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Unix Version 7 - man page for col (v7 section 1)

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COL(1)											   COL(1)

       col - filter reverse line feeds

       col [-bfx]

       Col  reads  the standard input and writes the standard output.  It performs the line over-
       lays implied by reverse line feeds (ESC-7 in ASCII) and by forward and reverse  half  line
       feeds (ESC-9 and ESC-8).  Col is particularly useful for filtering multicolumn output made
       with the `.rt' command of nroff and output resulting from use of the tbl(1) preprocessor.

       Although col accepts half line motions in its input, it normally does  not  emit  them  on
       output.	 Instead,  text  that  would appear between lines is moved to the next lower full
       line boundary.  This treatment can be suppressed by the -f (fine) option; in this case the
       output  from col may contain forward half line feeds (ESC-9), but will still never contain
       either kind of reverse line motion.

       If the -b option is given, col assumes that the output device in use  is  not  capable  of
       backspacing.   In  this	case, if several characters are to appear in the same place, only
       the last one read will be taken.

       The control characters SO (ASCII code 017), and SI (016) are assumed to start and end text
       in  an  alternate character set.  The character set (primary or alternate) associated with
       each printing character read is remembered; on output, SO and SI characters are	generated
       where necessary to maintain the correct treatment of each character.

       Col  normally  converts white space to tabs to shorten printing time.  If the -x option is
       given, this conversion is suppressed.

       All control characters are removed from the input except space,	backspace,  tab,  return,
       newline,  ESC  (033) followed by one of 789, SI, SO, and VT (013).  This last character is
       an alternate form of full reverse line feed, for compatibility with  some  other  hardware
       conventions.  All other non-printing characters are ignored.

       troff(1), tbl(1), greek(1)

       Can't back up more than 128 lines.
       No more than 800 characters, including backspaces, on a line.

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