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       groff_tmac - macro files in the roff typesetting system


       The  roff(7)  type-setting  system  provides  a set of macro packages suitable for special
       kinds of documents.  Each macro package stores its macros and definitions in a file called
       the package's tmac file.  The name is deduced from ‘TroffMACros’.

       The  tmac  files  are  normal roff source documents, except that they usually contain only
       definitions and setup commands, but no text.  All tmac files are kept in  a  single  or  a
       small number of directories, the tmac directories.


       groff  provides  all classical macro packages, some more full packages, and some secondary
       packages for special purposes.  Note that it is not possible to use multiple primary macro
       packages at the same time; saying e.g.

              sh# groff -m man -m ms foo


              sh# groff -m man foo -m ms bar

       fails.   Exception to this is the use of man pages written with either the mdoc or the man
       macro package.  See below the description of the andoc.tmac file.

   Man Pages
       man    This is the classical macro package for Unix manual pages (man pages); it is  quite
              handy and easy to use; see groff_man(7).

       mdoc   An  alternative macro package for man pages mainly used in BSD systems; it provides
              many new features, but it is not the standard for man pages; see groff_mdoc(7).

       mandoc Use this file in case you don't know whether the man macros  or  the  mdoc  package
              should be used.  Multiple man pages (in either format) can be handled.

   Full Packages
       The packages in this section provide a complete set of macros for writing documents of any
       kind, up to whole books.  They are similar in functionality; it is a matter of taste which
       one to use.

       me     The classical me macro package; see groff_me(7).

       mm     The semi-classical mm macro package; see groff_mm(7).

       mom    The  new mom macro package, only available in groff.  As this is not based on other
              packages, it can be freely designed.  So it is expected to  become  quite  a  nice,
              modern macro package.  See groff_mom(7).

       ms     The classical ms macro package; see groff_ms(7).

   Language-specific Packages
       cs     This  file  adds  support for Czech localization, including the main macro packages
              (me, mom, mm, and ms).

              Note that cs.tmac sets the input encoding to latin-2.

       den    German localization support, including the main macro packages (me,  mom,  mm,  and

              de.tmac selects hyphenation patterns for traditional orthography, and den.tmac does
              the same for the new orthography (‘Rechtschreibreform’).  It should be used as  the
              last macro package on the command line.

       fr     This  file  adds support for French localization, including the main macro packages
              (me, mom, mm, and ms).  Example:

                     sh# groff -ms -mfr >

              Note that fr.tmac sets the input encoding to latin-9 to get proper support  of  the
              ‘oe’ ligature.

       sv     Swedish  localization  support, including the me, mom, and ms macro packages.  Note
              that Swedish for the mm macros is handled separately; see  groff_mmse(7)  (only  in
              Swedish locales).  It should be used as the last macro package on the command line.

   Input Encodings
       latin9 Various  input  encodings  supported  directly  by  groff.  Normally, this macro is
              loaded at the very beginning of a document or specified as the first macro argument
              on  the  command  line.  roff loads latin1 by default at start-up.  Note that these
              macro packages don't work on EBCDIC hosts.

       cp1047 Encoding support for EBCDIC.  On those platforms  it  is  loaded  automatically  at
              start-up.   Due  to  different  character  ranges  used  in roff it doesn't work on
              architectures which are based on ASCII.

       Note that it can happen that some input  encoding  characters  are  not  available  for  a
       particular output device.  For example, saying

       groff -Tlatin1 -mlatin9 ...

       fails  if  you  use  the Euro character in the input.  Usually, this limitation is present
       only for devices which have a limited set of output glyphs (-Tascii, -Tlatin1); for  other
       devices  it  is  usually  sufficient  to  install proper fonts which contain the necessary

   Special Packages
       The macro packages in this section are not intended for stand-alone usage, but can be used
       to add special functionality to any other macro package or to plain groff.

       62bit  Provides  macros  for  addition,  multiplication,  and  division of 62-bit integers
              (allowing safe multiplication of 31-bit integers, for example).

       ec     Switch to the EC and TC font families.  To be used with grodvi(1) – this  man  page
              also gives more details of how to use it.

       hdtbl  The  Heidelberger  table  macros,  contributed  by  Joachim  Walsdorff,  allow  the
              generation of tables through a syntax similar to the HTML table model.   Note  that
              hdtbl  is  a  macro package, not a preprocessor like tbl(1).  hdtbl works only with
              the -Tps and -Tpdf output devices.  See groff_hdtbl(7).

              This macro file is already loaded at start-up by troff so  it  isn't  necessary  to
              call  it explicitly.  It provides an interface to set the paper size on the command
              line with the option -dpaper=size.  Possible values for size are the  same  as  the
              predefined papersize values in the DESC file (only lowercase; see groff_font(5) for
              more) except a7d7.  An appended l (ell) character denotes  landscape  orientation.
              Examples: a4, c3l, letterl.

              Most output drivers need additional command-line switches -p and -l to override the
              default paper length and orientation as set in the driver-specific DESC file.   For
              example, use the following for PS output on A4 paper in landscape orientation:

              sh# groff -Tps -dpaper=a4l -P-pa4 -P-l -ms >

       pdfpic A  single  macro  is  provided  in  this file, PSPIC, to include a PDF graphic in a
              document, i.e., under the output device -Tpdf.  For all  other  devices,  pspic  is
              used.   So  pdfpic  is an extension of pspic.  By that you can now even replace all
              PSPIC by PDFPIC, nothing gets lost by that.  The options of PDFPIC are identical to
              the PSDIF options.

       pic    This  file  provides  proper  definitions  for the macros PS and PE, needed for the
              pic(1) preprocessor.  They center each picture.  Use it only if your macro  package
              doesn't  provide  proper  definitions  for those two macros (actually, most of them
              already do).

       pspic  A single macro is provided in this file, PSPIC, to include a PostScript graphic  in
              a  document.   The  following  output devices support inclusion of PS images: -Tps,
              -Tdvi, -Thtml, and -Txhtml; for all other devices the  image  is  replaced  with  a
              hollow  rectangle  of the same size.  This macro file is already loaded at start-up
              by troff so it isn't necessary to call it explicitly.


                     .PSPIC [-L|-R|-C|-I n] file [width [height]]

              file is the name of the PostScript file; width and height give  the  desired  width
              and  height  of  the image.  If neither a width nor a height argument is specified,
              the image's natural width (as given in the file's bounding box) or the current line
              length  is  used as the width, whatever is smaller.  The width and height arguments
              may have scaling indicators attached; the default scaling  indicator  is  i.   This
              macro  scales the graphic uniformly in the x and y directions so that it is no more
              than width wide and height high.  Option -C centers the graphic horizontally, which
              is  the  default.   The  -L and -R options cause the graphic to be left-aligned and
              right-aligned, respectively.  The -I option causes the graphic to be indented by  n
              (default scaling indicator is m).

              For  use  of  .PSPIC  within  a  diversion  it is recommended to extend it with the
              following code, assuring that the diversion's width completely covers  the  image's

                     .am PSPIC
                     .  vpt 0
                     \h'(\\n[ps-offset]u + \\n[ps-deswid]u)'
                     .  sp -1
                     .  vpt 1

       ptx    A  single macro is provided in this file, xx, for formatting permuted index entries
              as produced by the GNU ptx(1) program.  In case you need  a  different  formatting,
              copy the macro into your document and adapt it to your needs.

       trace  Use  this  for  tracing  macro  calls.   It  is  only  useful  for  debugging.  See

              Overrides the definition of standard troff characters and some groff characters for
              TTY  devices.  The optical appearance is intentionally inferior compared to that of
              normal TTY formatting to allow processing with critical equipment.

       www    Additions of elements known from the HTML format, as used in  the  internet  (World
              Wide Web) pages; this includes URL links and mail addresses; see groff_www(7).


       Classical roff systems were designed before the conventions of the modern C getopt(3) call
       evolved, and used a naming scheme for macro packages that looks odd to modern eyes.  Macro
       packages  were  always included with the option -m; when this option was directly followed
       by its argument without an intervening space, this looked like a long option preceded by a
       single  minus — a sensation in the computer stone age.  To make this invocation form work,
       classical troff macro packages used names that started with  the  letter  ‘m’,  which  was
       omitted in the naming of the macro file.

       For  example,  the  macro  package  for the man pages was called man, while its macro file  So it could be activated by the argument an to option -m, or -man for short.

       For similar reasons, macro packages that did not start with an ‘m’ had a leading ‘m’ added
       in the documentation and in speech; for example, the package corresponding to tmac.doc was
       called mdoc in the documentation, although a more suitable name would be doc.   For,  when
       omitting  the  space  between  the  option  and  its argument, the command-line option for
       activating this package reads -mdoc.

       To cope with all situations, actual versions of  groff(1)  are  smart  about  both  naming
       schemes  by providing two macro files for the inflicted macro packages; one with a leading
       ‘m’ the other one without it.  So in groff, the man macro package may be specified as  one
       of the following four methods:

              sh# groff -m man
              sh# groff -man
              sh# groff -mman
              sh# groff -m an

       Recent  packages  that  do  not  start  with  ‘m’  do  not  use  an  additional ‘m’ in the
       documentation.  For example, the www macro package may be specified only as one of the two

              sh# groff -m www
              sh# groff -mwww

       Obviously, variants like -mmwww would not make much sense.

       A second strange feature of classical troff was to name macro files in the form
       In modern operating systems, the type of a file is specified as a postfix, the  file  name
       extension.   Again,  groff  copes  with this situation by searching both anything.tmac and
       tmac.anything if only anything is specified.

       The easiest way to find out which macro packages are available on a system is to check the
       man page groff(1), or the contents of the tmac directories.

       In  groff,  most  macro  packages  are described in man pages called groff_name(7), with a
       leading ‘m’ for the classical packages.


       There are several ways to use a macro package in a document.   The  classical  way  is  to
       specify  the  troff/groff option -m name at run-time; this makes the contents of the macro
       package name available.  In groff, the file name.tmac is searched within the tmac path; if
       not found, is searched for instead.

       Alternatively,  it  is  also  possible  to  include a macro file by adding the request .so
       filename into the document; the argument must be the full file name of an  existing  file,
       possibly  with the directory where it is kept.  In groff, this was improved by the similar
       request .mso package, which added searching in the tmac path, just like option -m does.

       Note that in order to resolve the .so and .mso requests, the roff  preprocessor  soelim(1)
       must  be  called  if the files to be included need preprocessing.  This can be done either
       directly by a pipeline on the command line or by using the  troff/groff  option  -s.   man
       calls soelim automatically.

       For example, suppose a macro file is stored as


       and is used in some document called docu.roff.

       At run-time, the formatter call for this is

              sh# groff -m macros docu.roff

       To include the macro file directly in the document either

              .mso macros.tmac

       is used or

              .so /usr/share/groff/1.22.4/tmac/macros.tmac

       In both cases, the formatter should be called with option -s to invoke soelim.

              sh# groff -s docu.roff

       If  you  want  to  write  your own groff macro file, call it whatever.tmac and put it in a
       directory in the tmac path; see section “Files” below.  Then documents can include it with
       the .mso request or the option -m.


       A  roff(7)  document  is a text file that is enriched by predefined formatting constructs,
       such as requests, escape sequences, strings, numeric registers, and macros  from  a  macro
       package.  These elements are described in roff(7).

       To  give a document a personal style, it is most useful to extend the existing elements by
       defining some macros for repeating tasks; the best place for this is near the beginning of
       the document or in a separate file.

       Macros without arguments are just like strings.  But the full power of macros reveals when
       arguments are passed with a macro call.  Within the macro definition,  the  arguments  are
       available  as  the  escape  sequences \$1, ..., \$9, \$[...], \$*, and \$@, the name under
       which the macro was called is in \$0, and the number of arguments is in  register  \n[.$];
       see groff(7).

   Copy-in Mode
       The phase when groff reads a macro is called copy-in mode or copy mode in roff-talk.  This
       is comparable to the C preprocessing phase during the development of a program written  in
       the C language.

       In  this  phase, groff interprets all backslashes; that means that all escape sequences in
       the macro body are interpreted and replaced by their  value.   For  constant  expressions,
       this  is  wanted,  but  strings and registers that might change between calls of the macro
       must be protected from being  evaluated.   This  is  most  easily  done  by  doubling  the
       backslash  that  introduces  the escape sequence.  This doubling is most important for the
       positional parameters.  For example, to print  information  on  the  arguments  that  were
       passed to the macro to the terminal, define a macro named ‘.print_args’, say.

              .ds midpart was called with
              .de print_args
              .  tm \f[I]\\$0\f[] \*[midpart] \\n[.$] arguments:
              .  tm \\$*

       When calling this macro by

              .print_args arg1 arg2

       the following text is printed to the terminal:

              print_args was called with the following 2 arguments:
              arg1 arg2

       Let's  analyze  each  backslash in the macro definition.  As the positional parameters and
       the number of arguments change with each call of the macro their leading backslash must be
       doubled,  which results in \\$* and \\[.$].  The same applies to the macro name because it
       could be called with an alias name, so \\$0.

       On the other hand, midpart is a constant string, it does not change, so  no  doubling  for
       \*[midpart].   The  \f escape sequences are predefined groff elements for setting the font
       within the text.  Of course, this behavior does not change, so no doubling with \f[I]  and

   Draft Mode
       Writing  groff  macros  is  easy  when the escaping mechanism is temporarily disabled.  In
       groff, this is done by enclosing the macro definition(s)  into  a  pair  of  .eo  and  .ec
       requests.   Then  the  body  in  the  macro  definition  is just like a normal part of the
       document — text enhanced by calls of  requests,  macros,  strings,  registers,  etc.   For
       example, the code above can be written in a simpler way by

              .ds midpart was called with
              .de print_args
              .  tm \f[I]\$0\f[] \*[midpart] \n[.$] arguments:
              .  tm \$*

       Unfortunately,  draft  mode  cannot  be  used universally.  Although it is good enough for
       defining normal macros, draft mode fails with advanced applications,  such  as  indirectly
       defined strings, registers, etc.  An optimal way is to define and test all macros in draft
       mode and then do the backslash doubling as a final step; do not forget to remove  the  .eo

   Tips for Macro Definitions
       •      Start  every line with a dot, for example, by using the groff request .nop for text
              lines, or write your own macro that handles also text lines with a leading dot.

                     .de Text
                     .  if (\\n[.$] == 0) \
                     .    return
                     .  nop \)\\$*\)

       •      Write a comment macro that works both for copy-in and draft mode; for  as  escaping
              is  off  in  draft  mode,  trouble  might occur when normal comments are used.  For
              example, the following macro just ignores its arguments, so it acts like a  comment

                     .de c
                     .c This is like a comment line.

       •      In  long  macro  definitions, make ample use of comment lines or almost-empty lines
              (this is,  lines  which  have  a  leading  dot  and  nothing  else)  for  a  better

       •      To  increase  readability,  use groff's indentation facility for requests and macro
              calls (arbitrary whitespace after the leading dot).

       Diversions can be used to implement  quite  advanced  programming  constructs.   They  are
       comparable  to  pointers to large data structures in the C programming language, but their
       usage is quite different.

       In their simplest form, diversions are multi-line strings, but they get their  power  when
       diversions  are  used  dynamically within macros.  The (formatted) information stored in a
       diversion can be retrieved by calling the diversion just like a macro.

       Most of the problems arising with diversions can be avoided if you  remain  aware  of  the
       fact  that  diversions  always store complete lines.  If diversions are used when the line
       buffer has not been flushed, strange results are produced; not knowing this,  many  people
       get  desperate  about diversions.  To ensure that a diversion works, line breaks should be
       added at the right places.  To be on the secure side, enclose everything that  has  to  do
       with diversions into a pair of line breaks; for example, by explicitly using .br requests.
       This rule should be applied to diversion definition, both inside and outside, and  to  all
       calls of diversions.  This is a bit of overkill, but it works nicely.

       [If  you  really  need  diversions  which  should  ignore  the  current  partial line, use
       environments to save the current partial line and/or use the .box request.]

       The most powerful feature using  diversions  is  to  start  a  diversion  within  a  macro
       definition  and  end  it  within another macro.  Then everything between each call of this
       macro pair is stored within the diversion and can be manipulated from within the macros.


       All macro package files  must  be  named  name.tmac  to  fully  use  the  tmac  mechanism. as with classical packages is possible as well, but deprecated.

       The  macro  files  are  kept  in  the  tmac  directories;  a colon separated list of these
       constitutes the tmac path.

       The search sequence for macro files is (in that order):

       •      the directories specified with troff/groff's -M command-line option

       •      the directories given in the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable

       •      the current directory (only if in unsafe mode, which is enabled by the -U  command-
              line switch)

       •      the home directory

       •      a platform-specific directory, being


              in this installation

       •      a site-specific (platform-independent) directory, being


              in this installation

       •      the main tmac directory, being


              in this installation


              A  colon separated list of additional tmac directories in which to search for macro
              files.  See the previous section for a detailed description.


       This document was  written  by  Bernd  Warken  ⟨⟩  and  Werner
       Lemberg ⟨⟩.


       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”.

              an overview of the groff system.

              the groff tmac macro packages.

              the groff language.

       The  Filesystem  Hierarchy  Standard  is  available  at  the   FHS   web   site   ⟨http://⟩.