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

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
GROFF_TMAC(5)		      File Formats Manual		 GROFF_TMAC(5)

       groff_tmac - macro files	in the roff typesetting	system

       The  roff(7) type-setting system	provides a set of macro	packages suit-
       able for	special	kinds of documents.  Each  macro  package  stores  its
       macros  and  definitions	in a file called the package's tmac file.  The
       name is deduced from `TroffMACros'.

       The tmac	files are normal roff source documents,	except that they  usu-
       ally  contain  only  definitions	 and setup commands, but no text.  All
       tmac files are kept in a	single or a small number of  directories,  the
       tmac directories.

       groff  provides	all classical macro packages, some more	full packages,
       and some	secondary packages for special purposes.  Note that it is  not
       possible	 to use	multiple primary macro packages	at the same time; say-
       ing e.g.

	      sh# groff	-m man -m ms foo


	      sh# groff	-m man foo -m ms bar

       will fail.

   Man Pages
       man    This is the  classical  macro  package  for  UNIX	 manual	 pages
	      (man   pages);   it   is	quite  handy  and  easy	 to  use;  see

       mdoc   An alternative macro package for man pages mainly	 used  in  BSD
	      systems;	it provides many new features, but it is not the stan-
	      dard for man pages; see groff_mdoc(7).

   Full	Packages
       The packages in this section provide a complete set of macros for writ-
       ing  documents  of  any	kind,  up to whole books.  They	are similar in
       functionality; it is a matter of	taste which one	to use.

       me     The classical me macro package; see groff_me(7).

       mm     The semi-classical mm macro package; see groff_mm(7).

       mom    The new mom macro	package, only available	in groff.  As this  is
	      not  based  on other packages, it	can be freely designed.	 So it
	      is expected to become quite a nice, modern macro	package.   See

       ms     The classical ms macro package; see groff_ms(7).

   Special Packages
       The macro packages in this section are not intended for stand-alone us-
       age, but	can be used to add special functionality to  any  other	 macro
       package or to plain groff.

	      This  macro  file	 is  already loaded at start-up	by troff so it
	      isn't necessary to call it explicitly.  It provides an interface
	      to  set  the  paper  size	 on  the  command line with the	option
	      -dpaper=size.  Possible values for size are the same as the pre-
	      defined  papersize  values in the	DESC file (only	lowercase; see
	      groff_font(5) for	more) except a7-d7.  An	appended l (ell) char-
	      acter  denotes  landscape	 orientation.  Examples: a4, c3l, let-

	      Most output drivers need additional command line switches	-p and
	      -l  to  override the default paper length	and orientation	as set
	      in the driver specific DESC file.	 For example, use the  follow-
	      ing for PS output	on A4 paper in landscape orientation:

	      sh# groff	-Tps -dpaper=a4l -P-pa4	-P-l -ms	>

       pic    This  file provides proper definitions for the macros PS and PE,
	      needed for the pic(1) preprocessor.  They	will center each  pic-
	      ture.   Use it only if your macro	package	doesn't	provide	proper
	      definitions for those two	macros (actually, most of them already

       pspic  A	 single	 macro	is  provided in	this file, PSPIC, to include a
	      PostScript graphic in a document.	 It makes only sense for  out-
	      put  devices  which support inclusion of PS images: -Tps,	-Tdvi,
	      and -Thtml; the file is then loaded automatically.  Syntax:

		     .PSPIC [-L|-R|-I n] file [width [height]]

	      file is the name of the file containing the illustration;	 width
	      and  height  give	 the  desired width and	height of the graphic.
	      The width	and height arguments may have scaling  indicators  at-
	      tached;  the  default  scaling  indicator	is i.  This macro will
	      scale the	graphic	uniformly in the x and y directions so that it
	      is  no  more  than  width	wide and height	high.  By default, the
	      graphic will be horizontally centered.  The -L  and  -R  options
	      cause  the graphic to be left-aligned and	right-aligned, respec-
	      tively.  The -I option causes the	graphic	to be  indented	 by  n
	      (default scaling indicator is m).

       trace  Use  this	for tracing macro calls.  It is	only useful for	debug-
	      ging.  See groff_trace(7).

	      Overrides	the definition of standard troff characters  and  some
	      groff characters for tty devices.	 The optical appearance	is in-
	      tentionally inferior compared to that of normal  tty  formatting
	      to allow processing with critical	equipment.

       www    Additions	 of elements known from	the html format, as being used
	      in the internet (World Wide Web) pages; this includes URL	 links
	      and mail addresses; see groff_www(7).

       In  classical  roff  systems, there was a funny naming scheme for macro
       packages, due to	a simplistic design in option parsing.	Macro packages
       were  always  included by option	-m; when this option was directly fol-
       lowed by	its argument without an	intervening space, this	looked like  a
       long  option  preceded by a single minus	-- a sensation in the computer
       stone age.  To make this	optically working for macro package names, all
       classical  macro	 packages  choose  a name that started with the	letter
       `m', which was omitted in the naming of the macro file.

       For example, the	macro package for the man pages	was called man,	 while
       its macro file	So it could be activated by the	argument an to
       option -m, or -man for short.

       For similar reasons, macro packages that	did not	start with an `m'  had
       a  leading  `m' added in	the documentation and in talking; for example,
       the package corresponding to tmac.doc was called	mdoc in	the documenta-
       tion,  although	a more suitable	name would be doc.  For, when omitting
       the space between the option and	its argument, the command line	option
       for activating this package reads -mdoc.

       To  cope	 with  all  situations,	 actual	versions of groff(1) are smart
       about both naming schemes by providing two macro	files for the inflict-
       ed  macro  packages;  one with a	leading	`m', the other one without it.
       So in groff, the	man macro package may be specified as on of  the  fol-
       lowing four methods:

	      sh# groff	-m man
	      sh# groff	-man
	      sh# groff	-mman
	      sh# groff	-m an

       Recent packages that do not start with `m' do not use an	additional `m'
       in the documentation.  For example, the www macro package may be	speci-
       fied only as one	of the two methods:

	      sh# groff	-m www
	      sh# groff	-mwww

       Obviously, variants like	-mmwww would not make much sense.

       A second	strange	feature	of classical troff was to name macro files ac-
       cording to  In modern	operating systems, the type of a  file
       is  specified  as postfix, the file name	extension.  Again, groff copes
       with this situation by searching	both anything.tmac  and	 tmac.anything
       if only anything	is specified.

       The  easiest  way  to  find out which macro packages are	available on a
       system is to check the man page groff(1), or the	contents of  the  tmac

       In  groff,  most	 macro	packages  are  described  in  man pages	called
       groff_name(7), with a leading `m' for the classical packages.

       There are several ways to use a macro package in	a document.  The clas-
       sical  way  is  to  specify the troff/groff option -m name at run-time;
       this makes the contents of the macro package name available.  In	groff,
       the  file  name.tmac  is	 searched  within the tmac path; if not	found, will be searched for instead.

       Alternatively, it is also possible to include a macro  file  by	adding
       the  request  .so  filename into	the document; the argument must	be the
       full file name of an existing file, possibly with the  directory	 where
       it  is  kept.   In groff, this was improved by the similar request .mso
       package,	which added searching in the tmac path,	just  like  option  -m

       Note  that in order to resolve the .so and .mso requests, the roff pre-
       processor soelim(1) must	be called if the files	to  be	included  need
       preprocessing.	This  can be done either directly by a pipeline	on the
       command line or by using	the troff/groff	option -s.  man	 calls	soelim

       For     example,	   suppose    a	   macro    file    is	  stored    as
       /usr/share/tmac/macros.tmac  and	 is  used  in  some  document	called

       At run-time, the	formatter call for this	is

	      sh# groff	-m macrofile document.roff

       To include the macro file directly in the document either

	      .mso macrofile.tmac

       is used or

	      .so /usr/share/tmac/macros.tmac

       In both cases, the formatter is called with

	      sh# groff	-s docu.roff

       If  you	want to	write your own groff macro file, call it whatever.tmac
       and put it in some directory of the tmac	path, see section FILES.  Then
       documents can include it	with the .mso request or the option -m.

       A  roff(7)  document is a text file that	is enriched by predefined for-
       matting constructs, such	as requests, escape sequences, strings,	numer-
       ic  registers, and macros from a	macro package.	These elements are de-
       scribed in roff(7).

       To give a document a personal style, it is most useful  to  extend  the
       existing	elements by defining some macros for repeating tasks; the best
       place for this is near the beginning of the document or in  a  separate

       Macros  without arguments are just like strings.	 But the full power of
       macros reveals when arguments are passed	with a macro call.  Within the
       macro  definition,  the arguments are available as the escape sequences
       $1, ...,	$9, $[...], $*,	and $@,	the name under	which  the  macro  was
       called  is  in  $0,  and	 the number of arguments is in register	0; see

   Copy-in Mode
       The phase when groff reads a macro is called copy-in mode in roff-talk.
       This  is	comparable to the C preprocessing phase	during the development
       of a program written in the C language.

       In this phase, groff interprets all backslashes;	that  means  that  all
       escape  sequences  in  the  macro  body are interpreted and replaced by
       their value.  For constant expression, this is wanted, but strings  and
       registers that might change between calls of the	macro must be protect-
       ed from being evaluated.	 This is most  easily  done  by	 doubling  the
       backslash  that	introduces the escape sequence.	 This doubling is most
       important for the positional parameters.	 For example, to print	infor-
       mation  on the arguments	that were passed to the	macro to the terminal,
       define a	macro named `.print_args', say.

	      .ds midpart was called with
	      .de print_args
	      .	 tm \f[I]\\$0\f[] \\*[midpart] \\n[.$] arguments:
	      .	 tm \\$*

       When calling this macro by

	      .print_args arg1 arg2

       the following text is printed to	the terminal:

	      print_args was called with the following 2 arguments:
	      arg1 arg2

       Let's analyze each backslash in the macro definition.  As the position-
       al parameters and the number of arguments will change with each call of
       the macro their leading backslash must be  doubled,  which  results  in
       \\$*  and  \\[.$].  The same applies to the macro name because it could
       be called with an alias name, so	\\$0.

       On the other hand, midpart is a constant	string,	it will	not change, so
       no  doubling  for  \*[midpart].	The \f escape sequences	are predefined
       groff elements for setting the font within the text.  Of	 course,  this
       behavior	will not change, so no doubling	with \f[I] and \f[].

   Draft Mode
       Writing groff macros is easy when the escaping mechanism	is temporarily
       disabled.  In groff, this is done by enclosing the macro	 definition(s)
       into  a pair of .eo and .ec requests.  Then the body in the macro defi-
       nition is just like a normal part of the	document -- text  enhanced  by
       calls  of  requests, macros, strings, registers,	etc.  For example, the
       code above can be written in a simpler way by

	      .ds midpart was called with
	      .de print_args
	      .	 tm \f[I]\$0\f[] \*[midpart] \n[.$] arguments:
	      .	 tm \$*

       Unfortunately, draft mode cannot	be used	universally.  Although	it  is
       good  enough  for defining normal macros, draft mode will fail with ad-
       vanced applications, such as  indirectly	 defined  strings,  registers,
       etc.  An	optimal	way is to define and test all macros in	draft mode and
       then do the backslash doubling as a final step; do not forget to	remove
       the .eo request.

   Tips	for Macro Definitions
       o Start	every line with	a dot, for example, by using the groff request
	 .nop for text lines, or write your own	macro that handles  also  text
	 lines with a leading dot.

	 .de Text
	 .  if (\\n[.$]	== 0) \
	 .    return
	 . nop \)\\$*[rs]

       o Write a comment macro that works both for copy-in and draft mode; for
	 as escaping is	off in draft mode, trouble  might  occur  when	normal
	 comments are used.  For example, the following	macro just ignores its
	 arguments, so it acts like a comment line:

	 .de c
	 .c This is like a comment line.

       o In long macro definitions, make ample use of comment lines  or	 empty
	 lines for a better structuring.

       o To  increase  readability,  use  groff's indentation facility for re-
	 quests	and macro calls	(arbitrary whitespace after the	leading	dot).

       Diversions can be used  to  realize  quite  advanced  programming  con-
       structs.	  They	are comparable to pointers to large data structures in
       the C programming language, but their usage is quite different.

       In their	simplest form, diversions are multi-line strings, but they get
       their  power  when  diversions are used dynamically within macros.  The
       information stored in a diversion can be	retrieved by calling  the  di-
       version just like a macro.

       Most  of	the problems arising with diversions can be avoided if you are
       conscious about the fact	that  diversions  always  deal	with  complete
       lines.	If  diversions	are  used  when	 the  line buffer has not been
       flashed,	strange	results	are produced; not knowing  this,  many	people
       get desperate about diversions.	To ensure that a diversion works, line
       breaks should be	added at the right places.  To be on the secure	 side,
       enclose	everything  that has to	do with	diversions into	a pair of line
       breaks; for example, by amply using .br requests.  This rule should  be
       applied	to  diversion  definition, both	inside and outside, and	to all
       calls of	diversions.  This is a bit of overkill,	but it works nicely.

       [If you really need diversions which should ignore the current  partial
       line,  use environments to save the current partial line	and/or use the
       .box request.]

       The most	powerful feature using diversions  is  to  start  a  diversion
       within a	macro definition and end it within another macro.  Then	every-
       thing between each call of this macro pair is stored within the	diver-
       sion and	can be manipulated from	within the macros.

       All  macro  names  must be named	name.tmac to fully use the tmac	mecha-
       nism.	as with	classical packages is possible	as  well,  but

       The  macro  files  are  kept in the tmac	directories; a colon separated
       list of these constitutes the tmac path.

       The search sequence for macro files is (in that order):

       o the directories specified with	troff/groff's -M command line option

       o the directories given in the $GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable

       o the current directory (only if	in unsafe mode,	which  is  enabled  by
	 the -U	command	line switch)

       o the home directory

       o a  platform-specific directory, being /usr/share/tmac in this instal-

       o a    site-specific    (platform-independent)	  directory,	 being
	 /usr/share/tmac in this installation

       o the main tmac directory, being	/usr/share/tmac	in this	installation

	      A	 colon	separated list of additional tmac directories in which
	      to search	for macro files.  See the previous section for	a  de-
	      tailed description.

       Copyright  (C)  2000,  2001, 2002, 2003,	2004 Free Software Foundation,

       This document is	distributed under the terms of the FDL (GNU Free Docu-
       mentation  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 <>.

       This  document  is  part	 of  groff, the	GNU roff distribution.	It was
       written by Bernd	Warken <>; it is	maintained  by	Werner
       Lemberg <>.

       A  complete reference for all parts of the groff	system is found	in the
       groff info(1) file.

	      an overview of the groff system.

	      the groff	tmac macro packages.

	      the groff	language.

       The Filesystem Hierarchy	Standard is available at the FHS web site

Groff Version 1.19.2		 23 July 2015			 GROFF_TMAC(5)


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

home | help