This library allows easy processing of keyboard entry from terminal-based programs. It handles all the necessary logic to recognise special keys, UTF-8 combining, and so on, with a simple interface.


Note: This project is now DEAD; end-of-life. There will likely be no further releases.

All of the code will be migrated into libtickit instead. libtermkey should not be used for new programs; use libtickit.

It provides the following features:

Comparision with Terminfo

This library uses the terminfo database for the terminal type given by $TERM as a first attempt to convert raw incoming bytes into symbolic keypress events. If this translation fails, and the terminal type is known to be one that uses xterm's generic CSI scheme for representing modified keypresses (e.g. xterm), then the sequence is interpreted according to xterm's rules. Finally, if all of these fail, the raw bytes will be presented as they are.

Special handling for screen is made, because of the way screen will translate some keypresses that it recognises, but passes on everything else verbatim. The xterm rules will also apply in this case, to cope with the case where screen is being driven by an xterm-like terminal, ensuring all the modified keypresses can still be interpreted.


Download source in tarball from:

The primary revision control repository is a Bazaar branch at http://bazaar.leonerd.org.uk/c/libtermkey/.

For an overview of the API, see here.

Online versions of the manpages are available in HTML form.

Language Bindings

This is a C library, but the following bindings exist for other languages.