit touchwin
before the wnoutrefresh call to guarantee an entire-contents copy any‐
curses(3X), curs_outopts(3X) curs_variables(3X).