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GROFF(1)                    General Commands Manual                   GROFF(1)



NAME
       groff - front-end for the groff document formatting system

SYNOPSIS
        [file
        |
        | [option

       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 filename
       of (minus character) denotes the standard input.

DESCRIPTION
       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
       collection 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).

OPTIONS
       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.

              Preprocess with eqn.

              Preprocess with grn.

              Preprocess with grap.

              Print a help message.

              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 will be searched in
              the order specified.  No directory search is performed for files
              specified using an absolute path.  This option implies the
              option.

              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
              command is not present, the output is piped into the lpr(1)
              program by default.  See options and

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

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

              Preprocess with pic.


              Pass -option or -option arg to the postprocessor.  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


              is equivalent to


              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.

              Preprocess with soelim.

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

              Preprocess with tbl.

              Set output device to dev.  For this device, troff generates the
              intermediate output; see groff_out(5).  Then groff calls a
              postprocessor to convert troff's intermediate output to its
              final format.  Real devices in groff are

                     dvi    TeX DVI format (postprocessor is grodvi).

                     html   HTML output (preprocessors are soelim and
                            pre-grohtml, postprocessor is post-grohtml).

                     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).

              For the following TTY output devices (postprocessor is always
              grotty), 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.

              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.

                     X100-12
                            100dpi resolution, 12pt document base font.

              The default device is ps.

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

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

              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 will be both printed on the
              standard error and run.

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


              Suppress output generated by troff.  Only error messages will be
              printed.

              Print the groff intermediate output to standard output; see
              groff_out(5).  Normally groff calls automatically a
              postprocessor.  With this option, the output of troff for the
              device, the so-called intermediate output is issued without
              postprocessing.

   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).

              ascii approximation of output.

              backtrace on error or warning.

              disable color output.  Please consult the grotty(1) man page for
              more details.

              enable compatibility mode.


              define string.

              disable troff error messages.

              set default font family.

              set path for font DESC files.

              process standard input after the specified input files.

              include macro file name.tmac (or tmac.name); see also
              groff_tmac(5).

              path for macro files.

              number the first page num.

              output only pages in list.


              set number register.

              enable warning name.

              disable warning name.

USING GROFF
       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 ...

   Front-ends
       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
       pages.

   Preprocessors
       The groff preprocessors are reimplementations of the classical
       preprocessors with moderate extensions.  The preprocessors distributed
       with the groff package are

       eqn(1) for mathematical formulae,

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

       pic(1) for drawing diagrams,

       refer(1)
              for bibliographic references,

       soelim(1)
              for including macro files from standard locations,

       and

       tbl(1) for tables.

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

   Macro Packages
       Macro packages can be included by option The groff system implements
       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 or 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
              specified on the command line as or mandoc.

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

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

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

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

       www    HTML-like macros for inclusion in arbitrary groff documents; see
              groff_www(7).

       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
       auxiliary 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
       groff_diff(7).

       The groff language as a whole is described in the (still incomplete)
       groff info file; a short (but complete) reference can be found in
       groff(7).

   Formatters
       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 switches troff into
       compatibility mode which tries to emulate classical roff as much as
       possible.

       There is a shell script nroff(1) that emulates the behavior of
       classical nroff.  It tries to automatically select the proper output
       encoding, according to the current locale.

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

   Devices
       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 The groff devices are as follows.

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

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

       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
              printers).

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

       ps     PostScript output; suitable for printers and previewers like
              gv(1).

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

       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.

   Postprocessors
       groff provides 3 hardware postprocessors:

       grolbp(1)
              for some Canon printers,

       grolj4(1)
              for printers compatible to the HP LaserJet 4 and PCL5,

       grotty(1)
              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
       formats are

       grodvi(1)
              for the DVI format,

       grohtml(1)
              for HTML format,

       grops(1)
              for PostScript.

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

   Utilities
       The following utility programs around groff are available.

       addftinfo(1)
              Add information to troff font description files for use with
              groff.

       afmtodit(1)
              Create font description files for PostScript device.

       groffer(1)
              General viewer program for groff files and man pages.

       gxditview(1)
              The groff X viewer, the GNU version of xditview.

       hpftodit(1)
              Create font description files for lj4 device.

       indxbib(1)
              Make inverted index for bibliographic databases.

       lkbib(1)
              Search bibliographic databases.

       lookbib(1)
              Interactively search bibliographic databases.

       pfbtops(1)
              Translate a PostScript font in .pfb format to ASCII.

       tfmtodit(1)
              Create font description files for TeX DVI device.

       xditview(1x)
              roff viewer distributed with X window.

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

       GROFF_BIN_PATH
              This search path, followed by $PATH, will be 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.

       GROFF_COMMAND_PREFIX
              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 will internally
              call xxxtroff instead of troff.  This also applies to the
              preprocessors eqn, grn, pic, refer, tbl, soelim, and to the
              utilities indxbib and lookbib.  This feature does not apply to
              any programs different from the ones above (most notably groff
              itself) since they are unique to the groff package.

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

       GROFF_TMAC_PATH
              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.

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

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

FILES
       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.

   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 /usr/share/tmac.  The following files
       contained in the groff macro directory have a special meaning:

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

       troffrc-end
              Final startup file for troff, it is parsed after all macro sets
              have been read.

       name.tmac

       tmac.name
              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 /usr/share/groff_font.  The following files contained in the
       groff font directory have a special meaning:

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

       devname/F
              Font file for font F of device name.

EXAMPLES
       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


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


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


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


BUGS
       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 bug-groff@gnu.org.  Include a complete, self-contained
       example that will allow the bug to be reproduced, and say which version
       of groff you are using.

AVAILABILITY
       Information on how to get groff and related information is available at
       the The most recent released version of groff is available for
       anonymous ftp at the

       Three groff mailing lists are available:

       for reporting bugs,

       for general discussion of groff,

       a read-only list showing logs of commitments to the CVS repository.

       Details on CVS 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 The
       actual version can be found at the This is the only grap version
       supported by groff.

AUTHORS
       Copyright (C) 1989, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Free Software Foundation,
       Inc.

       This document is distributed under the terms of the FDL (GNU Free
       Documentation License) version 1.1 or later.  You should have received
       a copy of the FDL on your system, it is also available on-line at the

       This document is based on the original groff man page written by It was
       rewritten, enhanced, and put under the FDL license by Bernd Warken.  It
       is maintained by

       groff is a GNU free software project.  All parts of the groff package
       are protected by GNU copyleft licenses.  The software files are
       distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL),
       while the documentation files mostly use the GNU Free Documentation
       License (FDL).

SEE ALSO
       The groff info file contains all information on the groff system within
       a single document.  Beneath the detailed documentation of all aspects,
       it provides 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).

       Introduction, history and further readings:
              roff(7).

       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), refer(1), soelim(1), tbl(1), grap(1).

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

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

       The    intermediate output language: groff_out(7).

       Postprocessors for the output devices:
              grodvi(1), grohtml(1), grolbp(1), grolj4(1), lj4_font(5),
              grops(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), grap2graph(1),
              groffer(1), gxditview(1), hpftodit(1), indxbib(1), lookbib(1),
              pfbtops(1), pic2graph(1), tfmtodit(1).



Groff Version 1.19.2           February 6, 2006                       GROFF(1)