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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

       groff_tmac - macro files in the roff typesetting system

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

       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 directories.


       groff  provides	all classical macro packages, some more full packages,
       and some secondary packages for special purposes.  Note that it is  not
       possible  to use multiple primary macro packages at the same time; saying

	      sh# groff -m man -m ms foo


	      sh# groff -m man foo -m ms bar

       will fail.

   Man Pages    [Toc]    [Back]
       man    This is the  classical  macro  package  for  UNIX  manual  pages
	      (man   pages);   it   is	quite  handy  and  easy  to  use;  see

       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    [Toc]    [Back]
       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

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

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

	      This  macro  file  is  already loaded at start-up by troff so it
	      isn't necessary to call it explicitly.  It provides an interface
	      to  set  the  paper  size  on  the  command line with the option
	      -dpaper=size.  Possible values for size are the same as the predefined
  papersize  values in the DESC file (only lowercase; see
	      groff_font(5) for more) except a7-d7.  An appended l (ell) character
  denotes  landscape  orientation.  Examples: a4, c3l, let-

	      Most output drivers need additional command line switches -p and
	      -l  to  override the default paper length and orientation as set
	      in the driver specific DESC file.  For example, use the  following
 for PS output on A4 paper in landscape orientation:

	      sh# groff -Tps -dpaper=a4l -P-pa4 -P-l -ms foo.ms > foo.ps

       pspic  A  single  macro	is  provided in this file, PSPIC, to include a
	      PostScript graphic in a document.  It makes only sense for  output
  devices  which support inclusion of PS images: -Tps, -Tdvi,
	      and -Thtml; the file is then loaded automatically.  Syntax:

		     .PSPIC [-L|-R|-I n] file [width [height]]

	      file is the name of the file containing the illustration;  width
	      and  height  give  the  desired width and height of the graphic.
	      The width and height arguments may have scaling  indicators  attached;
  the  default  scaling  indicator is i.  This macro will
	      scale the graphic uniformly in the x and y directions so that it
	      is  no  more  than  width wide and height high.  By default, the
	      graphic will be horizontally centered.  The -L  and  -R  options
	      cause  the graphic to be left-aligned and right-aligned, respectively.
  The -I option causes the graphic to be  indented  by  n
	      (default scaling indicator is m).

	      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 processing 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).

NAMING    [Toc]    [Back]

       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 sensation 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 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 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 tmac.name.  In modern operating 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

       In groff, most  macro  packages	are  described	in  man  pages	called
       groff_name(7), with a leading `m' for the classical packages.

INCLUSION    [Toc]    [Back]

       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 will be searched for instead.

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

       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

       For    example,	  suppose    a	  macro    file    is	 stored     as
       /usr/share/tmac/macros.tmac   and  is  used  in	some  document	called

       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/tmac/macros.tmac

       In both cases, the formatter is called with

	      sh# groff -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.

WRITING MACROS    [Toc]    [Back]

       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

       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

   Copy-in Mode    [Toc]    [Back]
       The phase when groff reads a macro is called copy-in mode in roff-talk.
       This is comparable to the C preprocessing 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	interpreted  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    [Toc]    [Back]
       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 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    [Toc]    [Back]
       o 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]

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

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

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

   Diversions    [Toc]    [Back]
       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 results 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 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.

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

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

       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):

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

       o the directories given in the $GROFF_TMAC_PATH environment variable

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

       o the home directory

       o a  platform-specific directory, being /usr/share/tmac in this installation

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

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

ENVIRONMENT    [Toc]    [Back]

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

AUTHOR    [Toc]    [Back]

       Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 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 <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html>.

       This document is part of groff, the  GNU  roff  distribution.   It  was
       written	by  Bernd Warken <bwarken@mayn.de>; it is maintained by Werner
       Lemberg <wl@gnu.org>.

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

       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 1.19		  1 May 2003			 GROFF_TMAC(5)
[ Back ]
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