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man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2017



dpost - troff postprocessor for PostScript printers


dpost [-c num] [-e num] [-m num] [-n num] [-o list] 
     [-w num] [-x num] [-y num] [-F dir] [-H dir] 
     [-L file] [-O] [-T name] [file]...


dpost translates files created by troff(1) into PostScript and writes the results on the standard output. If no files are specified, or if − is one of the input files, the standard input is read.

The files should be prepared by troff. The default font files in /usr/lib/font/devpost produce the best and most efficient output. They assume a resolution of 720 dpi, and can be used to format files by adding the –Tpost option to the troff call. Older versions of the eqn and pic preprocessors need to know the resolution that troff will be using to format the files. If those are the versions installed on your system, use the –r720 option with eqn and –T720 with pic.

dpost makes no assumptions about resolutions. The first x res command sets the resolution used to translate the input files, the DESC.out file, usually /usr/lib/font/devpost/DESC.out, defines the resolution used in the binary font files, and the PostScript prologue is responsible for setting up an appropriate user coordinate system.


–c num

Print num copies of each page. By default only one copy is printed.

–e num

Sets the text encoding level to num. The recognized choices are 0, 1, and 2. The size of the output file and print time should decrease as num increases. Level 2 encoding will typically be about 20 percent faster than level 0, which is the default and produces output essentially identical to previous versions of dpost.

–m num

Magnify each logical page by the factor num. Pages are scaled uniformly about the origin, which is located near the upper left corner of each page. The default magnification is 1.0.

–n num

Print num logical pages on each piece of paper, where num can be any positive integer. By default, num is set to 1.

–o list

Print those pages for which numbers are given in the comma-separated list. The list contains single numbers N and ranges N1N2. A missing N1 means the lowest numbered page, a missing N2 means the highest. The page range is an expression of logical pages rather than physical sheets of paper. For example, if you are printing two logical pages to a sheet, and you specified a range of 4, then two sheets of paper would print, containing four page layouts. If you specified a page range of 3-4, when requesting two logical pages to a sheet; then only page 3 and page 4 layouts would print, and they would appear on one physical sheet of paper.

–p mode

Print files in either portrait or landscape mode. Only the first character of mode is significant. The default mode is portrait.

–w num

Set the line width used to implement troff graphics commands to num points, where a point is approximately 1/72 of an inch. By default, num is set to 0.3 points.

–x num

Translate the origin num inches along the positive x axis. The default coordinate system has the origin fixed near the upper left corner of the page, with positive x to the right and positive y down the page. Positive num moves everything right. The default offset is 0 inches.

–y num

Translate the origin num inches along the positive y axis. Positive num moves text up the page. The default offset is 0.

–F dir

Use dir as the font directory. The default dir is /usr/lib/font, and dpost reads binary font files from directory /usr/lib/font/devpost.

–H dir

Use dir as the host resident font directory. Files in this directory should be complete PostScript font descriptions, and must be assigned a name that corresponds to the appropriate two-character troff font name. Each font file is copied to the output file only when needed and at most once during each job. There is no default directory.

–L file

Use file as the PostScript prologue which, by default, is /usr/lib/lp/postscript/dpost.ps.


Disables PostScript picture inclusion. A recommended option when dpost is run by a spooler in a networked environment.

–T name

Use font files for device name as the best description of available PostScript fonts. By default, name is set to post and dpost reads binary files from /usr/lib/font/devpost.


Example 1 Using the dpost Command

If the old versions of eqn and pic are installed on your system, you can obtain the best possible looking output by issuing a command line such as the following:

example% pic –T720 file | tbl | eqn –r720 | troff –mm –Tpost | dpost


example% pic file | tbl | eqn | troff –mm –Tpost | dpost

should give the best results.

Exit Status

The following exit values are returned:


Successful completion.


An error occurred.











See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:


See Also

troff(1), attributes(5)


Output files often do not conform to Adobe's file structuring conventions.

Although dpost can handle files formatted for any device, emulation is expensive and can easily double the print time and the size of the output file. No attempt has been made to implement the character sets or fonts available on all devices supported by troff. Missing characters will be replaced by white space, and unrecognized fonts will usually default to one of the Times fonts (that is, R, I, B, or BI).

An x res command must precede the first x init command, and all the input files should have been prepared for the same output device.

Use of the –T option is not encouraged. Its only purpose is to enable the use of other PostScript font and device description files, that perhaps use different resolutions, character sets, or fonts.

Although level 0 encoding is the only scheme that has been thoroughly tested, level 2 is fast and may be worth a try.

The roff family of commands will be replaced with groff system in a future release. In groff system, the dpost(1) command is no longer used and it will be removed in a future release of Oracle Solaris.