GROFF_MANSection: Environments, Tables, and Troff Macros (7)
Updated: 05 September 2002
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NAMEgroff_man - groff `man' macros to support generation of man pages
SYNOPSISgroff -man [ options... ] [ files... ]
groff -m man [ options... ] [ files... ]
DESCRIPTIONThe man macros used to generate man pages with groff were written by James Clark. This document provides a brief summary of the use of each macro in that package.
OPTIONSThe man macros understand the following command line options (which define various registers).
- Set line length. If this option is not given, the line length defaults to 78n in nroff mode and 6.5i in troff mode.
- Set title length. If this option is not given, the title length defaults to 78n in nroff mode and 6.5i in troff mode.
- This option (the default if in nroff mode) will create a single, very long page instead of multiple pages. Say -rcR=0 to disable it.
- If more than one manual page is given on the command line, number the pages continuously, rather than starting each at 1.
- Double-sided printing. Footers for even and odd pages are formatted differently.
- Enumeration of pages will start with nnn rather than with 1.
- Base document font size is xx points (xx can be 10, 11, or 12) rather than 10 points.
- After page nnn, number pages as nnna, nnnb, nnnc, etc. For example, the option `-rX2' will produce the following page numbers: 1, 2, 2a, 2b, 2c, etc.
USAGEThis section describes the available macros for manual pages. For further customization, put additional macros and requests into the file man.local which will be loaded immediately after the man package.
- .TH title section [extra1] [extra2] [extra3]
- Sets the title of the man page to title and the section to section, which must take on a value between 1 and 8. The value section may also have a string appended, e.g. `.pm', to indicate a specific subsection of the man pages. Both title and section are positioned at the left and right in the header line (with section in parentheses immediately appended to title. extra1 will be positioned in the middle of the footer line. extra2 will be positioned at the left in the footer line (resp. at the left on even pages and at the right on odd pages if double-sided printing is active). extra3 is centered in the header line.
- For HTML output, headers and footers are completely supressed.
- Additionally, this macro starts a new page; the new line number is 1 again (except if the `-rC1' option is given on the command line) -- this feature is intended only for formatting multiple man pages; a single man page should contain exactly one TH macro at the beginning of the file.
- .SH [text for a heading]
- Sets up an unnumbered section heading sticking out to the left. Prints out all the text following SH up to the end of the line (resp. the text in the next input line if there is no argument to SH) in bold face, one size larger than the base document size. Additionally, the left margin for the following text is reset to its default value.
- .SS [text for a heading]
- Sets up an secondary, unnumbered section heading. Prints out all the text following SS up to the end of the line (resp. the text in the next input line if there is no argument to SS) in bold face, at the same size as the base document size. Additionally, the left margin for the following text is reset to its default value.
- .TP [nnn]
- Sets up an indented paragraph with label. The indentation is set to nnn if that argument is supplied (the default unit is `n' if omitted), otherwise it is set to the default indentation value. The first input line of text following this macro is interpreted as a string to be printed flush-left, as it is appropriate for a label. It is not interpreted as part of a paragraph, so there is no attempt to fill the first line with text from the following input lines. Nevertheless, if the label is not as wide as the indentation, then the paragraph starts at the same line (but indented), continuing on the following lines. If the label is wider than the indentation, then the descriptive part of the paragraph begins on the line following the label, entirely indented. Note that neither font shape nor font size of the label is set to a default value; on the other hand, the rest of the text will have default font settings. The TP macro is the macro used for the explanations you are just reading.
- These macros are mutual aliases. Any of them causes a line break at the current position, followed by a vertical space downwards by the amount specified by the PD macro. The font size and shape are reset to the default value (10pt resp. Roman). Finally, the current left margin is restored.
- .IP [designator] [nnn]
- Sets up an indented paragraph, using designator as a tag to mark its beginning. The indentation is set to nnn if that argument is supplied (default unit is `n'), otherwise the default indentation value is used. Font size and face of the paragraph (but not the designator) are reset to its default values. To start an indented paragraph with a particular indentation but without a designator, use `""' (two doublequotes) as the second argument.
For example, the following paragraphs were all set up with bullets as the
designator, using `.IP \(bu 4':
- IP is one of the three macros used in the man package to format lists.
- HP is another. This macro produces a paragraph with a left hanging indentation.
- TP is another. This macro produces an unindented label followed by an indented paragraph.
- .HP [nnn]
Sets up a paragraph with hanging left indentation.
The indentation is set to
if that argument is supplied (default unit is `n'), otherwise the default
indentation value is used.
Font size and face are reset to its default values.
The following paragraph illustrates the effect of this macro with hanging
indentation set to 4:
- This is a paragraph following an invocation of the HP macro. As you can see, it produces a paragraph where all lines but the first are indented.
- .RS [nnn]
- This macro moves the left margin to the right by the value nnn if specified (default unit is `n'); otherwise the default indentation value is used. Calls to the RS macro can be nested.
- .RE [nnn]
- This macro moves the left margin back to level nnn; if no argument is given, it moves one level back. The first level (i.e., no call to RS yet) has number 1, and each call to RS increases the level by 1.
To summarize, the following macros cause a line break with the insertion of vertical space (which amount can be changed with the PD macro): SH, SS, TP, LP (PP, P), IP, and HP. The macros RS and RE also cause a break but no insertion of vertical space. Finally, the macros SH, SS, LP (PP, P), and RS reset the indentation to its default value.
MACROS TO SET FONTSThe standard font is Roman; the default text size is 10 point.
- .SM [text]
- Causes the text on the same line or the text on the next input line to appear in a font that is one point size smaller than the default font.
- .SB [text]
- Causes the text on the same line or the text on the next input line to appear in boldface font, one point size smaller than the default font.
- .BI text
Causes text on the same line to appear alternately in bold face and italic.
The text must be on the same line as the macro call.
- .BI this "word and" that
would cause `this' and `that' to appear in bold face, while `word and' appears in italics.
- .IB text
- Causes text to appear alternately in italic and bold face. The text must be on the same line as the macro call.
- .RI text
- Causes text on the same line to appear alternately in roman and italic. The text must be on the same line as the macro call.
- .IR text
- Causes text on the same line to appear alternately in italic and roman. The text must be on the same line as the macro call.
- .BR text
- Causes text on the same line to appear alternately in bold face and roman. The text must be on the same line as the macro call.
- .RB text
- Causes text on the same line to appear alternately in roman and bold face. The text must be on the same line as the macro call.
- .B [text]
- Causes text to appear in bold face. If no text is present on the line where the macro is called, then the text of the next input line appears in bold face.
- .I [text]
- Causes text to appear in italic. If no text is present on the line where the macro is called, then the text of the next input line appears in italic.
MISCELLANEOUSThe default indentation is 7.2n for all output devices except for grohtml which ignores indentation.
- Sets tabs every 0.5 inches. Since this macro is always called during a TH request, it makes sense to call it only if the tab positions have been changed.
- .PD [nnn]
- Adjusts the empty space before a new paragraph (resp. section). The optional argument gives the amount of space (default units are `v'); without parameter, the value is reset to its default value (1 line for tty devices, 0.4v otherwise). This affects the macros SH, SS, TP, LP (resp. PP and P), IP, and HP.
The following strings are defined:
- Switch back to the default font size.
- The `registered' sign.
- The `trademark' sign.
- Left and right quote. This is equal to `\(lq' and `\(rq', respectively.
If a preprocessor like tbl or eqn is needed, it has become usage to make the first line of the man page look like this:
- .\ word
Note the single space character after the double quote. word consists of letters for the needed preprocessors: `e' for eqn, `r' for refer, and `t' for tbl. Modern implementations of the man program read this first line and automatically call the right preprocessor(s).
- These are wrapper files to call andoc.tmac.
- This file checks whether the man macros or the mdoc package should be used.
- All man macros are contained in this file.
- Local changes and customizations should be put into this file.
SEE ALSOSince the man macros consist of groups of groff requests, one can, in principle, supplement the functionality of the man macros with individual groff requests where necessary. A complete list of these requests is available on the WWW at
AUTHORThis manual page was originally written for the Debian GNU/Linux system by Susan G. Kleinmann <[email protected]>, corrected and updated by Werner Lemberg <[email protected]>, and is now part of the GNU troff distribution.
This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 05:34:15 GMT, December 24, 2015