16.12. curses.ascii — Utilities for ASCII characters

The curses.ascii module supplies name constants for ASCII characters and functions to test membership in various ASCII character classes. The constants supplied are names for control characters as follows:

Name Meaning
SOH Start of heading, console interrupt
STX Start of text
ETX End of text
EOT End of transmission
ENQ Enquiry, goes with ACK flow control
ACK Acknowledgement
BEL Bell
BS Backspace
HT Alias for TAB: “Horizontal tab”
LF Line feed
NL Alias for LF: “New line”
VT Vertical tab
FF Form feed
CR Carriage return
SO Shift-out, begin alternate character set
SI Shift-in, resume default character set
DLE Data-link escape
DC1 XON, for flow control
DC2 Device control 2, block-mode flow control
DC3 XOFF, for flow control
DC4 Device control 4
NAK Negative acknowledgement
SYN Synchronous idle
ETB End transmission block
CAN Cancel
EM End of medium
SUB Substitute
ESC Escape
FS File separator
GS Group separator
RS Record separator, block-mode terminator
US Unit separator
SP Space
DEL Delete

Note that many of these have little practical significance in modern usage. The mnemonics derive from teleprinter conventions that predate digital computers.

The module supplies the following functions, patterned on those in the standard C library:


Checks for an ASCII alphanumeric character; it is equivalent to isalpha(c) or isdigit(c).


Checks for an ASCII alphabetic character; it is equivalent to isupper(c) or islower(c).


Checks for a character value that fits in the 7-bit ASCII set.


Checks for an ASCII whitespace character.


Checks for an ASCII control character (in the range 0x00 to 0x1f).


Checks for an ASCII decimal digit, '0' through '9'. This is equivalent to c in string.digits.


Checks for ASCII any printable character except space.


Checks for an ASCII lower-case character.


Checks for any ASCII printable character including space.


Checks for any printable ASCII character which is not a space or an alphanumeric character.


Checks for ASCII white-space characters; space, line feed, carriage return, form feed, horizontal tab, vertical tab.


Checks for an ASCII uppercase letter.


Checks for an ASCII hexadecimal digit. This is equivalent to c in string.hexdigits.


Checks for an ASCII control character (ordinal values 0 to 31).


Checks for a non-ASCII character (ordinal values 0x80 and above).

These functions accept either integers or strings; when the argument is a string, it is first converted using the built-in function ord().

Note that all these functions check ordinal bit values derived from the first character of the string you pass in; they do not actually know anything about the host machine’s character encoding. For functions that know about the character encoding (and handle internationalization properly) see the string module.

The following two functions take either a single-character string or integer byte value; they return a value of the same type.


Return the ASCII value corresponding to the low 7 bits of c.


Return the control character corresponding to the given character (the character bit value is bitwise-anded with 0x1f).


Return the 8-bit character corresponding to the given ASCII character (the character bit value is bitwise-ored with 0x80).

The following function takes either a single-character string or integer value; it returns a string.


Return a string representation of the ASCII character c. If c is printable, this string is the character itself. If the character is a control character (0x00-0x1f) the string consists of a caret ('^') followed by the corresponding uppercase letter. If the character is an ASCII delete (0x7f) the string is '^?'. If the character has its meta bit (0x80) set, the meta bit is stripped, the preceding rules applied, and '!' prepended to the result.


A 33-element string array that contains the ASCII mnemonics for the thirty-two ASCII control characters from 0 (NUL) to 0x1f (US), in order, plus the mnemonic SP for the space character.