gtroff - Unix, Linux Command

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troff - the troff processor of the groff text formatting system


   troff [ -abcivzCERU ] [ -d ] [ -f ] [ -F ] [ -m ] [ -M ] [ -n ] [ -o ] [ -r ] [ -T ] [ -w ] [ -W ] [ files... ]

It is possible to have whitespace between a command line option and its parameter.


This manual page describes the GNU version of troff. It is part of the groff document formatting system. It is functionally compatible with UNIX troff, but has many extensions, see  groff_diff(7). Usually it should be invoked using the groff(1) command which will also run preprocessors and postprocessors in the appropriate order and with the appropriate options.


-a Generate an ASCII approximation of the typeset output.
-b Print a backtrace with each warning or error message. This backtrace should help track down the cause of the error. The line numbers given in the backtrace may not always be correct, for troff’s idea of line numbers gets confused by as or am requests.
-c Disable color output (always disabled in compatibility mode).
-C Enable compatibility mode.
  Define c or name to be a string s; c must be a one letter name.
-E Inhibit all error messages of troff. Note that this doesn’t affect messages output to standard error by macro packages using the tm or tm1 requests.
-ffam Use fam as the default font family.
-Fdir Search in directory (or directory path) dir for subdirectories devname (name is the name of the device) and there for the DESC file and font files. dir is scanned before all other font directories.
-i Read the standard input after all the named input files have been processed.
-mname Read in the file name.tmac. If it isn’t found, try instead. It will be first searched for in directories given with the -M command line option, then in directories given in the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable, then in the current directory (only if in unsafe mode), the home directory, /usr/lib/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/site-tmac, and /usr/share/groff/
-Mdir Search directory (or directory path) dir for macro files. This is scanned before all other macro directories.
-nnum Number the first page num.
-olist Output only pages in list, which is a comma-separated list of page ranges; n means print page n, m-n means print every page between m and n, -n means print every page up to n, n- means print every page from n. troff will exit after printing the last page in the list.
  Set number register c or name to n; c must be a one character name; n can be any troff numeric expression.
-R Don’t load troffrc and troffrc-end.
-Tname Prepare output for device name, rather than the default ps.
-U Unsafe mode. This will enable the following requests: open, opena, pso, sy, and pi. For security reasons, these potentially dangerous requests are disabled otherwise. It will also add the current directory to the macro search path.
-v Print the version number.
-wname Enable warning name. Available warnings are described in the section WARNINGS below. For example, to enable all warnings, use -w all. Multiple -w options are allowed.
-Wname Inhibit warning name. Multiple -W options are allowed.
-z Suppress formatted output.


The warnings that can be given by troff are divided into the following categories. The name associated with each warning is used by the -w and -W options; the number is used by the warn request, and by the .warn register; it is always a power of 2 to allow bitwise composition.


break           4 In fill mode, lines which could not be broken so that their length was less than the line length. This is enabled by default.
char           1 Non-existent characters. This is enabled by default.
color           524288
  Color related warnings.
delim           8 Missing or mismatched closing delimiters.
di           256 Use of di or da without an argument when there is no current diversion.
el           16 Use of the el request with no matching ie request.
escape           32768
  Unrecognized escape sequences. When an unrecognized escape sequence is encountered, the escape character is ignored.
font           131072 Non-existent fonts. This is enabled by default.
ig           262144 Invalid escapes in text ignored with the ig request. These are conditions that are errors when they do not occur in ignored text.
input           16384 Invalid input characters.
mac           512 Use of undefined strings, macros and diversions. When an undefined string, macro or diversion is used, that string is automatically defined as empty. So, in most cases, at most one warning will be given for each name.
missing           8192
  Requests that are missing non-optional arguments.
number           2 Invalid numeric expressions. This is enabled by default.
range           64 Out of range arguments.
reg           1024 Use of undefined number registers. When an undefined number register is used, that register is automatically defined to have a value of~0. So, in most cases, at most one warning will be given for use of a particular name.
right-brace           4096
  Use of [rs]} where a number was expected.
scale           32 Meaningless scaling indicators.
space           65536 Missing space between a request or macro and its argument. This warning will be given when an undefined name longer than two characters is encountered, and the first two characters of the name make a defined name. The request or macro will not be invoked. When this warning is given, no macro is automatically defined. This is enabled by default. This warning will never occur in compatibility mode.
syntax           128 Dubious syntax in numeric expressions.
tab           2048 Inappropriate use of a tab character. Either use of a tab character where a number was expected, or use of tab character in an unquoted macro argument.
There are also names that can be used to refer to groups of warnings:
all All warnings except di, mac, and reg. It is intended that this covers all warnings that are useful with traditional macro packages.
w All warnings.


GROFF_TMAC_PATH A colon separated list of directories in which to search for macro files. troff will scan directories given in the -M option before these, and in standard directories (current directory if in unsafe mode, home directory, /usr/lib/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/site-tmac, /usr/share/groff/ after these.
GROFF_TYPESETTER Default device.
GROFF_FONT_PATH A colon separated list of directories in which to search for the devname directory. troff will scan directories given in the -F option before these, and in standard directories (/usr/share/groff/site-font, /usr/share/groff/, /usr/lib/font) after these.


/usr/share/groff/ Initialization file (called before any other macro package).
/usr/share/groff/ Initialization file (called after any other macro package).
/usr/share/groff/ Macro files
  Device description file for device name.
/usr/share/groff/ Font file for font F of device name.
Note that troffrc and troffrc-end are neither searched in the current nor in the home directory by default for security reasons (even if the -U option is given). Use the -M command line option or the GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable to add these directories to the search path if necessary.


Copyright (C) 1989, 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 This document was written by James Clark, with modifications from and

This document is part of groff, the GNU roff distribution.


  The main program of the groff system, a wrapper around troff.
  A description of the groff language, including a short but complete reference of all predefined requests, registers, and escapes of plain groff. From the command line, this is called by
man 7 groff
  The differences of the groff language and the classical troff language. Currently, this is the most actual document of the groff system.
  An overview over groff and other roff systems, including pointers to further related documentation.
The groff info file, cf. info(1), presents all groff documentation within a single document.
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