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groff_tmac (5)


groff_tmac - macro files in the roff typesetting system


Please see following description for synopsis


GROFF_TMAC(5)                 File Formats Manual                GROFF_TMAC(5)

       groff_tmac - macro files in the roff typesetting system

       The  roff(7) type-setting system provides a set of macro packages suit-
       able for special kinds of documents.  Each  macro  package  stores  its
       macros  and  definitions in a file called the package's tmac file.  The
       name is deduced from `TroffMACros'.

       The tmac files are normal roff source documents, except that they  usu-
       ally  contain  only  definitions  and setup commands, but no text.  All
       tmac files are kept in a single or a small number of  directories,  the
       tmac directories.

       groff  provides  all classical macro packages, some more full packages,
       and some secondary packages for special purposes.  Note that it is  not
       possible  to use multiple primary macro packages at the same time; say-
       ing e.g.

              sh# groff -m man -m ms foo


              sh# groff -m man foo -m ms bar

       fails.  Exception to this is the use of man pages written  with  either
       the  mdoc  or  the man macro package.  See below the description of the
       andoc.tmac file.

   Man Pages
       man    This is the  classical  macro  package  for  UNIX  manual  pages
              (man   pages);   it   is  quite  handy  and  easy  to  use;  see

       mdoc   An alternative macro package for man pages mainly  used  in  BSD
              systems;  it provides many new features, but it is not the stan-
              dard for man pages; see groff_mdoc(7).

       mandoc Use this file in case you don't know whether the man  macros  or
              the  mdoc package should be used.  Multiple man pages (in either
              format) can be handled.

   Full Packages
       The packages in this section provide a complete set of macros for writ-
       ing  documents  of  any  kind,  up to whole books.  They are similar in
       functionality; it is a matter of taste which one to use.

       me     The classical me macro package; see groff_me(7).

       mm     The semi-classical mm macro package; see groff_mm(7).

       mom    The new mom macro package, only available in groff.  As this  is
              not  based  on other packages, it can be freely designed.  So it
              is expected to become quite a nice, modern macro  package.   See

       ms     The classical ms macro package; see groff_ms(7).

   Language-specific Packages
       cs     This  file  adds  support  for Czech localization, including the
              main macro packages (me, mom, mm, and ms).

              Note that cs.tmac sets the input encoding to latin-2.

       den    German localization support, including the main  macro  packages
              (me, mom, mm, and ms).

              de.tmac  selects  hyphenation patterns for traditional orthogra-
              phy, and den.tmac does the same for the new orthography (`Recht-
              schreibreform').  It should be used as the last macro package on
              the command line.

       fr     This file adds support for French  localization,  including  the
              main macro packages (me, mom, mm, and ms).  Example:

                     sh# groff -ms -mfr foo.ms > foo.ps

              Note  that  fr.tmac  sets  the  input encoding to latin-9 to get
              proper support of the `oe' ligature.

       sv     Swedish localization support, including  the  me,  mom,  and  ms
              macro  packages.  Note that Swedish for the mm macros is handled
              separately; see groff_mmse(7).  It should be used  as  the  last
              macro package on the command line.

   Input Encodings
       latin9 Various  input encodings supported directly by groff.  Normally,
              this macro is loaded at the very  beginning  of  a  document  or
              specified as the first macro argument on the command line.  roff
              loads latin1 by default at  start-up.   Note  that  these  macro
              packages don't work on EBCDIC hosts.

       cp1047 Encoding  support  for  EBCDIC.  On those platforms it is loaded
              automatically at start-up.  Due to  different  character  ranges
              used in roff it doesn't work on architectures which are based on

       Note that it can happen that some input  encoding  characters  are  not
       available for a particular output device.  For example, saying

       groff -Tlatin1 -mlatin9 ...

       fails  if you use the Euro character in the input.  Usually, this limi-
       tation is present only for devices which have a limited set  of  output
       glyphs  (-Tascii, -Tlatin1); for other devices it is usually sufficient
       to install proper fonts which contain the necessary glyphs.

   Special Packages
       The macro packages in this section are  not  intended  for  stand-alone
       usage,  but can be used to add special functionality to any other macro
       package or to plain groff.

       62bit  Provide some macros for addition, multiplication,  and  division
              of  60bit  integers (allowing safe multiplication of 31bit inte-
              gers, for example).

       ec     Switch to the  EC  and  TC  font  families.   To  be  used  with
              grodvi(1)  - this man page also gives more details of how to use

              This macro file is already loaded at start-up  by  troff  so  it
              isn't necessary to call it explicitly.  It provides an interface
              to set the paper size  on  the  command  line  with  the  option
              -dpaper=size.  Possible values for size are the same as the pre-
              defined papersize values in the DESC file (only  lowercase;  see
              groff_font(5) for more) except a7-d7.  An appended l (ell) char-
              acter denotes landscape orientation.  Examples:  a4,  c3l,  let-

              Most output drivers need additional command line switches -p and
              -l to override the default paper length and orientation  as  set
              in  the driver specific DESC file.  For example, use the follow-
              ing for PS output on A4 paper in landscape orientation:

              sh# groff -Tps -dpaper=a4l -P-pa4 -P-l -ms foo.ms > foo.ps

       pic    This file provides proper definitions for the macros PS and  PE,
              needed  for  the pic(1) preprocessor.  They center each picture.
              Use it only if your macro package doesn't provide proper defini-
              tions for those two macros (actually, most of them already do).

       pspic  A  single  macro  is  provided in this file, PSPIC, to include a
              PostScript graphic in a document.  The following output  devices
              support  inclusion  of  PS  images:  -Tps,  -Tdvi,  -Thtml,  and
              -Txhtml; for all other devices the image is replaced with a hol-
              low  rectangle  of  the  same  size.  This macro file is already
              loaded at start-up by troff so it isn't  necessary  to  call  it


                     .PSPIC [-L|-R|-C|-I n] file [width [height]]

              file  is  the name of the PostScript file; width and height give
              the desired width and height of the image.  If neither  a  width
              nor  a  height  argument is specified, the image's natural width
              (as given in the file's bounding box) or the current line length
              is used as the width, whatever is smaller.  The width and height
              arguments may have  scaling  indicators  attached;  the  default
              scaling indicator is i.  This macro scales the graphic uniformly
              in the x and y directions so that it is no more than width  wide
              and  height  high.   Option -C centers the graphic horizontally,
              which is the default.  The -L and -R options cause  the  graphic
              to  be  left-aligned  and  right-aligned,  respectively.  The -I
              option causes the graphic to be indented by n  (default  scaling
              indicator is m).

              For use of .PSPIC within a diversion it is recommended to extend
              it with the following code, assuring that the diversion's  width
              completely covers the image's width.

                     .am PSPIC
                     .  vpt 0
                     \h'(\\n[ps-offset]u + \\n[ps-deswid]u)'
                     .  sp -1
                     .  vpt 1

       ptx    A single macro is provided in this file, xx, for formatting per-
              muted index entries as produced by the GNU ptx(1)  program.   In
              case  you  need a different formatting, copy the macro into your
              document and adapt it to your needs.

       trace  Use this for tracing macro calls.  It is only useful for  debug-
              ging.  See groff_trace(7).

              Overrides  the  definition of standard troff characters and some
              groff characters for TTY devices.   The  optical  appearance  is
              intentionally inferior compared to that of normal TTY formatting
              to allow processing with critical equipment.

       www    Additions of elements known from the HTML format, as used in the
              internet  (World  Wide  Web)  pages; this includes URL links and
              mail addresses; see groff_www(7).

       Classical roff systems were designed before the conventions of the mod-
       ern  C getopt(3) call evolved, and used a naming scheme for macro pack-
       ages that looks  odd  to  modern  eyes.   Macro  packages  were  always
       included  with the option -m; when this option was directly followed by
       its argument without an intervening space,  this  looked  like  a  long
       option  preceded by a single minus -- a sensation in the computer stone
       age.  To make this invocation form work, classical troff macro packages
       used  names  that started with the letter `m', which was omitted in the
       naming of the macro file.

       For example, the macro package for the man pages was called man,  while
       its macro file tmac.an.  So it could be activated by the argument an to
       option -m, or -man for short.

       For similar reasons, macro packages that did not start with an `m'  had
       a  leading  `m'  added in the documentation and in speech; for example,
       the package corresponding to tmac.doc was called mdoc in the documenta-
       tion,  although  a more suitable name would be doc.  For, when omitting
       the space between the option and its argument, the command line  option
       for activating this package reads -mdoc.

       To  cope  with  all  situations,  actual versions of groff(1) are smart
       about both  naming  schemes  by  providing  two  macro  files  for  the
       inflicted  macro packages; one with a leading `m' the other one without
       it.  So in groff, the man macro package may be specified as on  of  the
       following four methods:

              sh# groff -m man
              sh# groff -man
              sh# groff -mman
              sh# groff -m an

       Recent packages that do not start with `m' do not use an additional `m'
       in the documentation.  For example, the www macro package may be speci-
       fied only as one of the two methods:

              sh# groff -m www
              sh# groff -mwww

       Obviously, variants like -mmwww would not make much sense.

       A  second strange feature of classical troff was to name macro files in
       the form tmac.name.  In modern operating systems, the type of a file is
       specified  as  a  postfix, the file name extension.  Again, groff copes
       with this situation by searching both anything.tmac  and  tmac.anything
       if only anything is specified.

       The  easiest  way  to  find out which macro packages are available on a
       system is to check the man page groff(1), or the contents of  the  tmac

       In  groff,  most  macro  packages  are  described  in  man pages called
       groff_name(7), with a leading `m' for the classical packages.

       There are several ways to use a macro package in a document.  The clas-
       sical  way  is  to  specify the troff/groff option -m name at run-time;
       this makes the contents of the macro package name available.  In groff,
       the  file  name.tmac  is  searched  within the tmac path; if not found,
       tmac.name is searched for instead.

       Alternatively, it is also possible to include a macro  file  by  adding
       the  request  .so  filename into the document; the argument must be the
       full file name of an existing file, possibly with the  directory  where
       it  is  kept.   In groff, this was improved by the similar request .mso
       package, which added searching in the tmac path, just  like  option  -m

       Note  that in order to resolve the .so and .mso requests, the roff pre-
       processor soelim(1) must be called if the files  to  be  included  need
       preprocessing.   This  can be done either directly by a pipeline on the
       command line or by using the troff/groff option -s.  man  calls  soelim

       For example, suppose a macro file is stored as


       and is used in some document called docu.roff.

       At run-time, the formatter call for this is

              sh# groff -m macros docu.roff

       To include the macro file directly in the document either

              .mso macros.tmac

       is used or

              .so /usr/share/groff/1.22.3/tmac/macros.tmac

       In  both cases, the formatter should be called with option -s to invoke

              sh# groff -s docu.roff

       If you want to write your own groff macro file, call  it  whatever.tmac
       and put it in some directory of the tmac path, see section FILES.  Then
       documents can include it with the .mso request or the option -m.

       A roff(7) document is a text file that is enriched by  predefined  for-
       matting  constructs,  such  as  requests,  escape  sequences,  strings,
       numeric registers, and macros from a macro package.  These elements are
       described in roff(7).

       To  give  a  document a personal style, it is most useful to extend the
       existing elements by defining some macros for repeating tasks; the best
       place  for  this is near the beginning of the document or in a separate

       Macros without arguments are just like strings.  But the full power  of
       macros reveals when arguments are passed with a macro call.  Within the
       macro definition, the arguments are available as the  escape  sequences
       \$1,  ...,  \$9,  \$[...], \$*, and \$@, the name under which the macro
       was called is in \$0, and  the  number  of  arguments  is  in  register
       \n[.$]; see groff(7).

   Copy-in Mode
       The  phase when groff reads a macro is called copy-in mode or copy mode
       in roff-talk.  This is comparable to the C preprocessing  phase  during
       the development of a program written in the C language.

       In  this  phase,  groff interprets all backslashes; that means that all
       escape sequences in the macro body  are  interpreted  and  replaced  by
       their value.  For constant expressions, this is wanted, but strings and
       registers that might change between calls of the  macro  must  be  pro-
       tected  from being evaluated.  This is most easily done by doubling the
       backslash that introduces the escape sequence.  This doubling  is  most
       important  for the positional parameters.  For example, to print infor-
       mation on the arguments that were passed to the macro to the  terminal,
       define a macro named `.print_args', say.

              .ds midpart was called with
              .de print_args
              .  tm \f[I]\\$0\f[] \*[midpart] \\n[.$] arguments:
              .  tm \\$*

       When calling this macro by

              .print_args arg1 arg2

       the following text is printed to the terminal:

              print_args was called with the following 2 arguments:
              arg1 arg2

       Let's  analyze  each  backslash  in the macro definition.  As the posi-
       tional parameters and the number of arguments change with each call  of
       the  macro  their  leading  backslash must be doubled, which results in
       \\$* and \\[.$].  The same applies to the macro name because  it  could
       be called with an alias name, so \\$0.

       On the other hand, midpart is a constant string, it does not change, so
       no doubling for \*[midpart].  The \f escape  sequences  are  predefined
       groff  elements  for setting the font within the text.  Of course, this
       behavior does not change, so no doubling with \f[I] and \f[].

   Draft Mode
       Writing groff macros is easy when the escaping mechanism is temporarily
       disabled.   In groff, this is done by enclosing the macro definition(s)
       into a pair of .eo and .ec requests.  Then the body in the macro  defi-
       nition  is  just like a normal part of the document -- text enhanced by
       calls of requests, macros, strings, registers, etc.  For  example,  the
       code above can be written in a simpler way by

              .ds midpart was called with
              .de print_args
              .  tm \f[I]\$0\f[] \*[midpart] \n[.$] arguments:
              .  tm \$*

       Unfortunately,  draft  mode cannot be used universally.  Although it is
       good enough for defining normal macros, draft mode fails with  advanced
       applications,  such  as indirectly defined strings, registers, etc.  An
       optimal way is to define and test all macros in draft mode and then  do
       the backslash doubling as a final step; do not forget to remove the .eo

   Tips for Macro Definitions
       o      Start every line with a dot, for example,  by  using  the  groff
              request  .nop  for text lines, or write your own macro that han-
              dles also text lines with a leading dot.

                     .de Text
                     .  if (\\n[.$] == 0) \
                     .    return
                     .  nop \)\\$*\)

       o      Write a comment macro that works  both  for  copy-in  and  draft
              mode;  for as escaping is off in draft mode, trouble might occur
              when normal comments are used.  For example, the following macro
              just ignores its arguments, so it acts like a comment line:

                     .de c
                     .c This is like a comment line.

       o      In  long  macro  definitions, make ample use of comment lines or
              almost-empty lines (this is, lines which have a leading dot  and
              nothing else) for a better structuring.

       o      To  increase  readability,  use groff's indentation facility for
              requests and macro calls (arbitrary whitespace after the leading

       Diversions  can  be  used  to implement quite advanced programming con-
       structs.  They are comparable to pointers to large data  structures  in
       the C programming language, but their usage is quite different.

       In their simplest form, diversions are multi-line strings, but they get
       their power when diversions are used dynamically  within  macros.   The
       (formatted) information stored in a diversion can be retrieved by call-
       ing the diversion just like a macro.

       Most of the problems arising with diversions  can  be  avoided  if  you
       remain  aware  of the fact that diversions always store complete lines.
       If diversions are used when the  line  buffer  has  not  been  flushed,
       strange results are produced; not knowing this, many people get desper-
       ate about diversions.  To ensure that a diversion  works,  line  breaks
       should be added at the right places.  To be on the secure side, enclose
       everything that has to do with diversions into a pair of  line  breaks;
       for  example,  by  explicitly  using .br requests.  This rule should be
       applied to diversion definition, both inside and outside,  and  to  all
       calls of diversions.  This is a bit of overkill, but it works nicely.

       [If  you really need diversions which should ignore the current partial
       line, use environments to save the current partial line and/or use  the
       .box request.]

       The  most  powerful  feature  using  diversions is to start a diversion
       within a macro definition and end it within another macro.  Then every-
       thing  between each call of this macro pair is stored within the diver-
       sion and can be manipulated from within the macros.

       All macro names must be named name.tmac to fully use  the  tmac  mecha-
       nism.   tmac.name  as  with classical packages is possible as well, but

       The macro files are kept in the tmac  directories;  a  colon  separated
       list of these constitutes the tmac path.

       The search sequence for macro files is (in that order):

       o      the  directories  specified  with  troff/groff's -M command line

       o      the directories given in the $GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment  vari-

       o      the  current directory (only if in unsafe mode, which is enabled
              by the -U command line switch)

       o      the home directory

       o      a platform-specific directory, being


              in this installation

       o      a site-specific (platform-independent) directory, being


              in this installation

       o      the main tmac directory, being


              in this installation

              A colon separated list of additional tmac directories  in  which
              to  search  for  macro  files.   See  the previous section for a
              detailed description.

       See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | text/groff       |
       |Stability      | Uncommitted      |

       A complete reference for all parts of the groff system is found in  the
       groff info(1) file.

              an overview of the groff system.

              the groff tmac macro packages.

              the groff language.

       The  Filesystem  Hierarchy  Standard  is  available at the FHS web site

       Copyright (C) 2000-2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       This file is part of groff, the GNU roff type-setting system.

       Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify  this  document
       under  the  terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or
       any later version published by the Free Software  Foundation;  with  no
       Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.

       A  copy  of the Free Documentation License is included as a file called
       FDL in the main directory of the  groff  source  package,  it  is  also
       available   on-line  at  the  GNU  copyleft  site  <http://www.gnu.org/

       This file was written  by  <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html>groff-
       bernd.warken-72@web.de   Bernd   Warken   <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/
       fdl.html> and Werner Lemberg <wl@gnu.org>.

       Source code for open source software components in Oracle  Solaris  can
       be found at https://www.oracle.com/downloads/opensource/solaris-source-

       This    software    was    built    from    source     available     at
       https://github.com/oracle/solaris-userland.    The  original  community
       source                was                downloaded                from

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at https://www.gnu.org/software/groff.

Groff Version 1.22.3            4 November 2014                  GROFF_TMAC(5)