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FMT(1) BSD General Commands Manual FMT(1)
fmt -- simple text formatter
fmt [-Cr] [goal [maximum]] [name ...]
fmt [-Cr] [-g goal] [-m maximum] [name ...]
fmt is a simple text formatter which reads the concatenation of input files (or standard
input if none are given) and produces on standard output a version of its input with lines
as close to the goal length as possible without exceeding the maximum. The goal length
defaults to 65 and the maximum to 75. The spacing at the beginning of the input lines is
preserved in the output, as are blank lines and interword spacing. In non raw mode, lines
that look like mail headers or begin with a period are not formatted.
-C instructs fmt to center the text.
-g goal New way to set the goal length.
-m maximum New way to set the maximum length.
-r Raw mode; formats all lines and does not make exceptions for lines that start
with a period or look like mail headers.
fmt is meant to format mail messages prior to sending, but may also be useful for other sim-
ple tasks. For instance, within visual mode of the ex(1) editor (e.g., vi(1)) the command
will reformat a paragraph, evening the lines.
The fmt command appeared in 3BSD.
The program was designed to be simple and fast - for more complex operations, the standard
text processors are likely to be more appropriate.
BSD May 29, 2007 BSD
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