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TBL(7)                 Miscellaneous Information Manual                 TBL(7)

NAME
     tbl - tbl language reference for mandoc

DESCRIPTION
     The tbl language is a table-formatting language.  It is used within
     mdoc(7) and man(7) UNIX manual pages.  This manual describes the subset
     of the tbl language accepted by the mandoc(1) utility.

     Tables within mdoc(7) or man(7) are enclosed by the `TS' and `TE' macro
     tags, whose precise syntax is documented in roff(7).  Tables consist of a
     series of options on a single line, followed by the table layout,
     followed by data.

     For example, the following creates a boxed table with digits centered in
     the cells.

           .TS
           tab(:) box;
           c5 c5 c5.
           1:2:3
           4:5:6
           .TE

     When formatted, the following output is produced:
           +----------+
           |1   2   3 |
           |4   5   6 |
           +----------+
TABLE STRUCTURE
     Tables are enclosed by the `TS' and `TE' roff(7) macros.  A table
     consists of an optional single line of table Options terminated by a
     semicolon, followed by one or more lines of Layout specifications
     terminated by a period, then Data.  All input must be 7-bit ASCII.
     Example:

           .TS
           box tab(:);
           c | c
           | c | c.
           1:2
           3:4
           .TE

     Table data is pre-processed, that is, data rows are parsed then inserted
     into the underlying stream of input data.  This allows data rows to be
     interspersed by arbitrary roff(7), mdoc(7), and man(7) macros such as

           .TS
           tab(:);
           c c c.
           1:2:3
           .Ao
           3:2:1
           .Ac
           .TE

     in the case of mdoc(7) or

           .TS
           tab(:);
           c c c.
           .ds ab 2
           1:\*(ab:3
           .I
           3:2:1
           .TE

     in the case of man(7).

   Options
     The first line of a table may contain options separated by spaces, tabs,
     or commas and terminated by a semicolon.  If the first line does not have
     a terminating semicolon, it is assumed that no options are specified and
     instead a Layout is processed.  Some options require arguments enclosed
     by parentheses.  The following case-insensitive options are available:

     allbox  Draw a single-line box around each table cell.  Currently treated
             as a synonym for box.

     box     Draw a single-line box around the table.  For GNU compatibility,
             this may also be invoked with frame.

     center  Center the table instead of left-adjusting it.  For GNU
             compatibility, this may also be invoked with centre.

     decimalpoint
             Use the single-character argument as the decimal point with the n
             layout key.  This is a GNU extension.

     delim   Use the two characters of the argument as eqn(7) delimiters.
             Currently unsupported.

     doublebox
             Draw a double-line box around the table.  For GNU compatibility,
             this may also be invoked with doubleframe.

     expand  Increase the width of the table to the current line length.
             Currently ignored.

     linesize
             Draw lines with the point size given by the unsigned integer
             argument.  Currently ignored.

     nokeep  Allow page breaks within the table.  This is a GNU extension and
             currently ignored.

     nospaces
             Ignore leading and trailing spaces in data cells.  This is a GNU
             extension and currently ignored.

     nowarn  Suppress warnings about tables exceeding the current line length.
             This is a GNU extension and currently ignored.

     tab     Use the single-character argument as a delimiter between data
             cells.  By default, the tab character is used.

   Layout
     The table layout follows Options or a `T&' macro invocation.  Layout
     specifies how data rows are displayed on output.  Each layout line
     corresponds to a line of data; the last layout line applies to all
     remaining data lines.  Layout lines may also be separated by a comma.
     Each layout cell consists of one of the following case-insensitive keys:

     c   Center a literal string within its column.

     r   Right-justify a literal string within its column.

     l   Left-justify a literal string within its column.

     n   Justify a number around its last decimal point.  If the decimal point
         is not found on the number, it's assumed to trail the number.

     s   Horizontally span columns from the last non-s data cell.  It is an
         error if spanning columns follow a - or | cell, or come first.  This
         option is not supported by mandoc(1).

     a   Left-justify a literal string and pad with one space.

     ^   Vertically span rows from the last non-^ data cell.  It is an error
         to invoke a vertical span on the first layout row.  Unlike a
         horizontal spanner, you must specify an empty cell (if it not empty,
         the data is discarded) in the corresponding data cell.

     -   Replace the data cell (its contents will be lost) with a single
         horizontal line.  This may also be invoked with _.

     =   Replace the data cell (its contents will be lost) with a double
         horizontal line.

     |   Emit a vertical bar instead of data.

     ||  Emit a double-vertical bar instead of data.

     Keys may be followed by a set of modifiers.  A modifier is either a
     modifier key or a natural number for specifying the minimum width of a
     column.  The following case-insensitive modifier keys are available:

     b   Use a bold font for the contents of this column.

     d   Move cell content down to the last cell of a vertical span.
         Currently ignored.

     e   Make this column wider to match the maximum width of any other column
         also having the e modifier.

     f   The next character selects the font to use for this column.  See the
         roff(7) manual for supported one-character font names.

     i   Use an italic font for the contents of this column.

     m   Specify a cell start macro.  This is a GNU extension and currently
         unsupported.

     p   Set the point size to the following unsigned argument, or change it
         by the following signed argument.  Currently ignored.

     v   Set the vertical line spacing to the following unsigned argument, or
         change it by the following signed argument.  Currently ignored.

     t   Do not vertically center cell content in the vertical span, leave it
         at the top.  Currently ignored.

     u   Move cell content up by half a table line.  Currently ignored.

     w   Specify minimum column width.  Currently ignored.

     x   After determining the width of all other columns, distribute the rest
         of the line length among all columns having the x modifier.

     z   Do not use this cell for determining the width of this column.

     For example, the following layout specifies a center-justified column of
     minimum width 10, followed by vertical bar, followed by a left-justified
     column of minimum width 10, another vertical bar, then a column using
     bold font justified about the decimal point in numbers:

           c10 | l10 | nfB

   Data
     The data section follows the last layout row.  By default, cells in a
     data section are delimited by a tab.  This behaviour may be changed with
     the tab option.  If _ or = is specified, a single or double line,
     respectively, is drawn across the data field.  If \- or \= is specified,
     a line is drawn within the data field (i.e. terminating within the cell
     and not draw to the border).  If the last cell of a line is T{, all
     subsequent lines are included as part of the cell until T} is specified
     as its own data cell.  It may then be followed by a tab (or as designated
     by tab) or an end-of-line to terminate the row.

COMPATIBILITY
     The mandoc(1) implementation of tbl doesn't support mdoc(7) and man(7)
     macros and eqn(7) equations inside tables.

SEE ALSO
     mandoc(1), man(7), mandoc_char(7), mdoc(7), roff(7)

     M. E. Lesk, Tbl--A Program to Format Tables, June 11, 1976.

HISTORY
     The tbl utility, a preprocessor for troff, was originally written by M.
     E. Lesk at Bell Labs in 1975.  The GNU reimplementation of tbl, part of
     the groff package, was released in 1990 by James Clark.  A standalone tbl
     implementation was written by Kristaps Dzonsons in 2010.  This formed the
     basis of the implementation that is part of the mandoc(1) utility.

AUTHORS
     This tbl reference was written by Kristaps Dzonsons <kristaps@bsd.lv>.

NetBSD 8.0                     January 29, 2015                     NetBSD 8.0