Provided by: groff_1.22.2-5_amd64 bug


       groffer - display groff files and man pages on X and tty


       groffer [option ...] [--] [filespec ...]

       groffer -h|--help

       groffer -v|--version


       The  groffer  program  is  the  easiest  way  to  use  groff(1).  It can display arbitrary
       documents written in the groff language,  see  groff(7),  or  other  roff  languages,  see
       roff(7),  that  are  compatible  to  the  original  troff language.  It finds and runs all
       necessary groff preprocessors, such as chem.

       The groffer program also includes many of the features for finding and displaying the Unix
       manual  pages (man pages), such that it can be used as a replacement for a man(1) program.
       Moreover, compressed files that can be handled by gzip(1) or bzip2(1) are decompressed on-

       The  normal  usage  is quite simple by supplying a file name or name of a man page without
       further options.  But the option handling has  many  possibilities  for  creating  special
       behaviors.   This  can  be  done either in configuration files, with the shell environment
       variable $GROFFER_OPT, or on the command line.

       The output can be generated and viewed in several  different  ways  available  for  groff.
       This  includes  the groff native X Window viewer gxditview(1), each Postcript, pdf, or dvi
       display program, a web browser by generating html in www mode, or several  text  modes  in
       text terminals.

       Most  of  the  options  that  must  be  named  when  running groff directly are determined
       automatically for groffer, due to the internal usage of  the  grog(1)  program.   But  all
       parts can also be controlled manually by arguments.

       Several  file  names can be specified on the command line arguments.  They are transformed
       into a single document in the normal way of groff.

       Option handling is done in GNU style.  Options and file names can be  mixed  freely.   The
       option `--' closes the option handling, all following arguments are treated as file names.
       Long options can be abbreviated in several ways.


       breaking options

               [-h | --help] [-v | --version]

       groffer mode options

               [--auto] [--default] [--default-modes mode1,mode2,...] [--dvi] [--dvi-viewer prog]
               [--groff] [--html] [--html-viewer prog] [--mode display_mode] [--pdf]
               [--pdf-viewer prog] [--ps] [--ps-viewer prog] [--source] [--text] [--to-stdout]
               [--tty] [--tty-viewer prog] [--www] [--www-viewer prog] [--x | --X]
               [--x-viewer | --X-viewer prog]

       options related to groff

               [-T | --device device] [-Z | --intermediate-output | --ditroff]

              All further groff short options are accepted.

       options for man pages

               [--apropos] [--apropos-data] [--apropos-devel] [--apropos-progs] [--man]
               [--no-man] [--no-special] [--whatis]

       long options taken over from GNU man

               [--all] [--ascii] [--ditroff] [--extension suffix] [--locale language]
               [--local-file] [--location | --where] [--manpath dir1:dir2:...] [--no-location]
               [--pager program] [--sections sec1:sec2:...] [--systems sys1,sys2,...]
               [--troff-device device]

              Further long options of GNU man are accepted as well.

       X Window Toolkit options

               [--bd | --bordercolor pixels] [--bg | --background color]
               [--bw | --borderwidth pixels] [--display X-display] [--fg | --foreground color]
               [--fn | --ft | --font font_name] [--geometry size_pos] [--resolution value] [--rv]
               [--title string] [--xrm X-resource]

       options for development

               [--debug] [--debug-filenames] [--debug-grog] [--debug-keep] [--debug-params]
               [--debug-tmpdir] [--do-nothing] [--print text] [-V]

       filespec arguments

              The filespec parameters are all arguments that are neither an option nor an  option
              argument.  They usually mean a file name or a man page searching scheme.

              In  the  following,  the  term  section_extension  is  used.   It means a word that
              consists of a man section that is optionally followed by an extension.  The name of
              a  man section is a single character from [1-9on], the extension is some word.  The
              extension is mostly lacking.

              No filespec parameters means standard input.

              -         stands for standard input (can occur several times).

              filename  the path name of an existing file.

              section_extension name
                        search  the  man  page  name  in  the  section  with  optional  extension

              man:name  man page in the lowest man section that has name.

              name      if  name  is  not  an  existing  file search for the man page name in the
                        lowest man section.


       The groffer program can usually be run with very few options.  But for  special  purposes,
       it supports many options.  These can be classified in 5 option classes.

       All  short options of groffer are compatible with the short options of groff(1).  All long
       options of groffer are compatible with the long options of man(1).

       Arguments for long option names can be abbreviated in several ways.  First,  the  argument
       is  checked  whether  it  can  be  prolonged  as  is.   Furthermore,  each minus sign - is
       considered as a starting point for a new abbreviation.  This leads to a  set  of  multiple
       abbreviations for a single argument.  For example, --de-n-f can be used as an abbreviation
       for --debug-not-func, but --de-n works as well.  If the abbreviation of the argument leads
       to several resulting options an error is raised.

       These  abbreviations are only allowed in the environment variable $GROFFER_OPT, but not in
       the configuration files.  In configuration, all long options must be exact.

   groffer breaking Options
       As soon as one of these options is found on the command line it is  executed,  printed  to
       standard  output,  and  the running groffer is terminated thereafter.  All other arguments
       are ignored.

       -h | --help
              Print help information with a short explanation of options to standard output.

       -v | --version
              Print version information to standard output.

   groffer Mode Options
       The display mode and the viewer programs are determined by  these  options.   If  none  of
       these  mode  and viewer options is specified groffer tries to find a suitable display mode
       automatically.  The default modes are mode pdf, mode ps, mode html, mode x, and  mode  dvi
       in  X  Window  with  different  viewers  and  mode  tty with device latin1 under less on a
       terminal; other modes are tested if the programs for the main default mode do not exist.

       In X Window, many programs create their own window when called.   groffer  can  run  these
       viewers  as  an independent program in the background.  As this does not work in text mode
       on a terminal (tty) there must be a way to know  which  viewers  are  X  Window  graphical
       programs.   The  groffer script has a small set of information on some viewer names.  If a
       viewer argument of the command-line chooses an element that is kept as X Window program in
       this  list  it  is treated as a viewer that can run in the background.  All other, unknown
       viewer calls are not run in the background.

       For each mode, you are free to choose whatever viewer you want.  That  need  not  be  some
       graphical viewer suitable for this mode.  There is a chance to view the output source; for
       example, the combination of the options --mode=ps and --ps-viewer=less shows  the  content
       of the Postscript output, the source code, with the pager less.

       --auto Equivalent to --mode=auto.

              Reset  all  configuration  from  previously  processed  command line options to the
              default  values.   This  is  useful  to  wipe  out  all  former  options   of   the
              configuration,  in  $GROFFER_OPT, and restart option processing using only the rest
              of the command line.

       --default-modes mode1,mode2,...
              Set the sequence of modes for auto mode to the comma separated list  given  in  the
              argument.   See  --mode  for  details  on  modes.   Display  in the default manner;
              actually, this means to try the modes x, ps, and tty in this sequence.

       --dvi  Equivalent to --mode=dvi.

       --dvi-viewer prog
              Choose a viewer program for dvi mode.  This can be a file name or a program  to  be
              searched  in  $PATH.   Known X Window dvi viewers include xdvi(1) and dvilx(1).  In
              each case, arguments can be provided additionally.

              Equivalent to --mode=groff.

       --html Equivalent to --mode=html.

              Choose a web browser program for viewing in html mode.  It can be the path name  of
              an  executable file or a program in $PATH.  In each case, arguments can be provided

       --mode value
              Set the display mode.  The following mode values are recognized:

              auto   Select the automatic determination of the display  mode.   The  sequence  of
                     modes that are tried can be set with the --default-modes option.  Useful for
                     restoring the default mode when a different mode was specified before.

              dvi    Display formatted input in a dvi viewer program.  By default, the  formatted
                     input is displayed with the xdvi(1) program.

              groff  After  the  file  determination,  switch  groffer  to process the input like
                     groff(1) would do.  This disables the groffer viewing features.

              html   Translate the input into html format and display the result in a web browser
                     program.   By  default, the existence of a sequence of standard web browsers
                     is tested, starting with konqueror(1) and mozilla(1).  The text html  viewer
                     is lynx(1).

              pdf    Display  formatted input in a PDF (Portable Document Format) viewer program.
                     By default, the input is formatted by groff  using  the  Postscript  device,
                     then  it  is transformed into the PDF file format using gs(1), or ps2pdf(1).
                     If that's not possible, the Postscript mode (ps) is used  instead.   Finally
                     it  is  displayed  using different viewer programs.  pdf has a big advantage
                     because the text is displayed graphically and is searchable as well.

              ps     Display formatted input in a Postscript viewer  program.   By  default,  the
                     formatted input is displayed in one of many viewer programs.

              text   Format  in a groff text mode and write the result to standard output without
                     a pager or viewer program.  The text  device,  latin1  by  default,  can  be
                     chosen with option -T.

              tty    Format  in a groff text mode and write the result to standard output using a
                     text pager program, even when in X Window.

              www    Equivalent to --mode=html.

              x      Display the formatted input in  a  native  roff  viewer.   By  default,  the
                     formatted input is displayed with the gxditview(1) program being distributed
                     together with groff.  But the standard X Window tool xditview(1) can also be
                     chosen  with  the  option  --x-viewer.  The default resolution is 75dpi, but
                     100dpi are also possible.  The default groff device for  the  resolution  of
                     75dpi   is   X75-12,  for  100dpi  it  is  X100.   The  corresponding  groff
                     intermediate output for the actual device is generated  and  the  result  is
                     displayed.  For a resolution of 100dpi, the default width of the geometry of
                     the display program is chosen to 850dpi.

              X      Equivalent to --mode=x.

              The following modes do not  use  the  groffer  viewing  features.   They  are  only
              interesting for advanced applications.

              groff  Generate  device  output  with plain groff without using the special viewing
                     features of groffer.  If no device was specified  by  option  -T  the  groff
                     default ps is assumed.

              source Output the roff source code of the input files without further processing.

       --pdf  Equivalent to --mode=pdf.

       --pdf-viewer prog
              Choose  a  viewer program for pdf mode.  This can be a file name or a program to be
              searched in $PATH; arguments can be provided additionally.

       --ps   Equivalent to --mode=ps.

       --ps-viewer prog
              Choose a viewer program for ps mode.  This can be a file name or a  program  to  be
              searched  in  $PATH.   Common  Postscript  viewers include gv(1), ghostview(1), and
              gs(1), In each case, arguments can be provided additionally.

              Equivalent to --mode=source.

       --text Equivalent to --mode=text.

              The file for the chosen mode is generated and its content is  printed  to  standard
              output.  It will not be displayed in graphical mode.

       --tty  Equivalent to --mode=tty.

       --tty-viewer prog
              Choose  a  text pager for mode tty.  The standard pager is less(1).  This option is
              equivalent to man option --pager=prog.  The option argument can be a file name or a
              program to be searched in $PATH; arguments can be provided additionally.

       --www  Equivalent to --mode=html.

       --www-viewer prog
              Equivalent to --html-viewer.

       --X | --x
              Equivalent to --mode=x.

       --X-viewer | --x-viewer prog
              Choose  a  viewer  program  for  x mode.  Suitable viewer programs are gxditview(1)
              which is the default and xditview(1).  The argument can be any executable file or a
              program in $PATH; arguments can be provided additionally.

       --     Signals  the  end  of option processing; all remaining arguments are interpreted as
              filespec parameters.

       Besides these, groffer accepts all short options that are valid for the groff(1)  program.
       All  non-groffer  options are sent unmodified via grog to groff.  So postprocessors, macro
       packages, compatibility with classical troff, and much more can be manually specified.

   Options related to groff
       All short options of groffer are compatible with  the  short  options  of  groff(1).   The
       following  of  groff  options  have either an additional special meaning within groffer or
       make sense for normal usage.

       Because of the special outputting behavior of the groff option -Z groffer was designed  to
       be  switched  into groff mode; the groffer viewing features are disabled there.  The other
       groff options do not switch the mode, but allow to customize the formatting process.

       --a    This generates an ascii approximation of output in the text modes.  That  could  be
              important when the text pager has problems with control sequences in tty mode.

       --m file
              Add  file  as  a  groff macro file.  This is useful in case it cannot be recognized

       --P opt_or_arg
              Send the argument opt_or_arg as an option or option argument to  the  actual  groff

       --T devname | --device devname
              This  option  determines groff's output device.  The most important devices are the
              text output devices for referring to the different character sets, such  as  ascii,
              utf8,  latin1,  and  others.   Each  of  these  arguments  switches  groffer into a
              text mode using this device, to mode tty if the actual mode is  not  a  text  mode.
              The   following   devname   arguments  are  mapped  to  the  corresponding  groffer
              --mode=devname option: dvi, html, and ps.  All X* arguments are mapped to  mode  x.
              Each other devname argument switches to mode groff using this device.

       --X    is  equivalent  to  groff  -X.   It  displays  the  groff  intermediate output with
              gxditview.  As the quality is relatively bad this option  is  deprecated;  use  --X
              instead because the x mode uses an X* device for a better display.

       -Z | --intermediate-output | --ditroff
              Switch  into  groff  mode  and  format the input with the groff intermediate output
              without postprocessing; see groff_out(5).  This is equivalent to  option  --ditroff
              of man, which can be used as well.

       All  other  groff  options  are  supported  by  groffer,  but  they are just transparently
       transferred to groff without any  intervention.   The  options  that  are  not  explicitly
       handled by groffer are transparently passed to groff.  Therefore these transparent options
       are not documented here, but in groff(1).  Due to the automatism in groffer, none of these
       groff options should be needed, except for advanced usage.

   Options for man pages
              Start  the  apropos(1)  command  or  facility  of man(1) for searching the filespec
              arguments within all man page descriptions.  Each filespec argument  is  taken  for
              search as it is; section specific parts are not handled, such that 7 groff searches
              for the two arguments 7 and groff, with a large result; for  the  filespec  groff.7
              nothing  will  be  found.   The  language  locale  is  handled only when the called
              programs do support this; the GNU apropos and man -k do not.  The  display  differs
              from the apropos program by the following concepts:

              • Construct a groff frame similar to a man page to the output of apropos,

              • each filespec argument is searched on its own.

              • The restriction by --sections is handled as well,

              • wildcard characters are allowed and handled without a further option.

              Show  only  the  apropos  descriptions  for  data  documents,  these are the man(7)
              sections 4, 5, and 7.  Direct  section  declarations  are  ignored,  wildcards  are

              Show  only the apropos descriptions for development documents, these are the man(7)
              sections 2, 3, and 9.  Direct  section  declarations  are  ignored,  wildcards  are

              Show  only the apropos descriptions for documents on programs, these are the man(7)
              sections 1, 6, and 8.  Direct  section  declarations  are  ignored,  wildcards  are

              For  each filespec argument search all man pages and display their description — or
              say that it is not a man page.  This is written from anew, so it differs from man's
              whatis output by the following concepts

              • each retrieved file name is added,

              • local files are handled as well,

              • the language and system locale is supported,

              • the display is framed by a groff output format similar to a man page,

              • wildcard characters are allowed without a further option.

       The  following  options were added to groffer for choosing whether the file name arguments
       are interpreted as names for local files or as  a  search  pattern  for  man  pages.   The
       default is looking up for local files.

       --man  Check  the  non-option command line arguments (filespecs) first on being man pages,
              then whether they represent an existing file.  By  default,  a  filespec  is  first
              tested whether it is an existing file.

       --no-man | --local-file
              Do not check for man pages.  --local-file is the corresponding man option.

              Disable former calls of --all, --apropos*, and --whatis.

   Long options taken over from GNU man
       The  long options of groffer were synchronized with the long options of GNU man.  All long
       options of GNU man are recognized, but not all of these options are important to  groffer,
       so  most  of  them are just ignored.  These ignored man options are --catman, --troff, and

       In the following, the man options that have a special meaning for groffer are documented.

       If your system has GNU man installed the full set of long and short options of the GNU man
       program can be passed via the environment variable $MANOPT; see man(1).

       --all  In searching man pages, retrieve all suitable documents instead of only one.

       -7 | --ascii
              In  text  modes,  display  ASCII  translation  of  special  characters for critical
              environment.  This is equivalent to groff -mtty_char; see groff_tmac(5).

              Produce groff intermediate output.  This is equivalent to groffer -Z.

       --extension suffix
              Restrict man page search to file names that have suffix appended to  their  section
              element.   For  example,  in the file name /usr/share/man/man3/terminfo.3ncurses.gz
              the man page extension is ncurses.

       --locale language
              Set the language for man pages.  This has the same effect, but overwrites $LANG.

              Print the location of the retrieved files to standard error.

              Do not display the location of retrieved  files;  this  resets  a  former  call  to
              --location.  This was added by groffer.

       --manpath 'dir1:dir2:...'
              Use  the  specified  search  path  for  retrieving man pages instead of the program
              defaults.  If the argument is set to the empty string "" the search for man page is

              Set  the  pager  program  in  tty  mode;  default  is  less.  This is equivalent to

       --sections sec1:sec2:...
              Restrict searching for man pages to the given sections, a colon-separated list.

       --systems sys1,sys2,...
              Search for man pages for the given operating systems; the  argument  systems  is  a
              comma-separated list.

              Equivalent to --location.

   X Window Toolkit Options
       The  following  long options were adapted from the corresponding X Window Toolkit options.
       groffer will pass them to the actual  viewer  program  if  it  is  an  X  Window  program.
       Otherwise these options are ignored.

       Unfortunately  these  options  use  the old style of a single minus for long options.  For
       groffer that was changed to the standard with using a double minus for long  options,  for
       example, groffer uses the option --font for the X Window option -font.

       See  X(7)  and the documentation on the X Window Toolkit options for more details on these
       options and their arguments.

       --background color
              Set the background color of the viewer window.

       --bd pixels
              This is equivalent to --bordercolor.

       --bg color
              This is equivalent to --background.

       --bw pixels
              This is equivalent to --borderwidth.

       --bordercolor pixels
              Specifies the color of the border surrounding the viewer window.

       --borderwidth pixels
              Specifies the width in pixels of the border surrounding the viewer window.

       --display X-display
              Set the X Window display on which the viewer program  shall  be  started,  see  the
              X Window documentation for the syntax of the argument.

       --foreground color
              Set the foreground color of the viewer window.

       --fg color
              This is equivalent to -foreground.

       --fn font_name
              This is equivalent to --font.

       --font font_name
              Set the font used by the viewer window.  The argument is an X Window font name.

       --ft font_name
              This is equivalent to --font.

       --geometry size_pos
              Set  the  geometry  of  the  display  window,  that means its size and its starting
              position.  See X(7) for the syntax of the argument.

       --resolution value
              Set X Window resolution in dpi (dots per inch) in some viewer programs.   The  only
              supported  dpi values are 75 and 100.  Actually, the default resolution for groffer
              is set to 75dpi.  The resolution also sets the default device in mode x.

       --rv   Reverse foreground and background color of the viewer window.

       --title 'some text'
              Set the title for the viewer window.

       --xrm 'resource'
              Set X Window resource.

   Options for Development
              Enable all debugging options --debug-type.  The temporary files are  kept  and  not
              deleted,  the  grog  output  is  printed,  the  name  of the temporary directory is
              printed, the displayed file names are printed, and the parameters are printed.

              Print the names of the files and man pages that are displayed by groffer.

              Print the output of all grog commands.

              Enable two debugging informations.  Print the name of the temporary  directory  and
              keep the temporary files, do not delete them during the run of groffer.

              Print  the  parameters, as obtained from the configuration files, from GROFFER_OPT,
              and the command line arguments.

              Print the name of the temporary directory.

              This is like --version, but without the output; no viewer is started.   This  makes
              only sense in development.

              Just print the argument to standard error.  This is good for parameter check.

       -V     This is an advanced option for debugging only.  Instead of displaying the formatted
              input, a lot of groffer specific information is printed to standard output:

              • the output file name in the temporary directory,

              • the display mode of the actual groffer run,

              • the display program for viewing the output with its arguments,

              • the active parameters from the config files, the arguments in  $GROFFER_OPT,  and
                the arguments of the command line,

              • the pipeline that would be run by the groff program, but without executing it.

       Other useful debugging options are the groff option -Z and --mode=groff.

   Filespec Arguments
       A filespec parameter is an argument that is not an option or option argument.  In groffer,
       filespec parameters are a file name or a template for searching man  pages.   These  input
       sources are collected and composed into a single output file such as groff does.

       The strange POSIX behavior to regard all arguments behind the first non-option argument as
       filespec arguments is ignored.  The GNU behavior to recognize options even when mixed with
       filespec  arguments  is used throughout.  But, as usual, the double minus argument -- ends
       the option handling and interprets all following arguments as filespec arguments;  so  the
       POSIX behavior can be easily adopted.

       The  options  --apropos*  have a special handling of filespec arguments.  Each argument is
       taken as a search scheme of its own.  Also a regexp (regular expression) can  be  used  in
       the  filespec.   For  example,  groffer --apropos '^gro.f$' searches groff in the man page
       name, while groffer --apropos groff searches groff somewhere in the name or description of
       the man pages.

       All  other parts of groffer, such as the normal display or the output with --whatis have a
       different scheme for filespecs.  No regular expressions are used for the  arguments.   The
       filespec arguments are handled by the following scheme.

       It  is  necessary  to know that on each system the man pages are sorted according to their
       content into several sections.  The classical man sections have a  single-character  name,
       either a digit from 1 to 9 or one of the characters n or o.

       This  can  optionally  be  followed  by  a string, the so-called extension.  The extension
       allows to store several man pages with the  same  name  in  the  same  section.   But  the
       extension  is  only  rarely used, usually it is omitted.  Then the extensions are searched
       automatically by alphabet.

       In the following, we use the name section_extension for a word that consists of  a  single
       character  section  name  or  a  section character that is followed by an extension.  Each
       filespec parameter can have one of the following forms in decreasing sequence.

       • No filespec parameters means that groffer waits for standard input.  The minus option  -
         always  stands for standard input; it can occur several times.  If you want to look up a
         man page called - use the argument man:-.

       • Next a filespec is tested whether it is the path name of an existing file.  Otherwise it
         is assumed to be a searching pattern for a man page.

       • man:name(section_extension),   man:name.section_extension,  name(section_extension),  or
         name.section_extension search the man page name in man section and possibly extension of

       • Now  man:name  searches  for  a  man  page in the lowest man section that has a document
         called name.

       • section_extension name is a pattern of  2  arguments  that  originates  from  a  strange
         argument  parsing  of  the  man  program.   Again,  this searches the man page name with
         section_extension, a combination of  a  section  character  optionally  followed  by  an

       • We  are left with the argument name which is not an existing file.  So this searches for
         the man page called name in the lowest man section that has a document for this name.

       Several file name arguments can be supplied.  They  are  mixed  by  groff  into  a  single
       document.   Note that the set of option arguments must fit to all of these file arguments.
       So they should have at least the same style of the groff language.


       By default, the groffer program collects all input into a single file, formats it with the
       groff  program  for  a  certain  device,  and then chooses a suitable viewer program.  The
       device and viewer process in groffer is called a mode.  The mode and viewer of  a  running
       groffer  program  is selected automatically, but the user can also choose it with options.
       The modes are selected by option the arguments of --mode=anymode.  Additionally,  each  of
       this  argument  can  be specified as an option of its own, such as anymode.  Most of these
       modes have a viewer program, which can be chosen by an option  that  is  constructed  like

       Several  different  modes  are offered, graphical modes for X Window, text modes, and some
       direct groff modes for debugging and development.

       By default, groffer first tries whether x mode is possible,  then  ps  mode,  and  finally
       tty  mode.   This mode testing sequence for auto mode can be changed by specifying a comma
       separated list of modes with the option --default-modes.

       The searching for man pages and the decompression of the input are active in every mode.

   Graphical Display Modes
       The graphical  display  modes  work  mostly  in  the  X  Window  environment  (or  similar
       implementations  within  other windowing environments).  The environment variable $DISPLAY
       and the option --display are used for specifying the X Window display to be used.  If this
       environment variable is empty groffer assumes that no X Window is running and changes to a
       text mode.  You can change this automatic behavior by the option --default-modes.

       Known viewers for the graphical display modes and their standard X Window viewer  programs

       • in a PDF viewer (pdf mode)

       • in a web browser (html or www mode)

       • in a Postscript viewer (ps mode)

       • X Window roff viewers such as gxditview(1) or xditview(1) (in x mode)

       • in a dvi viewer program (dvi mode)

       The  pdf mode has a major advantage — it is the only graphical display mode that allows to
       search for text within the viewer; this can be a really important feature.  Unfortunately,
       it takes some time to transform the input into the PDF format, so it was not chosen as the
       major mode.

       These graphical viewers can be customized by options of the X  Window  Toolkit.   But  the
       groffer  options  use  a  leading  double  minus  instead  of the single minus used by the
       X Window Toolkit.

   Text modes
       There are two modes for text output, mode text  for  plain  output  without  a  pager  and
       mode tty for a text output on a text terminal using some pager program.

       If the variable $DISPLAY is not set or empty, groffer assumes that it should use tty mode.

       In  the  actual  implementation,  the groff output device latin1 is chosen for text modes.
       This can be changed by specifying option -T or --device.

       The pager to be used can be specified by one of the options --pager and  --tty-viewer,  or
       by  the  environment variable $PAGER.  If all of this is not used the less(1) program with
       the option -r for correctly displaying control sequences is used as the default pager.

   Special Modes for Debugging and Development
       These modes use the groffer file determination and decompression.  This is combined into a
       single  input  file  that  is  fed directly into groff with different strategy without the
       groffer viewing facilities.  These modes are regarded as advanced,  they  are  useful  for
       debugging and development purposes.

       The source mode with option --source just displays the decompressed input.

       Otion  --to-stdout  does  not display in a graphical mode.  It just generates the file for
       the chosen mode and then prints its content to standard output.

       The groff mode passes the input to groff using only  some  suitable  options  provided  to
       groffer.   This  enables the user to save the generated output into a file or pipe it into
       another program.

       In  groff  mode,  the  option  -Z  disables  post-processing,  thus  producing  the  groff
       intermediate  output.   In  this  mode, the input is formatted, but not postprocessed; see
       groff_out(5) for details.

       All groff short options are supported by groffer.


       The default behavior of groffer is to first test whether a  file  parameter  represents  a
       local  file;  if it is not an existing file name, it is assumed to represent the name of a
       man page.  The following options can be used to determine whether the arguments should  be
       handled as file name or man page arguments.

       --man  forces to interpret all file parameters as filespecs for searching man pages.

              disable the man searching; so only local files are displayed.

       If  neither a local file nor a man page was retrieved for some file parameter a warning is
       issued on standard error, but processing is continued.

   Search Algorithm
       Let us now assume that a man page should be searched.   The  groffer  program  provides  a
       search  facility  for man pages.  All long options, all environment variables, and most of
       the functionality of the GNU man(1) program were implemented.  The search algorithm  shall
       determine  which  file  is displayed for a given man page.  The process can be modified by
       options and environment variables.

       The only man action that is omitted in groffer are the preformatted man pages, also called
       cat  pages.   With  the  excellent  performance  of the actual computers, the preformatted
       man pages aren't necessary any longer.  Additionally, groffer is a roff program; it  wants
       to read roff source files and format them itself.

       The  algorithm  for  retrieving  the file for a man page needs first a set of directories.
       This set starts with the so-called man path that is modified later on by adding  names  of
       operating  system  and  language.   This  arising  set  is  used  for  adding  the section
       directories which contain the man page files.

       The man path is a list of directories that are separated by colon.  It is generated by the
       following methods.

       • The environment variable $MANPATH can be set.

       • It can be read from the arguments of the environment variable $MANOPT.

       • The man path can be manually specified by using the option --manpath.  An empty argument
         disables the man page searching.

       • When no man path was set the manpath(1) program is tried to determine one.

       • If this does not work a reasonable default path from $PATH is determined.

       We now have a starting set of directories.  The first way to change this set is by  adding
       names of operating systems.  This assumes that man pages for several operating systems are
       installed.  This is not always true.  The names of such operating systems can be  provided
       by 3 methods.

       • The environment variable $SYSTEM has the lowest precedence.

       • This can be overridden by an option in $MANOPT.

       • This again is overridden by the command line option --systems.

       Several  names  of operating systems can be given by appending their names, separated by a

       The man path is changed by appending each system name as subdirectory at the end  of  each
       directory of the set.  No directory of the man path set is kept.  But if no system name is
       specified the man path is left unchanged.

       After this, the actual set of directories can be changed by  language  information.   This
       assumes  that  there  exist  man pages in different languages.  The wanted language can be
       chosen by several methods.

       • Environment variable $LANG.

       • This is overridden by $LC_MESSAGES.

       • This is overridden by $LC_ALL.

       • This can be overridden by providing an option in $MANOPT.

       • All these environment variables are overridden by the command line option --locale.

       The default language can be specified by specifying one of the pseudo-language  parameters
       C  or  POSIX.  This is like deleting a formerly given language information.  The man pages
       in the default language are usually in English.

       Of course, the language name is determined by man.  In GNU man, it  is  specified  in  the
       POSIX 1003.1 based format:


       but  the  two-letter  code  in  <language>  is  sufficient  for  most  purposes.  If for a
       complicated language formulation no man pages are found groffer searches the country  part
       consisting of these first two characters as well.

       The  actual directory set is copied thrice.  The language name is appended as subdirectory
       to each directory in the first copy of the actual directory set (this is only done when  a
       language  information  is  given).  Then the 2-letter abbreviation of the language name is
       appended as subdirectories to the second copy of the directory set (this is only done when
       the  given language name has more than 2 letters).  The third copy of the directory set is
       kept unchanged (if no language information is given  this  is  the  kept  directory  set).
       These maximally 3 copies are appended to get the new directory set.

       We now have a complete set of directories to work with.  In each of these directories, the
       man files are separated in sections.  The name of a section is  represented  by  a  single
       character, a digit between 1 and 9, or the character o or n, in this order.

       For  each  available  section, a subdirectory man<section> exists containing all man files
       for this section, where <section> is a single character as  described  before.   Each  man
       file         in        a        section        directory        has        the        form
       man<section>/<name>.<section>[<extension>][.<compression>],    where    <extension>    and
       <compression>  are optional.  <name> is the name of the man page that is also specified as
       filespec argument on the command line.

       The extension is an addition to the section.  This postfix acts  like  a  subsection.   An
       extension  occurs  only in the file name, not in name of the section subdirectory.  It can
       be specified on the command line.

       On the other hand, the compression is just an information on how the file  is  compressed.
       This is not important for the user, such that it cannot be specified on the command line.

       There are 4 methods to specify a section on the command line:

       • Environment variable $MANSECT

       • Command line option --sections

       • Appendix to the name argument in the form <name>.<section>

       • Preargument before the name argument in the form <section> <name>

       It  is  also  possible  to  specify  several  sections  by appending the single characters
       separated by colons.  One can imagine that this means to restrict the man page  search  to
       only some sections.  The multiple sections are only possible for $MANSECT and --sections.

       If  no  section  is  specified  all sections are searched one after the other in the given
       order, starting with section 1, until a suitable file is found.

       There are 4 methods to specify an extension on the command line.  But it is not  necessary
       to provide the whole extension name, some abbreviation is good enough in most cases.

       • Environment variable $EXTENSION

       • Command line option --extension

       • Appendix to the <name>.<section> argument in the form <name>.<section><extension>

       • Preargument before the name argument in the form <section><extension> <name>

       For further details on man page searching, see man(1).

   Examples of man files
              This is an uncompressed file for the man page groff in section 1.  It can be called
              sh# groffer groff
              No section is specified here, so all sections should be searched, but as section  1
              is  searched first this file will be found first.  The file name is composed of the
              following  components.   /usr/share/man  must  be  part  of  the  man   path;   the
              subdirectory  man1/ and the part .1 stand for the section; groff is the name of the
              man page.

              The file name is composed of the following components.   /usr/local/share/man  must
              be  part  of  the  man  path;  the subdirectory man7/ and the part .7 stand for the
              section; groff is the name of the man  page;  the  final  part  .gz  stands  for  a
              compression with gzip(1).  As the section is not the first one it must be specified
              as well.  This can be done by one of the following commands.
              sh# groffer groff.7
              sh# groffer 7 groff
              sh# groffer --sections=7 groff

              Here /usr/local/man must be in man path; the subdirectory man1/ and the  file  name
              part  .1 stand for section 1; the name of the man page is ctags; the section has an
              extension emacs21; and the file is compressed as .bz2 with bzip2(1).  The file  can
              be viewed with one of the following commands
              sh# groffer ctags.1e
              sh# groffer 1e ctags
              sh# groffer --extension=e --sections=1 ctags
              where e works as an abbreviation for the extension emacs21.

              The  directory  /usr/man  is now part of the man path; then there is a subdirectory
              for an operating system name linux/; next comes  a subdirectory de/ for the  German
              language;  the  section  names man7 and .7 are known so far; man is the name of the
              man page; and .Z signifies the compression that can be handled by gzip(1).  We want
              now  show  how  to  provide  several values for some options.  That is possible for
              sections and operating system names.  So we use as sections 5 and 7 and  as  system
              names linux and aix.  The command is then

              sh# groffer --locale=de --sections=5:7 --systems=linux,aix man
              sh# LANG=de MANSECT=5:7 SYSTEM=linux,aix groffer man


       The  program has a decompression facility.  If standard input or a file that was retrieved
       from the command line parameters is compressed with a format that is supported  by  either
       gzip(1)  or  bzip2(1) it is decompressed on-the-fly.  This includes the GNU .gz, .bz2, and
       the  traditional  .Z  compression.   The  program  displays  the  concatenation   of   all
       decompressed input in the sequence that was specified on the command line.


       The  groffer  program  supports  many  system variables, most of them by courtesy of other
       programs.  All environment variables of groff(1) and GNU man(1) and some  standard  system
       variables are honored.

   Native groffer Variables
              Store  options  for  a  run of groffer.  The options specified in this variable are
              overridden by the options given on the command line.  The content of this  variable
              is  run  through  the  shell builtin `eval'; so arguments containing white-space or
              special shell characters should be quoted.  Do not forget to export this  variable,
              otherwise it does not exist during the run of groffer.

   System Variables
       The following variables have a special meaning for groffer.

              If  this  variable  is  set  this  indicates  that  the X Window system is running.
              Testing this variable decides on whether graphical or  text  output  is  generated.
              This  variable  should not be changed by the user carelessly, but it can be used to
              start the graphical groffer on a remote X Window terminal.  For example,  depending
              on your system, groffer can be started on the second monitor by the command

              sh# DISPLAY=:0.1 groffer what.ever &

       $LANG  If  one  of  these  variables  is  set  (in  the  above  sequence),  its content is
              interpreted as the locale, the language to  be  used,  especially  when  retrieving
              man     pages.      A     locale     name     is     typically    of    the    form
              language[_territory[.codeset[@modifier]]], where language is an  ISO  639  language
              code,  territory  is  an  ISO  3166 country code, and codeset is a character set or
              encoding identifier like ISO-8859-1 or UTF-8; see setlocale(3).  The locale  values
              C and POSIX stand for the default, i.e. the man page directories without a language
              prefix.  This is the same behavior as when all 3 variables are unset.

       $PAGER This variable can be used to set the pager for the tty  output.   For  example,  to
              disable the use of a pager completely set this variable to the cat(1) program

              sh# PAGER=cat groffer anything

       $PATH  All  programs within the groffer script are called without a fixed path.  Thus this
              environment variable determines the set of programs used within the run of groffer.

   Groff Variables
       The groffer program internally calls groff, so all  environment  variables  documented  in
       groff(1)  are internally used within groffer as well.  The following variable has a direct
       meaning for the groffer program.

              If the value of this variable is an existing, writable directory, groffer  uses  it
              for storing its temporary files, just as groff does.  See the groff(1) man page for
              more details on the location of temporary files.

   Man Variables
       Parts of the functionality of the man program were implemented in groffer; support for all
       environment  variables  documented  in  man(1)  was  added to groffer, but the meaning was
       slightly modified due to the different approach in groffer; but the user interface is  the
       same.   The man environment variables can be overwritten by options provided with $MANOPT,
       which in turn is overwritten by the command line.

              Restrict the search for  man  pages  to  files  having  this  extension.   This  is
              overridden by option --extension; see there for details.

              This  variable  contains  options  as a preset for man(1).  As not all of these are
              relevant for groffer only the essential parts of  its  value  are  extracted.   The
              options  specified  in  this variable overwrite the values of the other environment
              variables that are specific to man.  All options specified  in  this  variable  are
              overridden by the options given on the command line.

              If  set,  this  variable  contains  the directories in which the man page trees are
              stored.  This is overridden by option --manpath.

              If this is a colon separated list of section names, the search  for  man  pages  is
              restricted  to  those  manual sections in that order.  This is overridden by option

              If this is set to a comma separated list of names these are interpreted as man page
              trees  for different operating systems.  This variable can be overwritten by option
              --systems; see there for details.

       The  environment  variable  $MANROFFSEQ  is  ignored  by  groffer  because  the  necessary
       preprocessors are determined automatically.


       The groffer program can be preconfigured by two configuration files.

              System-wide configuration file for groffer.

              User-specific  configuration  file for groffer, where $HOME denotes the user's home
              directory.  This file is called after the system-wide configuration file to  enable
              overriding by the user.

       Both  files  are  handled  for the configuration, but the configuration file in /etc comes
       first;  it  is  overwritten  by  the  configuration  file  in  the  home  directory;  both
       configuration  files  are overwritten by the environment variable $GROFFER_OPT; everything
       is overwritten by the command line arguments.

       The configuration files contain options that should be called as default for every groffer
       run.   These  options are written in lines such that each contains either a long option, a
       short option, or a short option cluster; each with or without an argument.  So  each  line
       with  configuration  information  starts  with  a  minus character `-'; a line with a long
       option starts with two minus characters `--', a line with a short option or  short  option
       cluster starts with a single minus `-'.

       The option names in the configuration files may not be abbreviated, they must be exact.

       The  argument  for  a long option can be separated from the option name either by an equal
       sign `=' or by whitespace, i.e. one or several space or tab characters.  An argument for a
       short  option  or  short  option  cluster  can  be directly appended to the option name or
       separated by whitespace.  The end of an argument is the  end  of  the  line.   It  is  not
       allowed to use a shell environment variable in an option name or argument.

       It  is  not  necessary to use quotes in an option or argument, except for empty arguments.
       An empty argument can be provided by appending a pair of quotes to  the  separating  equal
       sign or whitespace; with a short option, the separator can be omitted as well.  For a long
       option with a separating equal sign `=', the pair of quotes can be  omitted,  thus  ending
       the  line  with  the  separating  equal  sign.   All  other quote characters are cancelled

       In the configuration files, arbitrary whitespace is allowed at the beginning of each line,
       it is just ignored.  Each whitespace within a line is replaced by a single space character
       ` ' internally.

       All lines of the configuration lines that do not start with a minus character are ignored,
       such  that comments starting with `#' are possible.  So there are no shell commands in the
       configuration files.

       As an example, consider the following configuration  file  that  can  be  used  either  in
       /etc/groff/groffer.conf or ~/.groff/groffer.conf.

       # groffer configuration file
       # groffer options that are used in each call of groffer
       --x-viewer=gxditview -geometry 900x1200
       --pdf-viewer xpdf -Z 150

       The  lines  starting  with  #  are  just  ignored,  so  they  act  as command lines.  This
       configuration sets four groffer options (the lines  starting  with  `-').   This  has  the
       following effects:

       • Use a text color of DarkBlue in all viewers that support this, such as gxditview.

       • Use  a  resolution  of  100dpi  in all viewers that support this, such as gxditview.  By
         this, the default device in x mode is set to X100.

       • Force gxditview(1) as the x-mode viewer using the geometry option for setting the  width
         to  900px  and  the  height  to  1200px.   This geometry is suitable for a resolution of

       • Use xpdf(1) as the pdf-mode viewer with the argument -Z 150.


       The usage of groffer is very easy.  Usually, it  is  just  called  with  a  file  name  or
       man  page.   The  following  examples,  however,  show  that  groffer  has much more fancy

       sh# groffer /usr/local/share/doc/groff/

       Decompress, format  and  display  the  compressed  file  in  the  directory
       /usr/local/share/doc/groff,  using  the standard viewer gxditview as graphical viewer when
       in X Window, or the less(1) pager program when not in X Window.

       sh# groffer groff

       If the file ./groff exists use it as input.  Otherwise interpret the argument as a  search
       for the man page named groff in the smallest possible man section, being section 1 in this

       sh# groffer man:groff

       search for the man page of groff even when the file ./groff exists.

       sh# groffer groff.7
       sh# groffer 7 groff

       search the man page of groff in man section 7.  This section search works only for a digit
       or a single character from a small set.

       sh# groffer fb.modes

       If  the  file  ./fb.modes  does  not  exist interpret this as a search for the man page of
       fb.modes.  As the extension modes is not a single character in classical section style the
       argument is not split to a search for fb.

       sh# groffer groff ’troff(1)’ man:roff

       The  arguments that are not existing files are looked-up as the following man pages: groff
       (automatic search, should be found in man section 1), troff (in section 1), and  roff  (in
       the  section  with the lowest number, being 7 in this case).  The quotes around troff(1)’
       are necessary because the parentheses are special shell characters; escaping them  with  a
       backslash  character  \(  and  \)  would  be  possible,  too.   The  formatted  files  are
       concatenated and displayed in one piece.

       sh# LANG=de groffer --man --www --www-viewer=galeon ls

       Retrieve the German man page (language de) for the ls program, decompress it, format it to
       html  format  (www  mode) and view the result in the web browser galeon.  The option --man
       guarantees that the man page is retrieved, even when a local file ls exists in the  actual

       sh# groffer --source 'man:roff(7)'

       Get  the  man  page called roff in man section 7, decompress it, and print its unformatted
       content, its source code.

       sh# groffer --de-p --in --ap

       This is a set of abbreviated arguments, it is determined as

       sh# groffer --debug-params --intermediate-output --apropos

       sh# cat file.gz | groffer -Z -mfoo

       The file file.gz is sent to standard  input,  this  is  decompressed,  and  then  this  is
       transported  to  the  groff intermediate output mode without post-processing (groff option
       -Z), using macro package foo (groff option -m).

       sh# echo '\f[CB]WOW!' |
       > groffer --x --bg red --fg yellow --geometry 200x100 -

       Display the word WOW! in a small window in constant-width
       bold font, using color yellow on red background.


       The groffer program is written in Perl, the Perl version during writing was v5.8.8.

       groffer provides its own parser for command line arguments  that  is  compatible  to  both
       POSIX  getopts(1)  and  GNU  getopt(1).   It  can  handle  option arguments and file names
       containing white space and a large set of  special  characters.   The  following  standard
       types of options are supported.

       • The option consisting of a single minus - refers to standard input.

       • A  single  minus  followed  by  characters  refers  to  a  single  character option or a
         combination thereof; for  example,  the  groffer  short  option  combination  -Qmfoo  is
         equivalent to -Q -m foo.

       • Long  options are options with names longer than one character; they are always preceded
         by a double minus.  An option argument can either go to the next command  line  argument
         or be appended with an equal sign to the argument; for example, --long=arg is equivalent
         to --long arg.

       • An argument  of  --  ends  option  parsing;  all  further  command  line  arguments  are
         interpreted  as  filespec  parameters,  i.e.  file  names  or  constructs  for searching
         man pages).

       • All command line arguments that are neither options nor option arguments are interpreted
         as  filespec  parameters and stored until option parsing has finished.  For example, the
         command line

         sh# groffer file1 -a -o arg file2

         is equivalent to

         sh# groffer -a -o arg -- file1 file2

       The free mixing of options and filespec parameters follows the GNU principle.   That  does
       not  fulfill  the  strange option behavior of POSIX that ends option processing as soon as
       the first non-option argument has been reached.  The  end  of  option  processing  can  be
       forced by the option `--' anyway.


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

       You  can  also use the groff mailing list ⟨⟩, but you must first subscribe to
       this list.  You can do  that  by  visiting  the  groff  mailing  list  web  page  ⟨http://⟩.

       See groff(1) for information on availability.


       groff(1), troff(1)
              Details  on  the  options and environment variables available in groff; all of them
              can be used with groffer.

              Documentation of the groff language.

              Internally, groffer tries to guess the groff command line options  from  the  input
              using this program.

              Documentation on the groff intermediate output (ditroff output).

              Documentation on the groff macro files.

       man(1) The standard program to display man pages.  The information there is only useful if
              it is the man page for GNU man.  Then it  documents  the  options  and  environment
              variables that are supported by groffer.

       gxditview(1), xditview(1x)
              Viewers for groffer's x mode.

       kpdf(1), kghostview(1), evince(1), ggv(1), gv(1), ghostview(1), gs(1)
              Viewers for groffer's ps mode.

       kpdf(1), acroread(1), evince(1), xpdf(1), gpdf(1), kghostview(1), ggv(1)
              Viewers for groffer's pdf mode.

       kdvi(1), xdvi(1), dvilx(1)
              Viewers for groffer's dvi mode.

       konqueror(1), epiphany(1), firefox(1), mozilla(1), netscape(1), lynx(1)
              Web-browsers for groffer's html or www mode.

              Standard pager program for the tty mode.

       gzip(1), bzip2(1)
              The decompression programs supported by groffer.


       This file was written by Bernd Warken <>.


       Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2004-2006, 2009-2012
         Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       This  file  is  part of groffer, which is part of groff, a free software project.  You can
       redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the  GNU  General  Public  License  as
       published  by  the  Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your
       option) any later version.

       You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along  with  groff,  see
       the  files  COPYING and LICENSE in the top directory of the groff source package.  Or read
       the man page gpl(1).  You can also visit <>.