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 - groff output driver for PostScript

Synopsis         top

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

       grops --help

       grops -v
       grops --version

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

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

       -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 workarounds.

              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

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

              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 comments.

              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 reversal.

              Add 16 if no media size information should be included in
              the document (that 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

              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

       -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.

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/1.23.0/
       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
       %%DocumentNeededResources, %%DocumentSuppliedResources,
       %%IncludeResource, %%BeginResource, and %%EndResource comments
       (or possibly the old %%DocumentNeededFonts, %%DocumentSupplied‐
       Fonts, %%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

              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:

       \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

              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

       \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.

              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 request

                     .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 PostScript wrapper equivalent to the PFA format
       described in pfbtops(1).  Several methods exist to generate a
       Type 42 wrapper; some of them involve the use of a PostScript
       interpreter such as Ghostscript—see gs(1).

       One approach is to use FontForge ⟨⟩, a font
       editor that can convert most outline font formats.  Here's an
       example of using the Roboto Slab Serif font with groff.  Several
       variables are used so that you can more easily adapt it into your
       own script.

           BASE=$(basename "$TTF")
           mkdir -p "$DIR"/devps
           fontforge -lang=ff -c "Open(\"$TTF\");\
           afmtodit "$DIR/devps/$AFM" "$MAP" "$DIR/devps/$GFN"
           printf "$BASE\t$PFA\n" >> "$DIR/devps/download"

       fontforge and afmtodit may generate warnings depending on the
       attributes of the font.  The test procedure is simple.

           printf ".ft RSR\nHello, world!\n" | groff -F "$DIR" >

       Once you're satisifed that the font works, you may want to
       generate any available related styles (for instance, Roboto Slab
       also has “Bold”, “Light”, and “Thin” styles) and set up
       GROFF_FONT_PATH in your environment to include the directory you
       keep the generated fonts in so that you don't have to use the -F

Font installation         top

       This section summarizes 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 is a wrapper format for TrueType fonts.  Old PS
              printers might not support it (that is, they might not
              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

       •      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

       •      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 download.

                     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



       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/1.23.0/oldfont

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


Environment         top

              A list of directories in which to seek the selected output
              device's directory of device and font description files.
              See troff(1) and groff_font(5).

              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

              A timestamp (expressed as seconds since the Unix epoch) to
              use as the creation timestamp in place of the current
              time.  The time is converted to human-readable form using
              ctime(3) and recorded in a PostScript 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

              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

              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

       PostScript Language Document Structuring Conventions
       Specification ⟨

       afmtodit(1), groff(1), troff(1), pfbtops(1), groff_char(7),
       groff_font(5), groff_out(5), groff_tmac(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 2021-08-27.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2021-08-23.)  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.rc1.654-4e1db-dir1t9yAugust 2021                     grops(1)

Pages that refer to this page: afmtodit(1)groff(1)grotty(1)pfbtops(1)pic(1)groff_out(5)roff(7)