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Manpage of TROFF

TROFF

Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 17 March 2002
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NAME

troff - format documents  

SYNOPSIS


troff [ -abivzCERU ] [ -w name ] [ -W name ] [ -d cs ] [ -f fam ] [ -m name ] [ -n num ] [ -o list ] [ -r cn ] [ -T name ] [ -F dir ] [ -M dir ] [ files... ]

It is possible to have whitespace between a command line option and its parameter.  

DESCRIPTION

This manual page describes the GNU version of troff, which is part of the groff document formatting system. It is highly compatible with UNIX troff. Usually it should be invoked using the groff command, which will also run preprocessors and postprocessors in the appropriate order and with the appropriate options.  

OPTIONS

-a
Generate an ASCII approximation of the typeset output.
-b
Print a backtrace with each warning or error message. This backtrace should help track down the cause of the error. The line numbers given in the backtrace may not always be correct: troff's idea of line numbers gets confused by as or am requests.
-i
Read the standard input after all the named input files have been processed.
-v
Print the version number.
-wname
Enable warning name. Available warnings are described in the Warnings subsection below. Multiple -w options are allowed.
-Wname
Inhibit warning name. Multiple -W options are allowed.
-E
Inhibit all error messages of troff. Note that this doesn't affect messages output to standard error by macro packages using the .tm or .tm1 requests.
-z
Suppress formatted output.
-C
Enable compatibility mode.
-dcs

-dname=s
Define c or name to be a string s; c must be a one letter name.
-ffam
Use fam as the default font family.
-mname
Read in the file name.tmac. If it isn't found, try tmac.name instead. It will be first searched for in directories given with the -M command line option, then in directories given in the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable, then in the current directory (only if in unsafe mode), the home directory, /usr/lib/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/site-tmac, and /usr/share/groff/1.17.2/tmac.
-U
Unsafe mode. This will enable the following requests: .open, .opena, .pso, .sy, and .pi. For security reasons, these potentially dangerous requests are disabled otherwise. It will also add the current directory to the macro search path.
-R
Don't load troffrc and troffrc-end.
-nnum
Number the first page num.
-olist
Output only pages in list, which is a comma-separated list of page ranges; n means print page n, m-n means print every page between m and n, -n means print every page up to n, n- means print every page from n. Troff will exit after printing the last page in the list.
-rcn

-rname=n
Set number register c or name to n; c must be a one character name; n can be any troff numeric expression.
-Tname
Prepare output for device name, rather than the default ps.
-Fdir
Search in directory (or directory path) dir for subdirectories devname (name is the name of the device) and there for the DESC file and font files. dir is scanned before all other font directories.
-Mdir
Search directory (or directory path) dir for macro files. This is scanned before all other macro directories.
 

USAGE

Only the features not in UNIX troff are described here.  

Long names

The names of number registers, fonts, strings/macros/diversions, special characters can be of any length. In escape sequences, where you can use (xx for a two character name, you can use [xxx] for a name of arbitrary length:
\[xxx]
Print the special character called xxx.
\f[xxx]
Set font xxx.
\*[xxx]
Interpolate string xxx.
\n[xxx]
Interpolate number register xxx.
 

Fractional pointsizes

A scaled point is equal to 1/sizescale points, where sizescale is specified in the DESC file (1 by default). There is a new scale indicator z which has the effect of multiplying by sizescale. Requests and escape sequences in troff interpret arguments that represent a pointsize as being in units of scaled points, but they evaluate each such argument using a default scale indicator of z. Arguments treated in this way are the argument to the ps request, the third argument to the cs request, the second and fourth arguments to the tkf request, the argument to the \H escape sequence, and those variants of the \s escape sequence that take a numeric expression as their argument.

For example, suppose sizescale is 1000; then a scaled point will be equivalent to a millipoint; the request .ps 10.25 is equivalent to .ps 10.25z and so sets the pointsize to 10250 scaled points, which is equal to 10.25 points.

The number register \n[.s] returns the pointsize in points as decimal fraction. There is also a new number register \n[.ps] that returns the pointsize in scaled points.

It would make no sense to use the z scale indicator in a numeric expression whose default scale indicator was neither u nor z, and so troff disallows this. Similarly it would make no sense to use a scaling indicator other than z or u in a numeric expression whose default scale indicator was z, and so troff disallows this as well.

There is also new scale indicator s which multiplies by the number of units in a scaled point. So, for example, \n[.ps]s is equal to 1m. Be sure not to confuse the s and z scale indicators.  

Numeric expressions

Spaces are permitted in a number expression within parentheses.

M indicates a scale of 100ths of an em.

e1>?e2
The maximum of e1 and e2.
e1<?e2
The minimum of e1 and e2.
(c;e)
Evaluate e using c as the default scaling indicator. If c is missing, ignore scaling indicators in the evaluation of e.
 

New escape sequences

\A'anything'
This expands to 1 or 0 according as anything is or is not acceptable as the name of a string, macro, diversion, number register, environment or font. It will return 0 if anything is empty. This is useful if you want to lookup user input in some sort of associative table.
\B'anything'
This expands to 1 or 0 according as anything is or is not a valid numeric expression. It will return 0 if anything is empty.
\C'xxx'
Typeset character named xxx. Normally it is more convenient to use \[xxx]. But \C has the advantage that it is compatible with recent versions of UNIX and is available in compatibility mode.
\E
This is equivalent to an escape character, but it's not interpreted in copy-mode. For example, strings to start and end superscripting could be defined like this:
.ds { \v'-.3m'\s'\En[.s]*6u/10u'
.ds } \s0\v'.3m'

The use of \E ensures that these definitions will work even if \*{ gets interpreted in copy-mode (for example, by being used in a macro argument).

\N'n'
Typeset the character with code n in the current font. n can be any integer. Most devices only have characters with codes between 0 and 255. If the current font does not contain a character with that code, special fonts will not be searched. The \N escape sequence can be conveniently used on conjunction with the char request:
.char \[phone] \f(ZD\N'37'
The code of each character is given in the fourth column in the font description file after the charset command. It is possible to include unnamed characters in the font description file by using a name of ---; the \N escape sequence is the only way to use these.
\R'name ±n'
This has the same effect as
.nr name ±n
\s(nn

\s±(nn
Set the point size to nn points; nn must be exactly two digits.
\s[±n]

\s±[n]
\s'±n'
\s±'n'
Set the point size to n scaled points; n is a numeric expression with a default scale indicator of z.
\Vx

\V(xx
\V[xxx]
Interpolate the contents of the environment variable xxx, as returned by getenv(3). \V is interpreted in copy-mode.
\Yx

\Y(xx
\Y[xxx]
This is approximately equivalent to \X'\*[xxx]'. However the contents of the string or macro xxx are not interpreted; also it is permitted for xxx to have been defined as a macro and thus contain newlines (it is not permitted for the argument to \X to contain newlines). The inclusion of newlines requires an extension to the UNIX troff output format, and will confuse drivers that do not know about this extension.
\Z'anything'
Print anything and then restore the horizontal and vertical position; anything may not contain tabs or leaders.
\$0
The name by which the current macro was invoked. The als request can make a macro have more than one name.
\$*
In a macro, the concatenation of all the arguments separated by spaces.
\$@
In a macro, the concatenation of all the arguments with each surrounded by double quotes, and separated by spaces.
\$(nn

\$[nnn]
In a macro, this gives the nn-th or nnn-th argument. Macros can have an unlimited number of arguments.
\?anything\?
When used in a diversion, this will transparently embed anything in the diversion. anything is read in copy mode. When the diversion is reread, anything will be interpreted. anything may not contain newlines; use \! if you want to embed newlines in a diversion. The escape sequence \? is also recognised in copy mode and turned into a single internal code; it is this code that terminates anything. Thus
.nr x 1
.nf
.di d
\?\\?\\\\?\\\\\\\\nx\\\\?\\?\?
.di
.nr x 2
.di e
.d
.di
.nr x 3
.di f
.e
.di
.nr x 4
.f
will print 4.
\/
This increases the width of the preceding character so that the spacing between that character and the following character will be correct if the following character is a roman character. For example, if an italic f is immediately followed by a roman right parenthesis, then in many fonts the top right portion of the f will overlap the top left of the right parenthesis producing f), which is ugly. Inserting \/ produces f) and avoids this problem. It is a good idea to use this escape sequence whenever an italic character is immediately followed by a roman character without any intervening space.
\,
This modifies the spacing of the following character so that the spacing between that character and the preceding character will correct if the preceding character is a roman character. For example, inserting \, between the parenthesis and the f changes (f to (f. It is a good idea to use this escape sequence whenever a roman character is immediately followed by an italic character without any intervening space.
\)
Like \& except that it behaves like a character declared with the cflags request to be transparent for the purposes of end of sentence recognition.
\~
This produces an unbreakable space that stretches like a normal inter-word space when a line is adjusted.
\:
This causes the insertion of a zero-width break point. It is equal to \% but without insertion of a soft hyphen character.
\#
Everything up to and including the next newline is ignored. This is interpreted in copy mode. This is like \ except that \ does not ignore the terminating newline.
 

New requests

.aln xx yy
Create an alias xx for number register object named yy. The new name and the old name will be exactly equivalent. If yy is undefined, a warning of type reg will be generated, and the request will be ignored.
.als xx yy
Create an alias xx for request, string, macro, or diversion object named yy. The new name and the old name will be exactly equivalent (it is similar to a hard rather than a soft link). If yy is undefined, a warning of type mac will be generated, and the request will be ignored. The de, am, di, da, ds, and as requests only create a new object if the name of the macro, diversion or string diversion is currently undefined or if it is defined to be a request; normally they modify the value of an existing object.
.am1 xx yy
Similar to .am, but compatibility mode is switched off during execution. On entry, the current compatibility mode is saved and restored at exit.
.asciify xx
This request `unformats' the diversion xx in such a way that ASCII and space characters (and some escape sequences) that were formatted and diverted into xx will be treated like ordinary input characters when xx is reread. Useful for diversions in conjunction with the .writem request. It can be also used for gross hacks; for example, this
.tr @.
.di x
@nr n 1
.br
.di
.tr @@
.asciify x
.x
will set register n to 1. Note that glyph information (font, font size, etc.) is not preserved; use .unformat instead.
.backtrace
Print a backtrace of the input stack on stderr.
.blm xx
Set the blank line macro to xx. If there is a blank line macro, it will be invoked when a blank line is encountered instead of the usual troff behaviour.
.box xx

.boxa xx
These requests are similar to the di and da requests with the exception that a partially filled line will not become part of the diversion (i.e., the diversion always starts with a new line) but restored after ending the diversion, discarding the partially filled line which possibly comes from the diversion.
.break
Break out of a while loop. See also the while and continue requests. Be sure not to confuse this with the br request.
.brp
This is the same as \p.
.cflags n c1 c2...
Characters c1, c2,... have properties determined by n, which is ORed from the following:
1
the character ends sentences (initially characters .?! have this property);
2
lines can be broken before the character (initially no characters have this property); a line will not be broken at a character with this property unless the characters on each side both have non-zero hyphenation codes.
4
lines can be broken after the character (initially characters -\(hy\(em have this property); a line will not be broken at a character with this property unless the characters on each side both have non-zero hyphenation codes.
8
the character overlaps horizontally (initially characters \(ul\(rn\(ru have this property);
16
the character overlaps vertically (initially character \(br has this property);
32
an end of sentence character followed by any number of characters with this property will be treated as the end of a sentence if followed by a newline or two spaces; in other words the character is transparent for the purposes of end of sentence recognition; this is the same as having a zero space factor in TeX (initially characters sigma')]*\(dg\(rq have this property).
.char c string
Define character c to be string. Every time character c needs to be printed, string will be processed in a temporary environment and the result will be wrapped up into a single object. Compatibility mode will be turned off and the escape character will be set to \ while string is being processed. Any emboldening, constant spacing or track kerning will be applied to this object rather than to individual characters in string. A character defined by this request can be used just like a normal character provided by the output device. In particular other characters can be translated to it with the tr request; it can be made the leader character by the lc request; repeated patterns can be drawn with the character using the \l and \L escape sequences; words containing the character can be hyphenated correctly, if the hcode request is used to give the character a hyphenation code. There is a special anti-recursion feature: use of character within the character's definition will be handled like normal characters not defined with char. A character definition can be removed with the rchar request.
.chop xx
Chop the last character off macro, string, or diversion xx. This is useful for removing the newline from the end of diversions that are to be interpolated as strings.
.close stream
Close the stream named stream; stream will no longer be an acceptable argument to the write request. See the open request.
.continue
Finish the current iteration of a while loop. See also the while and break requests.
.cp n
If n is non-zero or missing, enable compatibility mode, otherwise disable it. In compatibility mode, long names are not recognised, and the incompatibilities caused by long names do not arise.
.dei xx yy
Define macro indirectly. The following example
.ds xx aa
.ds yy bb
.dei xx yy
is equivalent to
.de aa bb
.de1 xx yy
Similar to .de, but compatibility mode is switched off during execution. On entry, the current compatibility mode is saved and restored at exit.
.do xxx
Interpret .xxx with compatibility mode disabled. For example,
.do fam T

would have the same effect as

.fam T

except that it would work even if compatibility mode had been enabled. Note that the previous compatibility mode is restored before any files sourced by xxx are interpreted.

.ecs
Save current escape character.
.ecr
Restore escape character saved with ecs. Without a previous call to ecs, `\' will be the new escape character.
.evc xx
Copy the contents of environment xx to the current environment. No pushing or popping of environents will be done.
.fam xx
Set the current font family to xx. The current font family is part of the current environment. If xx is missing, switch back to previous font family. See the description of the sty request for more information on font families.
.fspecial f s1 s2...
When the current font is f, fonts s1, s2,... will be special, that is, they will searched for characters not in the current font. Any fonts specified in the special request will be searched after fonts specified in the fspecial request.
.ftr f g
Translate font f to g. Whenever a font named f is referred to in \f escape sequence, or in the ft, ul, bd, cs, tkf, special, fspecial, fp, or sty requests, font g will be used. If g is missing, or equal to f then font f will not be translated.
.hcode c1 code1 c2 code2...
Set the hyphenation code of character c1 to code1 and that of c2 to code2. A hyphenation code must be a single input character (not a special character) other than a digit or a space. Initially each lower-case letter has a hyphenation code, which is itself, and each upper-case letter has a hyphenation code which is the lower case version of itself. See also the hpf request.
.hla lang
Set the current hyphenation language to lang. Hyphenation exceptions specified with the hw request and hyphenation patterns specified with the hpf request are both associated with the current hyphenation language. The hla request is usually invoked by the troffrc file.
.hlm n
Set the maximum number of consecutive hyphenated lines to n. If n is negative, there is no maximum. The default value is -1. This value is associated with the current environment. Only lines output from an environment count towards the maximum associated with that environment. Hyphens resulting from \% are counted; explicit hyphens are not.
.hpf file
Read hyphenation patterns from file; this will be searched for in the same way that name.tmac is searched for when the -mname option is specified. It should have the same format as the argument to the \patterns primitive in TeX; the letters appearing in this file are interpreted as hyphenation codes. A % character in the patterns file introduces a comment that continues to the end of the line. The set of hyphenation patterns is associated with the current language set by the hla request. The hpf request is usually invoked by the troffrc file.
.hym n
Set the hyphenation margin to n: when the current adjustment mode is not b, the line will not be hyphenated if the line is no more than n short. The default hyphenation margin is 0. The default scaling indicator for this request is m. The hyphenation margin is associated with the current environment. The current hyphenation margin is available in the \n[.hym] register.
.hys n
Set the hyphenation space to n: when the current adjustment mode is b don't hyphenate the line if the line can be justified by adding no more than n extra space to each word space. The default hyphenation space is 0. The default scaling indicator for this request is m. The hyphenation space is associated with the current environment. The current hyphenation space is available in the \n[.hys] register.
.kern n
If n is non-zero or missing, enable pairwise kerning, otherwise disable it.
.length xx string
Compute the length of string and return it in the number register xx (which is not necessarily defined before).
.linetabs n
If n is non-zero or missing, enable line-tabs mode, otherwise disable it (which is the default). In line-tabs mode, tab distances are computed relative to the (current) output line. Otherwise they are taken relative to the input line. For example, the following
.ds x a\t\c
.ds y b\t\c
.ds z c
.ta 1i 3i
\*x
\*y
\*z
yields
a b c
In line-tabs mode, the same code gives
a b c
Line-tabs mode is associated with the current environment; the read-only number register \en[.linetabs] is set to~1 if in line-tabs mode, and 0 otherwise.
.mso file
The same as the so request except that file is searched for in the same directories as macro files for the the -m command line option. If the file name to be included has the form name.tmac and it isn't found, mso tries to include tmac.name instead and vice versa.
.nop anything
Execute anything. This is similar to `.if 1'.
.nroff
Make the n built-in condition true and the t built-in condition false. This can be reversed using the troff request.
.open stream filename
Open filename for writing and associate the stream named stream with it. See also the close and write requests.
.opena stream filename
Like open, but if filename exists, append to it instead of truncating it.
.pnr
Print the names and contents of all currently defined number registers on stderr.
.psbb filename
Get the bounding box of a PostScript image filename. This file must conform to Adobe's Document Structuring Conventions; the command looks for a %%BoundingBox comment to extract the bounding box values. After a successful call, the coordinates (in PostScript units) of the lower left and upper right corner can be found in the registers \n[llx], \n[lly], \n[urx], and \n[ury], respectively. If some error has occurred, the four registers are set to zero.
.pso command
This behaves like the so request except that input comes from the standard output of command.
.ptr
Print the names and positions of all traps (not including input line traps and diversion traps) on stderr. Empty slots in the page trap list are printed as well, because they can affect the priority of subsequently planted traps.
.rchar c1 c2...
Remove the definitions of characters c1, c2,... This undoes the effect of a char request.
.return
Within a macro, return immediately. No effect otherwise.
.rj

.rj n
Right justify the next n input lines. Without an argument right justify the next input line. The number of lines to be right justified is available in the \n[.rj] register. This implicitly does .ce 0. The ce request implicitly does .rj 0.
.rnn xx yy
Rename number register xx to yy.
.shc c
Set the soft hyphen character to c. If c is omitted, the soft hyphen character will be set to the default \(hy. The soft hyphen character is the character which will be inserted when a word is hyphenated at a line break. If the soft hyphen character does not exist in the font of the character immediately preceding a potential break point, then the line will not be broken at that point. Neither definitions (specified with the char request) nor translations (specified with the tr request) are considered when finding the soft hyphen character.
.shift n
In a macro, shift the arguments by n positions: argument i becomes argument i-n; arguments 1 to n will no longer be available. If n is missing, arguments will be shifted by 1. Shifting by negative amounts is currently undefined.
.special s1 s2...
Fonts s1, s2, are special and will be searched for characters not in the current font.
.sty n f
Associate style f with font position n. A font position can be associated either with a font or with a style. The current font is the index of a font position and so is also either a font or a style. When it is a style, the font that is actually used is the font the name of which is the concatenation of the name of the current family and the name of the current style. For example, if the current font is 1 and font position 1 is associated with style R and the current font family is T, then font TR will be used. If the current font is not a style, then the current family is ignored. When the requests cs, bd, tkf, uf, or fspecial are applied to a style, then they will instead be applied to the member of the current family corresponding to that style. The default family can be set with the -f option. The styles command in the DESC file controls which font positions (if any) are initially associated with styles rather than fonts.
.substring xx n1 [n2]
Replace the string in register xx with the substring defined by the indices n1 and n2. The first character in the string has index one. If n2 is omitted, it is taken to be equal to the string's length. If the index value n1 or n2 is negative or zero, it will be counted from the end of the string, going backwards: The last character has index 0, the character before the last character has index -1, etc.
.tkf f s1 n1 s2 n2
Enable track kerning for font f. When the current font is f the width of every character will be increased by an amount between n1 and n2; when the current point size is less than or equal to s1 the width will be increased by n1; when it is greater than or equal to s2 the width will be increased by n2; when the point size is greater than or equal to s1 and less than or equal to s2 the increase in width is a linear function of the point size.
.tm1 string
Similar to the tm request, string is read in copy mode and written on the standard error, but an initial double quote in string is stripped off to allow initial blanks.
.tmc string
Similar to tm1 but without writing a final newline.
.trf filename
Transparently output the contents of file filename. Each line is output as it would be were it preceded by \!; however, the lines are not subject to copy-mode interpretation. If the file does not end with a newline, then a newline will be added. For example, you can define a macro x containing the contents of file f, using
.di x
.trf f
.di

Unlike with the cf request, the file cannot contain characters such as NUL that are not legal troff input characters.

.trnt abcd
This is the same as the tr request except that the translations do not apply to text that is transparently throughput into a diversion with \!. For example,
.tr ab
.di x
\!.tm a
.di
.x

will print b; if trnt is used instead of tr it will print a.

.troff
Make the n built-in condition false, and the t built-in condition true. This undoes the effect of the nroff request.
.unformat xx
This request `unformats' the diversion xx. Contrary to the .asciify request, which tries to convert formatted elements of the diversion back to input tokens as much as possible, .unformat will only handle tabs and spaces between words (usually caused by spaces or newlines in the input) specially. The former are treated as if they were input tokens, and the latter are stretchable again. Note that the vertical size of lines is not preserved. Glyph information (font, font size, space width, etc.) is retained. Useful in conjunction with the .box and .boxa requests.
.vpt n
Enable vertical position traps if n is non-zero, disable them otherwise. Vertical position traps are traps set by the wh or dt requests. Traps set by the it request are not vertical position traps. The parameter that controls whether vertical position traps are enabled is global. Initially vertical position traps are enabled.
.warn n
Control warnings. n is the sum of the numbers associated with each warning that is to be enabled; all other warnings will be disabled. The number associated with each warning is listed in the `Warnings' section. For example, .warn 0 will disable all warnings, and .warn 1 will disable all warnings except that about missing characters. If n is not given, all warnings will be enabled.
.while c anything
While condition c is true, accept anything as input; c can be any condition acceptable to an if request; anything can comprise multiple lines if the first line starts with \{ and the last line ends with \}. See also the break and continue requests.
.write stream anything
Write anything to the stream named stream. stream must previously have been the subject of an open request. anything is read in copy mode; a leading sigma will be stripped.
.writem stream xx
Write the contents of the macro or string xx to the stream named stream. stream must previously have been the subject of an open request. xx is read in copy mode.
 

Extended requests

.cf filename
When used in a diversion, this will embed in the diversion an object which, when reread, will cause the contents of filename to be transparently copied through to the output. In UNIX troff, the contents of filename is immediately copied through to the output regardless of whether there is a current diversion; this behaviour is so anomalous that it must be considered a bug.
.ev xx
If xx is not a number, this will switch to a named environment called xx. The environment should be popped with a matching ev request without any arguments, just as for numbered environments. There is no limit on the number of named environments; they will be created the first time that they are referenced.
.fp n f1 f2
The fp request has an optional third argument. This argument gives the external name of the font, which is used for finding the font description file. The second argument gives the internal name of the font which is used to refer to the font in troff after it has been mounted. If there is no third argument then the internal name will be used as the external name. This feature allows you to use fonts with long names in compatibility mode.
.ss m n
When two arguments are given to the ss request, the second argument gives the sentence space size. If the second argument is not given, the sentence space size will be the same as the word space size. Like the word space size, the sentence space is in units of one twelfth of the spacewidth parameter for the current font. Initially both the word space size and the sentence space size are 12. Contrary to UNIX troff, GNU troff handles this request in nroff mode also; a given value is then rounded down to the nearest multiple of~12. The sentence space size is used in two circumstances: if the end of a sentence occurs at the end of a line in fill mode, then both an inter-word space and a sentence space will be added; if two spaces follow the end of a sentence in the middle of a line, then the second space will be a sentence space. Note that the behaviour of UNIX troff will be exactly that exhibited by GNU troff if a second argument is never given to the ss request. In GNU troff, as in UNIX troff, you should always follow a sentence with either a newline or two spaces.
.ta n1 n2...nn T r1 r2...rn
Set tabs at positions n1, n2,..., nn and then set tabs at nn+r1, nn+r2,...., nn+rn and then at nn+rn+r1, nn+rn+r2,..., nn+rn+rn, and so on. For example,
.ta T .5i

will set tabs every half an inch.

 

New number registers

The following read-only registers are available:
\n[.C]
1 if compatibility mode is in effect, 0 otherwise.
\n[.cdp]
The depth of the last character added to the current environment. It is positive if the character extends below the baseline.
\n[.ce]
The number of lines remaining to be centered, as set by the ce request.
\n[.cht]
The height of the last character added to the current environment. It is positive if the character extends above the baseline.
\n[.csk]
The skew of the last character added to the current environment. The skew of a character is how far to the right of the center of a character the center of an accent over that character should be placed.
\n[.ev]
The name or number of the current environment. This is a string-valued register.
\n[.fam]
The current font family. This is a string-valued register.
\n[.fp]
The number of the next free font position.
\n[.g]
Always 1. Macros should use this to determine whether they are running under GNU troff.
\n[.hla]
The current hyphenation language as set by the hla request.
\n[.hlc]
The number of immediately preceding consecutive hyphenated lines.
\n[.hlm]
The maximum allowed number of consecutive hyphenated lines, as set by the hlm request.
\n[.hy]
The current hyphenation flags (as set by the hy request).
\n[.hym]
The current hyphenation margin (as set by the hym request).
\n[.hys]
The current hyphenation space (as set by the hys request).
\n[.in]
The indent that applies to the current output line.
\n[.int]
Set to a positive value if last output line is interrupted (i.e., if it contains \c).
\n[.kern]
1 if pairwise kerning is enabled, 0 otherwise.
\n[.lg]
The current ligature mode (as set by the lg request).
\n[.linetabs]
The current line-tabs mode (as set by the linetabs request).
\n[.ll]
The line length that applies to the current output line.
\n[.lt]
The title length as set by the lt request.
\n[.ne]
The amount of space that was needed in the last ne request that caused a trap to be sprung. Useful in conjunction with the \n[.trunc] register.
\n[.ns]
1 if no-space mode is active, 0 otherwise.
\n[.pn]
The number of the next page: either the value set by a pn request, or the number of the current page plus 1.
\n[.ps]
The current pointsize in scaled points.
\n[.psr]
The last-requested pointsize in scaled points.
\n[.rj]
The number of lines to be right-justified as set by the rj request.
\n[.sr]
The last requested pointsize in points as a decimal fraction. This is a string-valued register.
\n[.tabs]
A string representation of the current tab settings suitable for use as an argument to the ta request.
\n[.trunc]
The amount of vertical space truncated by the most recently sprung vertical position trap, or, if the trap was sprung by a ne request, minus the amount of vertical motion produced by the ne request. In other words, at the point a trap is sprung, it represents the difference of what the vertical position would have been but for the trap, and what the vertical position actually is. Useful in conjunction with the \n[.ne] register.
\n[.ss]

\n[.sss]
These give the values of the parameters set by the first and second arguments of the ss request.
\n[.vpt]
1 if vertical position traps are enabled, 0 otherwise.
\n[.warn]
The sum of the numbers associated with each of the currently enabled warnings. The number associated with each warning is listed in the `Warnings' subsection.
\n[.x]
The major version number. For example, if the version number is 1.03 then \n[.x] will contain 1.
\n[.y]
The minor version number. For example, if the version number is 1.03 then \n[.y] will contain 03.
\n[.Y]
The revision number of groff.
\n[llx]

\n[lly]
\n[urx]
\n[ury]
These four registers are set by the .psbb request and contain the bounding box values (in PostScript units) of a given PostScript image.

The following read/write registers are set by the \w escape sequence:

\n[rst]

\n[rsb]
Like the st and sb registers, but takes account of the heights and depths of characters.
\n[ssc]
The amount of horizontal space (possibly negative) that should be added to the last character before a subscript.
\n[skw]
How far to right of the center of the last character in the \w argument, the center of an accent from a roman font should be placed over that character.

Other available read/write number registers are:

\n[c.]
The current input line number. \n[.c] is a read-only alias to this register.
\n[hp]
The current horizontal position at input line.
\n[systat]
The return value of the system() function executed by the last sy request.
\n[slimit]
If greater than 0, the maximum number of objects on the input stack. If less than or equal to 0, there is no limit on the number of objects on the input stack. With no limit, recursion can continue until virtual memory is exhausted.
\n[year]
The current year. Note that the traditional troff number register \n[yr] is the current year minus 1900.
 

Miscellaneous

troff predefines a single (read/write) string-based register, \*(.T, which contains the argument given to the -T command line option, namely the current output device (for example, latin1 or ascii). Note that this is not the same as the (read-only) number register \n[.T] which is defined to be 1 if troff is called with the -T command line option, and zero otherwise. This behaviour is different to UNIX troff.

Fonts not listed in the DESC file are automatically mounted on the next available font position when they are referenced. If a font is to be mounted explicitly with the fp request on an unused font position, it should be mounted on the first unused font position, which can be found in the \n[.fp] register; although troff does not enforce this strictly, it will not allow a font to be mounted at a position whose number is much greater than that of any currently used position.

Interpolating a string does not hide existing macro arguments. Thus in a macro, a more efficient way of doing

.xx \\$@

is

\\*[xx]\\

If the font description file contains pairwise kerning information, characters from that font will be kerned. Kerning between two characters can be inhibited by placing a \& between them.

In a string comparison in a condition, characters that appear at different input levels to the first delimiter character will not be recognised as the second or third delimiters. This applies also to the tl request. In a \w escape sequence, a character that appears at a different input level to the starting delimiter character will not be recognised as the closing delimiter character. When decoding a macro argument that is delimited by double quotes, a character that appears at a different input level to the starting delimiter character will not be recognised as the closing delimiter character. The implementation of \$@ ensures that the double quotes surrounding an argument will appear the same input level, which will be different to the input level of the argument itself. In a long escape name ] will not be recognized as a closing delimiter except when it occurs at the same input level as the opening ]. In compatibility mode, no attention is paid to the input-level.

There are some new types of condition:

.if rxxx
True if there is a number register named xxx.
.if dxxx
True if there is a string, macro, diversion, or request named xxx.
.if cch
True if there is a character ch available; ch is either an ASCII character or a special character \(xx or \[xxx]; the condition will also be true if ch has been defined by the char request.

The tr request can now map characters onto \~.  

Warnings

The warnings that can be given by troff are divided into the following categories. The name associated with each warning is used by the -w and -W options; the number is used by the warn request, and by the .warn register.
char 1
Non-existent characters. This is enabled by default.
number 2
Invalid numeric expressions. This is enabled by default.
break 4
In fill mode, lines which could not be broken so that their length was less than the line length. This is enabled by default.
delim 8
Missing or mismatched closing delimiters.
el 16
Use of the el request with no matching ie request.
scale 32
Meaningless scaling indicators.
range 64
Out of range arguments.
syntax 128
Dubious syntax in numeric expressions.
di 256
Use of di or da without an argument when there is no current diversion.
mac 512
Use of undefined strings, macros and diversions. When an undefined string, macro or diversion is used, that string is automatically defined as empty. So, in most cases, at most one warning will be given for each name.
reg 1024
Use of undefined number registers. When an undefined number register is used, that register is automatically defined to have a value of 0. a definition is automatically made with a value of 0. So, in most cases, at most one warning will be given for use of a particular name.
tab 2048
Inappropriate use of a tab character. Either use of a tab character where a number was expected, or use of tab character in an unquoted macro argument.
right-brace 4096
Use of \} where a number was expected.
missing 8192
Requests that are missing non-optional arguments.
input 16384
Illegal input characters.
escape 32768
Unrecognized escape sequences. When an unrecognized escape sequence is encountered, the escape character is ignored.
space 65536
Missing space between a request or macro and its argument. This warning will be given when an undefined name longer than two characters is encountered, and the first two characters of the name make a defined name. The request or macro will not be invoked. When this warning is given, no macro is automatically defined. This is enabled by default. This warning will never occur in compatibility mode.
font 131072
Non-existent fonts. This is enabled by default.
ig 262144
Illegal escapes in text ignored with the ig request. These are conditions that are errors when they do not occur in ignored text.

There are also names that can be used to refer to groups of warnings:

all
All warnings except di, mac and reg. It is intended that this covers all warnings that are useful with traditional macro packages.
w
All warnings.
 

Incompatibilities

Long names cause some incompatibilities. UNIX troff will interpret

.dsabcd

as defining a string ab with contents cd. Normally, GNU troff will interpret this as a call of a macro named dsabcd. Also UNIX troff will interpret \*[ or \n[ as references to a string or number register called [. In GNU troff, however, this will normally be interpreted as the start of a long name. In compatibility mode GNU troff will interpret these things in the traditional way. In compatibility mode, however, long names are not recognised. Compatibility mode can be turned on with the -C command line option, and turned on or off with the cp request. The number register \n[.C] is 1 if compatibility mode is on, 0 otherwise.

GNU troff does not allow the use of the escape sequences \e\|\^\&\}\{\(space)\'\`\-\_\!\%\c in names of strings, macros, diversions, number registers, fonts or environments; UNIX troff does. The \A escape sequence may be helpful in avoiding use of these escape sequences in names.

Fractional pointsizes cause one noteworthy incompatibility. In UNIX troff the ps request ignores scale indicators and so

.ps 10u

will set the pointsize to 10 points, whereas in GNU troff it will set the pointsize to 10 scaled points.

In GNU troff there is a fundamental difference between unformatted, input characters, and formatted, output characters. Everything that affects how an output character will be output is stored with the character; once an output character has been constructed it is unaffected by any subsequent requests that are executed, including bd, cs, tkf, tr, or fp requests. Normally output characters are constructed from input characters at the moment immediately before the character is added to the current output line. Macros, diversions and strings are all, in fact, the same type of object; they contain lists of input characters and output characters in any combination. An output character does not behave like an input character for the purposes of macro processing; it does not inherit any of the special properties that the input character from which it was constructed might have had. For example,

.di x
\\\\
.br
.di
.x

will print \\ in GNU troff; each pair of input \s is turned into one output \ and the resulting output \s are not interpreted as escape characters when they are reread. UNIX troff would interpret them as escape characters when they were reread and would end up printing one \. The correct way to obtain a printable \ is to use the \e escape sequence: this will always print a single instance of the current escape character, regardless of whether or not it is used in a diversion; it will also work in both GNU troff and UNIX troff. If you wish for some reason to store in a diversion an escape sequence that will be interpreted when the diversion is reread, you can either use the traditional \! transparent output facility, or, if this is unsuitable, the new \? escape sequence.  

ENVIRONMENT

GROFF_TMAC_PATH
A colon separated list of directories in which to search for macro files. troff will scan directories given in the -M option before these, and in standard directories (current directory if in unsafe mode, home directory, /usr/share/groff/site-tmac, /usr/lib/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/1.17.2/tmac) after these.
GROFF_TYPESETTER
Default device.
GROFF_FONT_PATH
A colon separated list of directories in which to search for the devname directory. troff will scan directories given in the -F option before these, and in standard directories (/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/font:/usr/lib/font) after these.
 

FILES

u+3n
/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/tmac/troffrc Initialization file (called before any other macro package).
/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/tmac/troffrc-end
Initialization file (called after any other macro package).
/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/tmac/name.tmac

/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/tmac/tmac.name
Macro files
/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/font/devname/DESC
Device description file for device name.
/usr/share/groff/1.17.2/font/devname/F
Font file for font F of device name.

Note that troffrc and troffrc-end are neither searched in the current nor in the home directory by default for security reasons (even if the -U option is given). Use the -M command line option or the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable to add these directories to the search path if necessary.  

SEE ALSO

groff(7) -- This is a short but complete reference of all requests, registers, and escapes.

groff(1), tbl(1), pic(1), eqn(1), refer(1), soelim(1), grn(1), grops(1), grodvi(1), grotty(1), grohtml(1), grolj4(1), groff_font(5), groff_out(5), groff_char(7)


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
OPTIONS
USAGE
Long names
Fractional pointsizes
Numeric expressions
New escape sequences
New requests
Extended requests
New number registers
Miscellaneous
Warnings
Incompatibilities
ENVIRONMENT
FILES
SEE ALSO

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Time: 19:44:21 GMT, December 08, 2021