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groff(1)                                                              groff(1)


       groff - front-end for the groff document formatting system


       [file ...]  -h | --help -v | --version [option ...]


       This  document  describes the groff program, the main front-end for the
       groff document formatting system.  The groff program and macro suite is
       the implementation of a roff(7) system within the free software collec-
       tion GNU The groff system has all features of the classical  roff,  but
       adds many extensions.

       The  groff  program allows to control the whole groff system by command
       line options.  This is a great  simplification  in  comparison  to  the
       classical case (which uses pipes only).


       The  command line is parsed according to the usual GNU convention.  The
       whitespace between a command line option and its argument is  optional.
       Options  can be grouped behind a single `-' (minus character).  A file-
       name of - (minus character) denotes the standard input.

       As groff is a wrapper program for troff both programs share  a  set  of
       options.  But the groff program has some additional, native options and
       gives a new meaning to some troff options.  On the other hand, not  all
       troff options can be fed into groff.

   Native groff Options
       The  following options either do not exist for troff or are differently
       interpreted by groff.

       -D arg Set default input encoding used by preconv to arg.  Implies  -k.

       -e     Preprocess with eqn.

       -g     Preprocess with grn.

       -G     Preprocess with grap.  Implies -p.

       -h     --help Print a help message.

       -I dir This  option  may  be  used to specify a directory to search for
              files (both those on the command line and those named  in  .psbb
              and  .so requests, and \X'ps: import' and \X'ps: file' escapes).
              The current directory is always searched first.  This option may
              be specified more than once; the directories are searched in the
              order specified.  No directory search  is  performed  for  files
              specified  using  an  absolute path.  This option implies the -s

       -j     Preprocess with chem.  Implies -p.

       -k     Preprocess with preconv.  This is  run  before  any  other  pre-
              processor.  Please refer to preconv's manual page for its behav-
              iour if no -K (or -D) option is specified.

       -K arg Set input encoding used by preconv to arg.  Implies -k.

       -l     Send the output to a spooler program for printing.  The  command
              that  should  be used for this is specified by the print command
              in the device description file, see groff_font(5).  If this com-
              mand is not present, the output is piped into the lpr(1) program
              by default.  See options -L and -X.

       -L arg Pass arg to the spooler program.  Several  arguments  should  be
              passed with a separate -L option each.  Note that groff does not
              prepend `-' (a minus sign) to  arg  before  passing  it  to  the
              spooler program.

       -N     Don't allow newlines within eqn delimiters.  This is the same as
              the -N option in eqn.

       -p     Preprocess with pic.

       -P -option
              -P -option -P arg Pass -option or -option arg to the postproces-
              sor.   The option must be specified with the necessary preceding
              minus sign(s) `-' or `--' because groff  does  not  prepend  any
              dashes  before passing it to the postprocessor.  For example, to
              pass a title to the gxditview postprocessor, the shell command

                     groff -X -P -title -P 'groff it' foo

              is equivalent to

                     groff -X -Z foo | gxditview -title 'groff it' -

       -R     Preprocess with refer.  No mechanism  is  provided  for  passing
              arguments  to  refer  because most refer options have equivalent
              language elements that can be  specified  within  the  document.
              See refer(1) for more details.

       -s     Preprocess with soelim.

       -S     Safer mode.  Pass the -S option to pic and disable the following
              troff requests: .open, .opena, .pso, .sy, and .pi.  For security
              reasons, safer mode is enabled by default.

       -t     Preprocess with tbl.

       -T dev Set  output device to dev.  For this device, troff generates the
              intermediate output; see groff_out(5).  Then groff calls a post-
              processor  to  convert  troff's intermediate output to its final
              format.  Real devices in groff are

                     dvi    TeX DVI format (postprocessor is grodvi).

                     html   xhtml HTML and  XHTML  output  (preprocessors  are
                            soelim    and    pre-grohtml,   postprocessor   is

                     lbp    Canon CAPSL printers (LBP-4 and LBP-8 series laser
                            printers; postprocessor is grolbp).

                     lj4    HP LaserJet4 compatible (or other PCL5 compatible)
                            printers (postprocessor is grolj4).

                     ps     PostScript output (postprocessor is grops).

                     pdf    Portable Document Format (PDF) output (postproces-
                            sor is gropdf).

              For  the  following  TTY output devices (postprocessor is always
              grotty), -T selects the output encoding:

                     ascii  7bit ASCII.

                     cp1047 Latin-1 character set for EBCDIC hosts.

                     latin1 ISO 8859-1.

                     utf8   Unicode character set  in  UTF-8  encoding.   This
                            mode has the most useful fonts for TTY mode, so it
                            is the best mode for TTY output.

              The following arguments select gxditview as the  `postprocessor'
              (it is rather a viewing program):

                     X75    75dpi resolution, 10pt document base font.

                     X75-12 75dpi resolution, 12pt document base font.

                     X100   100dpi resolution, 10pt document base font.

                            100dpi resolution, 12pt document base font.

              The default device is ps.

       -U     Unsafe  mode.  Reverts to the (old) unsafe behaviour; see option

       -v     --version Output version information of groff and  of  all  pro-
              grams  that  are  run  by it; that is, the given command line is
              parsed in the usual way, passing -v to all subprograms.

       -V     Output the pipeline that would be run by  groff  (as  a  wrapper
              program)  on  the  standard  output,  but do not execute it.  If
              given more than once, the commands are both printed on the stan-
              dard error and run.

       -X     Use  gxditview  instead  of  using  the  usual  postprocessor to
              (pre)view a document.  The printing spooler behavior as outlined
              with options -l and -L is carried over to gxditview(1) by deter-
              mining an argument for the -printCommand option of gxditview(1).
              This  sets  the  default Print action and the corresponding menu
              entry to that value.  -X only produces good results  with  -Tps,
              -TX75,  -TX75-12, -TX100, and -TX100-12.  The default resolution
              for previewing -Tps output is 75dpi;  this  can  be  changed  by
              passing the -resolution option to gxditview, for example

                     groff -X -P-resolution -P100 -man foo.1

       -z     Suppress  output  generated  by  troff.  Only error messages are

       -Z     Do not automatically postprocess groff  intermediate  output  in
              the usual manner.  This will cause the troff output to appear on
              standard output, replacing the usual postprocessor  output;  see

   Transparent Options
       The  following  options  are transparently handed over to the formatter
       program troff that is called by groff subsequently.  These options  are
       described in more detail in troff(1).

       -a     ASCII approximation of output.

       -b     Backtrace on error or warning.

       -c     Disable color output.  Please consult the grotty(1) man page for
              more details.

       -C     Enable compatibility mode.

       -d cs  -d name=s Define string.

       -E     Disable troff error messages.

       -f fam Set default font family.

       -F dir Set path for font DESC files.

       -i     Process standard input after the specified input files.

       -m name
              Include  macro  file  name.tmac   (or;   see   also

       -M dir Path for macro files.

       -n num Number the first page num.

       -o list
              Output only pages in list.

       -r cn  -r name=n Set number register.

       -w name
              Enable warning name.  See troff(1) for names.

       -W name
              disable warning name.  See troff(1) for names.


       The  groff  system implements the infrastructure of classical roff; see
       roff(7) for a survey on how a roff system works in general.  Due to the
       front-end  programs  available  within the groff system, using groff is
       much easier than classical roff.  This section gives an overview of the
       parts  that  constitute  the groff system.  It complements roff(7) with
       groff-specific features.  This section can be regarded as  a  guide  to
       the documentation around the groff system.

   Paper Size
       The  virtual paper size used by troff to format the input is controlled
       globally with the requests .po, .pl, and .ll.   See  groff_tmac(5)  for
       the `papersize' macro package which provides a convenient interface.

       The  physical  paper  size,  giving  the actual dimensions of the paper
       sheets, is controlled by output devices like  grops  with  the  command
       line  options  -p  and  -l.  See groff_font(5) and the man pages of the
       output devices for more details.  groff uses the command line option -P
       to  pass  options to output devices; for example, the following selects
       A4 paper in landscape orientation for the PS device:

              groff -Tps -P-pa4 -P-l ...

       The groff program is a wrapper around the troff(1) program.  It  allows
       to  specify the preprocessors by command line options and automatically
       runs the postprocessor that is appropriate  for  the  selected  device.
       Doing  so,  the sometimes tedious piping mechanism of classical roff(7)
       can be avoided.

       The grog(1) program can be used for guessing the correct groff  command
       line to format a file.

       The  groffer(1)  program  is an allround-viewer for groff files and man

       The groff preprocessors are reimplementations  of  the  classical  pre-
       processors  with  moderate extensions.  The standard preprocessors dis-
       tributed with the groff package are

       eqn(1) for mathematical formulae,

       grn(1) for including gremlin(1) pictures,

       pic(1) for drawing diagrams,

              for chemical structure diagrams,

              for bibliographic references,

              for including macro files from standard locations,


       tbl(1) for tables.

       A new preprocessor not available in classical troff is preconv(1) which
       converts various input encodings to something groff can understand.  It
       is always run first before any other preprocessor.

       Besides these, there are some internal preprocessors that are automati-
       cally run with some devices.  These aren't visible to the user.

   Macro Packages
       Macro  packages  can be included by option -m.  The groff system imple-
       ments and extends all classical macro packages in a compatible way  and
       adds  some packages of its own.  Actually, the following macro packages
       come with groff:

       man    The traditional man page format; see groff_man(7).   It  can  be
              specified on the command line as -man or -m man.

       mandoc The  general  package for man pages; it automatically recognizes
              whether the documents uses  the  man  or  the  mdoc  format  and
              branches  to  the corresponding macro package.  It can be speci-
              fied on the command line as -mandoc or -m mandoc.

       mdoc   The BSD-style man page format; see  groff_mdoc(7).   It  can  be
              specified on the command line as -mdoc or -m mdoc.

       me     The  classical  me  document format; see groff_me(7).  It can be
              specified on the command line as -me or -m me.

       mm     The classical mm document format; see groff_mm(7).   It  can  be
              specified on the command line as -mm or -m mm.

       ms     The  classical  ms  document format; see groff_ms(7).  It can be
              specified on the command line as -ms or -m ms.

       www    HTML-like macros for inclusion in arbitrary groff documents; see

       Details  on  the naming of macro files and their placement can be found
       in groff_tmac(5); this man page also documents some other, minor auxil-
       iary macro packages not mentioned here.

   Programming Language
       General concepts common to all roff programming languages are described
       in roff(7).

       The groff extensions to the classical troff language are documented  in

       The  groff  language  as a whole is described in the (still incomplete)
       groff info file; a short (but  complete)  reference  can  be  found  in

       The  central  roff  formatter  within the groff system is troff(1).  It
       provides the features of both the classical troff and nroff, as well as
       the  groff  extensions.  The command line option -C switches troff into
       compatibility mode which tries to emulate classical  roff  as  much  as

       There  is a shell script nroff(1) that emulates the behavior of classi-
       cal nroff.  It tries to automatically select the proper  output  encod-
       ing, according to the current locale.

       The  formatter program generates intermediate output; see groff_out(7).

       In roff, the output targets are called devices.   A  device  can  be  a
       piece  of  hardware,  e.g.,  a  printer,  or a software file format.  A
       device is specified by the option -T.  The groff devices  are  as  fol-

       ascii  Text output using the ascii(7) character set.

       cp1047 Text  output using the EBCDIC code page IBM cp1047 (e.g., OS/390

       dvi    TeX DVI format.

       html   HTML output.

       latin1 Text output using the ISO Latin-1 (ISO  8859-1)  character  set;
              see iso_8859_1(7).

       lbp    Output  for  Canon  CAPSL printers (LBP-4 and LBP-8 series laser

       lj4    HP LaserJet4-compatible (or other PCL5-compatible) printers.

       ps     PostScript output; suitable for  printers  and  previewers  like

       pdf    PDF files; suitable for viewing with tools such as evince(1) and

       utf8   Text output using the Unicode (ISO  10646)  character  set  with
              UTF-8 encoding; see unicode(7).

       xhtml  XHTML output.

       X75    75dpi  X  Window  System  output  suitable  for  the  previewers
              xditview(1x) and gxditview(1).  A variant for  a  12pt  document
              base font is X75-12.

       X100   100dpi  X  Window  System  output  suitable  for  the previewers
              xditview(1x) and gxditview(1).  A variant for  a  12pt  document
              base font is X100-12.

       The  postprocessor  to be used for a device is specified by the postpro
       command in the device description file; see groff_font(5).  This can be
       overridden with the -X option.

       The default device is ps.

       groff provides 3 hardware postprocessors:

              for some Canon printers,

              for printers compatible to the HP LaserJet 4 and PCL5,

              for  text output using various encodings, e.g., on text-oriented
              terminals or line-printers.

       Today, most printing or drawing hardware is handled  by  the  operating
       system, by device drivers, or by software interfaces, usually accepting
       PostScript.  Consequently, there isn't an urgent need for more hardware
       device postprocessors.

       The groff software devices for conversion into other document file for-
       mats are

              for the DVI format,

              for HTML and XHTML formats,

              for PostScript.

              for PDF.

       Combined with the many existing free conversion tools  this  should  be
       sufficient to convert a troff document into virtually any existing data

       The following utility programs around groff are available.

              Add information to troff font description  files  for  use  with

              Create font description files for PostScript device.

              Convert an eqn image into a cropped image.

              Mark differences between groff, nroff, or troff files.

              Convert a grap diagram into a cropped bitmap image.

              General viewer program for groff files and man pages.

              The groff X viewer, the GNU version of xditview.

              Create font description files for lj4 device.

              Make inverted index for bibliographic databases.

              Search bibliographic databases.

              Interactively search bibliographic databases.

              Create PDF documents using groff.

              Translate a PostScript font in .pfb format to ASCII.

              Convert a pic diagram into a cropped image.

              Create font description files for TeX DVI device.

              roff viewer distributed with X window.

              Convert X font metrics into GNU troff font metrics.


       Normally,  the path separator in the following environment variables is
       the colon; this may vary depending on the operating system.  For  exam-
       ple, DOS and Windows use a semicolon instead.

              This  search  path, followed by $PATH, is used for commands that
              are executed by groff.  If it is  not  set  then  the  directory
              where the groff binaries were installed is prepended to PATH.

              When  there  is  a need to run different roff implementations at
              the same time groff provides the facility to prepend a prefix to
              most  of  its  programs that could provoke name clashings at run
              time (default is to have none).  Historically, this  prefix  was
              the  character  g,  but it can be anything.  For example, gtroff
              stood for groff's troff, gtbl for the groff version of tbl.   By
              setting  GROFF_COMMAND_PREFIX to different values, the different
              roff installations can be addressed.  More exactly, if it is set
              to  prefix  xxx then groff as a wrapper program internally calls
              xxxtroff instead of troff.  This also applies to the  preproces-
              sors  eqn,  grn,  pic,  refer, tbl, soelim, and to the utilities
              indxbib and lookbib.  This feature does not apply  to  any  pro-
              grams  different from the ones above (most notably groff itself)
              since they are unique to the groff package.

              The value of this environment value is  passed  to  the  preconv
              preprocessor  to  select  the  encoding of input files.  Setting
              this option implies groff's command line  option  -k  (this  is,
              groff  actually  always calls preconv).  If set without a value,
              groff calls preconv without arguments.  An explicit  -K  command
              line  option  overrides  the  value of GROFF_ENCODING.  See pre-
              conv(1) for details.

              A list of directories in which to search for the devname  direc-
              tory  in  addition  to  the  default  ones.   See  troff(1)  and
              groff_font(5) for more details.

              A list of directories in which to  search  for  macro  files  in
              addition   to   the   default  directories.   See  troff(1)  and
              groff_tmac(5) for more details.

              The directory in which temporary files are created.  If this  is
              not  set  but the environment variable TMPDIR instead, temporary
              files are created in the directory $TMPDIR.  On MS-DOS and  Win-
              dows  32  platforms,  the environment variables TMP and TEMP (in
              that order) are searched also, after  GROFF_TMPDIR  and  TMPDIR.
              Otherwise,  temporary  files are created in /tmp.  The refer(1),
              groffer(1), grohtml(1),  and  grops(1)  commands  use  temporary

              Preset  the default device.  If this is not set the ps device is
              used as default.  This device name is overwritten by the  option


       The  following  example illustrates the power of the groff program as a
       wrapper around troff.

       To process a roff file using the preprocessors tbl and pic and  the  me
       macro set, classical troff had to be called by

              pic | tbl | troff -me -Tlatin1 | grotty

       Using groff, this pipe can be shortened to the equivalent command

              groff -p -t -me -T latin1

       An  even  easier  way  to call this is to use grog(1) to guess the pre-
       processor and macro options and execute the generated command (by using
       backquotes to specify shell command substitution)

              `grog -Tlatin1`

       The simplest way is to view the contents in an automated way by calling



       On EBCDIC hosts (e.g., OS/390 Unix), output devices  ascii  and  latin1
       aren't available.  Similarly, output for EBCDIC code page cp1047 is not
       available on ASCII based operating systems.

       Report bugs to the groff mailing list  Include  a  complete,  self-con-
       tained example that allows the bug to be reproduced, and say which ver-
       sion of groff you are using.


       There are some directories in which groff  installs  all  of  its  data
       files.   Due  to  different  installation habits on different operating
       systems, their locations are not absolutely fixed, but  their  function
       is clearly defined and coincides on all systems.

   Collection of Installation Directories
       This  section  describes the position of all files of the groff package
       after the installation -- got from Makefile.comm  at  the  top  of  the
       groff source package.

              index directory and index name

              legacy font directory

              directory for binary programs

              system tmac directory

              documentation directory

              directory for examples

              documentation directory for html files

              documentation directory for pdf files

              data subdirectory

              file for common words

              directory for fonts

              directory for old fonts

              tmac directory

              mm tmac directory

              local font directory

              local tmac directory

   groff Macro Directory
       This  contains  all  information  related to macro packages.  Note that
       more than a single directory is searched for those files as  documented
       in  groff_tmac(5).   For  the  groff installation corresponding to this
       document, it is  located  at  /opt/local/share/groff/1.22.3/tmac.   The
       following  files  contained in the groff macro directory have a special

              Initialization file for troff.  This  is  interpreted  by  troff
              before reading the macro sets and any input.

              Final startup file for troff.  It is parsed after all macro sets
              have been read.

     Macro file for macro package name.

   groff Font Directory
       This contains all information related to  output  devices.   Note  that
       more than a single directory is searched for those files; see troff(1).
       For the groff  installation  corresponding  to  this  document,  it  is
       located  at  /opt/local/share/groff/1.22.3/font.   The  following files
       contained in the groff font directory have a special meaning:

              Device description file for device name, see groff_font(5).

              Font file for font F of device name.


       Information on how to get groff and related information is available at
       the groff GNU website

       Three groff mailing lists are available:

              for reporting bugs

              for general discussion of groff,

              the  groff  commit list a read-only list showing logs of commit-
              ments to the groff repository.

       Details on repository access and much more can be  found  in  the  file
       README at the top directory of the groff source package.

       There is a free implementation of the grap preprocessor, written by Ted
       Faber The actual version can be found at the grap website This  is  the
       only grap version supported by groff.


       The groff info file contains all information on the groff system within
       a single document, providing many examples and background information.
       See info(1) on how to read it.

       Due to its complex structure, the groff system has many man pages.
       They can be read with man(1) or groffer(1).

       But there are special sections of man-pages.  groff has man-pages in
       sections 1, 5,and 7.  When there are several man-pages with the same
       name in the same man section, the one with the lowest section is should
       as first.  The other man-pages can be shown anyway by adding the sec-
       tion number as argument before the man-page name.  Reading the man-page
       about the groff language is done by one of
              man 7 groff
              groffer 7 groff

       Introduction, history and further readings:

       Viewer for groff files:
              groffer(1), gxditview(1), xditview(1x).

       Wrapper programs for formatters:
              groff(1), grog(1).

       Roff preprocessors:
              eqn(1), grn(1), pic(1), chem(1), preconv(1), refer(1),
              soelim(1), tbl(1), grap(1).

       Roff language with the groff extensions:
              groff(1), groff_char(7), groff_diff(7), groff_font(5).

       Roff formatter programs:
              nroff(1), troff(1), ditroff(7).

       The intermediate output language:

       Postprocessors for the output devices:
              grodvi(1), grohtml(1), grolbp(1), grolj4(1), lj4_font(5),
              grops(1), gropdf(1), grotty(1).

       Groff macro packages and macro-specific utilities:
              groff_tmac(5), groff_man(7), groff_mdoc(7), groff_me(7),
              groff_mm(7), groff_mmse(7), groff_mom(7), groff_ms(7),
              groff_www(7), groff_trace(7), mmroff(7).

       The following utilities are available:
              addftinfo(1), afmtodit(1), eqn2graph(1), gdiffmk(1),
              grap2graph(1), groffer(1), gxditview(1), hpftodit(1),
              indxbib(1), lkbib(1), lookbib(1), pdfroff(1), pfbtops(1),
              pic2graph(1), tfmtodit(1), xtotroff(1).


       Copyright (C) 1989-2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       Rewritten in 2002 by Bernd Warken <>

       This document is part of groff, a free GNU software project.

       Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
       under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or
       any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the
       Invariant Sections being the macro definition or .co and .au, with no
       Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.

       A copy of the Free Documentation License is included as a file called
       FDL in the main directory of the groff source package.

       It is also available in the internet at the GNU copyleft site


       This document is based on the original groff man page written by James
       Clark It was rewritten, enhanced, and put under the FDL license by
       Bernd Warken <>.  It is maintained by Wern-
       er Lemberg

Groff Version 1.22.3            4 November 2014                       groff(1)

groff 1.22.3 - Generated Tue Oct 13 06:23:06 CDT 2015
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