man - macros to format Reference Manual pages
nroff -man filename...
troff -man filename...
These macros are used to lay out the reference pages in this
manual. Note: if filename contains format input for a
preprocessor, the commands shown above must be piped through
the appropriate preprocessor. This is handled automatically
by the man(1) command. See the ``Conventions'' section.
Any text argument t may be zero to six words. Quotes may be
used to include <SPACE> characters in a "word". If text is
empty, the special treatment is applied to the next input
line with text to be printed. In this way .I may be used to
italicize a whole line, or .SB may be used to make small
A prevailing indent distance is remembered between succes-
sive indented paragraphs, and is reset to default value upon
reaching a non-indented paragraph. Default units for
indents i are ens.
Type font and size are reset to default values before each
paragraph, and after processing font and size setting mac-
These strings are predefined by -man:
\*R `O', `(Reg)' in nroff.
\*S Change to default type size.
* n.t.l. = next text line; p.i. = prevailing indent
Request Cause If no Explanation
.B t no t=n.t.l.* Text is in bold font.
.BI t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating bold
.BR t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating bold
.DT no .5i 1i... Restore default tabs.
.HP i yes i=p.i.* Begin paragraph with hanging
indent. Set prevailing indent
.I t no t=n.t.l. Text is italic.
.IB t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating italic
.IP x i yes x="" Same as .TP with tag x.
.IR t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating italic
.IX t no - Index macro, for SunSoft inter-
.LP yes - Begin left-aligned paragraph.
Set prevailing indent to .5i.
.P yes - Same as .LP.
.PD d no d=.4v Set vertical distance between
.PP yes - Same as .LP.
.RE yes - End of relative indent.
Restores prevailing indent.
.RB t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating roman
.RI t no t=n.t.l. Join words, alternating roman
.RS i yes i=p.i. Start relative indent, increase
indent by i. Sets prevailing
indent to .5i for nested
.SB t no - Reduce size of text by 1 point,
make text bold.
.SH t yes - Section Heading.
.SM t no t=n.t.l. Reduce size of text by 1 point.
.SS t yes t=n.t.l. Section Subheading.
.TH n s d f m yes - Begin reference page n, of of
section s; d is the date of the
most recent change. If
present, f is the left page
footer; m is the main page
(center) header. Sets prevail-
ing indent and tabs to .5i.
.TP i yes i=p.i. Begin indented paragraph, with
the tag given on the next text
line. Set prevailing indent to
.TX t p no - Resolve the title abbreviation
t; join to punctuation mark (or
When formatting a manual page, man examines the first line
to determine whether it requires special processing. For
example a first line consisting of:
indicates that the manual page must be run through the
A typical manual page for a command or function is laid out
.TH title [1-9]
The name of the command or function, which serves as
the title of the manual page. This is followed by the
number of the section in which it appears.
The name, or list of names, by which the command is
called, followed by a dash and then a one-line summary
of the action performed. All in roman font, this sec-
tion contains no troff(1) commands or escapes, and no
macro requests. It is used to generate the windex
database, which is used by the whatis(1) command.
The syntax of the command and its arguments, as
typed on the command line. When in boldface, a
word must be typed exactly as printed. When in
italics, a word can be replaced with an argument
that you supply. References to bold or itali-
cized items are not capitalized in other sec-
tions, even when they begin a sentence.
Syntactic symbols appear in roman face:
[ ] An argument, when surrounded by brackets
| Arguments separated by a vertical bar are
exclusive. You can supply only one item
from such a list.
... Arguments followed by an ellipsis can be
repeated. When an ellipsis follows a
bracketed set, the expression within the
brackets can be repeated.
If required, the data declaration, or #include direc-
tive, is shown first, followed by the function
declaration. Otherwise, the function declaration is
A narrative overview of the command or function's
external behavior. This includes how it interacts with
files or data, and how it handles the standard input,
standard output and standard error. Internals and
implementation details are normally omitted. This sec-
tion attempts to provide a succinct overview in answer
to the question, "what does it do?"
Literal text from the synopsis appears in constant
width, as do literal filenames and references to items
that appear elsewhere in the reference manuals. Argu-
ments are italicized.
If a command interprets either subcommands or an input
grammar, its command interface or input grammar is
normally described in a USAGE section, which follows
the OPTIONS section. The DESCRIPTION section only
describes the behavior of the command itself, not that
The list of options along with a description of how
each affects the command's operation.
.SH RETURN VALUES
A list of the values the library routine will return
to the calling program and the conditions that cause
these values to be returned.
.SH EXIT STATUS
A list of the values the utility will return to the
calling program or shell, and the conditions that
cause these values to be returned.
A list of files associated with the command or func-
.SH SEE ALSO
A comma-separated list of related manual pages, fol-
lowed by references to other published materials.
A list of diagnostic messages and an explanation of
A description of limitations, known defects, and pos-
sible problems associated with the command or func-
man(1), nroff(1), troff(1), whatis(1)
Dale Dougherty and Tim O'Reilly, Unix Text Processing
Man(1) output converted with