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GROFF_TMAC(5)                 File Formats Manual                GROFF_TMAC(5)

       groff_tmac - macro files in the roff typesetting system

       The roff(7) type-setting system provides a set of macro packages
       suitable for special kinds of documents.  Each macro package stores its
       macros and definitions in a file called the package's tmac file.  The
       name is deduced from `TroffMACros'.

       The tmac files are normal roff source documents, except that they
       usually contain only definitions and setup commands, but no text.  All
       tmac files are kept in a single or a small number of directories, the
       tmac directories.

       groff provides all classical macro packages, some more full packages,
       and some secondary packages for special purposes.  Note that it is not
       possible to use multiple primary macro packages at the same time;
       saying e.g.

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "


              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

       will fail.

   Man Pages
       man    This is the classical macro package for UNIX manual pages
              (man pages); it is quite handy and easy to use; see


       mdoc   An alternative macro package for man pages mainly used in BSD
              systems; it provides many new features, but it is not the
              standard for man pages; see groff_mdoc(7).

   Full Packages
       The packages in this section provide a complete set of macros for
       writing documents of any kind, up to whole books.  They are similar in
       functionality; it is a matter of taste which one to use.

       me     The classical me macro package; see groff_me(7).

       mm     The semi-classical mm macro package; see groff_mm(7).

       mom    The new mom macro package, only available in groff.  As this is
              not based on other packages, it can be freely designed.  So it
              is expected to become quite a nice, modern macro package.  See

       ms     The classical ms macro package; see groff_ms(7).

   Special Packages
       The macro packages in this section are not intended for stand-alone
       usage, but can be used to add special functionality to any other macro
       package or to plain groff.

              This macro file is already loaded at start-up by troff so it
              isn't necessary to call it explicitly.  It provides an interface
              to set the paper size on the command line with the option
              -dpaper=size.  Possible values for size are the same as the
              predefined papersize values in the DESC file (only lowercase;
              see groff_font(5) for more) except a7-d7.  An appended l (ell)
              character denotes landscape orientation.  Examples: a4, c3l,

              Most output drivers need additional command line switches -p and
              -l to override the default paper length and orientation as set
              in the driver specific DESC file.  For example, use the
              following for PS output on A4 paper in landscape orientation:

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

       pic    This file provides proper definitions for the macros PS and PE,
              needed for the pic(1) preprocessor.  They will center each
              picture.  Use it only if your macro package doesn't provide
              proper definitions for those two macros (actually, most of them
              already have).

       pspic  A single macro is provided in this file, PSPIC, to include a
              PostScript graphic in a document.  It makes only sense for
              output devices which support inclusion of PS images: -Tps,
              -Tdvi, and -Thtml; the file is then loaded automatically.

                     .PSPIC [-L|-R|-I n] file [width [height]]

              file is the name of the file containing the illustration; width
              and height give the desired width and height of the graphic.
              The width and height arguments may have scaling indicators
              attached; the default scaling indicator is i.  This macro will
              scale the graphic uniformly in the x and y directions so that it
              is no more than width wide and height high.  By default, the
              graphic will be horizontally centered.  The -L and -R options
              cause the graphic to be left-aligned and right-aligned,
              respectively.  The -I option causes the graphic to be indented
              by n (default scaling indicator is m).

       trace  Use this for tracing macro calls.  It is only useful for
              debugging.  See groff_trace(7).

              Overrides the definition of standard troff characters and some
              groff characters for tty devices.  The optical appearance is
              intentionally inferior compared to that of normal tty formatting
              to allow processing with critical equipment.

       www    Additions of elements known from the html format, as being used
              in the internet (World Wide Web) pages; this includes URL links
              and mail addresses; see groff_www(7).

       In classical roff systems, there was a funny naming scheme for macro
       packages, due to a simplistic design in option parsing.  Macro packages
       were always included by option -m; when this option was directly
       followed by its argument without an intervening space, this looked like
       a long option preceded by a single minus -- a sensation in the computer
       stone age.  To make this optically working for macro package names, all
       classical macro packages choose a name that started with the letter
       `m', which was omitted in the naming of the macro file.

       For example, the macro package for the man pages was called man, while
       its macro file tmac.an.  So it could be activated by the argument an to
       option -m, or -man for short.

       For similar reasons, macro packages that did not start with an `m' had
       a leading `m' added in the documentation and in talking; for example,
       the package corresponding to tmac.doc was called mdoc in the
       documentation, although a more suitable name would be doc.  For, when
       omitting the space between the option and its argument, the command
       line option for activating this package reads -mdoc.

       To cope with all situations, actual versions of groff(1) are smart
       about both naming schemes by providing two macro files for the
       inflicted macro packages; one with a leading `m', the other one without
       it.  So in groff, the man macro package may be specified as on of the
       following four methods:

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

       Recent packages that do not start with `m' do not use an additional `m'
       in the documentation.  For example, the www macro package may be
       specified only as one of the two methods:

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

       Obviously, variants like -mmwww would not make much sense.

       A second strange feature of classical troff was to name macro files
       according to tmac.name. In modern operating systems, the type of a file
       is specified as postfix, the file name extension.  Again, groff copes
       with this situation by searching both anything.tmac and tmac.anything
       if only anything is specified.

       The easiest way to find out which macro packages are available on a
       system is to check the man page groff(1), or the contents of the tmac

       In groff, most macro packages are described in man pages called
       groff_name(7), with a leading `m' for the classical packages.

       There are several ways to use a macro package in a document.  The
       classical way is to specify the troff/groff option -m name at run-time;
       this makes the contents of the macro package name available.  In groff,
       the file name.tmac is searched within the tmac path; if not found,
       tmac.name will be searched for instead.

       Alternatively, it is also possible to include a macro file by adding
       the request .so filename into the document; the argument must be the
       full file name of an existing file, possibly with the directory where
       it is kept.  In groff, this was improved by the similar request .mso
       package, which added searching in the tmac path, just like option -m

       Note that in order to resolve the .so and .mso requests, the roff
       preprocessor soelim(1) must be called if the files to be included need
       preprocessing.  This can be done either directly by a pipeline on the
       command line or by using the troff/groff option -s. man calls soelim

       For example, suppose a macro file is stored as
       /usr/share/tmac/macros.tmac and is used in some document called

       At run-time, the formatter call for this is

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

       To include the macro file directly in the document either

              .mso macrofile.tmac

       is used or

              .so /usr/share/tmac/macros.tmac

       In both cases, the formatter is called with

              ].groffer:Shell_cmd.prompt_text " "

       If you want to write your own groff macro file, call it whatever.tmac
       and put it in some directory of the tmac path, see section FILES.  Then
       documents can include it with the .mso request or the option -m.

       A roff(7) document is a text file that is enriched by predefined
       formatting constructs, such as requests, escape sequences, strings,
       numeric registers, and macros from a macro package.  These elements are
       described in roff(7).

       To give a document a personal style, it is most useful to extend the
       existing elements by defining some macros for repeating tasks; the best
       place for this is near the beginning of the document or in a separate

       Macros without arguments are just like strings.  But the full power of
       macros reveals when arguments are passed with a macro call.  Within the
       macro definition, the arguments are available as the escape sequences
       $1, ..., $9, $[...], $*, and $@, the name under which the macro was
       called is in $0, and the number of arguments is in register 2; see

   Copy-in Mode
       The phase when groff reads a macro is called copy-in mode in roff-talk.
       This is comparable to the C preprocessing phase during the development
       of a program written in the C language.

       In this phase, groff interprets all backslashes; that means that all
       escape sequences in the macro body are interpreted and replaced by
       their value.  For constant expression, this is wanted, but strings and
       registers that might change between calls of the macro must be
       protected from being evaluated.  This is most easily done by doubling
       the backslash that introduces the escape sequence.  This doubling is
       most important for the positional parameters.  For example, to print
       information on the arguments that were passed to the macro to the
       terminal, define a macro named `.print_args', say.

              .ds midpart was called with
              .de print_args
              .  tm \f[I]\\$0\f[] \\*[midpart] \\n[.$] arguments:
              .  tm \\$*

       When calling this macro by

              .print_args arg1 arg2

       the following text is printed to the terminal:

              print_args was called with the following 2 arguments:
              arg1 arg2

       Let's analyze each backslash in the macro definition.  As the
       positional parameters and the number of arguments will change with each
       call of the macro their leading backslash must be doubled, which
       results in \\$* and \\[.$].  The same applies to the macro name because
       it could be called with an alias name, so \\$0.

       On the other hand, midpart is a constant string, it will not change, so
       no doubling for \*[midpart].  The \f escape sequences are predefined
       groff elements for setting the font within the text.  Of course, this
       behavior will not change, so no doubling with \f[I] and \f[].

   Draft Mode
       Writing groff macros is easy when the escaping mechanism is temporarily
       disabled.  In groff, this is done by enclosing the macro definition(s)
       into a pair of .eo and .ec requests.  Then the body in the macro
       definition is just like a normal part of the document -- text enhanced
       by calls of requests, macros, strings, registers, etc.  For example,
       the code above can be written in a simpler way by

              .ds midpart was called with
              .de print_args
              .  tm \f[I]\$0\f[] \*[midpart] \n[.$] arguments:
              .  tm \$*

       Unfortunately, draft mode cannot be used universally.  Although it is
       good enough for defining normal macros, draft mode will fail with
       advanced applications, such as indirectly defined strings, registers,
       etc.  An optimal way is to define and test all macros in draft mode and
       then do the backslash doubling as a final step; do not forget to remove
       the .eo request.

   Tips for Macro Definitions
       ⊕ Start every line with a dot, for example, by using the groff request
         .nop for text lines, or write your own macro that handles also text
         lines with a leading dot.

         .de Text
         .  if (\\n[.$] == 0) \
         .    return
         . nop \)\\$*[rs]

       ⊕ Write a comment macro that works both for copy-in and draft mode; for
         as escaping is off in draft mode, trouble might occur when normal
         comments are used.  For example, the following macro just ignores its
         arguments, so it acts like a comment line:

         .de c
         .c This is like a comment line.

       ⊕ In long macro definitions, make ample use of comment lines or empty
         lines for a better structuring.

       ⊕ To increase readability, use groff's indentation facility for
         requests and macro calls (arbitrary whitespace after the leading

       Diversions can be used to realize quite advanced programming
       constructs.  They are comparable to pointers to large data structures
       in the C programming language, but their usage is quite different.

       In their simplest form, diversions are multi-line strings, but they get
       their power when diversions are used dynamically within macros.  The
       information stored in a diversion can be retrieved by calling the
       diversion just like a macro.

       Most of the problems arising with diversions can be avoided if you are
       conscious about the fact that diversions always deal with complete
       lines.  If diversions are used when the line buffer has not been
       flashed, strange results are produced; not knowing this, many people
       get desperate about diversions.  To ensure that a diversion works, line
       breaks should be added at the right places.  To be on the secure side,
       enclose everything that has to do with diversions into a pair of line
       breaks; for example, by amply using .br requests.  This rule should be
       applied to diversion definition, both inside and outside, and to all
       calls of diversions.  This is a bit of overkill, but it works nicely.

       [If you really need diversions which should ignore the current partial
       line, use environments to save the current partial line and/or use the
       .box request.]

       The most powerful feature using diversions is to start a diversion
       within a macro definition and end it within another macro.  Then
       everything between each call of this macro pair is stored within the
       diversion and can be manipulated from within the macros.

       All macro names must be named name.tmac to fully use the tmac
       mechanism.  tmac.name as with classical packages is possible as well,
       but deprecated.

       The macro files are kept in the tmac directories; a colon separated
       list of these constitutes the tmac path.

       The search sequence for macro files is (in that order):

       ⊕ the directories specified with troff/groff's -M command line option

       ⊕ the directories given in the $GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable

       ⊕ the current directory (only if in unsafe mode, which is enabled by
         the -U command line switch)

       ⊕ the home directory

       ⊕ a platform-specific directory, being /usr/share/tmac in this

       ⊕ a site-specific (platform-independent) directory, being
         /usr/share/tmac in this installation

       ⊕ the main tmac directory, being /usr/share/tmac in this installation

              A colon separated list of additional tmac directories in which
              to search for macro files.  See the previous section for a
              detailed description.

       Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Free Software Foundation,

       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 part of groff, the GNU roff distribution.  It was
       written by it is maintained by

       A complete reference for all parts of the groff system is found in the
       groff info(1) file.

              an overview of the groff system.








              the groff tmac macro packages.

              the groff language.

       The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard is available at the

Groff Version 1.19.2           September 4, 2005                 GROFF_TMAC(5)