pdfroff(1) — Linux manual page

Name | Synopsis | Description | Usage | Options | Environment | Files | Authors | See Also | COLOPHON

pdfroff(1)                 General Commands Manual                pdfroff(1)

Name         top

       pdfroff - create PDF documents using groff

Synopsis         top

       pdfroff [-abcegilpstzCEGNRSUVXZ] [-d cs] [-f fam] [-F dir] [-I dir]
               [-L arg] [-m name] [-M dir] [-n num] [-o list] [-P arg]
               [-r cn] [-T dev] [-w name] [-W name] [--emit-ps]
               [--no-toc-relocation] [--no-kill-null-pages]
               [--stylesheet=name] [--no-pdf-output] [--pdf-output=name]
               [--no-reference-dictionary] [--reference-dictionary=name]
               [--report-progress] [--keep-temporary-files] [file ...]

       pdfroff -h
       pdfroff --help

       pdfroff -v [groff-option ...]
       pdfroff --version [groff-option ...]

Description         top

       pdfroff is a wrapper program for the GNU text processing system,
       groff.  It transparently handles the mechanics of multiple pass groff
       processing, when applied to suitably marked up groff source files,
       such that tables of contents and body text are formatted separately,
       and are subsequently combined in the correct order, for final
       publication as a single PDF document.  A further optional “style
       sheet” capability is provided; this allows for the definition of
       content which is required to precede the table of contents, in the
       published document.

       For each invocation of pdfroff, the ultimate groff output stream is
       post-processed by the GhostScript interpreter, to produce a finished
       PDF document.

       pdfroff makes no assumptions about, and imposes no restrictions on,
       the use of any groff macro packages which the user may choose to
       employ, in order to achieve a desired document format; however, it
       does include specific built in support for the pdfmark macro package,
       should the user choose to employ it.  Specifically, if the pdfhref
       macro, defined in the pdfmark.tmac package, is used to define public
       reference marks, or dynamic links to such reference marks, then
       pdfroff performs as many preformatting groff passes as required, up
       to a maximum limit of four, in order to compile a document reference
       dictionary, to resolve references, and to expand the dynamically
       defined content of links.

Usage         top

       The command line is parsed in accordance with normal GNU conventions,
       but with one exception — when specifying any short form option (i.e.,
       a single character option introduced by a single hyphen), and if that
       option expects an argument, then it must be specified independently
       (i.e., it may not be appended to any group of other single character
       short form options).

       Long form option names (i.e., those introduced by a double hyphen)
       may be abbreviated to their minimum length unambiguous initial

       Otherwise, pdfroff usage closely mirrors that of groff itself.
       Indeed, with the exception of the -h, -v, and -T dev short form
       options, and all long form options, which are parsed internally by
       pdfroff, all options and file name arguments specified on the command
       line are passed on to groff, to control the formatting of the PDF
       document.  Consequently, pdfroff accepts all options and arguments,
       as specified in groff(1), which may also be considered as the
       definitive reference for all standard pdfroff options and argument

Options         top

       pdfroff accepts all of the short form options (i.e., those introduced
       by a single hyphen), which are available with groff itself.  In most
       cases, these are simply passed transparently to groff; the following,
       however, are handled specially by pdfroff.

       -h     Same as --help; see below.

       -i     Process standard input, after all other specified input files.
              This is passed transparently to groff, but, if grouped with
              other options, it must be the first in the group.  Hiding it
              within a group breaks standard input processing, in the
              multiple pass groff processing context of pdfroff.

       -T dev Only -T ps is supported by pdfroff.  Attempting to specify any
              other device causes pdfroff to abort.

       -v     Same as --version; see below.

       See groff(1) for a description of all other short form options, which
       are transparently passed through pdfroff to groff.

       All long form options (i.e., those introduced by a double hyphen) are
       interpreted locally by pdfroff; they are not passed on to groff,
       unless otherwise stated below.

       --help Causes pdfroff to display a summary of the its usage syntax,
              and supported options, and then exit.

              Suppresses the final output conversion step, causing pdfroff
              to emit PostScript output instead of PDF.  This may be useful,
              to capture intermediate PostScript output, when using a
              specialised postprocessor, such as gpresent for example, in
              place of the default GhostScript PDF writer.

              Suppresses the deletion of temporary files, which normally
              occurs after pdfroff has completed PDF document formatting;
              this may be useful, when debugging formatting problems.

              See section “Files” below for a description of the temporary
              files used by pdfroff.

              May be used with the --reference-dictionary=name option
              (described below) to eliminate the overhead of PDF formatting,
              when running pdfroff to create a reference dictionary, for use
              in a different document.

              May be used to eliminate the overhead of creating a reference
              dictionary, when it is known that the target PDF document
              contains no public references, created by the pdfhref macro.

              May be used to eliminate the extra groff processing pass,
              which is required to generate a table of contents, and
              relocate it to the start of the PDF document, when processing
              any document which lacks an automatically generated table of

              While preparing for simulation of the manual collation step,
              which is traditionally required to relocate a table of
              contents to the start of a document, pdfroff accumulates a
              number of empty page descriptions into the intermediate
              PostScript output stream.  During the final collation step,
              these empty pages are normally discarded from the finished
              document; this option forces pdfroff to leave them in place.

              Specifies the name to be used for the resultant PDF document;
              if unspecified, the PDF output is written to standard output.
              A future version of pdfroff may use this option, to encode the
              document name in a generated reference dictionary.

              Specifies the name to be used for the generated reference
              dictionary file; if unspecified, the reference dictionary is
              created in a temporary file, which is deleted when pdfroff
              completes processing of the current document.  This option
              must be specified, if it is desired to save the reference
              dictionary, for use in references placed in other PDF

              Causes pdfroff to display an informational message on standard
              error, at the start of each groff processing pass.

              Specifies the name of an input file, to be used as a style
              sheet for formatting of content, which is to be placed before
              the table of contents, in the formatted PDF document.

              Causes pdfroff to display a version identification message.
              The entire command line is then passed transparently to groff,
              in a one pass operation only, in order to display the
              associated groff version information, before exiting.

Environment         top

       The following environment variables may be set, and exported, to
       modify the behaviour of pdfroff.

              Specifies the program to be used for collation of the finished
              PDF document.

              This collation step may be required to move tables of contents
              to the start of the finished PDF document, when formatting
              with traditional macro packages, which print them at the end.
              However, users should not normally need to specify
              PDFROFF_COLLATE, (and indeed, are not encouraged to do so).
              If unspecified, pdfroff uses sed(1) by default, which normally

              If PDFROFF_COLLATE is specified, then it must act as a filter,
              accepting a list of file name arguments, and write its output
              to the stdout stream, whence it is piped to the
              PDFROFF_POSTPROCESSOR_COMMAND, to produce the finished PDF

              When specifying PDFROFF_COLLATE, it is normally necessary to
              also specify PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES.

              PDFROFF_COLLATE is ignored, if pdfroff is invoked with the
              --no-kill-null-pages option.

              Specifies options to be passed to the PDFROFF_COLLATE program.

              It should not normally be necessary to specify
              PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES.  The internal default is a sed(1)
              script, which is intended to remove completely blank pages
              from the collated output stream, and which should be
              appropriate in most applications of pdfroff.  However, if any
              alternative to sed(1) is specified for PDFROFF_COLLATE, then
              it is likely that a corresponding alternative specification
              for PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES is required.

              As in the case of PDFROFF_COLLATE, PDFROFF_KILL_NULL_PAGES is
              ignored, if pdfroff is invoked with the --no-kill-null-pages

              Specifies the command to be used for the final document
              conversion from PostScript intermediate output to PDF.  It
              must behave as a filter, writing its output to the stdout
              stream, and must accept an arbitrary number of files ...
              arguments, with the special case of - representing the stdin

              If unspecified, PDFROFF_POSTPROCESSOR_COMMAND defaults to
                   gs -dBATCH -dQUIET -dNOPAUSE -dSAFER -sDEVICE=pdfwrite \

              Identifies the directory in which pdfroff should create tempo‐
              rary files.  If GROFF_TMPDIR is not specified, then the vari‐
              ables TMPDIR, TMP and TEMP are considered in turn, as possible
              temporary file repositories.  If none of these are set, then
              temporary files are created in the current directory.

              Specifies the program to be invoked, when pdfroff converts
              groff PostScript output to PDF.  If
              PDFROFF_POSTPROCESSOR_COMMAND is specified, then the command
              name it specifies is implicitly assigned to
              GROFF_GHOSTSCRIPT_INTERPRETER, overriding any explicit setting
              specified in the environment.  If
              GROFF_GHOSTSCRIPT_INTERPRETER is not specified, then pdfroff
              searches the process PATH, looking for a program with any of
              the well known names for the GhostScript interpreter; if no
              GhostScript interpreter can be found, pdfroff aborts.

              Specifies the program to be invoked, when pdfroff is extract‐
              ing reference dictionary entries from a groff intermediate
              message stream.  If GROFF_AWK_INTERPRETER is not specified,
              then pdfroff searches the process PATH, looking for any of the
              preferred programs, ‘gawk’, ‘mawk’, ‘nawk’, and ‘awk’, in this
              order; if none of these are found, pdfroff issues a warning
              message, and continue processing; however, in this case, no
              reference dictionary is created.

       OSTYPE Typically defined automatically by the operating system,
              OSTYPE is used on Microsoft Win32/MS-DOS platforms only, to
              infer the default PATH_SEPARATOR character, which is used when
              parsing the process PATH to search for external helper pro‐

              If set, PATH_SEPARATOR overrides the default separator charac‐
              ter, (‘:’ on POSIX/Unix systems, inferred from OSTYPE on Mi‐
              crosoft Win32/MS-DOS), which is used when parsing the process
              PATH to search for external helper programs.

              If this is set to a non-empty value, then pdfroff always
              behaves as if the --report-progress option is specified, on
              the command line.

Files         top

       Input and output files for pdfroff may be named according to any
       convention of the user's choice.  Typically, input files may be named
       according to the choice of the principal formatting macro package,
       e.g., file.ms might be an input file for formatting using the ms
       macros (s.tmac); normally, the final output file should be named

       Temporary files, created by pdfroff, are placed in the file system
       hierarchy, in or below the directory specified by environment
       variables (see section “Environment” above).  If mktemp(1) is
       available, it is invoked to create a private subdirectory of the
       nominated temporary files directory, (with subdirectory name derived
       from the template pdfroff-XXXXXXXXXX); if this subdirectory is
       successfully created, the temporary files will be placed within it,
       otherwise they will be placed directly in the directory nominated in
       the environment.

       All temporary files themselves are named according to the convention
       pdf$$.*, where $$ is the standard shell variable representing the
       process ID of the pdfroff process itself, and * represents any of the
       extensions used by pdfroff to identify the following temporary and
       intermediate files.

              A scratch pad file, used to capture reference data emitted by
              groff, during the reference dictionary compilation phase.

              The reference dictionary, as compiled in the last but one pass
              of the reference dictionary compilation phase; (at the start
              of the first pass, this file is created empty; in successive
              passes, it contains the reference dictionary entries, as
              collected in the preceding pass).

              If the --reference-dictionary=name option is specified, this
              intermediate file becomes permanent, and is named name, rather
              than pdf$$.ref.

              Used to collect reference dictionary entries during the active
              pass of the reference dictionary compilation phase.  At the
              end of any pass, when the content of pdf$$.cmp compares as
              identical to pdf$$.ref, (or the corresponding file named by
              the --reference-dictionary=name option), then reference
              dictionary compilation is terminated, and the document
              reference map is appended to this intermediate file, for
              inclusion in the final formatting passes.

              An intermediate PostScript file, in which “Table of Contents”
              entries are collected, to facilitate relocation before the
              body text, on ultimate output to the GhostScript

              An intermediate PostScript file, in which the body text is
              collected prior to ultimate output to the GhostScript
              postprocessor, in the proper sequence, after pdf$$.tc.

Authors         top

       pdfroff was written by Keith Marshall ⟨keith.d.marshall@

See Also         top

       See groff(1) for the definitive reference to document formatting with
       groff.  Since pdfroff provides a superset of all groff capabilities,
       groff(1) may also be considered to be the definitive reference to all
       standard capabilities of pdfroff, with this document providing the
       reference to pdfroff's extended features.

       While pdfroff imposes neither any restriction on, nor any requirement
       for, the use of any specific groff macro package, a number of
       supplied macro packages, and in particular those associated with the
       package pdfmark.tmac, are best suited for use with pdfroff as the
       preferred formatter.  Detailed documentation on the use of these
       packages may be found, in PDF format, in the reference guide
       “Portable Document Format Publishing with GNU Troff”, included in the
       installed documentation set as /usr/local/share/doc/groff-1.22.4/

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the groff (GNU troff) project.  Information
       about the project can be found at 
       ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/groff/⟩.  If you have a bug report for
       this manual page, see ⟨http://www.gnu.org/software/groff/⟩.  This
       page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨https://git.savannah.gnu.org/git/groff.git⟩ 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 man-pages@man7.org

groff            16 May 2020                      pdfroff(1)

Pages that refer to this page: groff(1)pdfmom(1)