troff - the troff processor of the groff text formatting system
troff [ -abcivzCERU ] [ -dcs ] [ -ffam ] [ -Fdir ] [ -mname ] [ -Mdir ] [ -nnum ]
[ -olist ] [ -rcn ] [ -Tname ] [ -wname ] [ -Wname ] [ files... ]
It is possible to have whitespace between a command line option and its parameter.
This manual page describes the GNU version of troff. It is part of the groff document
formatting system. It is functionally compatible with UNIX troff, but has many exten-
sions, see groff_diff(7). Usually it should be invoked using the groff(1) command which
will also run preprocessors and postprocessors in the appropriate order and with the
-a Generate an ASCII approximation of the typeset output.
-b Print a backtrace with each warning or error message. This backtrace should
help track down the cause of the error. The line numbers given in the backtrace
may not always be correct, for troff's idea of line numbers gets confused by as
or am requests.
-c Disable color output (always disabled in compatibility mode).
-C Enable compatibility mode.
-dname=s Define c or name to be a string s; c must be a one letter name.
-E Inhibit all error messages of troff. Note that this doesn't affect messages
output to standard error by macro packages using the tm or tm1 requests.
-ffam Use fam as the default font family.
-Fdir Search in directory (or directory path) dir for subdirectories devname (name is
the name of the device) and there for the DESC file and font files. dir is
scanned before all other font directories.
-i Read the standard input after all the named input files have been processed.
-mname Read in the file name.tmac. If it isn't found, try tmac.name instead. It will
be first searched for in directories given with the -M command line option, then
in directories given in the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable, then in the
current directory (only if in unsafe mode), the home directory,
/usr/lib/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/site-tmac, and
-Mdir Search directory (or directory path) dir for macro files. This is scanned
before all other macro directories.
-nnum Number the first page num.
-olist Output only pages in list, which is a comma-separated list of page ranges; n
means print page n, m-n means print every page between m and n, -n means print
every page up to n, n- means print every page from n. troff will exit after
printing the last page in the list.
-rname=n Set number register c or name to n; c must be a one character name; n can be any
troff numeric expression.
-R Don't load troffrc and troffrc-end.
-Tname Prepare output for device name, rather than the default ps.
-U Unsafe mode. This will enable the following requests: open, opena, pso, sy, and
pi. For security reasons, these potentially dangerous requests are disabled
otherwise. It will also add the current directory to the macro search path.
-v Print the version number.
-wname Enable warning name. Available warnings are described in the section WARNINGS
below. For example, to enable all warnings, use -w all. Multiple -w options
-Wname Inhibit warning name. Multiple -W options are allowed.
-z Suppress formatted output.
The warnings that can be given by troff are divided into the following categories. The
name associated with each warning is used by the -w and -W options; the number is used by
the warn request, and by the .warn register; it is always a power of 2 to allow bitwise
|Bit Code Warning | Bit Code Warning |
| 0 1 char | 10 1024 reg |
| 1 2 number | 11 2048 tab |
| 2 4 break | 12 4096 right-brace |
| 3 8 delim | 13 8192 missing |
| 4 16 el | 14 16384 input |
| 5 32 scale | 15 32768 escape |
| 6 64 range | 16 65536 space |
| 7 128 syntax | 17 131072 font |
| 8 256 di | 18 262144 ig |
| 9 512 mac | 19 524288 color |
break 4 In fill mode, lines which could not be broken so that their length was
less than the line length. This is enabled by default.
char 1 Non-existent characters. This is enabled by default.
color 524288 Color related warnings.
delim 8 Missing or mismatched closing delimiters.
di 256 Use of di or da without an argument when there is no current diver-
el 16 Use of the el request with no matching ie request.
escape 32768 Unrecognized escape sequences. When an unrecognized escape sequence
is encountered, the escape character is ignored.
font 131072 Non-existent fonts. This is enabled by default.
ig 262144 Invalid escapes in text ignored with the ig request. These are condi-
tions that are errors when they do not occur in ignored text.
input 16384 Invalid input characters.
mac 512 Use of undefined strings, macros and diversions. When an undefined
string, macro or diversion is used, that string is automatically
defined as empty. So, in most cases, at most one warning will be
given for each name.
missing 8192 Requests that are missing non-optional arguments.
number 2 Invalid numeric expressions. This is enabled by default.
range 64 Out of range arguments.
reg 1024 Use of undefined number registers. When an undefined number register
is used, that register is automatically defined to have a value of 0.
So, in most cases, at most one warning will be given for use of a par-
right-brace 4096 Use of \} where a number was expected.
scale 32 Meaningless scaling indicators.
space 65536 Missing space between a request or macro and its argument. This warn-
ing will be given when an undefined name longer than two characters is
encountered, and the first two characters of the name make a defined
name. The request or macro will not be invoked. When this warning is
given, no macro is automatically defined. This is enabled by default.
This warning will never occur in compatibility mode.
syntax 128 Dubious syntax in numeric expressions.
tab 2048 Inappropriate use of a tab character. Either use of a tab character
where a number was expected, or use of tab character in an unquoted
There are also names that can be used to refer to groups of warnings:
all All warnings except di, mac, and reg. It is intended that this covers all warnings
that are useful with traditional macro packages.
w All warnings.
A colon separated list of directories in which to search for macro files. troff
will scan directories given in the -M option before these, and in standard directo-
ries (current directory if in unsafe mode, home directory, /usr/lib/groff/site-
tmac, /usr/share/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/1.18.1/tmac) after these.
A colon separated list of directories in which to search for the devname directory.
troff will scan directories given in the -F option before these, and in standard
directories (/usr/share/groff/site-font, /usr/share/groff/1.18.1/font,
/usr/lib/font) after these.
/usr/share/groff/1.18.1/tmac/troffrc Initialization file (called before any other
/usr/share/groff/1.18.1/tmac/troffrc-end Initialization file (called after any other
/usr/share/groff/1.18.1/tmac/tmac.name Macro files
/usr/share/groff/1.18.1/font/devname/DESC Device description file for device name.
/usr/share/groff/1.18.1/font/devname/F Font file for font F of device name.
Note that troffrc and troffrc-end are neither searched in the current nor in the home
directory by default for security reasons (even if the -U option is given). Use the -M
command line option or the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable to add these directories
to the search path if necessary.
Copyright (C) 1989, 2001, 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This document is distributed under the terms of the FDL (GNU Free Documentation License)
version 1.1 or later. You should have received a copy of the FDL on your system, it is
also available on-line at the GNU copyleft site <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html>.
This document was written by James Clark, with modifications from Werner Lemberg
<email@example.com> and Bernd Warken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This document is part of groff, the GNU roff distribution.
The main program of the groff system, a wrapper around troff.
A description of the groff language, including a short but complete reference of
all predefined requests, registers, and escapes of plain groff. From the command
line, this is called by
man 7 groff
The differences of the groff language and the classical troff language. Currently,
this is the most actual document of the groff system.
An overview over groff and other roff systems, including pointers to further
The groff info file, cf. info(1), presents all groff documentation within a single docu-
Groff Version 1.18.1 16 September 2002 TROFF(1)