pdfroff(1) — Linux manual page

Name | Synopsis | Description | Usage | Options | Environment | Files | Authors | See also | COLOPHON

pdfroff(1)               General Commands Manual              pdfroff(1)

Name         top

       pdfroff - construct files in Portable Document Format using groff

Synopsis         top

       pdfroff [groff-option] [--emit-ps] [--no-toc-relocation]
               [--no-kill-null-pages] [--stylesheet=name]
               [--no-pdf-output] [--pdf-output=name]
               [--no-reference-dictionary] [--reference-dictionary=name]
               [--report-progress] [--keep-temporary-files] [file ...]

       pdfroff -h
       pdfroff --help

       pdfroff -v [groff-option ...]
       pdfroff --version [groff-option ...]

       groff-option is any short option supported by groff(1) except for
       -h, -T, and -v; see section “Usage” below.

Description         top

       pdfroff is a wrapper program for the GNU text processing system,
       groff.  It transparently handles the mechanics of multiple pass
       groff processing, when applied to suitably marked up groff source
       files, such that tables of contents and body text are formatted
       separately, and are subsequently combined in the correct order,
       for final publication as a single PDF document.  A further
       optional “style sheet” capability is provided; this allows for
       the definition of content which is required to precede the table
       of contents, in the published document.

       For each invocation of pdfroff, the ultimate groff output stream
       is post-processed by the Ghostscript gs(1) interpreter to produce
       a finished PDF document.

       pdfroff makes no assumptions about, and imposes no restrictions
       on, the use of any groff macro packages which the user may choose
       to employ, in order to achieve a desired document format;
       however, it does include specific built in support for the
       pdfmark macro package, should the user choose to employ it.
       Specifically, if the pdfhref macro, defined in the pdfmark.tmac
       package, is used to define public reference marks, or dynamic
       links to such reference marks, then pdfroff performs as many
       preformatting groff passes as required, up to a maximum limit of
       four, in order to compile a document reference dictionary, to
       resolve references, and to expand the dynamically defined content
       of links.

Usage         top

       The command line is parsed in accordance with normal GNU
       conventions, but with one exception—when specifying any short
       form option (i.e., a single character option introduced by a
       single hyphen), and if that option expects an argument, then it
       must be specified independently (i.e., it may not be appended to
       any group of other single character short form options).

       Long form option names (i.e., those introduced by a double
       hyphen) may be abbreviated to their minimum length unambiguous
       initial substring.

       Otherwise, pdfroff usage closely mirrors that of groff itself.
       Indeed, with the exception of the -h, -v, and -T dev short form
       options, and all long form options, which are parsed internally
       by pdfroff, all options and file name arguments specified on the
       command line are passed on to groff, to control the formatting of
       the PDF document.  Consequently, pdfroff accepts all options and
       arguments, as specified in groff(1), which may also be considered
       as the definitive reference for all standard pdfroff options and
       argument usage.

Options         top

       pdfroff accepts all of the short form options (i.e., those
       introduced by a single hyphen), which are available with groff
       itself.  In most cases, these are simply passed transparently to
       groff; the following, however, are handled specially by pdfroff.

       -h     Same as --help; see below.

       -i     Process standard input, after all other specified input
              files.  This is passed transparently to groff, but, if
              grouped with other options, it must be the first in the
              group.  Hiding it within a group breaks standard input
              processing, in the multiple-pass groff processing context
              of pdfroff.

       -T dev Only -T ps is supported by pdfroff.  Attempting to specify
              any other device causes pdfroff to abort.

       -v     Same as --version; see below.

       See groff(1) for a description of all other short form options,
       which are transparently passed through pdfroff to groff.

       All long form options (i.e., those introduced by a double hyphen)
       are interpreted locally by pdfroff; they are not passed on to
       groff, unless otherwise stated below.

       --help Causes pdfroff to display a summary of the its usage
              syntax, and supported options, and then exit.

              Suppresses the final output conversion step, causing
              pdfroff to emit PostScript output instead of PDF.  This
              may be useful to capture intermediate PostScript output
              when using a specialised postprocessor, such as gpresent
              for example, in place of the default Ghostscript PDF

              Suppresses the deletion of temporary files, which normally
              occurs after pdfroff has completed PDF document
              formatting; this may be useful when debugging formatting

              See section “Files” below for a description of the
              temporary files used by pdfroff.

              May be used with the --reference-dictionary=name option
              (described below) to eliminate the overhead of PDF
              formatting when running pdfroff to create a reference
              dictionary for use in a different document.

              May be used to eliminate the overhead of creating a
              reference dictionary, when it is known that the target PDF
              document contains no public references, created by the
              pdfhref macro.

              May be used to eliminate the extra groff processing pass,
              which is required to generate a table of contents, and
              relocate it to the start of the PDF document, when
              processing any document which lacks an automatically
              generated table of contents.

              While preparing for simulation of the manual collation
              step, which is traditionally required to relocate a table
              of contents to the start of a document, pdfroff
              accumulates a number of empty page descriptions into the
              intermediate PostScript output stream.  During the final
              collation step, these empty pages are normally discarded
              from the finished document; this option forces pdfroff to
              leave them in place.

              Specifies the name to be used for the resultant PDF
              document; if unspecified, the PDF output is written to
              standard output.  A future version of pdfroff may use this
              option, to encode the document name in a generated
              reference dictionary.

              Specifies the name to be used for the generated reference
              dictionary file; if unspecified, the reference dictionary
              is created in a temporary file, which is deleted when
              pdfroff completes processing of the current document.
              This option must be specified, if it is desired to save
              the reference dictionary, for use in references placed in
              other PDF documents.

              Causes pdfroff to display an informational message on
              standard error, at the start of each groff processing

              Specifies the name of an input file, to be used as a style
              sheet for formatting of content, which is to be placed
              before the table of contents, in the formatted PDF

              Causes pdfroff to display a version identification
              message.  The entire command line is then passed
              transparently to groff, in a one pass operation only, in
              order to display the associated groff version information,
              before exiting.

Environment         top

       The following environment variables may be set, and exported, to
       modify the behaviour of pdfroff.

              Specifies the program to be used for collation of the
              finished PDF document.

              This collation step may be required to move tables of
              contents to the start of the finished PDF document, when
              formatting with traditional macro packages, which print
              them at the end.  However, users should not normally need
              to specify PDFROFF_COLLATE, (and indeed, are not
              encouraged to do so).  If unspecified, pdfroff uses sed(1)
              by default, which normally suffices.

              If PDFROFF_COLLATE is specified, then it must act as a
              filter, accepting a list of file name arguments, and write
              its output to the standard output stream, whence it is
              piped to the PDFROFF_POSTPROCESSOR_COMMAND, to produce the
              finished PDF output.

              When specifying PDFROFF_COLLATE, it is normally necessary
              to also specify PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES.

              PDFROFF_COLLATE is ignored, if pdfroff is invoked with the
              --no-kill-null-pages option.

              Specifies options to be passed to the PDFROFF_COLLATE

              It should not normally be necessary to specify
              PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES.  The internal default is a sed(1)
              script, which is intended to remove completely blank pages
              from the collated output stream, and which should be
              appropriate in most applications of pdfroff.  However, if
              any alternative to sed(1) is specified for
              PDFROFF_COLLATE, then it is likely that a corresponding
              alternative specification for PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES is

              As in the case of PDFROFF_COLLATE, PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES
              is ignored, if pdfroff is invoked with the
              --no-kill-null-pages option.

              Specifies the command to be used for the final document
              conversion from PostScript intermediate output to PDF.  It
              must behave as a filter, writing its output to the
              standard output stream, and must accept an arbitrary
              number of files ... arguments, with the special case of
              “-” representing the standard input stream.

              If unspecified, PDFROFF_POSTPROCESSOR_COMMAND defaults to
                   gs -dBATCH -dQUIET -dNOPAUSE -dSAFER -sDEVICE=pdfwrite \

              Identifies the directory in which pdfroff should create
              temporary files.  If GROFF_TMPDIR is not specified, then
              the variables TMPDIR, TMP and TEMP are considered in turn
              as possible temporary file repositories.  If none of these
              are set, then temporary files are created in the current

              Specifies the program to be invoked when pdfroff converts
              groff PostScript output to PDF.  If
              PDFROFF_POSTPROCESSOR_COMMAND is specified, then the
              command name it specifies is implicitly assigned to
              GROFF_GHOSTSCRIPT_INTERPRETER, overriding any explicit
              setting specified in the environment.  If
              GROFF_GHOSTSCRIPT_INTERPRETER is not specified, then
              pdfroff searches the process PATH, looking for a program
              with any of the well known names for the Ghostscript
              interpreter; if no Ghostscript interpreter can be found,
              pdfroff aborts.

              Specifies the program to be invoked when pdfroff is
              extracting reference dictionary entries from a groff
              intermediate message stream.  If GROFF_AWK_INTERPRETER is
              not specified, then pdfroff searches the process PATH,
              looking for any of the preferred programs, gawk, mawk,
              nawk, and awk, in that order; if none of these are found,
              pdfroff issues a warning message, and continue processing;
              however, in this case, no reference dictionary is created.

       OSTYPE Typically defined automatically by the operating system,
              OSTYPE is used on Microsoft Win32/MS-DOS platforms only,
              to infer the default PATH_SEPARATOR character, which is
              used when parsing the process PATH to search for external
              helper programs.

              If set, PATH_SEPARATOR overrides the default separator
              character, (‘:’ on POSIX/Unix systems, inferred from
              OSTYPE on Microsoft Win32/MS-DOS), which is used when
              parsing the process PATH to search for external helper

              If this is set to a non-empty value, then pdfroff always
              behaves as if the --report-progress option is specified on
              the command line.

Files         top

       Input and output files for pdfroff may be named according to any
       convention of the user's choice.  Typically, input files may be
       named according to the choice of the principal normatting macro
       package, e.g., file.ms might be an input file for formatting
       using the ms macros (s.tmac); normally, the final output file
       should be named file.pdf.

       Temporary files created by pdfroff are placed in the file system
       hierarchy, in or below the directory specified by environment
       variables (see section “Environment” above).  If mktemp(1) is
       available, it is invoked to create a private subdirectory of the
       nominated temporary files directory, (with subdirectory name
       derived from the template pdfroff-XXXXXXXXXX); if this
       subdirectory is successfully created, the temporary files will be
       placed within it, otherwise they will be placed directly in the
       directory nominated in the environment.

       All temporary files themselves are named according to the
       convention pdf$$.*, where $$ is the standard shell variable
       representing the process identifier of the pdfroff process
       itself, and * represents any of the extensions used by pdfroff to
       identify the following temporary and intermediate files.

              A scratch pad file, used to capture reference data emitted
              by groff, during the reference dictionary compilation

              The reference dictionary, as compiled in the last but one
              pass of the reference dictionary compilation phase; (at
              the start of the first pass, this file is created empty;
              in successive passes, it contains the reference dictionary
              entries, as collected in the preceding pass).

              If the --reference-dictionary=name option is specified,
              this intermediate file becomes permanent, and is named
              name, rather than pdf$$.ref.

              Used to collect reference dictionary entries during the
              active pass of the reference dictionary compilation phase.
              At the end of any pass, when the content of pdf$$.cmp
              compares as identical to pdf$$.ref, (or the corresponding
              file named by the --reference-dictionary=name option),
              then reference dictionary compilation is terminated, and
              the document reference map is appended to this
              intermediate file, for inclusion in the final formatting

              An intermediate PostScript file, in which “Table of
              Contents” entries are collected, to facilitate relocation
              before the body text, on ultimate output to the
              Ghostscript postprocessor.

              An intermediate PostScript file, in which the body text is
              collected prior to ultimate output to the Ghostscript
              postprocessor, in the proper sequence, after pdf$$.tc.

Authors         top

       pdfroff was written by Keith Marshall ⟨keith.d.marshall@ntlworld
       .com⟩, who maintains it at his groff-pdfmark OSDN site 
       groff's version may be withdrawn in a future release.

See also         top

       Groff: The GNU Implementation of troff, by Trent A. Fisher and
       Werner Lemberg, is the primary groff manual.  You can browse it
       interactively with “info groff”.

       Since pdfroff provides a superset of all groff capabilities, the
       above manual, or its terser reference page, groff(7) may also be
       considered definitive references to all standard capabilities of
       pdfroff, with this document providing the reference to pdfroff's
       extended features.

       While pdfroff imposes neither any restriction on, nor any
       requirement for, the use of any specific groff macro package, a
       number of supplied macro packages, and in particular those
       associated with the package pdfmark.tmac, are best suited for use
       with pdfroff as the preferred formatter.

              “Portable Document Format Publishing with GNU Troff”, by
              Keith Marshall, offers detailed documentation on the use
              of these packages.  This file, together with its source,
              pdfmark.ms, is part of the groff distribution.

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the groff (GNU troff) project.  Information
       about the project can be found at 
       ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/groff/⟩.  If you have a bug report
       for this manual page, see ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/groff/⟩.
       This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨https://git.savannah.gnu.org/git/groff.git⟩ on 2023-12-22.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2023-12-08.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
       is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

groff 1 November 2023                  pdfroff(1)