groff_tmac(5) File Formats Manual groff_tmac(5)
groff_tmac - macro files in the GNU roff typesetting system
Definitions of macros, strings, and registers for use in a roff(7) document can be collected into macro files, roff input files designed to produce no output themselves but instead ease the preparation of other roff documents. There is no syntactical difference between a macro file and any other roff document; only its purpose distinguishes it. When a macro file is installed at a standard location and suitable for use by a general audience, it is often termed a macro package. Macro packages can be loaded by supplying the -m option to groff(1) or troff(1). Alternatively, a groff document wishing to use a macro package can load it with the mso (“macro source”) request. Each macro package stores its macro, string, and register definitions in one or more tmac files. This name originated in early Unix culture as an abbreviation of “troff macros”. A macro package must be named name.tmac and be placed in a “tmac directory” to be loadable with the -m option. Section “Environment” of troff(1) lists these directories. Like any other roff document, a macro package can use the “so” request (“source”) to load further files relative to its own location.
Macro packages come in two varieties; those which assume responsibility for page layout and other critical functions (“major” or “full-service”) and those which do not (“supplemental” or “auxiliary”). GNU roff provides most major macro packages found in AT&T and BSD Unix systems, an additional full-service package, and many supplemental packages. Multiple full-service macro packages cannot be used by the same document. Auxiliary packages can generally be freely combined, though attention to their use of the groff language name spaces for identifiers (particularly registers, macros, strings, and diversions) should be paid. Name space management was a significant challenge in AT&T troff; groff's support for arbitrarily long identifiers affords few excuses for name collisions, apart from attempts at compatibility with the demands of historical documents. Man pages an man an is used to compose man pages in the format originating in Version 7 Unix (1979). It has a small macro interface and is widely used; see groff_man(7). doc mdoc doc is used to compose man pages in the format originating in 4.3BSD-Reno (1990). It provides many more features than an, but is also larger, more complex, and not as widely adopted; see groff_mdoc(7). Because readers of man pages often do not know in advance which macros are used to format a given document, a wrapper is available. andoc mandoc This macro file, specific to groff, recognizes whether a document uses man or mdoc format and loads the corresponding macro package. Multiple man pages, in either format, can be handled; andoc reloads each macro package as necessary. Full-service packages The packages in this section provide a complete set of macros for writing 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 mom macro package, only available in groff. As this was not based on other packages, it was freely designed as quite a nice, modern macro package. See groff_mom(7). ms The classical ms macro package; see groff_ms(7). Localization packages For Western languages, the localization file sets the hyphenation mode and loads hyphenation patterns and exceptions. Localization files can also adjust the date format and provide translations of strings used by some of the full-service macro packages; alter the input encoding (see the next section); and change the amount of inter-sentence space. By default, troffrc loads the localization file for English. As of groff 1.23.0, the following localization files exist. cs Czech; localizes me, mm, mom, and ms. Sets the input encoding to Latin-2 by loading latin2.tmac. de den German; localizes me, mm, mom, and ms. Sets the input encoding to Latin-1 by loading latin1.tmac. de.tmac selects hyphenation patterns for traditional orthography, and den.tmac does the same for the new orthography (“Rechtschreibreform”). en English. fr French; localizes me, mm, mom, and ms. Sets the input encoding to Latin-9 by loading latin9.tmac. it Italian; localizes me, mm, mom, and ms. ja Japanese. sv Swedish; localizes me, mm, mom, and ms. Sets the input encoding to Latin-1 by loading latin1.tmac. Some of the localization of the mm package is handled separately; see groff_mmse(7). zh Chinese. Input encodings latin1 latin2 latin5 latin9 Various input encodings supported directly by groff. Normally, this macro is loaded at the very beginning of a document or specified as the first macro argument on the command line. groff loads latin1 by default at start-up. These macro packages don't work on EBCDIC hosts. cp1047 Encoding support for EBCDIC. On those platforms it is loaded automatically at start-up. Due to different character ranges used in groff it doesn't work on architectures which are based on ASCII. Some input encoding characters may not be available for a particular output device. For example, saying groff -Tlatin1 -mlatin9 ... fails if you use the Euro character in the input. Usually, this limitation is present only for drivers which have a limited set of output glyphs (ascii, latin1); for other drivers it is usually sufficient to install proper fonts which contain the necessary glyphs. Auxiliary packages The macro packages in this section are not intended for stand- alone use, but can add functionality to any other macro package or to plain (or “raw”) groff documents. 62bit Provides macros for addition, multiplication, and division of 62-bit integers (allowing safe multiplication of 31-bit integers, for example). ec Switch to the EC and TC font families. To be used with grodvi(1) — this man page also gives more details of how to use it. hdtbl The Heidelberger table macros, contributed by Joachim Walsdorff, allow the generation of tables through a syntax similar to the HTML table model. Note that hdtbl is a macro package, not a preprocessor like tbl(1). hdtbl works only with the ps and pdf output drivers. See groff_hdtbl(7). papersize This macro file is normally loaded at start-up by the troffrc file. It provides an interface to set the paper size on the command line with the option -d paper=size or troff. Possible values for size are the ISO and DIN formats “A0–A6”, “B0–B6”, “C0–C6”, and “D0–D6”; the U.S. formats “letter”, “legal”, “tabloid”, “ledger”, “statement”, and “executive”; and the envelope formats “com10”, “monarch”, and “DL”. All formats, even those for envelopes, are in portrait orientation, with their longer dimension as the length. Appending “l” (ell) to any of these denotes landscape orientation instead. An output device typically requires command-line options -p and -l to override the paper dimensions and orientation, respectively, defined in its DESC file; see subsection “Paper sizes” of groff(1). pdfpic A single macro is provided in this file, PDFPIC, to include a PDF graphic in a document, i.e., under the output driver pdf. For all other drivers, pspic is used. So pdfpic is an extension of pspic. This means you can safely replace all PSPIC with PDFPIC; nothing gets lost by that. The options of PDFPIC are identical to the PSDIF options. pic This file provides proper definitions for the macros PS and PE, needed for the pic(1) preprocessor. They center each picture. Use it only if your macro package doesn't provide proper definitions for those two macros (most of them already do). pspic A single macro is provided in this file, PSPIC, to include a PostScript graphic in a document. The ps, dvi, html, and xhtml output drivers support inclusion of PS images; for all other drivers the image is replaced with a hollow rectangle of the same size. This macro file is automatically loaded at start-up by troff so it isn't necessary to call it explicitly. Syntax: .PSPIC [-L|-R|-C|-I n] file [width [height]] file is the name of the PostScript file; width and height give the desired width and height of the image. If neither a width nor a height argument is specified, the image's natural width (as given in the file's bounding box) or the current line length is used as the width, whatever is smaller. The width and height arguments may have scaling indicators attached; the default scaling indicator is i. This macro scales the graphic uniformly in the x and y directions so that it is no more than width wide and height high. Option -C centers the graphic horizontally, which is the default. The -L and -R options left-align and right-align the graphic, respectively. The -I option indents the graphic by n (default scaling indicator is m). For use of .PSPIC within a diversion it is recommended to extend it with the following code, assuring that the diversion's width completely covers the image's width. .am PSPIC . vpt 0 \h'(\\n[ps-offset]u + \\n[ps-deswid]u)' . sp -1 . vpt 1 .. ptx A single macro is provided in this file, xx, for formatting permuted index entries as produced by the GNU ptx(1) program. If you need different formatting, copy the macro into your document and adapt it to your needs. rfc1345 defines special character escape sequences based on the glyph mnemonics specified in RFC 1345 and the digraph table of the text editor Vim. See groff_rfc1345(7). trace Use this for tracing macro calls. It is only useful for debugging. See groff_trace(7). tty-char Defines fallback definitions of roff special characters for terminal devices. These definitions more poorly optically approximate typeset output compared to those of the tty file in favor of communicating more semantic information, which can allow easier processing with critical equipment. www Additions of elements known from the HTML format, as used in World Wide Web pages; this includes URL links and mail addresses. See groff_www(7).
Classical roff systems were designed before the conventions of the modern C getopt(3) call evolved, and used a naming scheme for macro packages that looks odd to modern eyes. Macro packages were always included with the option -m; when this option was directly followed 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 invocation form work, classical troff macro packages used names 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 tmac.an. 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 speech; for example, the package corresponding to tmac.doc was called mdoc in the documentation, 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 inflicted macro packages; one with a leading ‘m’ the other one without it. So in groff, the man macro package may be specified as one of the following 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 specified 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 in the form tmac.name. In modern operating systems, the type of a file is specified as a postfix, the file name extension. Again, groff copes with this situation by searching for 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 directories. 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 classical 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, tmac.name is searched for instead. Alternatively, it is also possible to include a macro file by adding the request .so filename to 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 does. In order to resolve the .so and .mso requests, the roff preprocessor 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 automatically. For example, suppose a macro file is stored as /usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/macros.tmac and is used in some document called docu.roff. At run time, the formatter call for this is sh# groff -m macros docu.roff To include the macro file directly in the document, use either .mso macros.tmac or .so /usr/local/share/groff/1.23.0/tmac/macros.tmac In both cases, the formatter should be called with option -s to invoke soelim. sh# groff -s docu.roff
A roff(7) document is a text file that is enriched by predefined formatting constructs, such as requests, escape sequences, strings, numeric registers, and macros from a macro package. These elements are described 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 file. Macros without arguments are just like strings. But the full power of macros occurs 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 \n[.$]; see groff(7). Draft mode Writing groff macros is easy when the escaping mechanism is temporarily disabled. In groff, this is done by enclosing the macro definition(s) within a pair of .eo and .ec requests. Then the body in the macro definition is just like a normal part of the document — text enhanced by calls of requests, macros, strings, registers, etc. For example, the code above can be written in a simpler way by .eo .ds midpart was called with the following .de print_args \f[I]\$0\f \*[midpart] \n[.$] arguments: \$* .. .ec Unfortunately, draft mode cannot be used universally. Although it is good enough for defining normal macros, draft mode fails with advanced 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 • 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 \)\\$*\) .. • Write a comment macro that works both for copy and draft modes; since the escape character is off in draft mode, trouble might occur when comment escapes 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. • In long macro definitions, make ample use of comment lines or almost-empty lines (this is, lines which have a leading dot and nothing else) for a better structuring. • To increase readability, use groff's indentation facility for requests and macro calls (arbitrary whitespace after the leading dot). Diversions Diversions can be used to implement quite advanced programming constructs. 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 diversions get their power when used dynamically within macros. The (formatted) information stored in a diversion can be retrieved by calling the diversion just like a macro. Most of the problems arising with diversions can be avoided if you remember that diversions always store complete lines. Using diversions when the line buffer has not been flushed produces strange results; not knowing this, many people get desperate about diversions. To ensure that a diversion works, add line breaks at the right places. To be safe, enclose everything that has to do with diversions within a pair of line breaks; for example, by explicitly 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 everything between each call of this macro pair is stored within the diversion and can be manipulated from within the macros.
This document was written by Bernd Warken ⟨groff-bernd.warken-72@ web.de⟩ and Werner Lemberg ⟨email@example.com⟩.
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”. The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard ⟨https://wiki.linuxfoundation.org/lsb/fhs⟩ is maintained by the Linux Foundation. groff(1) is an overview of the groff system. groff_man(7), groff_mdoc(7), groff_me(7), groff_mm(7), groff_mom(7), groff_ms(7), groff_rfc1345(7), groff_trace(7), and groff_www(7) are groff macro packages. groff(7) summarizes the language recognized by GNU troff.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org groff 1.23.0.rc1.654-4e1db-dir1t9yAugust 2021 groff_tmac(5)
Pages that refer to this page: glilypond(1), grodvi(1), groff(1), groffer(1), grops(1), troff(1), groff(7), groff_trace(7), roff(7)