Provided by: groff-base_1.21-7_amd64 bug


       tbl - format tables for troff


       tbl [-Cv] [files ...]


       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.


       -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

       -v     Print the version number.


       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 extension).

              Set the character to be recognized as the decimal point in numeric columns (GNU tbl

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

              Enclose the table in a double box.

              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 specifiers are used (see below).

              In case the sum of the column widths is larger than the current  line  length,  the
              column  separation factor is set to zero; such tables extend into the right margin,
              and there is no column separation at all.

       frame  Same as box (GNU tbl only).

              Set lines or rules (e.g. from box) in n-point type.

       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.

              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

       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 whitespace 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 character 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 subcolumns because A items  are  indented  by  1n  relative  to  L  entries.

                     item one;1
                     subitem two;2
                     subitem three;3
                     item eleven;11
                     subitem twentytwo;22
                     subitem thirtythree;33


                     item one                 1
                      subitem two             2
                      subitem three           3
                     item eleven             11
                      subitem twentytwo      22
                      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 numbers are aligned
              vertically.  If there is one or more dots adjacent to a digit,  use  the  rightmost
              one  for  vertical  alignment.   If  there  is  no dot, use the rightmost digit for
              vertical alignment; 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:




              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

              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 purpose.

       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.

       _,-    Replace this entry with a horizontal line.

       =      Replace this entry with a double horizontal line.

       |      The corresponding column becomes a vertical rule (if two of these are  adjacent,  a
              double vertical rule).

       A  vertical  bar  to  the  left  of  the  first key letter or to the right of the last one
       produces a line at the edge of the table.

       To change the data format within a table, use the .T& command (at the start  of  a  line).
       It  is  followed  by  format  and  data  lines  (but no global options) similar to the .TS

   Column specifiers
       Here are the specifiers that can appear in suffixes to column key letters (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 specifier 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 separated 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 incremented 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 signed number instead of a signed digit is a
              GNU tbl extension).  A  vertical  line  spacing  specifier  followed  by  a  column
              separation  number  must  be  separated  by  one  or more blanks.  No effect if the
              corresponding table entry isn't a text block.

       w,W    Minimal column width value.  Must be followed either by a troff(1) width expression
              in  parentheses  or  a  unitless  integer.  If no unit is given, en units are used.
              Also used as the default line length for included text blocks.   If  used  multiple
              times to specify the width for a particular column, the last entry takes effect.

       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  separation  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 particular 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

       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


       fail; you must either say




       A  dot  starting  a  line, followed by anything but a digit is handled as a troff command,
       passed through without changes.  The table position is unchanged in this case.

       If a data line consists of only `_' or `=', a single  or  double  line,  respectively,  is
       drawn across the table at that point; if a single item in a data line consists of only `_'
       or `=', then that item is replaced by a single or double line, joining its neighbours.  If
       a data item consists only of `\_' or `\=', a single or double line, respectively, is drawn
       across the field at that point which does not join its neighbours.

       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 immediately 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 L×C/(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{'.

       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.


       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.


       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 (.T&) lines are not restricted to the first 200 lines.

       Numeric and alphabetic items may appear in the same column.

       Numeric and alphabetic items may span horizontally.

       tbl  uses  register,  string,  macro and diversion names beginning with the digit 3.  When
       using tbl you should avoid using any names beginning with a 3.


       Since tbl defines its own macros (right before each table) it is necessary to use an `end-
       of-macro'  macro.   Additionally,  the  escape  character has to be switched off.  Here an

              .de ATABLE ..
              allbox tab(;);
              .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 numbers are passed on as macro  parameters  because  decimal
       point  alignment  is handled by tbl itself: It only sees `\$1', `\$2', etc., and therefore
       can't recognize the decimal point.


       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 table 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 table.  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
              lw(1i) l.


       Lesk, M.E.: "TBL – A Program to Format  Tables".   For  copyright  reasons  it  cannot  be
       included  in  the  groff  distribution, but copies can be found with a title search on the
       World Wide Web.


       groff(1), troff(1)