groff_man(7) Miscellaneous Information Manual groff_man(7)
groff_man - compose manual pages with GNU roff
groff -man [option ...] [file ...] groff -m man [option ...] [file ...]
The GNU implementation of the man macro package is part of the groff document formatting system. It is used to produce manual pages (“man pages”) like the one you are reading. This document presents the macros thematically; for those needing only a quick reference, the following table lists them alphabetically, with cross-references to appropriate subsections below. Man page authors and maintainers who are not already experienced groff users should consult groff_man_style(7), an expanded version of this document, for additional explanations and advice. It covers only those concepts required for man page document maintenance, and not the full breadth of the groff typesetting system. Macro Meaning Subsection ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── .B Bold Font style macros .BI Bold, italic alternating Font style macros .BR Bold, roman alternating Font style macros .EE Example end Document structure macros .EX Example begin Document structure macros .I Italic Font style macros .IB Italic, bold alternating Font style macros .IP Indented paragraph Paragraph macros .IR Italic, roman alternating Font style macros .LP (Left) paragraph Paragraph macros .ME Mail-to end Hyperlink and email macros .MT Mail-to start Hyperlink and email macros .OP (Command-line) option Command synopsis macros .P Paragraph Paragraph macros .PP Paragraph Paragraph macros .RB Roman, bold alternating Font style macros .RE Relative inset end Document structure macros .RI Roman, italic alternating Font style macros .RS Relative inset start Document structure macros .SB Small bold Font style macros .SH Section heading Document structure macros .SM Small Font style macros .SS Subsection heading Document structure macros .SY Synopsis start Command synopsis macros .TH Title heading Document structure macros .TP Tagged paragraph Paragraph macros .TQ Supplemental paragraph tag Paragraph macros .UE URL end Hyperlink and email macros .UR URL start Hyperlink and email macros .YS Synopsis end Command synopsis macros Macros whose use we discourage (.AT, .DT, .HP, .PD, and .UC) are described in subsection “Deprecated features” below. Macro reference preliminaries Each macro is described in a tagged paragraph. Closely related macros, such as .EX and .EE, are grouped together. An empty macro argument can be specified with a pair of double- quotes (“""”), but the man package is designed such that this should seldom be necessary. Most macro arguments are strings that will be output as text; exceptions are noted. Document structure macros The highest level of organization of a man page is determined by this group of macros. .TH (title heading) identifies the document as a man page and defines information enabling its indexing by mandb(8) or a similar tool. Section headings (.SH), one of which is mandatory and many of which are standardized, facilitate quick location of relevant material by the reader and aid the man page writer to discuss all essential aspects of the topic. Subsection headings (.SS) are optional and permit sections that grow long to develop in a controlled way. Many technical discussions benefit from examples; lengthy ones, especially those reflecting multiple lines of input to or output from the system, are usefully bracketed by .EX and .EE. When none of the foregoing meets a structural demand, a region within a (sub)section can be manually inset within .RS and .RE macros. .TH title section [footer-middle] [footer-inside] [header-middle] Define the title of the man page as title and the section of the manual volume as section. See man(1) for details on the section numbers and suffixes applicable to your system. title and section are positioned together at the left and right in the header line (with section in parentheses immediately appended to title). footer-middle is centered in the footer line. The arrangement of the rest of the footer depends on whether double-sided layout is enabled with the option -rD1. When disabled (the default), footer-inside is positioned at the bottom left. Otherwise, footer-inside appears at the bottom left on odd-numbered (recto) pages, and at the bottom right on even-numbered (verso) pages. The outside footer is the page number, except in the continuous-rendering mode enabled by the option -rcR=1, in which case it is the title and section, as in the header. header-middle is centered in the header line. If section is a simple integer between 1 and 9 (inclusive), or is exactly “3p”, there is no need to specify header-middle; the macro package will supply text for it. For HTML output, headers and footers are completely suppressed. Additionally, this macro starts a new page; the page number is reset to 1 (unless the -rC1 option is given). This feature is intended only for formatting multiple man pages. A man page should contain exactly one .TH call at or near the beginning of the file, prior to any other macro calls. .SH [heading-text] Set heading-text as a section heading. The text following .SH up to the end of the line, or the text on the next input line if .SH is given no arguments, is set with no indentation, in bold (or the font specified by the string HF) and, on typesetter devices, slightly larger than the base point size. If the heading font \*[HF] is bold, use of an italic style in heading-text is mapped to the bold- italic style if available in the font family. Additionally, the left margin and indentation affecting subsequent text are reset to their default values. Text on input lines after heading-text is set as an ordinary paragraph (.P). The content of heading-text and ordering of sections has been standardized by common practice, as has much of the layout of material within sections. For example, a section called “Name” or “NAME” must exist, must be the first section after the .TH call, and must contain only a line of the form topic[, another-topic]... \- summary-description for a man page to be properly indexed. See groff_man_style(7) for suggestions and man(7) for the conventions prevailing on your system. .SS [subheading-text] Set subheading-text as a subsection heading indented between a section heading and an ordinary paragraph (.P). See subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” below for the indentation amount. The text following .SS up to the end of the line, or the text on the next input line if .SS is given no arguments, is set in bold (or the font specified by the string HF). If the heading font \*[HF] is bold, use of an italic style in heading-text is mapped to the bold-italic style if available in the font family. Additionally, the left margin and indentation affecting subsequent text are reset to their default values. Text on input lines after subheading-text is set as an ordinary paragraph (.P). .EX .EE Begin and end example. After .EX, filling is disabled and a constant-width (monospaced) font is selected. Calling .EE enables filling and restores the previous font. These macros are extensions, introduced in Version 9 Research Unix, to the original man package. Many systems running AT&T, Heirloom Doctools, or Plan 9 troff support them. To be certain your page will be portable to systems that do not, copy their definitions from the an-ext.tmac file of a groff installation. .RS [indent] Start a new relative inset level, moving the left margin right by indent, if specified, and by a default amount otherwise; see subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” below. Calls to .RS can be nested; each call increments by 1 the inset level used by .RE. The inset level prior to any .RS calls is 1. .RE [level] End a relative inset; move the left margin back to that corresponding to inset level level. If no argument is given, move the left margin one level back. Paragraph macros An ordinary paragraph (.P) is set without a first-line indentation at the current left margin, which by default is indented from the leftmost position of the output device. In man pages and other technical literature, definition lists are frequently encountered; these can be set as “tagged paragraphs”, which have one (.TP) or more (.TQ) leading tags followed by a paragraph that has an additional indentation. The indented paragraph (.IP) macro is useful to continue the indented content of a narrative started with .TP, or to present an itemized or ordered list. All paragraph macros break the output line at the current position. If another paragraph macro has occurred since the previous .SH or .SS, they (except for .TQ) follow the break with a default amount of vertical space, which can be changed by the deprecated .PD macro; see subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” below. They also reset the point size and font style to defaults (.TQ again excepted); see subsection “Font style macros” below. .P .LP .PP Begin a new paragraph; these macros are synonymous. The indentation is reset to the default value; the left margin, as affected by .RS and .RE, is not. .TP [indent] Set a paragraph with a leading tag, and the remainder of the paragraph indented. The input line following this macro, known as the tag, is printed at the current left margin. Subsequent text is indented by indent, if specified, and by a default amount otherwise; see subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” below. If the tag is not as wide as the indentation, the paragraph starts on the same line as the tag, at the applicable indentation, and continues on the following lines. Otherwise, the descriptive part of the paragraph begins on the line following the tag. .TQ Set an additional tag for a paragraph tagged with .TP. The pending output line is broken. The tag on the input line following this macro and subsequent lines are handled as with .TP. This macro is a GNU extension not defined on systems running AT&T, Plan 9, or Solaris troff; see an-ext.tmac in section “Files” below. .IP [tag] [indent] Set an indented paragraph with an optional tag. The tag and indent arguments, if present, are handled as with .TP, with the exception that the tag argument to .IP cannot include a macro call. Command synopsis macros Command synopses are a staple of section 1 and 8 man pages. These macros aid you to construct one that has the classical Unix appearance. A command synopsis is wrapped in .SY/.YS calls, with command-line options of some formats indicated by .OP. These macros are extensions (.OP from Documenter's Workbench troff, .SY and .YS from GNU) not defined on systems running AT&T, Plan 9, or Solaris troff; see an-ext.tmac in section “Files” below. .SY command Begin synopsis. A new paragraph is begun at the left margin unless .SY has already been called without a corresponding .YS, in which case only a break is performed. Hyphenation is turned off. The command argument is set in bold. The output line is filled as normal, but if a break is required, subsequent output lines are indented by the width of command plus a space. .OP option-name [option-argument] Indicate an optional command parameter called option-name, which is set in bold. If the option takes an argument, specify option-argument using a noun, abbreviation, or hyphenated noun phrase. If present, option-argument is preceded by a space and set in italics. Square brackets in roman surround both arguments. .YS End synopsis. Restore previous indentation and initial hyphenation mode. Hyperlink and email macros Email addresses are bracketed with .MT/.ME and URL hyperlinks with .UR/.UE. These macros are GNU extensions not defined on systems running AT&T, Plan 9, or Solaris troff; see an-ext.tmac in section “Files” below. .MT address .ME [punctuation] Identify address as an RFC 6068 addr-spec for a “mailto:” URI with the text between the two macro calls as the link text. A punctuation argument to .ME is placed at the end of the link text without intervening space. address may not be visible in the output text, particularly if the man page is being viewed as HTML. On a device that is not a browser, address is set in angle brackets after the link text and before punctuation. .UR URL .UE [punctuation] Identify URL as an RFC 3986 URI hyperlink with the text between the two macro calls as the link text. A punctuation argument to .UE is placed at the end of the link text without intervening space. URL may not be visible in the output text, particularly if the man page is being viewed as HTML. On a device that is not a browser, URL is set in angle brackets after the link text and before punctuation. Font style macros The man macro package is limited in its font styling options, offering only bold (.B), italic (.I), and roman. Italic text is usually set underscored instead on terminal devices. The .SM and .SB macros set text in roman or bold, respectively, at a smaller point size; these differ visually from regular-sized roman or bold text only on typesetter devices. It is often necessary to set text in different styles without intervening space. The macros .BI, .BR, .IB, .IR, .RB, and .RI, where “B”, “I”, and “R” indicate bold, italic, and roman, respectively, set their odd- and even-numbered arguments in alternating styles, with no space separating them. The default point size and family for typesetter devices is 10-point Times, except on the X75-12 and X100-12 devices where the point size is 12. The default style is roman. .B [text] Set text in bold. If the macro is given no arguments, the text of the next input line is set in bold. .I [text] Set text in italics. If the macro is given no arguments, the text of the next input line is set in italics. .SM [text] Set text one point smaller than the default point size on typesetter devices. If the macro is given no arguments, the text of the next input line is set smaller. .SB [text] Set text in bold and (on typesetter devices) one point smaller than the default point size. If the macro is given no arguments, the text of the next input line is set smaller and in bold. Unlike the above font style macros, the font style alternation macros below accept only arguments on the same line as the macro call. Italic corrections are applied as appropriate. If space is required within one of the arguments, first consider whether the same result could be achieved with as much clarity by using the single-style macros on separate input lines. When it cannot, double-quote an argument containing embedded space characters. Setting all three different styles within a word presents challenges; see subsection “Portability” in groff_man_style(7) for approaches. .BI bold-text italic-text ... Set each argument in bold and italics, alternately. .BR bold-text roman-text ... Set each argument in bold and roman, alternately. .IB italic-text bold-text ... Set each argument in italics and bold, alternately. .IR italic-text roman-text ... Set each argument in italics and roman, alternately. .RB roman-text bold-text ... Set each argument in roman and bold, alternately. .RI roman-text italic-text ... Set each argument in roman and italics, alternately. Horizontal and vertical spacing The indent argument accepted by .RS, .IP, .TP, and the deprecated .HP is a number plus an optional scaling indicator. If no scaling indicator is given, the man package assumes “n”. An indentation specified in a call to .IP, .TP, or the deprecated .HP persists until (1) another of these macros is called with an explicit indent argument, or (2) .SH, .SS, or .P or its synonyms is called; these clear the indentation entirely. Relative insets created by .RS move the left margin and persist until .RS, .RE, .SH, or .SS is called. The indentation amount exhibited by ordinary paragraphs set with .P (and its synonyms) not within an .RS/.RE relative inset, and the default used when .IP, .RS, .TP, and the deprecated .HP are not given an indentation argument, is 7.2n for typesetter devices and 7n for terminal devices (but see the -rIN option). Headers, footers (both set with .TH), and section headings (.SH) are set with no indentation and subsection headings (.SS) are indented 3n (but see the -rSN option). However, the HTML output device ignores indentation completely. The following macros break the output line and insert vertical space: .SH, .SS, .TP, .P (and its synonyms), .IP, and the deprecated .HP. The default inter-section and inter-paragraph spacing is is 1v for terminal devices and 0.4v for typesetter devices. In .EX/.EE sections, the inter-paragraph spacing is 1v regardless of output device. (The deprecated macro .PD can change this vertical spacing, but its use is discouraged.) The macros .RS, .RE, .EX, .EE, and .TQ also cause a break but no insertion of vertical space. Registers Registers are described in section “Options” below. They can be set not only on the command line but in the site man.local file as well; see section “Files” below. Strings The following strings are defined for use in man pages. None of these is necessary in a contemporary man page; see groff_man_style(7). Others are supported for configuration of rendering parameters; see section “Options” below. \*R interpolates a special character escape sequence for the “registered sign” glyph, \(rg, if available, and “(Reg.)” otherwise. \*S interpolates an escape sequence setting the point size to the document default. \*(lq \*(rq interpolate special character escape sequences for left and right double-quotation marks, \(lq and \(rq, respectively. \*(Tm interpolate special character escape sequences for the “trade mark sign” glyph, \(tm, if available, and “(TM)” otherwise. Interaction with preprocessors When a preprocessor like tbl or eqn is needed, a hint can be given to the man page librarian by making the first line of a man page look like this: '\" word The line starts with an apostrophe ('), not a dot, and a single space character follows the double quote. The word consists of one letter for each needed preprocessor: “e” for eqn, “r” for refer, and “t” for tbl. Modern implementations of the man program can use this information to automatically call the required preprocessor(s) in the right order. The usual tbl and eqn macros for table and equation inclusion, .TS, .T&, .TE, .EQ, and .EN, may be used freely. Terminal devices are extremely limited in presentation of mathematical equations. Hooks Two macros, both GNU extensions, are called internally by the groff man package to format page headers and footers and can be redefined by the administrator in a site's man.local file (see section “Files” below). The default headers and footers are documented in the description of .TH above. Because these macros are hooks for groff man internals, man pages have no reason to call them. A macro definition for these hooks typically consists of a “.tl” request. .BT Set the page footer text (“bottom trap”). .PT Set the page header text (“page trap”). Deprecated features Use of the following in man pages for public distribution is discouraged. .AT [system [release]] Alter the footer for use with legacy AT&T man pages, overriding any definition of the footer-inside argument to .TH. This macro exists only for compatibility, to render man pages from historical systems. The first argument system can be: 3 7th edition (default) 4 System III 5 System V The optional second argument release specifies the release number, such as in “System V Release 3”. .DT Set tab stops every 0.5i (inches). Since this macro is called by .TH, it would make sense to call it only if a man page changes the tab stops. Use of this presentation-level macro is deprecated. It translates poorly to HTML, under which exact space control and tabulation are not readily available. Thus, information or distinctions that you use .DT to express are likely to be lost. If you feel tempted to use it, you should probably be composing a table using tbl(1) markup instead. .HP [indent] Set up a paragraph with a hanging left indentation. The indent argument, if present, is handled as with .TP. Use of this presentation-level macro is deprecated. A hanging indentation cannot be expressed naturally under HTML, and HTML-based man page processors may interpret it as starting an ordinary paragraph. Thus, any information or distinction you mean to express with the indentation may be lost. .PD [vertical-space] Define the vertical space between paragraphs or (sub)sections. The optional argument vertical-space specifies the amount; the default scaling indicator is “v”. Without an argument, the spacing is reset to its default value; see subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” above. Use of this presentation-level macro is deprecated. It translates poorly to HTML, under which exact control of inter-paragraph spacing is not readily available. Thus, information or distinctions that you use .PD to express are likely to be lost. .UC [version] Alter the footer for use with legacy BSD man pages, overriding any definition of the footer-inside argument to .TH. This macro exists only for compatibility, to render man pages from historical systems. The argument version can be: 3 3rd Berkeley Distribution (default) 4 4th Berkeley Distribution 5 4.2 Berkeley Distribution 6 4.3 Berkeley Distribution 7 4.4 Berkeley Distribution History Version 7 Unix (1979) introduced the man macro package and supported all of the macros described in this page not listed as extensions, except .P, .SB, and the deprecated .AT and .UC. The only strings defined were R and S; no registers were documented. .UC appeared in 3BSD (1980) and .P in Unix System III (1980). PWB/UNIX 2.0 (1980) added the Tm string. 4BSD (1980) added lq and rq strings. 4.3BSD (1986) added .AT and .P. Version 9 Unix (1986) introduced .EX and .EE. SunOS 4.0 (1988) may have been the first to support .SB.
The following groff options set registers (with -r) and strings (with -d) recognized and used by the man macro package. -dAD=adjustment-mode Set line adjustment to adjustment-mode, which is typically “b” for adjustment to both margins (the default), or “l” for left alignment (ragged right margin). Any valid argument to groff's “.ad” request may be used. See groff(7) for less-common choices. -rcR=1 Continuous rendering. Do not paginate the output; produce one (potentially very long) output page. This is the default for terminal and HTML devices. Use -rcR=0 to disable it. -rC1 Number output pages continuously. If multiple man pages are processed, number the output pages in strictly increasing sequence, rather than resetting the page number to 1 at each new man document. -rCS=1 Capitalize section headings. Set section headings (the argument(s) to .SH) in full capitals. This transformation is off by default because it discards case distinction information. -rCT=1 Capitalize titles. Set the man page title (the first argument to .TH) in full capitals in headers and footers. This transformation is off by default because it discards case distinction information. -rD1 Enable double-sided layout. Format footers for even and odd pages differently; see the description of .TH in subsection “Document structure macros” above. -rFT=footer-distance Set distance of the footer, relative to the bottom of the page if negative or top if positive, to footer-distance. At twice this distance, the page text is broken before writing the footer. Ignored if continuous rendering is enabled. The default is -0.5i. -dHF=heading-font See the font used for section and subsection headings; the default is “B” (bold). Any valid argument to groff's “.ft” request may be used. See groff(7). -rHY=hyphenation-mode Set hyphenation mode, as documented in section “Hyphenation” of groff(7). Use -rHY=0 to disable hyphenation. The default is 4 if continuous rendering is enabled (-rcR=1 above), and 6 otherwise. Any valid argument to groff's “.hy” request may be used. -rIN=standard-indent Set the amount of indentation used for ordinary paragraphs (.P and its synonyms) and the default indentation amount used by .IP, .RS, .TP, and the deprecated .HP. See subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” above for the default. For terminal devices, standard-indent should always be an integer multiple of unit “n” to get consistent indentation. -rLL=line-length Set line length; the default is 78n for terminal devices and 6.5i for typesetter devices. -rLT=title-length Set the line length for titles. By default, the line length (see -rLL above) is used for the title length. -rPn Start enumeration of pages at n rather than 1. -rSpoint-size Use point-size as the base point size; acceptable values are 10, 11, or 12. See subsection “Font style macros” above for the default. -rSN=subsection-indent Set indentation of subsection headings to subsection- indent. See subsection “Horizontal and vertical spacing” above for the default. -rXp After page p, number pages as pa, pb, pc, and so forth. The register tracking the suffixed page letter uses format “a” (see the “.af” request in groff(7)).
/usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/an.tmac Most man macros are contained in this file. It also loads the extensions from an-ext.tmac (see below). /usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/andoc.tmac This brief groff program detects whether the man or mdoc macro package is being used by a document and loads the correct macro definitions, taking advantage of the fact that pages using them must call .TH or .Dd, respectively, as their first macro. A man program or user typing, for example, “groff -mandoc page.1”, need not know which package the file page.1 uses. Multiple man pages, in either format, can be handled; andoc reloads each macro package as necessary. /usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/an-ext.tmac The extension macro definitions for .SY, .OP, .YS, .TQ, .EX/.EE, .UR/.UE, and .MT/.ME are contained in this file, which is written to be compatible with AT&T troff and permissively licensed—not copylefted. Man page authors concerned about portability to legacy Unix systems are encouraged to copy these definitions into their pages, and maintainers of troff implementations or work-alike systems that format man pages are encouraged to re-use them. The definitions for these macros are read after a page calls .TH, so they will replace any macros of the same names preceding it in your file. If you use your own implementations of these macros, they must be defined after calling .TH to have any effect. Furthermore, it is wise to define such page-local macros (if at all) after the “Name” section to accommodate timid mandb implementations that may give up their scan for indexing material early. /usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/man.tmac This is a wrapper that loads an.tmac. /usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/mandoc.tmac This is a wrapper that loads andoc.tmac. /usr/local/share/groff/site-tmac/man.local Put local changes and customizations into this file.
M. Douglas McIlroy ⟨firstname.lastname@example.org⟩ designed, implemented, and documented the AT&T man macros, using them when he edited the first volume of the Version 7 Unix manual, a compilation of all man pages supplied by the system. The GNU version of the man macro package was written by James Clark and contributors. The extension macros were written by Werner Lemberg ⟨email@example.com⟩ and Eric S. Raymond ⟨esr@thyrsus .com⟩. This document was originally written for the Debian GNU/Linux system by Susan G. Kleinmann ⟨firstname.lastname@example.org⟩. It was corrected and updated by Werner Lemberg and G. Branden Robinson ⟨g.branden .email@example.com⟩. The extension macros were documented by Eric S. Raymond.
tbl(1), eqn(1), and refer(1) are preprocessors used with man pages. man(1) describes the man page librarian on your system. groff_mdoc(7) describes the groff version of the BSD-originated alternative macro package for man pages. groff_man_style(7), groff(7), groff_char(7), man(7)
This page is part of the groff (GNU troff) project. Information about the project can be found at ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/groff/⟩. If you have a bug report for this manual page, see ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/groff/⟩. This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository ⟨https://git.savannah.gnu.org/git/groff.git⟩ on 2021-08-27. (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the repository was 2021-08-23.) If you discover any rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org groff 1.23.0.rc1.1101-d1263-di1r9tyAugust 2021 groff_man(7)
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