Since the evolution of roff in the 1970s, a whole bunch of
filename extensions for roff files were used.
The roff extensions refer to preprocessors or macro packages.
These extensions are fixed in all Unix-like operating systems.
Later on, groff added some more extensions. This man page is
about these filename extensions.
Each roff file can be optionally compressed. That means that the
total filename ends with a compressor name. So the whole
filename has the structure <name>.<extension>[.<compression>].
Best-known are the compressor extensions.Z, .gz, and .bzip2.
Relatively new is .xz.
From now on, we will ignore the compressions and only comment the
The Unix manual pages are widely called man pages. The man page
style is the best-known part of the roff language.
The extensions for man should be better documented. So this is
Files written in the man language use the following extension:
Man page sections
The traditional man page <section> is a digit from 1 to 8.
Classic man page sections.
In older commercial Unix systems, the 3 characters l, n, and o
were also used as section names. This is today deprecated, but
there are still documents in this format.
<name>.l<name>.n<name>.oDeprecated man page sections, which stood for “local”,
“new”, and “old”, respectively.
Man page group extensions
The <group> extension in .<section>[<group>] is optional, but it
can be any string of word characters. Usually programmers use a
group name that is already used, e.g., x for X Window System
documents or tcl to refer to the Tcl programming language.
is the man page for groff in section1 without a groupxargs.1posix.gz
is the man page for the program xargs in section1 and
groupposix; moreover it is compressed with gz (gzip).
config.5sslOpenSSL CONF library configuration files from section5
man page for the program dpkg-reconfigure in section8 and
Source of man pages
There are 2 roff languages for writing man pages: man and mdoc.
The names of these 2 styles are taken as extensions for the
source code files of man pages in the groff package.
<name>.mantraditional Unix-like man page format within groff source
A temporary man page file produced from a name.man man
page by a run of make within the groff source package.
Man page format in BSD.
Files using macro packages
The classical roff languages were interpreted by the traditional
troff and nroff programs.
There were several roff languages, each represented by a macro-package. Each of these provided a suitable file name extension:
<name>.meroff file using the me macro package.
<name>.mmroff file using the mm macro package<name>.msroff file using the ms macro package
All of these classical roff languages and their extensions are
still very active in groff.
Source code for macro packages (tmacfiles)
In traditional roff the source code for the macro packages was
stored in TMAC files. Their file names have the form:
<package> is the name of the macro package without the
leading m character, which is reintegrated by the option
For example, tmac.an is the source for the man macro package.
In the groff source, more suitable file names were integrated;
see later on.
Moreover, the following preprocessors were used as filename
for the integration of chemical formulas
for the mathematical use of equations
for tables with tbl<name>.ref
for files using the prefer preprocessorrofffiles<name>.t<name>.tr
for files using the roff language of any kind
GNU roffgroff is the actual roff standard, both for classical
roff and new extensions. So even the used new extensions in the
source code should be regarded as actual standard. The following
extensions are used instead of classical .t or .tr:
general ending for files using the groff languageSource code for macro packages (tmacfiles)
As the classical form tmac.<package_without_m>, of the TMAC file
names is quite strange, groff added the following structures:
<package_without_m>.tmacm<package>.tmacgroff_m<package>.tmacFiles using new macro packagesGroff uses the following new macro packages:
file with swedish mm macros for groff<name>.mom
files written in the groff macro packagemom<name>.www
files written in HTML-like groff macros.
Preprocessors and postprocessors<name>.hdtbl
Heidelberger tables, an alternative to the preprocessor
tbl. See groff_hdtbl(7).
files written for the graphical grap processor.
for including gremlin(1), pictures, see grn(1).
transform this file with pdfroff of the groff system
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 2021-08-27. (At
that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
the repository was 2021-08-23.) 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 1.23.0.rc1.654-4e1db-dir1t9yAugust 2021 groff_filenames(5)