|MAN(7)||Linux Programmer's Manual||MAN(7)|
groff -Tps -man file ...
man [section] title
Note that NET-2 BSD mdoc man pages can be used with groff simply by specifying the -mdoc option instead of the -man option. Using the -mandoc option is, however, recommended, since this will automatically detect which macro package is in use.
For conventions that should be employed when writing man pages for the Linux man-pages package, see man-pages(7).
For details of the arguments that should be supplied to the TH command, see man-pages(7).
Note that BSD mdoc-formatted pages begin with the Dd command, not the TH command.
The only mandatory heading is NAME, which should be the first section and be followed on the next line by a one-line description of the program:
item \- description
It is extremely important that this format is followed, and that there is a backslash before the single dash which follows the item name. This syntax is used by the mandb(8) program to create a database of short descriptions for the whatis(1) and apropos(1) commands. (See lexgrog(1) for further details on the syntax of the NAME section.)
For a list of other sections that might appear in a manual page, see man-pages(7).
- Bold alternating with italics (especially useful for function specifications)
- Bold alternating with Roman (especially useful for referring to other manual pages)
- Italics alternating with bold
- Italics alternating with Roman
- Roman alternating with bold
- Roman alternating with italics
- Small alternating with bold
- Small (useful for acronyms)
Traditionally, each command can have up to six arguments, but the GNU implementation removes this limitation (you might still want to limit yourself to 6 arguments for portability's sake). Arguments are delimited by spaces. Double quotes can be used to specify an argument which contains spaces. For the macros that produce alternating type faces, the arguments will be printed next to each other without intervening spaces, so that the .BR command can be used to specify a word in bold followed by a mark of punctuation in Roman. If no arguments are given, the command is applied to the following line of text.
- Same as .PP (begin a new paragraph).
- Same as .PP (begin a new paragraph).
- Begin a new paragraph and reset prevailing indent.
- .RS i
- Start relative margin indent: moves the left margin i to the right (if i is omitted, the prevailing indent value is used). A new prevailing indent is set to 0.5 inches. As a result, all following paragraph(s) will be indented until the corresponding .RE.
- End relative margin indent and restores the previous value of the prevailing indent.
- .HP i
- Begin paragraph with a hanging indent (the first line of the paragraph is at the left margin of normal paragraphs, and the rest of the paragraph's lines are indented).
- .IP x i
- Indented paragraph with optional hanging tag. If the tag x is omitted, the entire following paragraph is indented by i. If the tag x is provided, it is hung at the left margin before the following indented paragraph (this is just like .TP except the tag is included with the command instead of being on the following line). If the tag is too long, the text after the tag will be moved down to the next line (text will not be lost or garbled). For bulleted lists, use this macro with \(bu (bullet) or \(em (em dash) as the tag, and for numbered lists, use the number or letter followed by a period as the tag; this simplifies translation to other formats.
- .TP i
- Begin paragraph with hanging tag. The tag is given on the next line, but its results are like those of the .IP command.
- .UR url
- Insert a hypertext link to the URI (URL) url, with all text up to the following .UE macro as the link text.
- [trailer] Terminate the link text of the preceding .UR macro, with the optional trailer (if present, usually a closing parenthesis and/or end-of-sentence punctuation) immediately following. For non-HTML output devices (e.g., man -Tutf8), the link text is followed by the URL in angle brackets; if there is no link text, the URL is printed as its own link text, surrounded by angle brackets. (Angle brackets may not be available on all output devices.) For the HTML output device, the link text is hyperlinked to the URL; if there is no link text, the URL is printed as its own link text.
These macros have been supported since GNU Troff 1.20 (2009-01-05) and Heirloom Doctools Troff since 160217 (2016-02-17).
- Reset tabs to default tab values (every 0.5 inches); does not cause a break.
- .PD d
- Set inter-paragraph vertical distance to d (if omitted, d=0.4v); does not cause a break.
- .SS t
- Subheading t (like .SH, but used for a subsection inside a section).
- Registration Symbol: ®
- Change to default font size
- Trademark Symbol: (Tm)
- Left angled double quote: “
- Right angled double quote: ”
You may also use many troff escape sequences (those sequences beginning with \). When you need to include the backslash character as normal text, use \e. Other sequences you may use, where x or xx are any characters and N is any digit, include: \', \`, \-, \., \", \%, \*x, \*(xx, \(xx, \$N, \nx, \n(xx, \fx, and \f(xx. Avoid using the escape sequences for drawing graphics.
Do not use the optional parameter for bp (break page). Use only positive values for sp (vertical space). Don't define a macro (de) with the same name as a macro in this or the mdoc macro package with a different meaning; it's likely that such redefinitions will be ignored. Every positive indent (in) should be paired with a matching negative indent (although you should be using the RS and RE macros instead). The condition test (if,ie) should only have 't' or 'n' as the condition. Only translations (tr) that can be ignored should be used. Font changes (ft and the \f escape sequence) should only have the values 1, 2, 3, 4, R, I, B, P, or CW (the ft command may also have no parameters).
If you use capabilities beyond these, check the results carefully on several tools. Once you've confirmed that the additional capability is safe, let the maintainer of this document know about the safe command or sequence that should be added to this list.
Tools processing these files should open the file and examine the first nonwhitespace character. A period (.) or single quote (') at the beginning of a line indicates a troff-based file (such as man or mdoc). A left angle bracket (<) indicates an SGML/XML-based file (such as HTML or Docbook). Anything else suggests simple ASCII text (e.g., a "catman" result).
Many man pages begin with '\" followed by a space and a list of characters, indicating how the page is to be preprocessed. For portability's sake to non-troff translators we recommend that you avoid using anything other than tbl(1), and Linux can detect that automatically. However, you might want to include this information so your man page can be handled by other (less capable) systems. Here are the definitions of the preprocessors invoked by these characters:
The Sun macro TX is not implemented.