Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
FMT(1)			FreeBSD	General	Commands Manual			FMT(1)

     fmt -- simple text	formatter

     fmt [-cmnps] [-d chars] [-l num] [-t num]
	 [goal [maximum] | -width | -w width] [file ...]

     fmt is a simple text formatter which reads	the concatenation of input
     files (or standard	input if none are given) and produces on standard out-
     put a version of its input	with lines as close to the goal	length as pos-
     sible without exceeding the maximum.  The goal length defaults to 65 and
     the maximum to 10 more than the goal length.  Alternatively, a single
     width parameter can be specified either by	prepending a hyphen to it or
     by	using -w.  For example,	``fmt -w 72'', ``fmt -72'', and	``fmt 72 72''
     all produce identical output.  The	spacing	at the beginning of the	input
     lines is preserved	in the output, as are blank lines and interword	spac-
     ing.  Lines are joined or split only at white space; that is, words are
     never joined or hyphenated.

     The options are as	follows:

     -c	     Center the	text, line by line.  In	this case, most	of the other
	     options are ignored; no splitting or joining of lines is done.

     -m	     Try to format mail	header lines contained in the input sensibly.

     -n	     Format lines beginning with a `.' (dot) character.	 Normally, fmt
	     does not fill these lines,	for compatibility with nroff(1).

     -p	     Allow indented paragraphs.	 Without the -p	flag, any change in
	     the amount	of whitespace at the start of a	line results in	a new
	     paragraph being begun.

     -s	     Collapse whitespace inside	lines, so that multiple	whitespace
	     characters	are turned into	a single space.	 (Or, at the end of a
	     sentence, a double	space.)

     -d	chars
	     Treat the chars (and no others) as	sentence-ending	characters.
	     By	default	the sentence-ending characters are full	stop (`.'),
	     question mark (`?') and exclamation mark (`!').  Remember that
	     some characters may need to be escaped to protect them from your

     -l	number
	     Replace multiple spaces with tabs at the start of each output
	     line, if possible.	 Each number spaces will be replaced with one
	     tab.  The default is 8.  If number	is 0, spaces are preserved.

     -t	number
	     Assume that the input files' tabs assume number spaces per	tab
	     stop.  The	default	is 8.

     fmt is meant to format mail messages prior	to sending, but	may also be
     useful for	other simple tasks.  For instance, within visual mode of the
     ex(1) editor (e.g., vi(1))	the command


     will reformat a paragraph,	evening	the lines.

     mail(1), nroff(1)

     The fmt command appeared in 3BSD.

     The version described herein is a complete	rewrite	and appeared in
     FreeBSD 4.4.

     Kurt Shoens
     Liz Allen (added goal length concept)
     Gareth McCaughan

     The program was designed to be simple and fast - for more complex opera-
     tions, the	standard text processors are likely to be more appropriate.

     When the first line of an indented	paragraph is very long (more than
     about twice the goal length), the indentation in the output can be	wrong.

     fmt is not	infallible in guessing what lines are mail headers and what
     lines are not.

FreeBSD	11.1			 June 25, 2000			  FreeBSD 11.1


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help