tbl


SYNOPSIS
       tbl [-Cv] [files ...]

DESCRIPTION
       This manual page describes the GNU version of tbl, which is part of the
       groff document formatting system.  tbl compiles descriptions of  tables
       embedded  within troff input files into commands that are understood by
       troff.  Normally, it should be invoked using the -t  option  of  groff.
       It is highly compatible with Unix tbl.  The output generated by GNU tbl
       cannot be processed with Unix troff; it  must  be  processed  with  GNU
       troff.  If no files are given on the command line or a filename of - is
       given, the standard input is read.

OPTIONS
       -C     Enable compatibility mode to recognize .TS  and  .TE  even  when
              followed  by  a  character  other than space or newline.  Leader
              characters (\a) are handled as interpreted.

       -v     Print the version number.

USAGE
       tbl expects to find table descriptions wrapped in the .TS (table start)
       and .TE (table end) macros.

   Global options
       The  line  immediately  following  the .TS macro may contain any of the
       following global options (ignoring the case of characters  -  Unix  tbl
       only  accepts  options  with all characters lowercase or all characters
       uppercase), separated by spaces, tabs, or commas:

       allbox Enclose each item of the table in a box.

       box    Enclose the table in a box.

       center Center the table (default is left-justified).   The  alternative
              keyword name centre is also recognized (this is a GNU tbl exten-
              sion).

       decimalpoint(c)
              Set the character to be  recognized  as  the  decimal  point  in
              numeric columns (GNU tbl only).

       delim(xy)
              Use x and y as start and end delimiters for eqn(1).

       doublebox
              Enclose the table in a double box.

       doubleframe
              Same as doublebox (GNU tbl only).

       expand Make  the  table as wide as the current line length (providing a
              column separation factor).  Ignored if one or  more  `x'  column

       nokeep Don't use diversions to prevent  page  breaks  (GNU  tbl  only).
              Normally  tbl  attempts  to  prevent undesirable breaks in boxed
              tables by using diversions.  This can sometimes  interact  badly
              with  macro packages' own use of diversions, when footnotes, for
              example, are used.

       nospaces
              Ignore leading and trailing spaces in data items (GNU tbl only).

       nowarn Turn off warnings related to tables exceeding the  current  line
              width (GNU tbl only).

       tab(x) Use the character x instead of a tab to separate items in a line
              of input data.

       The global options must end with a semicolon.  There  might  be  white-
       space between an option and its argument in parentheses.

   Table format specification
       After  global  options come lines describing the format of each line of
       the table.  Each such format line  describes  one  line  of  the  table
       itself,  except  that  the  last format line (which you must end with a
       period) describes all remaining lines of the table.  A single-key char-
       acter  describes each column of each line of the table.  Key characters
       can be separated by spaces or tabs.  You may run format  specifications
       for  multiple  lines  together on the same line by separating them with
       commas.

       You may follow each key character with specifiers  that  determine  the
       font  and  point  size of the corresponding item, that determine column
       width, inter-column spacing, etc.

       The longest format line defines the number of  columns  in  the  table;
       missing  format  descriptors  at the end of format lines are assumed to
       be L.  Extra columns in the data (which have  no  corresponding  format
       entry) are ignored.

       The available key characters are:

       a,A    Center  longest  line in this column and then left-justifies all
              other lines in this column with respect to that  centered  line.
              The idea is to use such alphabetic subcolumns (hence the name of
              the key character) in combination with L; they are  called  sub-
              columns   because  A  items  are  indented  by  1n  relative  to
              L entries.  Example:

                     .TS
                     tab(;);
                     ln,an.
                     item one;1
                     subitem two;2
                     subitem three;3
                     .T&
                     ln,an.
                      subitem thirtythree    33

       c,C    Center item within the column.

       l,L    Left-justify item within the column.

       n,N    Numerically justify item in the column: Units positions of  num-
              bers are aligned vertically.  If there is one or more dots adja-
              cent to a digit, use the rightmost one for  vertical  alignment.
              If  there is no dot, use the rightmost digit for vertical align-
              ment; otherwise, center the item within the  column.   Alignment
              can  be forced to a certain position using `\&'; if there is one
              or more  instances  of  this  special  (non-printing)  character
              present  within  the  data,  use the leftmost one for alignment.
              Example:

                     .TS
                     n.
                     1
                     1.5
                     1.5.3
                     abcde
                     a\&bcde
                     .TE

              Result:

                       1
                       1.5
                     1.5.3
                      abcde
                       abcde

              If numerical entries are combined with L or R entries - this can
              happen  if  the  table  format is changed with .T& -, center the
              widest number (of the data entered under the N specifier regime)
              relative to the widest L or R entry, preserving the alignment of
              all numerical entries.  Contrary to A type entries, there is  no
              extra indentation.

              Using  equations (to be processed with eqn) within columns which
              use the N specifier is problematic in most cases  due  to  tbl's
              algorithm  for  finding  the  vertical  alignment,  as described
              above.  Using the global delim option, however, it  is  possible
              to  make tbl ignore the data within eqn delimiters for that pur-
              pose.

       r,R    Right-justify item within the column.

       s,S    Span previous item on the left into this  column.   Not  allowed
              for the first column.

       ^      Span  down  entry from previous row in this column.  Not allowed
              for the first row.

       start  of  a  line).   It  is followed by format and data lines (but no
       global options) similar to the .TS request.

   Column specifiers
       Here are the specifiers that can appear in suffixes to column key  let-
       ters (in any order):

       b,B    Short form of fB (make affected entries bold).

       d,D    Start  an  item  vertically  spanning  rows at the bottom of its
              range rather than vertically centering it (GNU tbl only).

       e,E    Make equally-spaced columns.  All columns marked with this spec-
              ifier get the same width; this happens after the affected column
              widths have been computed (this means  that  the  largest  width
              value rules).

       f,F    Either  of  these  specifiers  may  be  followed  by a font name
              (either one or two  characters  long),  font  number  (a  single
              digit),  or long name in parentheses (the last form is a GNU tbl
              extension).  A one-letter font name must be separated by one  or
              more blanks from whatever follows.

       i,I    Short form of fI (make affected entries italic).

       m,M    This  is a GNU tbl extension.  Either of these specifiers may be
              followed by a macro name (either one or two characters long), or
              long name in parentheses.  A one-letter macro name must be sepa-
              rated by one or more blanks from whatever  follows.   The  macro
              which name can be specified here must be defined before creating
              the table.  It is called just before the table's  cell  text  is
              output.   As implemented currently, this macro is only called if
              block input is used, that is, text between `T{' and  `T}'.   The
              macro  should  contain  only simple troff requests to change the
              text block formatting, like text adjustment, hyphenation,  size,
              or  font.   The  macro  is called after other cell modifications
              like b, f or v are output.  Thus the macro can  overwrite  other
              modification specifiers.

       p,P    Followed  by  a  number,  this  does a point size change for the
              affected fields.  If signed, the current point  size  is  incre-
              mented or decremented (using a signed number instead of a signed
              digit is a GNU tbl extension).  A point size specifier  followed
              by  a  column separation number must be separated by one or more
              blanks.

       t,T    Start an item vertically spanning rows at the top of  its  range
              rather than vertically centering it.

       u,U    Move the corresponding column up one half-line.

       v,V    Followed  by  a number, this indicates the vertical line spacing
              to be used in a multi-line table entry.  If signed, the  current
              vertical  line  spacing  is  incremented or decremented (using a

       x,X    An expanded column.  After computing all column  widths  without
              an  x  specifier,  use the remaining line width for this column.
              If there is  more  than  one  expanded  column,  distribute  the
              remaining  horizontal  space  evenly  among the affected columns
              (this is a GNU extension).  This feature has the same effect  as
              specifying a minimum column width.

       z,Z    Ignore  the corresponding column for width-calculation purposes,
              this is, don't use the fields but only the  specifiers  of  this
              column to compute its width.

       A  number  suffix on a key character is interpreted as a column separa-
       tion in en units (multiplied in proportion if the expand option is on -
       in  case of overfull tables this might be zero).  Default separation is
       3n.

       The column specifier x is mutually exclusive with e and w (but e is not
       mutually  exclusive with w); if specified multiple times for a particu-
       lar column, the last entry takes effect: x unsets both e and  w,  while
       either e or w overrides x.

   Table data
       The  format  lines are followed by lines containing the actual data for
       the table, followed finally by .TE.  Within such data lines, items  are
       normally  separated  by tab characters (or the character specified with
       the tab option).  Long input lines can be broken across multiple  lines
       if the last character on the line is `\' (which vanishes after concate-
       nation).

       Note that tbl computes the column widths line by line, applying  \w  on
       each  entry  which isn't a text block.  As a consequence, constructions
       like

              .TS
              c,l.
              \s[20]MM
              MMMM
              .TE

       fail; you must either say

              .TS
              cp20,lp20.
              MM
              MMMM
              .TE

       or

              .TS
              c,l.
              \s[20]MM
              \s[20]MMMM
              .TE

       A data item consisting only of `\Rx' (`x' any character) is replaced by
       repetitions  of  character  `x'  as wide as the column (not joining its
       neighbours).

       A data item consisting only of `\^' indicates that  the  field  immedi-
       ately above spans downward over this row.

   Text blocks
       A text block can be used to enter data as a single entry which would be
       too long as a simple string between tabs.  It is started with `T{'  and
       closed  with  `T}'.   The  former  must end a line, and the latter must
       start a line, probably followed by other data columns  (separated  with
       tabs or the character given with the tab global option).

       By  default,  the  text block is formatted with the settings which were
       active before entering the table, possibly overridden by the m, v,  and
       w  tbl  specifiers.  For example, to make all text blocks ragged-right,
       insert .na right before the starting .TS (and .ad after the table).

       If either `w' or `x' specifiers are not given for all columns of a text
       block  span,  the default length of the text block (to be more precise,
       the line length used to process the text block diversion)  is  computed
       as  LxC/(N+1),  where `L' is the current line length, `C' the number of
       columns spanned by the text block, and `N' the total number of  columns
       in  the  table.   Note,  however,  that  the  actual diversion width as
       returned in register \n[dl] is used eventually as the text block width.
       If  necessary,  you can also control the text block width with a direct
       insertion of a .ll request right after `T{'.

   Miscellaneous
       The number register \n[TW] holds the table  width;  it  can't  be  used
       within the table itself but is defined right before calling .TE so that
       this macro can make use of it.

       tbl also defines a macro .T# which produces the bottom and  side  lines
       of  a boxed table.  While tbl does call this macro itself at the end of
       the table, it can be used by macro packages to create boxes for  multi-
       page  tables  by calling it within the page footer.  An example of this
       is shown by the -ms macros which provide this functionality if a  table
       starts with .TS H instead of the standard call to the .TS macro.

INTERACTION WITH EQN
       tbl(1)  should  always  be called before eqn(1) (groff(1) automatically
       takes care of the correct order of preprocessors).

       It is not advisable to use the hash character (#) as  a  delimiter  for
       in-line  equations in eqn(1) since tbl uses a macro called .T#, causing
       a clash.

GNU TBL ENHANCEMENTS
       There is no limit on the number of columns in a table, nor any limit on
       the  number of text blocks.  All the lines of a table are considered in
       deciding column widths, not just the  first  200.   Table  continuation
       sary to use an `end-of-macro' macro.  Additionally, the escape  charac-
       ter has to be switched off.  Here an example.

              .eo
              .de ATABLE ..
              .TS
              allbox tab(;);
              cl.
              \$1;\$2
              .TE
              ...
              .ec
              .ATABLE A table
              .ATABLE Another table
              .ATABLE And "another one"

       Note, however, that not all features of tbl can be wrapped into a macro
       because tbl sees the input earlier than  troff.   For  example,  number
       formatting  with  vertically aligned decimal points fails if those num-
       bers are passed on as macro parameters because decimal point  alignment
       is  handled  by tbl itself: It only sees `\$1', `\$2', etc., and there-
       fore can't recognize the decimal point.

BUGS
       You should use .TS H/.TH in conjunction with a supporting macro package
       for  all  multi-page boxed tables.  If there is no header that you wish
       to appear at the top of each page of the  table,  place  the  .TH  line
       immediately  after the format section.  Do not enclose a multi-page ta-
       ble within keep/release macros, or divert it in any other way.

       A text block within a table must be able to fit on one page.

       The bp request cannot be used to force a page-break in a multi-page ta-
       ble.  Instead, define BP as follows

              .de BP
              .  ie '\\n(.z'' .bp \\$1
              .  el \!.BP \\$1
              ..

       and use BP instead of bp.

       Using  \a  directly  in a table to get leaders does not work (except in
       compatibility mode).  This is correct behaviour: \a is an uninterpreted
       leader.   To get leaders use a real leader, either by using a control A
       or like this:

              .ds a \a
              .TS
              tab(;);
              lw(1i) l.
              A\*a;B
              .TE
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