gropdf(1) — Linux manual page

Name | Synopsis | Description | Options | Usage | Font installation | Environment | Files | Authors | See also | COLOPHON

gropdf(1)                General Commands Manual               gropdf(1)

Name         top

       gropdf - groff output driver for Portable Document Format

Synopsis         top

       gropdf [-dels] [-F font-directory] [-I inclusion-directory]
              [-p paper-format] [-u [cmap-file]] [-y foundry] [file ...]

       gropdf --help

       gropdf -v
       gropdf --version

Description         top

       The GNU roff PDF output driver translates the output of troff(1)
       into Portable Document Format.  Normally, gropdf is invoked by
       groff(1) when the latter is given the “-T pdf” option.  (In this
       installation, ps is the default output device.)  Use groff's -P
       option to pass any options shown above to gropdf.  If no file
       arguments are given, or if file is “-”, gropdf reads the standard
       input stream.  Output is written to the standard output stream.

       See section “Font installation” below for a guide to installing
       fonts for gropdf.

Options         top

       --help displays a usage message, while -v and --version show
       version information; all exit afterward.

       -d     Include debug information as comments within the PDF.
              Also produces an uncompressed PDF.

       -e     Forces gropdf to embed all fonts (even the 14 base PDF

       -F dir Prepend directory dir/devname to the search path for font,
              and device description files; name is the name of the
              device, usually pdf.

       -I dir Search the directory dir for files named in \X'pdf:
              pdfpic' device control commands.  -I may be specified more
              than once; each dir is searched in the given order.  To
              search the current working directory before others, add
              “-I .” at the desired place; it is otherwise searched

       -l     Orient the document in landscape format.

       -p paper-format
              Set the physical dimensions of the output medium.  This
              overrides the papersize, paperlength, and paperwidth
              directives in the DESC file; it accepts the same arguments
              as the papersize directive.  See groff_font(5) for

       -s     Append a comment line to end of PDF showing statistics,
              i.e. number of pages in document.  Ghostscript's ps2pdf
              complains about this line if it is included, but works

       -u [cmap-file]
              gropdf normally includes a ToUnicode CMap with any font
              created using text.enc as the encoding file, this makes it
              easier to search for words which contain ligatures.  You
              can include your own CMap by specifying a cmap-file or
              have no CMap at all by omitting the argument.

       -y foundry
              Set the foundry to use for selecting fonts of the same

Usage         top

       The input to gropdf must be in the format output by troff(1).
       This is described in groff_out(5).  In addition, the device and
       font description files for the device used must meet certain
       requirements: The resolution must be an integer multiple of 72
       times the sizescale.  The pdf device uses a resolution of 72000
       and a sizescale of 1000.

       The device description file must contain a valid paper format;
       see groff_font(5).  gropdf uses the same Type 1 Adobe PostScript
       fonts as the grops device driver.  Although the PDF Standard
       allows the use of other font types (like TrueType) this
       implementation only accepts the Type 1 PostScript font.  Fewer
       Type 1 fonts are supported natively in PDF documents than the
       standard 35 fonts supported by grops and all PostScript printers,
       but all the fonts are available since any which aren't supported
       natively are automatically embedded in the PDF.

       gropdf supports the concept of foundries, that is different
       versions of basically the same font.  During install a Foundry
       file controls where fonts are found and builds groff fonts from
       the files it discovers on your system.

       Each font description file must contain a command

              internalname psname

       which says that the PostScript name of the font is psname.  Lines
       starting with # and blank lines are ignored.  The code for each
       character given in the font file must correspond to the code in
       the default encoding for the font.  This code can be used with
       the \N escape sequence in troff to select the character, even if
       the character does not have a groff name.  Every character in the
       font file must exist in the PostScript font, and the widths given
       in the font file must match the widths used in the PostScript

       Note that gropdf is currently only able to display the first 256
       glyphs in any font.  This restriction will be lifted in a later

       gropdf can automatically include the downloadable fonts necessary
       to print the document.  Fonts may be in PFA or PFB format.

       Any downloadable fonts which should, when required, be included
       by gropdf must be listed in the file /usr/local/share/groff/
       1.23.0/font/devpdf/download; this should consist of lines of the

              foundry font filename

       where foundry is the foundry name or blank for the default
       foundry.  font is the PostScript name of the font, and filename
       is the name of the file containing the font; lines beginning with
       # and blank lines are ignored; fields must be separated by tabs
       (spaces are not allowed); filename is searched for using the same
       mechanism that is used for groff font metric files.  The download
       file itself is also sought using this mechanism.  Foundry names
       are usually a single character (such as ‘U’ for the URW foundry)
       or empty for the default foundry.  This default uses the same
       fonts as ghostscript uses when it embeds fonts in a PDF file.

       In the default setup there are styles called R, I, B, and BI
       mounted at font positions 1 to 4.  The fonts are grouped into
       families A, BM, C, H, HN, N, P, and T having members in each of
       these styles:

              AR     AvantGarde-Book
              AI     AvantGarde-BookOblique
              AB     AvantGarde-Demi
              ABI    AvantGarde-DemiOblique
              BMR    Bookman-Light
              BMI    Bookman-LightItalic
              BMB    Bookman-Demi
              BMBI   Bookman-DemiItalic
              CR     Courier
              CI     Courier-Oblique
              CB     Courier-Bold
              CBI    Courier-BoldOblique
              HR     Helvetica
              HI     Helvetica-Oblique
              HB     Helvetica-Bold
              HBI    Helvetica-BoldOblique
              HNR    Helvetica-Narrow
              HNI    Helvetica-Narrow-Oblique
              HNB    Helvetica-Narrow-Bold
              HNBI   Helvetica-Narrow-BoldOblique
              NR     NewCenturySchlbk-Roman
              NI     NewCenturySchlbk-Italic
              NB     NewCenturySchlbk-Bold
              NBI    NewCenturySchlbk-BoldItalic
              PR     Palatino-Roman
              PI     Palatino-Italic
              PB     Palatino-Bold
              PBI    Palatino-BoldItalic
              TR     Times-Roman
              TI     Times-Italic
              TB     Times-Bold
              TBI    Times-BoldItalic

       There is also the following font which is not a member of a

              ZCMI   ZapfChancery-MediumItalic

       There are also some special fonts called S for the PS Symbol
       font.  The lower case greek characters are automatically slanted
       (to match the SymbolSlanted font (SS) available to PostScript).
       Zapf Dingbats is available as ZD; the “hand pointing left” glyph
       (\[lh]) is available since it has been defined using the \X'pdf:
       xrev' device control command, which reverses the direction of
       letters within words.

       The default color for \m and \M is black.

       gropdf understands some of the device control commands supported
       by grops(1).

       \X'ps: invis'
              Suppress output.

       \X'ps: endinvis'
              Stop suppressing output.

       \X'ps: exec gsave currentpoint 2 copy translate n rotate neg exch
       neg exch translate'
              where n is the angle of rotation.  This is to support the
              align command in pic(1).

       \X'ps: exec grestore'
              Used by pic(1) to restore state after rotation.

       \X'ps: exec n setlinejoin'
              where n can be one of the following values.

              0 = Miter join
              1 = Round join
              2 = Bevel join

       \X'ps: exec n setlinecap'
              where n can be one of the following values.

              0 = Butt cap
              1 = Round cap, and
              2 = Projecting square cap

       \X'ps: ... pdfmark'
              All the pdfmark macros installed by using -m pdfmark or -m
              mspdf (see documentation in pdfmark.pdf).  A subset of
              these macros are installed automatically when you use
              -Tpdf so you should not need to use “-m pdfmark” to access
              most PDF functionality.

       gropdf also supports a subset of the commands introduced in
       present.tmac.  Specifically it supports:-


       Which allows you to create presentation type PDFs.  Many of the
       other commands are already available in other macro packages.

       These commands are implemented with groff X commands:-

       \X'ps: exec %%%%PAUSE'
              The section before this is treated as a block and is
              introduced using the current BLOCK transition setting (see
              “\X'pdf: transition'” below).  Equivalently, .pdfpause is
              available as a macro.

       \X'ps: exec %%%%BEGINONCE'
              Any text following this command (up to %%%%ENDONCE) is
              shown only once, the next %%%%PAUSE will remove it.  If
              producing a non-presentation PDF, i.e. ignoring the
              pauses, see GROPDF_NOSLIDE below, this text is ignored.

       \X'ps: exec %%%%ENDONCE'
              This terminates the block defined by %%%%BEGINONCE.  This
              pair of commands is what implements the .BLOCKS
              Once/.BLOCKE commands in present.tmac.

       The mom macro package already integrates these extensions, so you
       can build slides with mom.

       If you use present.tmac with gropdf there is no need to run the
       program presentps(1) since the output will already be a
       presentation PDF.

       All other ps: tags are silently ignored.

       One \X device control command used by the DVI driver is also

              where the paper-format parameter is the same as that to
              the papersize directive.  See groff_font(5).  This means
              that you can alter the page size at will within the PDF
              file being created by gropdf.  If you do want to change
              the paper format, it must be done before you start
              creating the page.

       gropdf supports several more device control features using the
       pdf: tag.  Some have counterpart convenience macros that take the
       same arguments and behave equivalently.

       \X'pdf: pdfpic file alignment width height line-length'
              Place an image of the specified width containing the PDF
              drawing from file file of desired width and height (if
              height is missing or zero then it is scaled
              proportionally).  If alignment is -L the drawing is left-
              aligned.  If it is -C or -R a line-length greater than the
              width of the drawing is required as well.  If width is
              specified as zero then the width is scaled in proportion
              to the height.

       \X'pdf: xrev'
              Toggle the reversal of glyph direction.  This feature
              works “letter by letter”, that is, each letter in a word
              is reversed left-to-right, not the entire word.  One
              application is the reversal of glyphs in the Zapf Dingbats
              font.  To restore the normal glyph orientation, repeat the

       \X'pdf: markstart /ANN-definition'
       \X'pdf: markend'
              Macros that support PDF bookmarks use these calls
              internally to start and stop (respectively) the placement
              of the bookmark's hot spot; the user will have called
              “.pdfhref L” with the text of the hot spot.  Normally,
              these are never used except from within the pdfmark

       \X'pdf: marksuspend'
       \X'pdf: markrestart'
              If you use a page location trap to produce a header or
              footer, or otherwise interrupt a document's text, you need
              to use these commands if a PDF hot spot crosses a trap
              boundary; otherwise any text output by the trap will be
              marked as part of the hot spot.  To prevent this error,
              place these device control commands or their corresponding
              convenience macros .pdfmarksuspend and .pdfmarkrestart at
              the start and end of the trap macro, respectively.

       \X'pdf: pagename name'
              Assign the current page a name.  All documents bear two
              default names, ‘top’ and ‘bottom’.  The convenience macro
              for this command is .pdfpagename.

       \X'pdf: switchtopage when name'
              Normally each new page is appended to the end of the
              document, this command allows following pages to be
              inserted at a ‘named’ position within the document (see
              pagename command above).  ‘when’ can be either ‘after’ or
              ‘before’.  If it is omitted it defaults to ‘before’.  It
              should be used at the end of the page before you want the
              switch to happen.  This allows pages such as a TOC to be
              moved to elsewhere in the document, but more esoteric uses
              are possible.  The convenience macro for this command is

       \X'pdf: transition feature mode duration dimension motion
       direction scale bool'
              where feature can be either SLIDE or BLOCK.  When it is
              SLIDE the transition is used when a new slide is
              introduced to the screen, if BLOCK then this transition is
              used for the individual blocks which make up the slide.

              mode is the transition type between slides:-

                     Split - Two lines sweep across the screen,
                     revealing the new page.  The lines may be either
                     horizontal or vertical and may move inward from the
                     edges of the page or outward from the center, as
                     specified by the dimension and motion entries,
                     Blinds - Multiple lines, evenly spaced across the
                     screen, synchronously sweep in the same direction
                     to reveal the new page.  The lines may be either
                     horizontal or vertical, as specified by the
                     dimension entry.  Horizontal lines move downward;
                     vertical lines move to the right.
                     Box - A rectangular box sweeps inward from the
                     edges of the page or outward from the center, as
                     specified by the motion entry, revealing the new
                     Wipe - A single line sweeps across the screen from
                     one edge to the other in the direction specified by
                     the direction entry, revealing the new page.
                     Dissolve - The old page dissolves gradually to
                     reveal the new one.
                     Glitter - Similar to Dissolve, except that the
                     effect sweeps across the page in a wide band moving
                     from one side of the screen to the other in the
                     direction specified by the direction entry.
                     R - The new page simply replaces the old one with
                     no special transition effect; the direction entry
                     shall be ignored.
                     Fly - (PDF 1.5) Changes are flown out or in (as
                     specified by motion), in the direction specified by
                     direction, to or from a location that is offscreen
                     except when direction is None.
                     Push - (PDF 1.5) The old page slides off the screen
                     while the new page slides in, pushing the old page
                     out in the direction specified by direction.
                     Cover - (PDF 1.5) The new page slides on to the
                     screen in the direction specified by direction,
                     covering the old page.
                     Uncover - (PDF 1.5) The old page slides off the
                     screen in the direction specified by direction,
                     uncovering the new page in the direction specified
                     by direction.
                     Fade - (PDF 1.5) The new page gradually becomes
                     visible through the old one.

              duration is the length of the transition in seconds
              (default 1).

              dimension (Optional; Split and Blinds transition styles
              only) The dimension in which the specified transition
              effect shall occur: H Horizontal, or V Vertical.

              motion (Optional; Split, Box and Fly transition styles
              only) The direction of motion for the specified transition
              effect: I Inward from the edges of the page, or O Outward
              from the center of the page.

              direction (Optional; Wipe, Glitter, Fly, Cover, Uncover
              and Push transition styles only) The direction in which
              the specified transition effect shall moves, expressed in
              degrees counterclockwise starting from a left-to-right
              direction.  If the value is a number, it shall be one of:
              0 = Left to right, 90 = Bottom to top (Wipe only), 180 =
              Right to left (Wipe only), 270 = Top to bottom, 315 = Top-
              left to bottom-right (Glitter only) The value can be None,
              which is relevant only for the Fly transition when the
              value of scale is not 1.0.

              scale (Optional; PDF 1.5; Fly transition style only) The
              starting or ending scale at which the changes shall be
              drawn.  If motion specifies an inward transition, the
              scale of the changes drawn shall progress from scale to
              1.0 over the course of the transition.  If motion
              specifies an outward transition, the scale of the changes
              drawn shall progress from 1.0 to scale over the course of
              the transition

              bool (Optional; PDF 1.5; Fly transition style only) If
              true, the area that shall be flown in is rectangular and

              This command can be used by calling the macro
              .pdftransition using the parameters described above.  Any
              of the parameters may be replaced with a "." which
              signifies the parameter retains its previous value, also
              any trailing missing parameters are ignored.

              Note: not all PDF Readers support any or all these

       \X'pdf: background cmd left top right bottom weight'
       \X'pdf: background off'
       \X'pdf: background footnote bottom'
              produces a background rectangle on the page, where

              cmd    is the command, which can be any of “page|fill|box”
                     in combination.  Thus, “pagefill” would draw a
                     rectangle which covers the whole current page size
                     (in which case the rest of the parameters can be
                     omitted because the box dimensions are taken from
                     the current media size).  “boxfill”, on the other
                     hand, requires the given dimensions to place the
                     box.  Including “fill” in the command will paint
                     the rectangle with the current fill colour (as with
                     \M[]) and including “box” will give the rectangle a
                     border in the current stroke colour (as with \m[]).

                     cmd may also be “off” on its own, which will
                     terminate drawing the current box.  If you have
                     specified a page colour with “pagefill”, it is
                     always the first box in the stack, and if you
                     specify it again, it will replace the first entry.
                     Be aware that the “pagefill” box renders the page
                     opaque, so tools that “watermark” PDF pages are
                     unlikely to be successful.  To return the
                     background to transparent, issue an “off” command
                     with no other boxes open.

                     Finally, cmd may be “footnote” followed by a new
                     value for bottom, which will be used for all open
                     boxes on the current page.  This is to allow room
                     for footnote areas that grow while a page is
                     processed (to accommodate multiple footnotes, for
                     instance).  (If the value is negative, it is used
                     as an offset from the bottom of the page.)

              bottom are the coordinates of the box.  The top and bottom
                     coordinates are the minimum and maximum for the
                     box, since the actual start of the box is groff's
                     drawing position when you issue the command, and
                     the bottom of the box is the point where you turn
                     the box “off”.  The top and bottom coordinates are
                     used only if the box drawing extends onto the next
                     page; ordinarily, they would be set to the header
                     and footer margins.

              weight provides the line width for the border if “box” is
                     included in the command.

              The convenience macro for this escape sequence is
              .pdfbackground.  An sboxes macro file is also available;
              see groff_tmac(5).

       gropdf's support macros in pdf.tmac define the convenience macros
       described above.  Some features have no direct device control
       command counterpart.

       .pdfinfo /field content ...
              Define PDF metadata.  field may be be one of Title,
              Author, Subject, Keywords, or another datum supported by
              the PDF standard or your reader.  field must be prefixed
              with a slash.

   Importing graphics
       gropdf supports only the inclusion of other PDF files for inline
       images.  Such a PDF file may, however, contain any of the graphic
       formats supported by the PDF standard, such as JPEG/JFIF, PNG,
       and GIF.  Any application that outputs PDF can thus be used to
       prepare files for embedding in documents processed by groff and

       The PDF file you wish to insert must be a single page and the
       drawing must just fit inside the media size of the PDF file.  In
       inkscape(1) or gimp(1), for example, make sure the canvas size
       just fits the image.

       The PDF parser gropdf implements has not been rigorously tested
       with all applications that produce PDF.  If you find a single-
       page PDF which fails to import properly, try processing it with
       the pdftk(1) program.
              pdftk existing-file output new-file
       You may find that new-file imports successfully.

   TrueType and other font formats
       gropdf does not yet support any font formats besides Adobe Type 1
       (PFA or PFB).

Font installation         top

       The following is a step-by-step font installation guide for

       • Convert your font to something groff understands.  This is a
         PostScript Type 1 font in PFA or PFB format, together with an
         AFM file.  A PFA file begins as follows.
         A PFB file contains this string as well, preceded by some non-
         printing bytes.  In the following steps, we will consider the
         use of CTAN's BrushScriptX-Italic 
         ⟨⟩ font in PFA

       • Convert the AFM file to a groff font description file with the
         afmtodit(1) program.  For instance,
                $ afmtodit BrushScriptX-Italic.afm BSI
         converts the Adobe Font Metric file BrushScriptX-Italic.afm to
         the groff font description file BSI.

         If you have a font family which provides regular upright
         (roman), bold, italic, and bold-italic styles, (where “italic”
         may be “oblique” or “slanted”), we recommend using R, B, I, and
         BI, respectively, as suffixes to the groff font family name to
         enable groff's font family and style selection features.  An
         example is groff's built-in support for Times: the font family
         name is abbreviated as T, and the groff font names are
         therefore TR, TB, TI, and TBI.  In our example, however, the
         BrushScriptX font is available in a single style only, italic.

       • Install the groff font description file(s) in a devpdf
         subdirectory in the search path that groff uses for device and
         font file descriptions.  See the GROFF_FONT_PATH entry in
         section “Environment” of troff(1) for the current value of the
         font search path.  While groff doesn't directly use AFM files,
         it is a good idea to store them alongside its font description

       • Register fonts in the devpdf/download file so they can be
         located for embedding in PDF files gropdf generates.  Only the
         first download file encountered in the font search path is
         read.  If in doubt, copy the default download file (see section
         “Files” below) to the first directory in the font search path
         and add your fonts there.  The PostScript font name used by
         gropdf is stored in the internalname field in the groff font
         description file.  (This name does not necessarily resemble the
         font's file name.)  If the font in our example had originated
         from a foundry named Z, we would add the following line to
         A tab character, depicted as →, separates the fields.  The
         default foundry has no name: its field is empty and entries
         corresponding to it start with a tab character, as will the one
         in our example.

       • Test the selection and embedding of the new font.
                printf "\\f[BSI]Hello, world!\n" | groff -T pdf -P -e >hello.pdf
                see hello.pdf

Environment         top

              A list of directories in which to seek the selected output
              device's directory of device and font description files.
              If, in the download file, the font file has been specified
              with a full path, no directories are searched.  See
              troff(1) and groff_font(5).

              If set and evaluates to a true value (to Perl), gropdf
              ignores commands specific to presentation PDFs, producing
              a normal PDF instead.

              A timestamp (expressed as seconds since the Unix epoch) to
              use as the output creation timestamp in place of the
              current time.  The time is converted to human-readable
              form using Perl's localtime() function and recorded in a
              PDF comment.

       TZ     The time zone to use when converting the current time (or
              value of SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH) to human-readable form; see

Files         top

              describes the pdf output device.

              describes the font known as F on device pdf.

              describes the font from the URW foundry (versus the Adobe
              default) known as F on device pdf.

              lists fonts available for embedding within the PDF
              document (by analogy to the ps device's downloadable font

              is a data file used by the groff build system to locate
              PostScript Type 1 fonts.

              describes the encoding scheme used by most PostScript
              Type 1 fonts; the encoding directive of font description
              files for the pdf device refers to it.

              defines macros for use with the pdf output device.  It is
              automatically loaded by troffrc when the pdf output device
              is selected.

              defines the PDFPIC macro for embedding images in a
              document; see groff_tmac(5).  It is automatically loaded
              by troffrc.

Authors         top

       gropdf was written and is maintained by Deri James ⟨deri@⟩.

See also         top

              “Using PDF boxes with groff and the ms macros”, by Deri

              is part of gpresent⟩, a
              software package by Bob Diertens that works with groff to
              produce presentations (“foils”, or “slide decks”).

       afmtodit(1), groff(1), troff(1), groff_font(5), groff_out(5)

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the groff (GNU troff) project.  Information
       about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report
       for this manual page, see ⟨⟩.
       This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on 2023-06-23.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2023-06-23.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
       is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

groff 1.23.0.rc4.250-1b2b6-dirt2y2 June 2023                     gropdf(1)