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Updated: July 2014

pod2text (1)


pod2text - Convert POD data to formatted ASCII text


pod2text [-aclostu] [--code] [-i indent] [-q quotes]
[--stderr] [-w width] [input [output ...]]

pod2text -h


Perl Programmers Reference Guide                      POD2TEXT(1)

     pod2text - Convert POD data to formatted ASCII text

     pod2text [-aclostu] [--code] [-i indent] [-q quotes]
         [--stderr] [-w width] [input [output ...]]

     pod2text -h

     pod2text is a front-end for Pod::Text and its subclasses.
     It uses them to generate formatted ASCII text from POD
     source.  It can optionally use either termcap sequences or
     ANSI color escape sequences to format the text.

     input is the file to read for POD source (the POD can be
     embedded in code).  If input isn't given, it defaults to
     "STDIN".  output, if given, is the file to which to write
     the formatted output.  If output isn't given, the formatted
     output is written to "STDOUT".  Several POD files can be
     processed in the same pod2text invocation (saving module
     load and compile times) by providing multiple pairs of input
     and output files on the command line.

     -a, --alt
         Use an alternate output format that, among other things,
         uses a different heading style and marks "=item" entries
         with a colon in the left margin.

         Include any non-POD text from the input file in the
         output as well.  Useful for viewing code documented with
         POD blocks with the POD rendered and the code left

     -c, --color
         Format the output with ANSI color escape sequences.
         Using this option requires that Term::ANSIColor be
         installed on your system.

     -i indent, --indent=indent
         Set the number of spaces to indent regular text, and the
         default indentation for "=over" blocks.  Defaults to 4
         spaces if this option isn't given.

     -h, --help
         Print out usage information and exit.

     -l, --loose
         Print a blank line after a "=head1" heading.  Normally,
         no blank line is printed after "=head1", although one is

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         still printed after "=head2", because this is the
         expected formatting for manual pages; if you're
         formatting arbitrary text documents, using this option
         is recommended.

     -m width, --left-margin=width, --margin=width
         The width of the left margin in spaces.  Defaults to 0.
         This is the margin for all text, including headings, not
         the amount by which regular text is indented; for the
         latter, see -i option.

     -o, --overstrike
         Format the output with overstrike printing.  Bold text
         is rendered as character, backspace, character.  Italics
         and file names are rendered as underscore, backspace,
         character.  Many pagers, such as less, know how to
         convert this to bold or underlined text.

     -q quotes, --quotes=quotes
         Sets the quote marks used to surround C<> text to
         quotes.  If quotes is a single character, it is used as
         both the left and right quote; if quotes is two
         characters, the first character is used as the left
         quote and the second as the right quoted; and if quotes
         is four characters, the first two are used as the left
         quote and the second two as the right quote.

         quotes may also be set to the special value "none", in
         which case no quote marks are added around C<> text.

     -s, --sentence
         Assume each sentence ends with two spaces and try to
         preserve that spacing.  Without this option, all
         consecutive whitespace in non-verbatim paragraphs is
         compressed into a single space.

         By default, pod2text puts any errors detected in the POD
         input in a POD ERRORS section in the output manual page.
         If --stderr is given, errors are sent to standard error
         instead and the POD ERRORS section is suppressed.

     -t, --termcap
         Try to determine the width of the screen and the bold
         and underline sequences for the terminal from termcap,
         and use that information in formatting the output.
         Output will be wrapped at two columns less than the
         width of your terminal device.  Using this option
         requires that your system have a termcap file somewhere
         where Term::Cap can find it and requires that your
         system support termios.  With this option, the output of
         pod2text will contain terminal control sequences for

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         your current terminal type.

     -u, --utf8
         By default, pod2text tries to use the same output
         encoding as its input encoding (to be backward-
         compatible with older versions).  This option says to
         instead force the output encoding to UTF-8.

         Be aware that, when using this option, the input
         encoding of your POD source must be properly declared
         unless it is US-ASCII or Latin-1.  POD input without an
         "=encoding" command will be assumed to be in Latin-1,
         and if it's actually in UTF-8, the output will be
         double-encoded.  See perlpod(1) for more information on
         the "=encoding" command.

     -w, --width=width, -width
         The column at which to wrap text on the right-hand side.
         Defaults to 76, unless -t is given, in which case it's
         two columns less than the width of your terminal device.

     If pod2text fails with errors, see Pod::Text and Pod::Simple
     for information about what those errors might mean.
     Internally, it can also produce the following diagnostics:

     -c (--color) requires Term::ANSIColor be installed
         (F) -c or --color were given, but Term::ANSIColor could
         not be loaded.

     Unknown option: %s
         (F) An unknown command line option was given.

     In addition, other Getopt::Long error messages may result
     from invalid command-line options.

         If -t is given, pod2text will take the current width of
         your screen from this environment variable, if
         available.  It overrides terminal width information in

         If -t is given, pod2text will use the contents of this
         environment variable if available to determine the
         correct formatting sequences for your current terminal

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

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     |Availability   | runtime/perl-512 |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted      |
     Pod::Text, Pod::Text::Color, Pod::Text::Overstrike,
     Pod::Text::Termcap, Pod::Simple, perlpod(1)

     The current version of this script is always available from
     its web site at
     <>.  It is
     also part of the Perl core distribution as of 5.6.0.

     Russ Allbery <>.

     Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008 Russ Allbery

     This program is free software; you may redistribute it
     and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

     This software was built from source available at  The original
     community source was downloaded from

     Further information about this software can be found on the
     open source community website at

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