tbl - format tables for troff
tbl [ -Cv ] [ files... ]
This manual page describes the GNU version of tbl, which
is part of the groff document formatting system. tbl compiles
descriptions of tables embedded within troff input
files into commands that are understood by troff. Normally,
it should be invoked using the -t option of groff.
It is highly compatible with Unix tbl. The output generated
by GNU tbl cannot be processed with Unix troff; it
must be processed with GNU troff. If no files are given
on the command line, the standard input will be read. A
filename of - will cause the standard input to be read.
-C Recognize .TS and .TE even when followed by a character
other than space or newline.
-v Print the version number.
Only the differences between GNU tbl and Unix tbl are
Normally tbl attempts to prevent undesirable breaks in the
table by using diversions. This can sometimes interact
badly with macro packages' own use of diversions, when
footnotes, for example, are used. The nokeep option tells
tbl not to try and prevent breaks in this way.
The decimalpoint option specifies the character to be recognized
as the decimal point character in place of the
default period. It takes an argument in parentheses,
which must be a single character, as for the tab option.
The f format modifier can be followed by an arbitrary
length font name in parentheses.
There is a d format modifier which means that a vertically
spanning entry should be aligned at the bottom of its
There is no limit on the number of columns in a table, nor
any limit on the number of text blocks. All the lines of
a table are considered in deciding column widths, not just
the first 200. Table continuation (.T&) lines are not
restricted to the first 200 lines.
Numeric and alphabetic items may appear in the same column.
Numeric and alphabetic items may span horizontally.
tbl uses register, string, macro and diversion names
beginning with 3. When using tbl you should avoid using
any names beginning with a 3.
You should use .TS H/.TH in conjunction with a supporting
macro package for all multi-page boxed tables. If there
is no header that you wish to appear at the top of each
page of the table, place the .TH line immediately after
the format section. Do not enclose a multi-page table
within keep/release macros, or divert it in any other way.
A text block within a table must be able to fit on one
The bp request cannot be used to force a page-break in a
multi-page table. Instead, define BP as follows
.ie '\\n(.z'' .bp \\$1
.el \!.BP \\$1
and use BP instead of bp.
Using \a directly in a table to get leaders will not work.
This is correct behaviour: \a is a uninterpreted leader.
To get leaders use a real leader, either by using a control
A or like this:
.ds a \a
Groff Version 1.16.1 April 8, 2001 TBL(1)
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