MANDOC(1) BSD General Commands Manual MANDOC(1)
mandoc -- format and display UNIX manuals
mandoc [-V] [-mformat] [-Ooption] [-Toutput] [-Wlevel] [file ...]
The mandoc utility formats UNIX manual pages for display.
By default, mandoc reads mdoc(7) or man(7) text from stdin, implying -mandoc, and produces
The arguments are as follows:
Input format. See Input Formats for available formats. Defaults to -mandoc.
Comma-separated output options.
Output format. See Output Formats for available formats. Defaults to -Tascii.
-V Print version and exit.
Specify the minimum message level to be reported on the standard error output and to
affect the exit status. The level can be warning, error, or fatal. The default is
-Wfatal; -Wall is an alias for -Wwarning. See EXIT STATUS and DIAGNOSTICS for
The special option -Wstop tells mandoc to exit after parsing a file that causes
warnings or errors of at least the requested level. No formatted output will be
produced from that file. If both a level and stop are requested, they can be joined
with a comma, for example -Werror,stop.
file Read input from zero or more files. If unspecified, reads from stdin. If multiple
files are specified, mandoc will halt with the first failed parse.
The mandoc utility accepts mdoc(7) and man(7) input with -mdoc and -man, respectively. The
mdoc(7) format is strongly recommended; man(7) should only be used for legacy manuals.
A third option, -mandoc, which is also the default, determines encoding on-the-fly: if the
first non-comment macro is 'Dd' or 'Dt', the mdoc(7) parser is used; otherwise, the man(7)
parser is used.
If multiple files are specified with -mandoc, each has its file-type determined this way.
If multiple files are specified and -mdoc or -man is specified, then this format is used
The mandoc utility accepts the following -T arguments, which correspond to output modes:
-Tascii Produce 7-bit ASCII output. This is the default. See ASCII Output.
-Thtml Produce strict CSS1/HTML-4.01 output. See HTML Output.
-Tlint Parse only: produce no output. Implies -Wwarning.
-Tlocale Encode output using the current locale. See Locale Output.
-Tman Produce man(7) format output. See Man Output.
-Tpdf Produce PDF output. See PDF Output.
-Tps Produce PostScript output. See PostScript Output.
-Ttree Produce an indented parse tree.
-Tutf8 Encode output in the UTF-8 multi-byte format. See UTF-8 Output.
-Txhtml Produce strict CSS1/XHTML-1.0 output. See XHTML Output.
If multiple input files are specified, these will be processed by the corresponding filter
Output produced by -Tascii, which is the default, is rendered in standard 7-bit ASCII docu-
mented in ascii(7).
Font styles are applied by using back-spaced encoding such that an underlined character 'c'
is rendered as '_\[bs]c', where '\[bs]' is the back-space character number 8. Emboldened
characters are rendered as 'c\[bs]c'.
The special characters documented in mandoc_char(7) are rendered best-effort in an ASCII
equivalent. If no equivalent is found, '?' is used instead.
Output width is limited to 78 visible columns unless literal input lines exceed this limit.
The following -O arguments are accepted:
The left margin for normal text is set to indent blank characters instead of the
default of five for mdoc(7) and seven for man(7). Increasing this is not recom-
mended; it may result in degraded formatting, for example overfull lines or ugly
The output width is set to width, which will normalise to >=60.
Output produced by -Thtml conforms to HTML-4.01 strict.
The example.style.css file documents style-sheet classes available for customising output.
If a style-sheet is not specified with -Ostyle, -Thtml defaults to simple output readable in
any graphical or text-based web browser.
Special characters are rendered in decimal-encoded UTF-8.
The following -O arguments are accepted:
Omit the <!DOCTYPE> declaration and the <html>, <head>, and <body> elements and only
emit the subtree below the <body> element. The style argument will be ignored.
This is useful when embedding manual content within existing documents.
The string fmt, for example, ../src/%I.html, is used as a template for linked header
files (usually via the 'In' macro). Instances of '%I' are replaced with the include
filename. The default is not to present a hyperlink.
The string fmt, for example, ../html%S/%N.%S.html, is used as a template for linked
manuals (usually via the 'Xr' macro). Instances of '%N' and '%S' are replaced with
the linked manual's name and section, respectively. If no section is included, sec-
tion 1 is assumed. The default is not to present a hyperlink.
The file style.css is used for an external style-sheet. This must be a valid abso-
lute or relative URI.
Locale-depending output encoding is triggered with -Tlocale. This option is not available
on all systems: systems without locale support, or those whose internal representation is
not natively UCS-4, will fall back to -Tascii. See ASCII Output for font style specifica-
tion and available command-line arguments.
Translate input format into man(7) output format. This is useful for distributing manual
sources to legancy systems lacking mdoc(7) formatters.
If mdoc(7) is passed as input, it is translated into man(7). If the input format is man(7),
the input is copied to the output, expanding any roff(7) 'so' requests. The parser is also
run, and as usual, the -W level controls which DIAGNOSTICS are displayed before copying the
input to the output.
PDF-1.1 output may be generated by -Tpdf. See PostScript Output for -O arguments and
PostScript "Adobe-3.0" Level-2 pages may be generated by -Tps. Output pages default to let-
ter sized and are rendered in the Times font family, 11-point. Margins are calculated as
1/9 the page length and width. Line-height is 1.4m.
Special characters are rendered as in ASCII Output.
The following -O arguments are accepted:
The paper size name may be one of a3, a4, a5, legal, or letter. You may also manu-
ally specify dimensions as NNxNN, width by height in millimetres. If an unknown
value is encountered, letter is used.
Use -Tutf8 to force a UTF-8 locale. See Locale Output for details and options.
Output produced by -Txhtml conforms to XHTML-1.0 strict.
See HTML Output for details; beyond generating XHTML tags instead of HTML tags, these output
modes are identical.
The mandoc utility exits with one of the following values, controlled by the message level
associated with the -W option:
0 No warnings or errors occurred, or those that did were ignored because they were
lower than the requested level.
2 At least one warning occurred, but no error, and -Wwarning was specified.
3 At least one parsing error occurred, but no fatal error, and -Werror or -Wwarning
4 A fatal parsing error occurred.
5 Invalid command line arguments were specified. No input files have been read.
6 An operating system error occurred, for example memory exhaustion or an error
accessing input files. Such errors cause mandoc to exit at once, possibly in the
middle of parsing or formatting a file.
Note that selecting -Tlint output mode implies -Wwarning.
To page manuals to the terminal:
$ mandoc -Wall,stop mandoc.1 2>&1 | less
$ mandoc mandoc.1 mdoc.3 mdoc.7 | less
To produce HTML manuals with style.css as the style-sheet:
$ mandoc -Thtml -Ostyle=style.css mdoc.7 > mdoc.7.html
To check over a large set of manuals:
$ mandoc -Tlint `find /usr/src -name \*\.[1-9]`
To produce a series of PostScript manuals for A4 paper:
$ mandoc -Tps -Opaper=a4 mdoc.7 man.7 > manuals.ps
Convert a modern mdoc(7) manual to the older man(7) format, for use on systems lacking an
$ mandoc -Tman foo.mdoc > foo.man
Standard error messages reporting parsing errors are prefixed by
where the fields have the following meanings:
file The name of the input file causing the message.
line The line number in that input file. Line numbering starts at 1.
column The column number in that input file. Column numbering starts at 1. If the issue
is caused by a word, the column number usually points to the first character of the
level The message level, printed in capital letters.
Message levels have the following meanings:
fatal The parser is unable to parse a given input file at all. No formatted output is
produced from that input file.
error An input file contains syntax that cannot be safely interpreted, either because it
is invalid or because mandoc does not implement it yet. By discarding part of the
input or inserting missing tokens, the parser is able to continue, and the error
does not prevent generation of formatted output, but typically, preparing that out-
put involves information loss, broken document structure or unintended formatting.
warning An input file uses obsolete, discouraged or non-portable syntax. All the same, the
meaning of the input is unambiguous and a correct rendering can be produced. Docu-
ments causing warnings may render poorly when using other formatting tools instead
Messages of the warning and error levels are hidden unless their level, or a lower level, is
requested using a -W option or -Tlint output mode.
The mandoc utility may also print messages related to invalid command line arguments or
operating system errors, for example when memory is exhausted or input files cannot be read.
Such messages do not carry the prefix described above.
This section summarises mandoc compatibility with GNU troff. Each input and output format
is separately noted.
o Unrenderable unicode codepoints specified with '\[uNNNN]' escapes are printed as '?' in
mandoc. In GNU troff, these raise an error.
o The 'Bd -literal' and 'Bd -unfilled' macros of mdoc(7) in -Tascii are synonyms, as are
-filled and -ragged.
o In historic GNU troff, the 'Pa' mdoc(7) macro does not underline when scoped under an
'It' in the FILES section. This behaves correctly in mandoc.
o A list or display following the 'Ss' mdoc(7) macro in -Tascii does not assert a prior
vertical break, just as it doesn't with 'Sh'.
o The 'na' man(7) macro in -Tascii has no effect.
o Words aren't hyphenated.
o The '\fP' escape will revert the font to the previous '\f' escape, not to the last ren-
dered decoration, which is now dictated by CSS instead of hard-coded. It also will not
span past the current scope, for the same reason. Note that in ASCII Output mode, this
will work fine.
o The mdoc(7) 'Bl -hang' and 'Bl -tag' list types render similarly (no break following
overreached left-hand side) due to the expressive constraints of HTML.
o The man(7) 'IP' and 'TP' lists render similarly.
eqn(7), man(7), mandoc_char(7), mdoc(7), roff(7), tbl(7)
The mandoc utility was written by Kristaps Dzonsons, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In -Thtml and -Txhtml, the maximum size of an element attribute is determined by BUFSIZ,
which is usually 1024 bytes. Be aware of this when setting long link formats such as
Nesting elements within next-line element scopes of -man, such as 'br' within an empty 'B',
will confuse -Thtml and -Txhtml and cause them to forget the formatting of the prior next-
The ''' control character is an alias for the standard macro control character and does not
emit a line-break as stipulated in GNU troff.
BSD December 25, 2011 BSD