grops(1) — Linux manual page

Name | Synopsis | Description | Options | Usage | Font Installation | Old Fonts | Environment | Files | See Also | COLOPHON

grops(1)                   General Commands Manual                  grops(1)

Name         top

       grops - PostScript driver for groff

Synopsis         top

       grops [-glmv] [-b n] [-c n] [-F dir] [-I dir] [-p papersize]
             [-P prologue] [-w n] [file ...]

Description         top

       grops translates the output of GNU troff to PostScript.  Normally
       grops should be invoked by using the groff command with a -Tps
       option.  (Actually, this is the default for groff.)  If no files are
       given, grops reads the standard input.  A filename of - also causes
       grops to read the standard input.  PostScript output is written to
       the standard output.  When grops is run by groff options can be
       passed to grops using groff's -P option.

       Note that grops doesn't produce a valid document structure
       (conforming to the Document Structuring Convention) if called with
       multiple file arguments.  To print such concatenated output it is
       necessary to deactivate DSC handling in the printing program or
       previewer.  See section “Font Installation” below for a guide how to
       install fonts for grops.

Options         top

       Whitespace is permitted between a command-line option and its

       -bn    Provide workarounds for older printers, broken spoolers, and
              previewers.  Normally grops produces output at PostScript
              LanguageLevel 2 that conforms to the Document Structuring
              Conventions version 3.0.  Some older printers, spoolers, and
              previewers can't handle such output.  The value of n controls
              what grops does to make its output acceptable to such
              programs.  A value of 0 causes grops not to employ any

              Add 1 if no %%BeginDocumentSetup and %%EndDocumentSetup
              comments should be generated; this is needed for early
              versions of TranScript that get confused by anything between
              the %%EndProlog comment and the first %%Page comment.

              Add 2 if lines in included files beginning with %! should be
              stripped out; this is needed for Sun's pageview previewer.

              Add 4 if %%Page, %%Trailer and %%EndProlog comments should be
              stripped out of included files; this is needed for spoolers
              that don't understand the %%BeginDocument and %%EndDocument

              Add 8 if the first line of the PostScript output should be
              %!PS-Adobe-2.0 rather than %!PS-Adobe-3.0; this is needed when
              using Sun's Newsprint with a printer that requires page

              Add 16 if no media size information should be included in the
              document (this is, neither use %%DocumentMedia nor the
              setpagedevice PostScript command).  This was the behaviour of
              groff version 1.18.1 and earlier; it is needed for older
              printers which don't understand PostScript LanguageLevel 2.
              It is also necessary if the output is further processed to get
              an encapsulated PS (EPS) file – see below.

              The default value can be specified by a

                     broken n

              command in the DESC file.  Otherwise the default value is 0.

       -cn    Print n copies of each page.

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

       -g     Guess the page length.  This generates PostScript code that
              guesses the page length.  The guess is correct only if the
              imageable area is vertically centered on the page.  This
              option allows you to generate documents that can be printed
              both on letter (8.5×11) paper and on A4 paper without change.

       -Idir  This option may be used to add a directory to the search path
              for files on the command line and files named in \X'ps:
              import' and \X'ps: file' escapes.  The search path is
              initialized with the current directory.  This option may be
              specified more than once; the directories are then searched in
              the order specified (but before the current directory).  If
              you want to make the current directory be read before other
              directories, add -I. at the appropriate place.

              No directory search is performed for files with an absolute
              file name.

       -l     Print the document in landscape format.

       -m     Turn manual feed on for the document.

              Set physical dimension of output medium.  This overrides the
              papersize, paperlength, and paperwidth commands in the DESC
              file; it accepts the same arguments as the papersize command.
              See groff_font(5) for details.

              Use the file prologue-file (in the font path) as the prologue
              instead of the default prologue file prologue.  This option
              overrides the environment variable GROPS_PROLOGUE.

       -wn    Lines should be drawn using a thickness of n thousandths of an
              em.  If this option is not given, the line thickness defaults
              to 0.04 em.

       -v     Print the version number.

Usage         top

       The input to grops 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 ps device uses a
       resolution of 72000 and a sizescale of 1000.

       The device description file must contain a valid paper size; see
       groff_font(5) for more information.

       Each font description file must contain a command

              internalname psname

       which says that the PostScript name of the font is psname.  It may
       also contain a command

              encoding enc_file

       which says that the PostScript font should be reencoded using the
       encoding described in enc_file; this file should consist of a
       sequence of lines of the form:

              pschar code

       where pschar is the PostScript name of the character, and code is its
       position in the encoding expressed as a decimal integer; valid values
       are in the range 0 to 255.  Lines starting with # and blank lines are
       ignored.  The code for each character given in the font file must
       correspond to the code for the character in encoding file, or to the
       code in the default encoding for the font if the PostScript font is
       not to be reencoded.  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 font.  grops assumes that a
       character with a groff name of space is blank (makes no marks on the
       page); it can make use of such a character to generate more efficient
       and compact PostScript output.

       Note that grops is able to display all glyphs in a PostScript font,
       not only 256.  enc_file (or the default encoding if no encoding file
       specified) just defines the order of glyphs for the first 256
       characters; all other glyphs are accessed with additional encoding
       vectors which grops produces on the fly.

       grops can automatically include the downloadable fonts necessary to
       print the document.  Such fonts must be in PFA format.  Use
       pfbtops(1) to convert a Type 1 font in PFB format.  Any downloadable
       fonts which should, when required, be included by grops must be
       listed in the file /usr/local/share/groff/1.22.4/font/devps/download;
       this should consist of lines of the form

              font filename

       where 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 may be separated by tabs or spaces;
       filename is searched for using the same mechanism that is used for
       groff font metric files.  The download file itself is also searched
       for using this mechanism; currently, only the first found file in the
       font path is used.

       If the file containing a downloadable font or imported document
       conforms to the Adobe Document Structuring Conventions, then grops
       interprets any comments in the files sufficiently to ensure that its
       own output is conforming.  It also supplies any needed font resources
       that are listed in the download file as well as any needed file
       resources.  It is also able to handle inter-resource dependencies.
       For example, suppose that you have a downloadable font called
       Garamond, and also a downloadable font called Garamond-Outline which
       depends on Garamond (typically it would be defined to copy Garamond's
       font dictionary, and change the PaintType), then it is necessary for
       Garamond to appear before Garamond-Outline in the PostScript
       document.  grops handles this automatically provided that the
       downloadable font file for Garamond-Outline indicates its dependence
       on Garamond by means of the Document Structuring Conventions, for
       example by beginning with the following lines

              %!PS-Adobe-3.0 Resource-Font
              %%DocumentNeededResources: font Garamond
              %%IncludeResource: font Garamond

       In this case both Garamond and Garamond-Outline would need to be
       listed in the download file.  A downloadable font should not include
       its own name in a %%DocumentSuppliedResources comment.

       grops does not interpret %%DocumentFonts comments.  The %%Document‐
       NeededResources, %%DocumentSuppliedResources, %%IncludeResource,
       %%BeginResource, and %%EndResource comments (or possibly the old
       %%DocumentNeededFonts, %%DocumentSuppliedFonts, %%IncludeFont,
       %%BeginFont, and %%EndFont comments) should be used.

       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 family:

              ZCMI   ZapfChancery-MediumItalic

       There are also some special fonts called S for the PS Symbol font,
       and SS, containing slanted lowercase Greek letters taken from PS
       Symbol.  Zapf Dingbats is available as ZD, and a reversed version of
       ZapfDingbats (with symbols pointing in the opposite direction) is
       available as ZDR; most characters in these fonts are unnamed and must
       be accessed using \N.

       The default color for \m and \M is black; for colors defined in the
       ‘rgb’ color space setrgbcolor is used, for ‘cmy’ and ‘cmyk’
       setcmykcolor, and for ‘gray’ setgray.  Note that setcmykcolor is a
       PostScript LanguageLevel 2 command and thus not available on some
       older printers.

       grops understands various X commands produced using the \X escape
       sequence; grops only interprets commands that begin with a ps: tag.

       \X'ps: exec code'
              This executes the arbitrary PostScript commands in code.  The
              PostScript currentpoint is set to the position of the \X
              command before executing code.  The origin is at the top left
              corner of the page, and y coordinates increase down the page.
              A procedure u is defined that converts groff units to the
              coordinate system in effect (provided the user doesn't change
              the scale).  For example,

                     .nr x 1i
                     \X'ps: exec \nx u 0 rlineto stroke'

              draws a horizontal line one inch long.  code may make changes
              to the graphics state, but any changes persist only to the end
              of the page.  A dictionary containing the definitions
              specified by the def and mdef is on top of the dictionary
              stack.  If your code adds definitions to this dictionary, you
              should allocate space for them using \X'ps mdef n'.  Any
              definitions persist only until the end of the page.  If you
              use the \Y escape sequence with an argument that names a
              macro, code can extend over multiple lines.  For example,

                     .nr x 1i
                     .de y
                     ps: exec
                     \nx u 0 rlineto

              is another way to draw a horizontal line one inch long.  Note
              the single backslash before ‘nx’ – the only reason to use a
              number register while defining the macro ‘y’ is to convert a
              user-specified dimension ‘1i’ to internal groff units which
              are in turn converted to PS units with the u procedure.

              grops wraps user-specified PostScript code into a dictionary,
              nothing more.  In particular, it doesn't start and end the
              inserted code with save and restore, respectively.  This must
              be supplied by the user, if necessary.

       \X'ps: file name'
              This is the same as the exec command except that the
              PostScript code is read from file name.

       \X'ps: def code'
              Place a PostScript definition contained in code in the
              prologue.  There should be at most one definition per \X
              command.  Long definitions can be split over several \X
              commands; all the code arguments are simply joined together
              separated by newlines.  The definitions are placed in a
              dictionary which is automatically pushed on the dictionary
              stack when an exec command is executed.  If you use the \Y
              escape sequence with an argument that names a macro, code can
              extend over multiple lines.

       \X'ps: mdef n code'
              Like def, except that code may contain up to n definitions.
              grops needs to know how many definitions code contains so that
              it can create an appropriately sized PostScript dictionary to
              contain them.

       \X'ps: import file llx lly urx ury width [ height ]'
              Import a PostScript graphic from file.  The arguments llx,
              lly, urx, and ury give the bounding box of the graphic in the
              default PostScript coordinate system; they should all be
              integers; llx and lly are the x and y coordinates of the lower
              left corner of the graphic; urx and ury are the x and
              y coordinates of the upper right corner of the graphic; width
              and height are integers that give the desired width and height
              in groff units of the graphic.

              The graphic is scaled so that it has this width and height and
              translated so that the lower left corner of the graphic is
              located at the position associated with \X command.  If the
              height argument is omitted it is scaled uniformly in the x and
              y directions so that it has the specified width.

              Note that the contents of the \X command are not interpreted
              by troff; so vertical space for the graphic is not
              automatically added, and the width and height arguments are
              not allowed to have attached scaling indicators.

              If the PostScript file complies with the Adobe Document
              Structuring Conventions and contains a %%BoundingBox comment,
              then the bounding box can be automatically extracted from
              within groff by using the psbb request.

              See groff_tmac(5) for a description of the PSPIC macro which
              provides a convenient high-level interface for inclusion of
              PostScript graphics.

       \X'ps: invis'
       \X'ps: endinvis'
              No output is generated for text and drawing commands that are
              bracketed with these \X commands.  These commands are intended
              for use when output from troff is previewed before being
              processed with grops; if the previewer is unable to display
              certain characters or other constructs, then other substitute
              characters or constructs can be used for previewing by
              bracketing them with these \X commands.

              For example, gxditview is not able to display a proper \(em
              character because the standard X11 fonts do not provide it;
              this problem can be overcome by executing the following

                     .char \(em \X'ps: invis'\
                     \Z'\v'-.25m'\h'.05m'\D'l .9m 0'\h'.05m''\
                     \X'ps: endinvis'\(em

              In this case, gxditview is unable to display the \(em
              character and draws the line, whereas grops prints the \(em
              character and ignores the line (this code is already in file
              Xps.tmac which is loaded if a document intended for grops is
              previewed with gxditview).

       If a PostScript procedure BPhook has been defined via a ‘ps: def’ or
       ‘ps: mdef’ device command, it is executed at the beginning of every
       page (before anything is drawn or written by groff).  For example, to
       underlay the page contents with the word ‘DRAFT’ in light gray, you
       might use

              .de XX
              ps: def
              { gsave .9 setgray clippath pathbbox exch 2 copy
                .5 mul exch .5 mul translate atan rotate pop pop
                /NewCenturySchlbk-Roman findfont 200 scalefont setfont
                (DRAFT) dup stringwidth pop -.5 mul -70 moveto show
                grestore }
              .devicem XX

       Or, to cause lines and polygons to be drawn with square linecaps and
       mitered linejoins instead of the round linecaps and linejoins
       normally used by grops, use

              .de XX
              ps: def
              /BPhook { 2 setlinecap 0 setlinejoin } def
              .devicem XX

       (square linecaps, as opposed to butt linecaps (0 setlinecap), give
       true corners in boxed tables even though the lines are drawn

   Encapsulated PostScript
       grops itself doesn't emit bounding box information.  With the help of
       Ghostscript the following simple script, groff2eps, produces an
       encapsulated PS file.

              #! /bin/sh
              groff -P-b16 $1 > $
              gs -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=bbox -- $ 2> $1.bbox
              sed -e "/^%%Orientation/r $1.bbox" \
                  -e "/^%!PS-Adobe-3.0/s/$/ EPSF-3.0/" $ > $1.eps
              rm $ $1.bbox

       Just say

              groff2eps foo

       to convert file foo to foo.eps.

   TrueType and other font formats
       TrueType fonts can be used with grops if converted first to Type 42
       format, a special PostScript wrapper equivalent to the PFA format
       mentioned in pfbtops(1).  There are several different methods to
       generate a type42 wrapper and most of them involve the use of a
       PostScript interpreter such as Ghostscript – see gs(1).

       Yet, the easiest method involves the use of the application
       ttftot42(1).  This program uses freetype(3) (version 1.3.1) to
       generate type42 font wrappers and well-formed AFM files that can be
       fed to the afmtodit(1) script to create appropriate metric files.
       The resulting font wrappers should be added to the download file.
       ttftot42 source code can be downloaded from 

       Another solution for creating type42 wrappers is to use FontForge,
       available from http://fontforge.sf.net⟩.
       This font editor can convert most outline font formats.

Font Installation         top

       This section gives a summary of the above explanations; it can serve
       as a step-by-step font installation guide for grops.

        ·  Convert your font to something groff understands.  This is either
           a PostScript Type 1 font in PFA format or a PostScript Type 42
           font, together with an AFM file.

           The very first characters in a PFA file look like this:


           A PFB file has this also in the first line, but the string is
           preceded with some binary bytes.

           The very first characters in a Type 42 font file look like this:


           This is a wrapper format for TrueType fonts.  Old PS printers
           might not support it (this is, they don't have a built-in
           TrueType font interpreter).

           If your font is in PFB format (such fonts normally have .pfb as
           the file extension), you might use groff's pfbtops(1) program to
           convert it to PFA.  For TrueType fonts, try ttftot42 or
           fontforge.  For all other font formats use fontforge which can
           convert most outline font formats.

        ·  Convert the AFM file to a groff font description file with the
           afmtodit(1) program.  An example call is

                  afmtodit Foo-Bar-Bold.afm textmap FBB

           which converts the metric file Foo-Bar-Bold.afm to the groff font
           FBB.  If you have a font family which comes with normal, bold,
           italic, and bold italic faces, it is recommended to use the
           letters R, B, I, and BI, respectively, as postfixes in the groff
           font names to make groff's ‘.fam’ request work.  An example is
           groff's built-in Times-Roman font: The font family name is T, and
           the groff font names are TR, TB, TI, and TBI.

        ·  Install both the groff font description files and the fonts in a
           devps subdirectory of the font path which groff finds.  See
           section “Environment” in troff(1) for the actual value of the
           font path.  Note that groff doesn't use the AFM files (but it is
           a good idea to store them anyway).

        ·  Register all fonts which must be downloaded to the printer in the
           devps/download file.  Only the first occurrence of this file in
           the font path is read.  This means that you should copy the
           default download file to the first directory in your font path
           and add your fonts there.  To continue the above example we
           assume that the PS font name for Foo-Bar-Bold.pfa is ‘XY-Foo-Bar-
           Bold’ (the PS font name is stored in the internalname field in
           the FBB file), thus the following line should be added to

                  XY-Foo-Bar-Bold Foo-Bar-Bold.pfa

Old Fonts         top

       groff versions 1.19.2 and earlier contain a slightly different set of
       the 35 Adobe core fonts; the difference is mainly the lack of the
       ‘Euro’ glyph and a reduced set of kerning pairs.  For backwards
       compatibility, these old fonts are installed also in the



       To use them, make sure that grops finds the fonts before the default
       system fonts (with the same names): Either add command-line option -F
       to grops

              groff -Tps -P-F -P/usr/local/share/groff/1.22.4/oldfont ...

       or add the directory to groff's font path environment variable


Environment         top

              If this is set to foo, then grops uses the file foo (in the
              font path) instead of the default prologue file prologue.  The
              option -P overrides this environment variable.

              A list of directories in which to search for the devname
              directory in addition to the default ones.  See troff(1) and
              groff_font(5) for more details.

              A timestamp (expressed as seconds since the Unix epoch) to use
              as the creation timestamp in place of the current time.

Files         top

              Device description file.

              Font description file for font F.

              List of downloadable fonts.

              Encoding used for text fonts.

              Macros for use with grops; automatically loaded by troffrc

              Definition of PSPIC macro, automatically loaded by ps.tmac.

              Macros to disable use of characters not present in older
              PostScript printers (e.g., ‘eth’ or ‘thorn’).

              Temporary file.  See groff(1) for details on the location of
              temporary files.

See Also         top

       afmtodit(1), groff(1), troff(1), pfbtops(1), groff_out(5),
       groff_font(5), groff_char(7), groff_tmac(5)

       PostScript Language Document Structuring Conventions Specification 

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 2020-07-14.  (At that
       time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the repos‐
       itory was 2020-07-12.)  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            16 May 2020                        grops(1)

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