troff - the troff processor of the groff text formatting system
] [ -ffam
] [ -mname
] [ -nnum
] [ -rcn
] [ -wname
] [ files...
It is possible to have whitespace between a command line option and its
This manual page describes the GNU version of troff
. It is part of the
groff document formatting system. It is functionally compatible with UNIX
troff, but has many extensions, see groff_diff
(7). Usually it should be
invoked using the groff
(1) command which will also run preprocessors
and postprocessors in the appropriate order and with the appropriate options.
- Generate an ASCII approximation of the typeset output.
- 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, for troff's idea of line
numbers gets confused by as or am requests.
- Disable color output (always disabled in compatibility mode).
- Enable compatibility mode.
- Define c or name to be a string s; c must be a
one letter name.
- Inhibit all error messages of troff. Note that this doesn't affect
messages output to standard error by macro packages using the tm or
- Use fam as the default font family.
- 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.
- Read the standard input after all the named input files have been
- 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/local/lib/groff/site-tmac, /usr/local/share/groff/site-tmac, and
- Search directory (or directory path) dir for macro files. This is
scanned before all other macro directories.
- Number the first page num.
- 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
- Set number register c or name to n; c must be
a one character name; n can be any troff numeric expression.
- Don't load troffrc and troffrc-end.
- Prepare output for device name, rather than the default
- 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.
- Print the version number.
- Enable warning name. Available warnings are described in the
section WARNINGS below. For example, to enable all warnings, use
-w all. Multiple -w options are allowed.
- Inhibit warning name. Multiple -W options are allowed.
- Suppress formatted output.
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
options; the number is used by the warn
request, and by the
register; it is always a power of 2 to allow bitwise composition.
- 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.
- char 1
- Non-existent characters. This is enabled by default.
- color 524288
- Color related warnings.
- delim 8
- Missing or mismatched closing delimiters.
- di 256
- Use of di or da without an argument when there is no current
- el 16
- Use of the el request with no matching ie request.
- escape 32768
- Unrecognized escape sequences. When an unrecognized escape sequence is
encountered, the escape character is ignored.
- font 131072
- Non-existent fonts. This is enabled by default.
- ig 262144
- Invalid escapes in text ignored with the ig request. These are
conditions that are errors when they do not occur in ignored text.
- input 16384
- Invalid input characters.
- 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.
- missing 8192
- Requests that are missing non-optional arguments.
- number 2
- Invalid numeric expressions. This is enabled by default.
- range 64
- Out of range arguments.
- 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.
So, in most cases, at most one warning will be given for use of a
- right-brace 4096
- Use of \} where a number was expected.
- scale 32
- Meaningless scaling indicators.
- 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.
- syntax 128
- Dubious syntax in numeric expressions.
- 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
There are also names that can be used to refer to groups of warnings:
- All warnings except di, mac, and reg. It is intended
that this covers all warnings that are useful with traditional macro
- All warnings.
- 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/local/lib/groff/site-tmac,
/usr/local/share/groff/1.18.1/tmac) after these.
- Default device.
- 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/local/share/groff/1.18.1/font, /usr/lib/font) after
- Initialization file (called before any other macro package).
- Initialization file (called after any other macro package).
- Macro files
- Device description file for device name.
- Font file for font F of device name.
Note that troffrc
are neither searched in the
current nor in the home directory by default for security reasons (even if the
option is given). Use the -M
command line option or the
environment variable to add these directories to the
search path if necessary.
Copyright (C) 1989, 2001, 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This document is distributed under the terms of the FDL (GNU Free Documentation
License) version 1.1 or later. You should have received a copy of the FDL on
your system, it is also available on-line at the This document was written by
James Clark, with modifications from and
This document is part of groff
, the GNU roff distribution.
- The main program of the groff system, a wrapper around
- A description of the groff language, including a short but complete
reference of all predefined requests, registers, and escapes of plain
groff. From the command line, this is called by
- The differences of the groff language and the classical
troff language. Currently, this is the most actual document of the
- An overview over groff and other roff systems, including
pointers to further related documentation.
The groff info file
, cf. info
(1), presents all groff
documentation within a single document.