GROFF(1)                    General Commands Manual                   GROFF(1)

       groff - front-end for the groff document formatting system

       groff [-abcegijklpstzCEGNRSUVXZ] [-d cs] [-D arg] [-f fam] [-F dir]
             [-I dir] [-K arg] [-L arg] [-m name] [-M dir] [-n num] [-o list]
             [-P arg] [-r cn] [-T dev] [-w name] [-W name] [file ...]

       groff -h
       groff --help

       groff -v [option ...]
       groff --version [option ...]

       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 collec-
       tion GNU <>.  The groff system has  all  features  of
       the classical roff, but adds many extensions.

       The  groff program allows control of the whole groff system by command-
       line options.  This is a great  simplification  in  comparison  to  the
       classical case (which uses pipes only).

       The  command  line  is  parsed  according  to the usual GNU convention.
       Whitespace is permitted between a command-line option and its argument.
       Options  can be grouped behind a single '-' (minus character).  A file-
       name of - (minus character) denotes the standard input.

       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.

       -D arg Set default input encoding used by preconv to arg.  Implies -k.

       -e     Preprocess with eqn.

       -g     Preprocess with grn.

       -G     Preprocess with grap.  Implies -p.

       --help Print a help message.

       -I dir 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' , \X'ps: file' and  \X'pdf:
              pdfpic'  escapes).   The  current  directory  is always searched
              first.  This option may be specified more than once; the  direc-
              tories are searched in the order specified.  No directory search
              is performed for files specified using an absolute  path.   This
              option implies the -s option.

       -j     Preprocess with chem.  Implies -p.

       -k     Preprocess  with  preconv.   This  is  run before any other pre-
              processor.  Please refer to preconv's manual page for its behav-
              iour if no -K (or -D) option is specified.

       -K arg Set input encoding used by preconv to arg.  Implies -k.

       -l     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 com-
              mand is not present, the output is piped into the lpr(1) program
              by default.  See options -L and -X.

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

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

       -p     Preprocess with pic.

       -P -option
       -P -option -P arg
              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

                     groff -X -P -title -P 'groff it' foo

              is equivalent to

                     groff -X -Z foo | gxditview -title 'groff it' -

       -R     Preprocess with refer.  No mechanism is provided for passing ar-
              guments to refer because most refer options have equivalent lan-
              guage  elements  that can be specified within the document.  See
              refer(1) for more details.

       -s     Preprocess with soelim.

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

       -t     Preprocess with tbl.

       -T dev Set output device to dev.  For this device, troff generates  the
              intermediate output; see groff_out(5).  Then groff calls a post-
              processor to convert troff's intermediate output  to  its  final
              format.  Real devices in groff are

                     dvi    TeX DVI format (postprocessor is grodvi).

                     xhtml  HTML  and  XHTML  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).

                     pdf    Portable Document Format (PDF) output (postproces-
                            sor is gropdf).

              For  the  following  TTY output devices (postprocessor is always
              grotty), -T 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.   This
                            mode has the most useful fonts for TTY mode, so it
                            is the best mode for TTY output.

              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.

                            100dpi resolution, 12pt document base font.

              The default device is ps.

       -U     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 -v to all subprograms.

       -V     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 are both printed on the stan-
              dard error and run.

       -X     Use  gxditview  instead  of  using  the  usual  postprocessor to
              (pre)view a document.  The printing spooler behavior as outlined
              with options -l and -L is carried over to gxditview(1) by deter-
              mining an argument for the -printCommand option of gxditview(1).
              This  sets  the  default Print action and the corresponding menu
              entry to that value.  -X only produces good results  with  -Tps,
              -TX75,  -TX75-12, -TX100, and -TX100-12.  The default resolution
              for previewing -Tps output is 75dpi;  this  can  be  changed  by
              passing the -resolution option to gxditview, for example

                     groff -X -P-resolution -P100 -man foo.1

       -z     Suppress  output  generated  by  troff.  Only error messages are

       -Z     Do not automatically postprocess groff  intermediate  output  in
              the usual manner.  This will cause the troff output to appear on
              standard output, replacing the usual postprocessor  output;  see

   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).

       -a     ASCII approximation of output.

       -b     Backtrace on error or warning.

       -c     Disable color output.  Please consult the grotty(1) man page for
              more details.

       -C     Enable compatibility mode.

       -d cs
       -d name=s
              Define string.

       -E     Disable troff error messages.

       -f fam Set default font family.

       -F dir Set path for device DESC files.

       -i     Process standard input after the specified input files.

       -m name
              Include  macro  file  name.tmac   (or;   see   also

       -M dir Path for macro files.

       -n num Number the first page num.

       -o list
              Output only pages in list.

       -r cn
       -r name=n
              Set number register.

       -w name
              Enable warning name.  See troff(1) for names.

       -W name
              disable warning name.  See troff(1) for names.

       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 ...

       The groff program is a wrapper around the troff(1) program.  It  allows
       one  to specify the preprocessors by command-line options and automati-
       cally runs the postprocessor that is appropriate for the  selected  de-
       vice.   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 all-around viewer for groff files and man

       The groff preprocessors are reimplementations  of  the  classical  pre-
       processors  with  moderate extensions.  The standard preprocessors dis-
       tributed with the groff package are

       eqn(1) for mathematical formulae,

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

       pic(1) for drawing diagrams,

              for chemical structure diagrams,

              for bibliographic references,

              for including macro files from standard locations,


       tbl(1) for tables.

       A new preprocessor not available in classical troff is preconv(1) which
       converts various input encodings to something groff can understand.  It
       is always run first before any other preprocessor.

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

   Macro Packages
       Macro  packages  can be included by option -m.  The groff system imple-
       ments 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 -man or -m 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 speci-
              fied on the command line as -mandoc or -m mandoc.

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

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

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

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

       www    HTML-like macros for inclusion in arbitrary groff documents; see

       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 auxil-
       iary 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

       An  overview  of language features, including all supported escapes and
       requests, can be found in groff(7).

       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 -C switches  troff  into
       compatibility  mode  which  tries  to emulate classical roff as much as

       There is a shell script nroff(1) that emulates the behavior of  classi-
       cal  nroff.   It tries to automatically select the proper output encod-
       ing, according to the current locale.

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

       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 de-
       vice is specified by the option -T.  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

       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

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

       ps     PostScript  output;  suitable  for  printers and previewers like

       pdf    PDF files; suitable for viewing with tools such as evince(1) and

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

       xhtml  XHTML output.

       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.

       groff provides 3 hardware postprocessors:

              for some Canon printers,

              for printers compatible to the HP LaserJet 4 and PCL5,

              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 for-
       mats are

              for the DVI format,

              for HTML and XHTML formats,

              for PostScript.

              for PDF.

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

       The following utility programs around groff are available.

              Add  information  to  troff  font description files for use with

              Create font description files for PostScript device.

              Convert an eqn image into a cropped image.

              Mark differences between groff, nroff, or troff files.

              Convert a grap diagram into a cropped bitmap image.

              General viewer program for groff files and man pages.

              The groff X viewer, the GNU version of xditview.

              Create font description files for lj4 device.

              Make inverted index for bibliographic databases.

              Search bibliographic databases.

              Interactively search bibliographic databases.

              Create PDF documents using groff.

              Translate a PostScript font in .pfb format to ASCII.

              Convert a pic diagram into a cropped image.

              Create font description files for TeX DVI device.

              roff viewer historically distributed with the X Window System.

              Convert X font metrics into GNU troff font metrics.

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

              This search path, followed by PATH, is 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.

              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  internally  calls
              xxxtroff  instead of troff.  This also applies to the preproces-
              sors eqn, grn, pic, refer, tbl, soelim,  and  to  the  utilities
              indxbib  and  lookbib.   This feature does not apply to any pro-
              grams different from the ones above (most notably groff  itself)
              since they are unique to the groff package.

              The  value  of  this  environment value is passed to the preconv
              preprocessor to select the encoding  of  input  files.   Setting
              this  option  implies  groff's  command-line option -k (this is,
              groff actually always calls preconv).  If set without  a  value,
              groff  calls preconv without arguments.  An explicit -K command-
              line option overrides the value  of  GROFF_ENCODING.   See  pre-
              conv(1) for details.

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

              A  list of directories in which to search for macro files in ad-
              dition  to  the   default   directories.    See   troff(1)   and
              groff_tmac(5) for more details.

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

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

       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

              pic | tbl | troff -me -Tlatin1 | grotty

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

              groff -p -t -me -T latin1

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

              `grog -Tlatin1`

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


       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.

       groff installs files in varying locations depending on its compile-time
       configuration.  On this installation, the following locations are used.

              Application defaults directory for gxditview(1).

              Directory containing groff's executable commands.

              List of common words for indxbib(1).

              Directory for data files.

              Default index for lkbib(1) and refer(1).

              Documentation directory.

              Example directory.

              Font directory.

              HTML documentation directory.

              Legacy font directory.

              Local font directory.

              Local macro package (tmac file) directory.

              Macro package (tmac file) directory.

              Font directory for compatibility with old versions of groff; see

              PDF documentation directory.

              System macro package (tmac file) directory.

   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/groff/1.22.4/tmac.  The following
       files contained in the groff macro directory have a special meaning:

              Initialization file for troff.  This is interpreted by troff be-
              fore reading the macro sets and any input.

              Final startup file for troff.  It is parsed after all macro sets
              have been read.

              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  lo-
       cated  at  /usr/share/groff/1.22.4/font.  The following files contained
       in the groff font directory have a special meaning:

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

              Font file for font F of device name.

       Information on how to get groff and related information is available at
       the groff page of the GNU website <>.

       Three groff mailing lists are available:

              bug tracker activity (read-only) <>;

              general discussion <>; and

              commit  activity  (read-only)  <>, which re-
              ports changes to groff's source code repository by its  develop-

       Details  on  repository  access  and much more can be found in the file
       README at the top directory of the groff source package.

       A free implementation of the grap preprocessor, written  by  Ted  Faber
       <>,  can  be  found  at  the  grap  website  <http://>.  This is the  only  grap
       supported by groff.

       groff  was  written by James Clark <>.  This document was
       rewritten, enhanced, and put under the FDL license  in  2002  by  Bernd
       Warken <>.

       Groff:  The  GNU Implementation of troff, by Trent A. Fisher and Werner
       Lemberg, is the primary groff manual.  You can browse it  interactively
       with "info groff".

       Due  to  its  complex  structure,  the groff system has many man pages.
       They can be read with man(1) or groffer(1).

       But there are special sections of man pages.  groff has  man  pages  in
       sections  1,  5,and  7.  When there are several man pages with the same
       name in the same man section, the one with the lowest section is should
       as  first.   The other man pages can be shown anyway by adding the sec-
       tion number as argument before the man page name.  Reading the man page
       about the groff language is done by one of
              man 7 groff
              groffer 7 groff

       Introduction, history and further readings:

       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), chem(1), preconv(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:

       Postprocessors for the output devices:
              grodvi(1), grohtml(1), grolbp(1), grolj4(1), lj4_font(5),
              grops(1), gropdf(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) (only in Swedish locales),
              groff_mom(7), groff_ms(7), groff_www(7), groff_trace(7),

       The following utilities are available:
              addftinfo(1), afmtodit(1), eqn2graph(1), gdiffmk(1),
              grap2graph(1), groffer(1), gxditview(1), hpftodit(1),
              indxbib(1), lkbib(1), lookbib(1), pdfroff(1), pfbtops(1),
              pic2graph(1), tfmtodit(1), xtotroff(1).

groff 1.22.4                     21 March 2020                        GROFF(1)
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