setterm writes to standard output a character string that will invoke
the specified terminal capabilities. Where possible terminfo is con-
sulted to find the string to use. Some options however (marked "vir-
tual consoles only" below) do not correspond to a terminfo(5) capabil-
ity. In this case, if the terminal type is "con" or "linux" the string
that invokes the specified capabilities on the PC Minix virtual console
driver is output. Options that are not implemented by the terminal are
For boolean options (on or off), the default is on.
For conciseness, an 8-color below is black, red, green, yellow, blue,
magenta, cyan, or white.
A 16-color is an 8-color, grey, or bright followed by red, green, yel-
low, blue, magenta, cyan, or white.
The various color options may be set independently, at least at virtual
consoles, though the results of setting multiple modes (for example,
-underline and -half-bright) are hardware-dependent.
Overrides the TERM environment variable.
-reset Displays the terminal reset string, which typically resets the
terminal to its power on state.
Displays the terminal initialization string, which typically
sets the terminal's rendering options, and other attributes to
the default values.
Turns the terminal's cursor on or off.
-repeat [on|off] (virtual consoles only)
Turns keyboard repeat on or off.
-appcursorkeys [on|off] (virtual consoles only)
Sets Cursor Key Application Mode on or off. When on, ESC O A,
ESC O B, etc. will be sent for the cursor keys instead of ESC [
A, ESC [ B, etc. See the "vi and Cursor-Keys" section of the
Text-Terminal-HOWTO for how this can cause problems for vi
-linewrap [on|off] (virtual consoles only)
Turns automatic line-wrapping on or off.
-hbcolor 16-color (virtual consoles only)
Sets the color for half-bright characters.
-inversescreen [on|off] (virtual consoles only)
Inverts the screen colors. Foreground and background are
swapped, as are underline and half-brightness.
Turns bold (extra bright) mode on or off. Except at a virtual
console, -bold off turns off all attributes (bold, half-bright-
ness, blink, reverse).
Turns dim (half-brightness) mode on or off (see -hbcolor).
Except at a virtual console, -half-bright off turns off all
attributes (bold, half-brightness, blink, reverse).
Turns blink mode on or off. Except at a virtual console, -blink
off turns off all attributes (bold, half-brightness, blink,
Turns reverse video mode on or off. Except at a virtual con-
sole, -reverse off turns off all attributes (bold, half-bright-
ness, blink, reverse).
Turns underline mode on or off (see -ulcolor).
-store (virtual consoles only)
Stores the terminal's current rendering options (foreground and
background colors) as the values to be used at reset-to-default.
Clears the screen and "homes" the cursor, as clear(1).
Clears from the current cursor position to the end of the
-tabs [tab1 tab2 tab3 ...] (virtual consoles only)
Sets tab stops at the given horizontal cursor positions, in the
range 1-160. Without arguments, shows the current tab stop set-
-clrtabs [tab1 tab2 tab3 ...] (virtual consoles only)
Clears tab stops from the given horizontal cursor positions, in
the range 1-160. Without arguments, clears all tab stops.
-regtabs [1-160] (virtual consoles only)
Clears all tab stops, then sets a regular tab stop pattern, with
one tab every specified number of positions. Without an argu-
ment, defaults to 8.
Writes a snapshot of the given virtual console (with attributes)
to the file specified in the -file option, overwriting its con-
tents; the default is screen.dump. Without an argument, dumps
the current virtual console. Overrides -append.
Like -dump, but appends to the snapshot file instead of over-
writing it. Only works if no -dump options are given.
Sets the snapshot file name for any -dump or -append options on
the same command line. If this option is not present, the
default is screen.dump in the current directory. A path name
that exceeds system maximum will be truncated, see PATH_MAX from
linux/limits.h for the value.
-msg [on|off] (virtual consoles only)
Enables or disables the sending of kernel printk() messages to
-msglevel 1-8 (virtual consoles only)
Sets the console logging level for kernel printk() messages.
All messages strictly more important than this will be printed,
so a logging level of 0 has the same effect as -msg on and a
logging level of 8 will print all kernel messages. klogd(8) may
be a more convenient interface to the logging of kernel mes-
Puts the monitor into VESA vsync suspend mode.
Puts the monitor into VESA hsync suspend mode.
Puts the monitor into VESA powerdown mode.
Turns off monitor VESA powersaving features.
Sets the VESA powerdown interval in minutes. Without an argu-
ment, defaults to 0 (disable powerdown). If the console is
blanked or the monitor is in suspend mode, then the monitor will
go into vsync suspend mode or powerdown mode respectively after
this period of time has elapsed.
Sets the bell duration in milliseconds. Without an argument,
defaults to 0.
Sets the bell frequency in Hz. Without an argument, defaults to
The setterm command is part of the util-linux package and is available
util-linux January 2000 SETTERM(1)
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