man(5) Standards, Environments, and Macros man(5)
man - macros to format Reference Manual pages
nroff -man filename...
troff -man filename...
These macros are used to lay out the reference pages in this manual. Note: if filename
contains format input for a preprocessor, the commands shown above must be piped through
the appropriate preprocessor. This is handled automatically by the man(1) command. See the
Any text argument t may be zero to six words. Quotes may be used to include SPACE charac-
ters in a "word". If text is empty, the special treatment is applied to the next input
line with text to be printed. In this way .I may be used to italicize a whole line, or .SB
may be used to make small bold letters.
A prevailing indent distance is remembered between successive indented paragraphs, and is
reset to default value upon reaching a non-indented paragraph. Default units for indents
i are ens.
Type font and size are reset to default values before each paragraph, and after processing
font and size setting macros.
These strings are predefined by -man:
\*R `(R)', `(Reg)' in nroff.
\*S Change to default type size.
* n.t.l. = next text line; p.i. = prevailing indent
Request Cause If no Explanation
.B t no t=n.t.l.* Text is in bold font.
.BI t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating bold and italic.
.BR t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating bold and roman.
.DT no .5i 1i... Restore default tabs.
.HP i yes i=p.i.* Begin paragraph with hanging indent. Set
prevailing indent to i.
.I t no t=n.t.l. Text is italic.
.IB t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating italic and bold.
.IP x i yes x="" Same as .TP with tag x.
.IR t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating italic and
.IX t no - Index macro, for SunSoft internal use.
.LP yes - Begin left-aligned paragraph. Set pre-
vailing indent to .5i.
.P yes - Same as .LP.
.PD d no d=.4v Set vertical distance between para-
.PP yes - Same as .LP.
.RE yes - End of relative indent. Restores pre-
.RB t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating roman and bold.
.RI t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating roman and
.RS i yes i=p.i. Start relative indent, increase indent
by i. Sets prevailing indent to .5i for
.SB t no - Reduce size of text by 1 point, make
.SH t yes - Section Heading.
.SM t no t=n.t.l. Reduce size of text by 1 point.
.SS t yes t=n.t.l. Section Subheading.
.TH n s d f m yes - Begin reference page n, of of section s;
d is the date of the most recent change.
If present, f is the left page footer; m
is the main page (center) header. Sets
prevailing indent and tabs to .5i.
.TP i yes i=p.i. Begin indented paragraph, with the tag
given on the next text line. Set pre-
vailing indent to i.
.TX t p no - Resolve the title abbreviation t; join
to punctuation mark (or text) p.
When formatting a manual page, man examines the first line to determine whether it
requires special processing. For example a first line consisting of:
indicates that the manual page must be run through the tbl(1) preprocessor.
A typical manual page for a command or function is laid out as follows:
.TH title [1-9] The name of the command or function, which serves as the title of
the manual page. This is followed by the number of the section in
which it appears.
.SH NAME The name, or list of names, by which the command is called, fol-
lowed by a dash and then a one-line summary of the action per-
formed. All in roman font, this section contains no troff(1) com-
mands or escapes, and no macro requests. It is used to generate the
windex database, which is used by the whatis(1) command.
Commands: The syntax of the command and its arguments, as typed
on the command line. When in boldface, a word must be
typed exactly as printed. When in italics, a word can
be replaced with an argument that you supply. Refer-
ences to bold or italicized items are not capitalized
in other sections, even when they begin a sentence.
Syntactic symbols appear in roman face:
[ ] An argument, when surrounded by brackets
| Arguments separated by a vertical bar are
exclusive. You can supply only one item
from such a list.
... Arguments followed by an ellipsis can be
repeated. When an ellipsis follows a
bracketed set, the expression within the
brackets can be repeated.
Functions: If required, the data declaration, or #include direc-
tive, is shown first, followed by the function dec-
laration. Otherwise, the function declaration is
.SH DESCRIPTION A narrative overview of the command or function's external behav-
ior. This includes how it interacts with files or data, and how it
handles the standard input, standard output and standard error.
Internals and implementation details are normally omitted. This
section attempts to provide a succinct overview in answer to the
question, "what does it do?"
Literal text from the synopsis appears in constant width, as do
literal filenames and references to items that appear elsewhere in
the reference manuals. Arguments are italicized.
If a command interprets either subcommands or an input grammar, its
command interface or input grammar is normally described in a USAGE
section, which follows the OPTIONS section. The DESCRIPTION sec-
tion only describes the behavior of the command itself, not that of
.SH OPTIONS The list of options along with a description of how each affects
the command's operation.
.SH RETURN VALUES A list of the values the library routine will return to the calling
program and the conditions that cause these values to be returned.
.SH EXIT STATUS A list of the values the utility will return to the calling pro-
gram or shell, and the conditions that cause these values to be
.SH FILES A list of files associated with the command or function.
.SH SEE ALSO A comma-separated list of related manual pages, followed by refer-
ences to other published materials.
.SH DIAGNOSTICS A list of diagnostic messages and an explanation of each.
.SH BUGS A description of limitations, known defects, and possible problems
associated with the command or function.
man(1) , nroff(1) , troff(1) , whatis(1)
Dale Dougherty and Tim O'Reilly, Unix Text Processing
SunOS 5.11 30 Jan 1995 man(5)