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GROFF_TMAC(5)                                                    GROFF_TMAC(5)

       groff_tmac - macro files in the roff typesetting system

       The roff(7) type-setting system provides a set of macro packages suitable 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 usually 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 directo-

       groff  provides  all classical macro packages, some more full packages, and some secondary packages for special

   Man Pages
       man    This is the classical macro package for UNIX manual pages (man pages); it is quite  handy  and  easy  to
              use; see groff_man(7).

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

   Full 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  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 groff_mom(7).

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

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

              Overrides  the  definition  of standard troff characters and some groff characters for tty devices.  The
              optical appearance is intentionally inferior compared to that of normal tty formatting to allow process-
              ing 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 followed by
       its argument without an intervening space, this looked like a long option preceded by a single minus -- a sensa-
       tion  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  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 on 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 according to  In modern operat-
       ing 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 directories.

       In groff, most macro packages are described in man pages called groff_name(7), with a leading 'm' for the clas-
       sical 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, will be searched for instead.

       Alternatively,  it  is  also possible to include a macro file by adding the request .so filename into the docu-
       ment; 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.

       Note that 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/share/groff/ and is used  in  some
       document called docu.roff.

       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/groff/

       In both cases, the formatter is called with

              sh# troff -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 formatting constructs, such as  requests,  es-
       cape  sequences,  strings, numeric registers, and macros from a macro package.  These elements are described in

       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 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 groff(7).

   Copy-in Mode
       The phase when groff reads a macro is called copy-in mode in roff-talk.  This is comparable to  the  C  prepro-
       cessing 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 in-
       terpreted 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 protected 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 information 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 positional 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 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

              .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 advanced applications, such as indirectly defined strings, registers, etc.  An  opti-
       mal  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 \)\\$*[rs]

       ? Write a comment macro that works both for copy-in and draft mode; for as escaping is off in draft mode, trou-
         ble 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.

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

       ? To  increase readability, use groff's indentation facility for requests and macro calls (arbitrary whitespace
         after the leading dot).

       Diversions can be used to realize 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 they get their power when diversions are used
       dynamically within macros.  The 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 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 re-
       sults  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 cur-
       rent 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.

       All macro names must be named name.tmac to fully use the tmac mechanism. as  with   classical  pack-
       ages is possible as well, but deprecated.

       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):

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

       ? the directories given in the $GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable

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

       ? the home directory

       ? a platform-specific directory, being /usr/lib64/groff/site-tmac in this installation

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

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

              A  colon separated list of additional tmac directories in which to search for macro files.  See the pre-
              vious section for a detailed description.

       Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       This document is distributed under the terms of the FDL (GNU Free Documentation 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          21 August 2002                   GROFF_TMAC(5)