Provided by: groff-base_1.22.3-10_amd64 bug


       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 | --help
       groff -v | --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 collection GNU ⟨⟩.  The groff system has
       all features of the classical roff, but adds many extensions.

       The groff program allows to control 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.  The whitespace between
       a command line option and its argument is optional.   Options  can  be  grouped  behind  a
       single  ‘-’  (minus  character).   A  filename of - (minus character) denotes the standard

       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

       -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'  and
              \X'ps:  file'  escapes).   The  current  directory  is always searched first.  This
              option may be specified more than once; the directories 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 preprocessor.  Please  refer
              to preconv's manual page for its behaviour 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 command 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

       -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  arguments  to  refer
              because  most refer options have equivalent language 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

       -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 postprocessor 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 (postprocessor 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 -S.

              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

       -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 standard 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  determining  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 printed.

       -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 groff_out(5).

   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 font DESC files.

       -i     Process standard input after the specified input files.

       -m name
              Include macro file name.tmac (or; see also groff_tmac(5).

       -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  to  specify  the
       preprocessors  by  command  line  options and automatically runs the postprocessor that is
       appropriate for the selected device.  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

       The groffer(1) program is an allround-viewer for groff files and man pages.

       The groff preprocessors are reimplementations of the classical preprocessors with moderate
       extensions.  The standard preprocessors distributed 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 automatically run with some
       devices.  These aren't visible to the user.

   Macro Packages
       Macro packages can be included by option -m.  The groff system implements 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 specified 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 groff_www(7).

       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  auxiliary  macro  packages  not  mentioned

   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 groff_diff(7).

       The  groff  language  as a whole is described in the (still incomplete) groff info file; a
       short (but complete) reference 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 possible.

       There  is a shell script nroff(1) that emulates the behavior of classical nroff.  It tries
       to automatically select the proper output encoding, 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 device 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 Unix).

       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 printers).

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

       ps     PostScript output; suitable for printers and previewers like gv(1).

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

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

       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-

       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 formats 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 format.

       The following utility programs around groff are available.

              Add information to troff font description files for use with groff.

              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 distributed with X window.

              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 example, DOS and Windows use a semicolon

              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 preprocessors eqn, grn,
              pic, refer, tbl, soelim, and to the utilities indxbib and  lookbib.   This  feature
              does  not  apply  to any programs 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 preconv(1) for details.

              A list of directories in which to search for the devname directory 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 addition 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 Windows 32 platforms, the  environment  variables  TMP  and
              TEMP  (in that order) are searched also, after GROFF_TMPDIR and TMPDIR.  Otherwise,
              temporary files are created in /tmp.  The  refer(1),  groffer(1),  grohtml(1),  and
              grops(1) commands use temporary files.

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


       The following example illustrates the power of the  groff  program  as  a  wrapper  around

       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  preprocessor  and  macro
       options  and  execute  the generated command (by using backquotes to specify shell command

              `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

       Report bugs to the groff mailing list  ⟨⟩.   Include  a  complete,  self-
       contained example that allows the bug to be reproduced, and say which version of groff you
       are using.


       There are some directories in which  groff  installs  all  of  its  data  files.   Due  to
       different  installation  habits  on  different  operating systems, their locations are not
       absolutely fixed, but their function is clearly defined and coincides on all systems.

   Collection of Installation Directories
       This section describes  the  position  of  all  files  of  the  groff  package  after  the
       installation — got from Makefile.comm at the top of the groff source package.

              index directory and index name

              legacy font directory

              directory for binary programs

              system tmac directory

              documentation directory

              directory for examples

              documentation directory for html files

              documentation directory for pdf files

              data subdirectory

              file for common words

              directory for fonts

              directory for old fonts

              tmac directory

              mm tmac directory

              local font directory

              local tmac 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/1.22.3/tmac.  The following files contained in the groff macro  directory
       have a special meaning:

              Initialization  file  for  troff.   This is interpreted by troff before 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  located  at  /usr/share/groff/1.22.3/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 GNU
       website ⟨⟩.

       Three groff mailing lists are available:

              for reporting bugs ⟨⟩.

              for general discussion of groff, ⟨⟩.

              the groff commit list ⟨⟩, a read-only  list  showing  logs  of
              commitments to the groff repository.

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

       There  is  a  free  implementation  of  the  grap  preprocessor,  written  by  Ted   Faber
       ⟨⟩.   The  actual  version  can  be  found  at the grap website ⟨http://⟩.  This is the only grap version supported by


       The groff info file contains all information on the groff system within a single document,
       providing many examples and background information.  See info(1) on how to read it.

       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 section 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),

       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).


       Copyright © 1989-2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       Rewritten in 2002 by Bernd Warken <>

       This document is part of groff, a free GNU software project.

       Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of
       the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free
       Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being the macro definition or .co and
       .au, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.

       A copy of the Free Documentation License is included as a file called FDL in the main
       directory of the groff source package.

       It is also available in the internet at the GNU copyleft site ⟨


       This document is based on the original groff man page written by James Clark
       ⟨⟩.  It was rewritten, enhanced, and put under the FDL license by Bernd
       Warken <>.  It is maintained by Werner Lemberg ⟨⟩.