groff_ms(7) — Linux manual page

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groff_ms(7)           Miscellaneous Information Manual           groff_ms(7)

Name         top

       groff_ms - GNU roff manuscript macro package for formatting documents

Synopsis         top

       groff -ms [option ...] [input-file ...]
       groff -m ms [option ...] [input-file ...]

Description         top

       This manual page describes the GNU version of the ms macros, part of
       the groff typesetting system.  The ms macros are mostly compatible
       with the documented behavior of the 4.3 BSD Unix ms macros (see
       Differences from troff ms below for details).  The ms macros are
       suitable for reports, letters, books, and technical documentation.

Usage         top

       The ms macro package expects files to have a certain amount of
       structure.  The simplest documents can begin with a paragraph macro
       and consist of text separated by paragraph macros or even blank
       lines.  Longer documents have a structure as follows:

       Document type
              If you use the RP (report) macro at the beginning of the
              document, groff prints the cover page information on its own
              page; otherwise it prints the information on the first page
              with your document text immediately following.  Other document
              formats found in AT&T troff are specific to AT&T or Berkeley,
              and are not supported in groff ms.

       Format and layout
              By setting number registers, you can change your document's
              margins, spacing, headers and footers, footnotes, and the base
              point size for the text.  See Document control registers below
              for more details.

       Cover page
              A cover page consists of a title, and optionally the author's
              name and institution, an abstract, and the date.  See Cover
              page macros below for more details.

       Body   Following the cover page is your document.  It consists of
              paragraphs, headings, and lists.

       Table of contents
              Longer documents usually include a table of contents, which
              you can add by placing the TC macro at the end of your

   Document control registers
       The following table lists the document control number registers.  For
       the sake of consistency, set registers related to margins at the
       beginning of your document, or just after the RP macro.

       Margin settings

              Reg.          Definition             Effective      Default
              PO     Page offset (left margin)   next page        1i
              LL     Line length                 next paragraph   6i
              LT     Header/footer length        next paragraph   6i
              HM     Top (header) margin         next page        1i
              FM     Bottom (footer) margin      next page        1i

       Text settings

               Reg.            Definition             Effective      Default
              PS       Point size                   next paragraph   10p
              VS       Line spacing (leading)       next paragraph   12p
              PSINCR   Point size increment for     next heading     1p
                       section headings of
                       increasing importance
              GROWPS   Heading level beyond which   next heading     0
                       PSINCR is ignored

       Paragraph settings

                Reg.            Definition            Effective      Default
              PI         Initial indent             next paragraph   5n
              PD         Space between paragraphs   next paragraph   0.3v
              QI         Quoted paragraph indent    next paragraph   5n
              PORPHANS   Number of initial lines    next paragraph   1
                         to be kept together
              HORPHANS   Number of initial lines    next heading     1
                         to be kept with heading

       Footnote settings

              Reg.     Definition        Effective      Default
              FL     Footnote length   next footnote   \n[LL]*5/6
              FI     Footnote indent   next footnote   2n
              FF     Footnote format   next footnote   0
              FPS    Point size        next footnote   \n[PS]-2
              FVS    Vert. spacing     next footnote   \n[FPS]+2
              FPD    Para. spacing     next footnote   \n[PD]/2

       Other settings

              Reg.               Definition              Effective    Default
              DD      Display, table, eqn, pic spacing   next para.   0.5v
              MINGW   Minimum width between columns      next page    2n

   Cover page macros
       Use the following macros to create a cover page for your document in
       the order shown.

       .RP [no]
              Specifies the report format for your document.  The report
              format creates a separate cover page.  With no RP macro, groff
              prints a subset of the cover page on page 1 of your document.

              If you use the optional no argument, groff prints a title page
              but does not repeat any of the title page information (title,
              author, abstract, etc.) on page 1 of the document.

       .P1    (P-one) Prints the header on page 1.  The default is to
              suppress the header.

       .DA     [xxx] (optional) Print the current date, or the arguments to
              the macro if any, on the title page (if specified) and in the
              footers.  This is the default for nroff.

       .ND     [xxx] (optional) Print the current date, or the arguments to
              the macro if any, on the title page (if specified) but not in
              the footers.  This is the default for troff.

       .TL    Specifies the document title.  Groff collects text following
              the TL macro into the title, until reaching the author name or

       .AU    Specifies the author's name.  You can specify multiple authors
              by using an AU macro for each author.

       .AI    Specifies the author's institution.  You can specify multiple

       .AB [no]
              Begins the abstract.  The default is to print the word
              ABSTRACT, centered and in italics, above the text of the
              abstract.  The option no suppresses this heading.

       .AE    End the abstract.

       Use the PP macro to create indented paragraphs, and the LP macro to
       create paragraphs with no initial indent.

       The QP macro indents all text at both left and right margins by the
       amount of the register QI.  The effect is reminiscent of the HTML
       <BLOCKQUOTE> tag.  The next paragraph or heading returns the margins
       to normal.  QP inserts the vertical space specified in register PD as
       inter-paragraph spacing.

       A paragraph bracketed between the macros QS and QE has the same
       appearance as a paragraph started with QP and a following paragraph
       started with LP.  Both QS and QE insert the inter-paragraph spacing
       specified in PD and the text is indented on both sides by the amount
       of register QI.  The text between QS and QE can be split into further
       paragraphs by using .LP or .PP.

       The XP macro produces an “exdented” paragraph; that is, one with a
       hanging indent.  The first line of the paragraph begins at the left
       margin, and subsequent lines are indented (the opposite of PP).

       For each of the above paragraph types, and also for any list entry
       introduced by the IP macro (described later), the document control
       register PORPHANS, sets the minimum number of lines which must be
       printed, after the start of the paragraph, and before any page break
       occurs.  If there is insufficient space remaining on the current page
       to accommodate this number of lines, then a page break is forced
       before the first line of the paragraph is printed.

       Similarly, when a section heading (see subsection “Headings” below)
       precedes any of these paragraph types, the HORPHANS document control
       register specifies the minimum number of lines of the paragraph which
       must be kept on the same page as the heading.  If insufficient space
       remains on the current page to accommodate the heading and this
       number of lines of paragraph text, then a page break is forced before
       the heading is printed.

       Use headings to create a hierarchical structure for your document.
       By default, the ms macros print headings in bold using the same font
       family and point size as the body text.  For output devices which
       support scalable fonts, this behaviour may be modified by defining
       the document control registers GROWPS and PSINCR.

       The following heading macros are available:

       .NH xx Numbered heading.  The argument xx is either a numeric
              argument to indicate the level of the heading, or S xx xx ...
              to set the section number explicitly.  If you specify heading
              levels out of sequence, such as invoking .NH 3 after .NH 1,
              groff prints a warning on standard error.

              If the GROWPS register is set to a value greater than the
              level of the heading, then the point size of the heading will
              be increased by PSINCR units over the text size specified by
              the PS register, for each level by which the heading level is
              less than the value of GROWPS.  For example, the sequence:

                     .nr PS 10
                     .nr GROWPS 3
                     .nr PSINCR 1.5p
                     .NH 1
                     Top Level Heading
                     .NH 2
                     Second Level Heading
                     .NH 3
                     Third Level Heading

              will cause “1. Top Level Heading” to be printed in 13pt bold
              text, followed by “1.1. Second Level Heading” in 11.5pt bold
              text, while “1.1.1. Third Level Heading”, and all more deeply
              nested heading levels, will remain in the 10pt bold text which
              is specified by the PS register.

              Note that the value stored in PSINCR is interpreted in groff
              basic units; the p scaling factor should be employed when
              assigning a value specified in points.

              The style used to represent the section number, within a
              numbered heading, is controlled by the SN-STYLE string; this
              may be set to either the SN-DOT or the SN-NO-DOT style,
              (described below), by aliasing SN-STYLE accordingly.  By
              default, SN-STYLE is initialised by defining the alias

                     .als SN-STYLE SN-DOT

              it may be changed to the SN-NO-DOT style, if preferred, by
              defining the alternative alias

                     .als SN-STYLE SN-NO-DOT

              Any such change becomes effective with the first use of .NH,
              after the new alias is defined.

              After invoking .NH, the assigned heading number is available
              in the strings SN-DOT (as it appears in the default formatting
              style for numbered headings, with a terminating period
              following the number), and SN-NO-DOT (with this terminating
              period omitted).  The string SN is also defined, as an alias
              for SN-DOT; if preferred, the user may redefine it as an alias
              for SN-NO-DOT, by including the initialisation:

                     .als SN SN-NO-DOT

              at any time; the change becomes effective with the next use of
              .NH, after the new alias is defined.

       .SH     [xx] Unnumbered subheading.  The use of the optional xx
              argument is a GNU extension, which adjusts the point size of
              the unnumbered subheading to match that of a numbered heading,
              introduced using .NH xx with the same value of xx.  For
              example, given the same settings for PS, GROWPS and PSINCR, as
              used in the preceding .NH example, the sequence:

                     .SH 2
                     An Unnumbered Subheading

              will print “An Unnumbered Subheading” in 11.5pt bold text.

       The ms macros provide a variety of methods to highlight or emphasize

       .B      [txt [post [pre]]] Sets its first argument in bold type.  If
              you specify a second argument, groff prints it in the previous
              font after the bold text, with no intervening space (this
              allows you to set punctuation after the highlighted text
              without highlighting the punctuation).  Similarly, it prints
              the third argument (if any) in the previous font before the
              first argument.  For example,

                     .B foo ) (

              prints “(foo)”.

              If you give this macro no arguments, groff prints all text
              following in bold until the next highlighting, paragraph, or
              heading macro.

       .R      [txt [post [pre]]] Sets its first argument in roman (or
              regular) type.  It operates similarly to the B macro

       .I      [txt [post [pre]]] Sets its first argument in italic type.
              It operates similarly to the B macro otherwise.

       .CW     [txt [post [pre]]] Sets its first argument in a constant-
              width face.  It operates similarly to the B macro otherwise.

       .BI     [txt [post [pre]]] Sets its first argument in bold italic
              type.  It operates similarly to the B macro otherwise.

       .BX     [txt] Prints its argument and draws a box around it.  If you
              want to box a string that contains spaces, use a digit-width
              space (\0).

       .UL     [txt [post]] Prints its first argument with an underline.  If
              you specify a second argument, groff prints it in the previous
              font after the underlined text, with no intervening space.

       .LG    Prints all text following in larger type (2 points larger than
              the current point size) until the next font size,
              highlighting, paragraph, or heading macro.  You can specify
              this macro multiple times to enlarge the point size as needed.

       .SM    Prints all text following in smaller type (2 points smaller
              than the current point size) until the next type size,
              highlighting, paragraph, or heading macro.  You can specify
              this macro multiple times to reduce the point size as needed.

       .NL    Prints all text following in the normal point size (that is,
              the value of the PS register).

              Print the enclosed text as a superscript.

       You may need to indent sections of text.  A typical use for indents
       is to create nested lists and sublists.

       Use the RS and RE macros to start and end a section of indented text,
       respectively.  The PI register controls the amount of indent.

       You can nest indented sections as deeply as needed by using multiple,
       nested pairs of RS and RE.

       The IP macro handles duties for all lists.  Its syntax is as follows:

       .IP     [marker [width]] The marker is usually a bullet character
              \(bu for unordered lists, a number (or auto-incrementing
              number register) for numbered lists, or a word or phrase for
              indented (glossary-style) lists.

              The width specifies the indent for the body of each list item.
              Once specified, the indent remains the same for all list items
              in the document until specified again.

   Tab stops
       Use the ta request to set tab stops as needed.  Use the TA macro to
       reset tabs to the default (every 5n).  You can redefine the TA macro
       to create a different set of default tab stops.

   Displays and keeps
       Use displays to show text-based examples or figures (such as code
       listings).  Displays turn off filling, so lines of code can be
       displayed as-is without inserting br requests in between each line.
       Displays can be kept on a single page, or allowed to break across
       pages.  The following table shows the display types available.

                   Display macro                   Type of display
                With keep      No keep
              .DS L            .LD       Left-justified.
              .DS I [indent]   .ID       Indented (default indent in the DI
              .DS B            .BD       Block-centered (left-justified,
                                         longest line centered).
              .DS C            .CD       Centered.
              .DS R            .RD       Right-justified.

       Use  the DE macro to end any display type.  The macros Ds and De were
       formerly provided as aliases for DS and DE,  respectively,  but  they
       have been removed, and should no longer be used.  X11 documents which
       actually use Ds and De always load a specific macro file from the X11
       distribution (macros.t) which provides proper definitions for the two

       To keep text together on a page, such as a paragraph that refers to a
       table  (or list, or other item) immediately following, use the KS and
       KE macros.  The KS macro begins a block of  text  to  be  kept  on  a
       single page, and the KE macro ends the block.

       You  can  specify a floating keep using the KF and KE macros.  If the
       keep cannot fit on the current page, groff holds the contents of  the
       keep  and allows text following the keep (in the source file) to fill
       in the remainder of the current page.  When the page breaks,  whether
       by  an  explicit bp request or by reaching the end of the page, groff
       prints the floating keep at the top of the new page.  This is  useful
       for  printing  large  graphics  or  tables that do not need to appear
       exactly where specified.

       The macros B1 and B2 can be used to enclose a text within a box;  .B1
       begins  the  box,  and .B2 ends it.  Text in the box is automatically
       placed in a diversion (keep).

   Tables, figures, equations, and references
       The ms macros support the standard  groff  preprocessors:  tbl,  pic,
       eqn, and refer.  Mark text meant for preprocessors by enclosing it in
       pairs of tags as follows:

       .TS [H] and .TE
              Denote a table to be processed by the tbl  preprocessor.   The
              optional H argument instructs groff to create a running header
              with the information up to the TH  macro.   Groff  prints  the
              header  at  the beginning of the table; if the table runs onto
              another page, groff prints the header  on  the  next  page  as

       .PS and .PE
              Denote a graphic to be processed by the pic preprocessor.  You
              can create a pic file by  hand,  using  the  AT&T  pic  manual
              available  on  the  Web as a reference, or by using a graphics
              program such as xfig.

       .EQ     [align] and .EN Denote an equation to be processed by the eqn
              preprocessor.   The  optional align argument can be C, L, or I
              to center (the default), left-justify, or indent the equation,

       .[ and .]
              Denote  a reference to be processed by the refer preprocessor.
              The  GNU  refer(1)  manual  page  provides   a   comprehensive
              reference   to   the   preprocessor  and  the  format  of  the
              bibliographic database.

       The ms macros provide a flexible footnote system.  You can specify  a
       numbered  footnote  by  using the \** escape, followed by the text of
       the footnote enclosed by FS and FE macros.

       You can specify symbolic footnotes  by  placing  the  mark  character
       (such as \(dg for the dagger character) in the body text, followed by
       the text of the footnote enclosed by FS \(dg and FE macros.

       You can control how groff prints footnote  numbers  by  changing  the
       value of the FF register as follows:

              0      Prints  the  footnote  number as a superscript; indents
                     the footnote (default).

              1      Prints the number followed by a period (that is,  “1.”)
                     and indents the footnote.

              2      Like 1, without an indent.

              3      Like  1,  but prints the footnote number as a paragraph
                     with a hanging indent.

       You can use footnotes safely within keeps  and  displays,  but  avoid
       using numbered footnotes within floating keeps.  You can set a second
       \** between a \** and its corresponding .FS;  as  long  as  each  .FS
       occurs  after the corresponding \** and the occurrences of .FS are in
       the same order as the corresponding occurrences of \**.

   Headers and footers
       There are three ways to define headers and footers:

       ·  Use the strings LH, CH, and RH to set the left, center, and  right
          headers.   Use  LF,  CF, and RF to set the left, center, and right
          footers.  The string-setting approach  works  best  for  documents
          that do not distinguish between odd and even pages.

       ·  Use  the  OH  and EH macros to define headers for the odd and even
          pages, and OF and EF macros to define footers for the odd and even
          pages.   This  is  more  flexible  than  defining  the  individual
          strings.  The syntax for these macros is as follows:

                 .XX 'left'center'right'

          where XX is one of the foregoing four macros  and  each  of  left,
          center,  and  right  is  text of your choice.  You can replace the
          quote (') marks with any character not appearing in the header  or
          footer text.

       ·  You  can  redefine  the PT and BT macros to change the behavior of
          the header and footer,  respectively.   The  header  process  also
          calls the (undefined) HD macro after PT; you can define this macro
          if you need additional processing after printing the  header  (for
          example, to draw a line below the header).

       You  control  margins using a set of number registers.  The following
       table lists the register names and defaults:

              Reg.          Definition             Effective      Default
              PO     Page offset (left margin)   next page        1i
              LL     Line length                 next paragraph   6i
              LT     Header/footer length        next paragraph   6i
              HM     Top (header) margin         next page        1i
              FM     Bottom (footer) margin      next page        1i

       Note that there is no right margin setting.  The combination of  page
       offset  and  line  length provide the information necessary to derive
       the right margin.

   Multiple columns
       The ms macros can set text in as many columns as will reasonably  fit
       on  the page.  The following macros are available.  All of them force
       a page break if a multi-column mode is already set.  However, if  the
       current  mode is single-column, starting a multi-column mode does not
       force a page break.

       .1C    Single-column mode.

       .2C    Two-column mode.

       .MC     [column-width  [gutter-width]]  Multi-column  mode.   If  you
              specify  no  arguments,  it  is  equivalent  to  the 2C macro.
              Otherwise, column-width  is  the  width  of  each  column  and
              gutter-width  is  the space between columns.  The MINGW number
              register is the default gutter width.

   Creating a table of contents
       Wrap text that you want to appear in the table of contents in XS  and
       XE  macros.   Use  the TC macro to print the table of contents at the
       end  of  the  document,  resetting  the  page  number  to  i   (Roman
       numeral 1).

       You  can  manually  create  a  table of contents by specifying a page
       number as the first argument to XS.  Add subsequent entries using the
       XA macro.  For example:

              .XS 1
              .XA 2
              A Brief History of the Universe
              .XA 729
              Details of Galactic Formation

       Use  the  PX  macro  to  print a manually-generated table of contents
       without resetting the page number.

       If you give the argument no to either  PX  or  TC,  groff  suppresses
       printing the title specified by the \*[TOC] string.

   Fractional point sizes
       Traditionally,  the  ms  macros  only  support integer values for the
       document's  font  size  and  vertical  spacing.   To  overcome   this
       restriction,  values  larger  than  or  equal  to  1000  are taken as
       fractional values, multiplied by 1000.  For example, ‘.nr  PS  10250’
       sets the font size to 10.25 points.

       The  following  four registers accept fractional point sizes: PS, VS,
       FPS, and FVS.

       Due to backwards compatibility, the value of VS must be smaller  than
       40000 (this is 40.0 points).

Differences from troff ms         top

       The groff ms macros are a complete re-implementation, using no
       original AT&T code.  Since they take advantage of the extended
       features in groff, they cannot be used with AT&T troff.  Other
       differences include:

       ·  The internals of groff ms differ from the internals of Unix ms.
          Documents that depend upon implementation details of Unix ms may
          not format properly with groff ms.

       ·  The error-handling policy of groff ms is to detect and report
          errors, rather than silently to ignore them.

       ·  Some Bell Labs localisms are not implemented by default.  However,
          if you call the otherwise undocumented SC section-header macro,
          you will enable implementations of three other archaic Bell Labs
          macros: UC, P1, and P2.  These are not enabled by default because
          (a) they were not documented, in the original ms manual, and
          (b) the P1 and UC macros both collide with different macros in the
          Berkeley version of ms.

          These emulations are sufficient to give back the 1976 Kernighan &
          Cherry paper Typesetting Mathematics – User's Guide its section
          headings, and restore some text that had gone missing as arguments
          of undefined macros.  No warranty express or implied is given as
          to how well the typographic details these produce match the
          original Bell Labs macros.

       ·  Berkeley localisms, in particular the TM and CT macros, are not

       ·  Groff ms does not work in compatibility mode (e.g., with the -C

       ·  There is no support for typewriter-like devices.

       ·  Groff ms does not provide cut marks.

       ·  Multiple line spacing is not supported (use a larger vertical
          spacing instead).

       ·  Some Unix ms documentation says that the CW and GW number
          registers can be used to control the column width and gutter
          width, respectively.  These number registers are not used in groff

       ·  Macros that cause a reset (paragraphs, headings, etc.) may change
          the indent.  Macros that change the indent do not increment or
          decrement the indent, but rather set it absolutely.  This can
          cause problems for documents that define additional macros of
          their own.  The solution is to use not the in request but instead
          the RS and RE macros.

       ·  The number register GS is set to 1 by the groff ms macros, but is
          not used by the Unix ms macros.  Documents that need to determine
          whether they are being formatted with Unix ms or groff ms should
          use this number register.

       ·  To make groff ms use the default page offset (which also specifies
          the left margin), the PO number register must stay undefined until
          the first ms macro is evaluated.  This implies that PO should not
          be used early in the document, unless it is changed also: remember
          that accessing an undefined register automatically defines it.

       You can redefine the following strings to adapt the groff ms macros
       to languages other than English:

                String       Default Value
              REFERENCES   References
              ABSTRACT     ABSTRACT
              TOC          Table of Contents
              MONTH1       January
              MONTH2       February
              MONTH3       March
              MONTH4       April
              MONTH5       May
              MONTH6       June
              MONTH7       July
              MONTH8       August
              MONTH9       September
              MONTH10      October
              MONTH11      November
              MONTH12      December

       The \*- string produces an em dash—like this.

       Use \*Q and \*U to get a left and right typographer's quote,
       respectively, in troff (and plain quotes in nroff).

   Text Settings
       The FAM string sets the default font family.  If this string is
       undefined at initialization, it is set to Times.

       The point size, vertical spacing, and inter-paragraph spacing for
       footnotes are controlled by the number registers FPS, FVS, and FPD;
       at initialization these are set to \n(PS-2, \n[FPS]+2, and \n(PD/2,
       respectively.  If any of these registers are defined before
       initialization, the initialization macro does not change them.

       The hyphenation flags (as set by the hy request) are set from the HY
       register; the default is 6.

       Improved accent marks (as originally defined in Berkeley's ms
       version) are available by specifying the AM macro at the beginning of
       your document.  You can place an accent over most characters by
       specifying the string defining the accent directly after the
       character.  For example, n\*~ produces an n with a tilde over it.

Naming Conventions         top

       The following conventions are used for names of macros, strings, and
       number registers.  External names available to documents that use the
       groff ms macros contain only uppercase letters and digits.

       Internally the macros are divided into modules; naming conventions
       are as follows:

       ·  Names used only within one module are of the form module*name.

       ·  Names used outside the module in which they are defined are of the
          form module@name.

       ·  Names associated with a particular environment are of the form
          environment:name; these are used only within the par module.

       ·  name does not have a module prefix.

       ·  Constructed names used to implement arrays are of the form

       Thus the groff ms macros reserve the following names:

       ·  Names containing the characters *, @, and :.

       ·  Names containing only uppercase letters and digits.

Files         top

       /usr/local/share/groff/1.22.4/tmac/ms.tmac (a wrapper file for

Authors         top

       The GNU version of the ms macro package was written by James Clark
       and contributors.  This document was (re-)written by Larry Kollar

See Also         top

       groff(1), troff(1), tbl(1), pic(1), eqn(1), refer(1)

       Groff: The GNU Implementation of troff, by Trent A. Fisher and Werner

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                     groff_ms(7)

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