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8.6 Automatic Display

If you find that you want to print the value of an expression frequently (to see how it changes), you might want to add it to the automatic display list so that No value for GDBN prints its value each time your program stops. Each expression added to the list is given a number to identify it; to remove an expression from the list, you specify that number. The automatic display looks like this:

2: foo = 38
3: bar[5] = (struct hack *) 0x3804

This display shows item numbers, expressions and their current values. As with displays you request manually using x or print, you can specify the output format you prefer; in fact, display decides whether to use print or x depending your format specification—it uses x if you specify either the ‘i’ or ‘s’ format, or a unit size; otherwise it uses print.

display expr

Add the expression expr to the list of expressions to display each time your program stops. See section Expressions.

display does not repeat if you press <RET> again after using it.

display/fmt expr

For fmt specifying only a display format and not a size or count, add the expression expr to the auto-display list but arrange to display it each time in the specified format fmt. See section Output Formats.

display/fmt addr

For fmti’ or ‘s’, or including a unit-size or a number of units, add the expression addr as a memory address to be examined each time your program stops. Examining means in effect doing ‘x/fmt addr’. See section Examining Memory.

For example, ‘display/i $pc’ can be helpful, to see the machine instruction about to be executed each time execution stops (‘$pc’ is a common name for the program counter; see section Registers).

undisplay dnums
delete display dnums

Remove item numbers dnums from the list of expressions to display.

undisplay does not repeat if you press <RET> after using it. (Otherwise you would just get the error ‘No display number …’.)

disable display dnums

Disable the display of item numbers dnums. A disabled display item is not printed automatically, but is not forgotten. It may be enabled again later.

enable display dnums

Enable display of item numbers dnums. It becomes effective once again in auto display of its expression, until you specify otherwise.


Display the current values of the expressions on the list, just as is done when your program stops.

info display

Print the list of expressions previously set up to display automatically, each one with its item number, but without showing the values. This includes disabled expressions, which are marked as such. It also includes expressions which would not be displayed right now because they refer to automatic variables not currently available.

If a display expression refers to local variables, then it does not make sense outside the lexical context for which it was set up. Such an expression is disabled when execution enters a context where one of its variables is not defined. For example, if you give the command display last_char while inside a function with an argument last_char, No value for GDBN displays this argument while your program continues to stop inside that function. When it stops elsewhere—where there is no variable last_char—the display is disabled automatically. The next time your program stops where last_char is meaningful, you can enable the display expression once again.

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