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fmt(1)								       fmt(1)



NAME

  fmt -	Formats	mail messages prior to sending

SYNOPSIS

  fmt [-width] file...

DESCRIPTION

  The fmt command reads	the input file or files, or standard input if no
  files	are specified, and writes to standard output a version of the input
  with lines of	a length as close as possible to width columns.	(Because fmt
  is internationalized software, the number of display columns is not neces-
  sarily equivalent to the number of bytes.)

  The fmt command both joins and splits	lines to achieve the desired width,
  but words are	never joined or	split; spaces are always preserved, and	lines
  are split at spaces only.  In	effect,	fmt ignores newline characters in the
  input	and wraps words	to make	lines a	close as possible to width columns,
  resulting in individual lines	of varying length but a	consistent (new) text
  width	overall.  Because blank	lines are always preserved, fmt	does not
  merge	paragraphs separated by	blank lines.

  If you specify more than one file, the files are concatenated	as input to
  fmt.	If you do not specify -width, the default line length is 72 columns.
  Spacing at the beginning of input lines is always preserved in the output.

  The fmt command is generally used to format mail messages to improve their
  appearance before they are sent.  It may also	be useful, however, for	other
  simple formatting tasks.  For	example, when you are using vi,	you can	use
  the command :%!fmt -60 to reformat your text so that all lines are approxi-
  mately 60 columns long.

NOTES

   1.  The fmt command is a fast, simple formatting program.  Standard text
       editing programs	are more appropriate than fmt for complex formatting
       operations.

   2.  Do not use the fmt command if the message contains embedded messages
       or preformatted information from	other files.  This command formats
       the heading information in embedded messages and	may change the format
       of preformatted information.

EXAMPLES

   1.  file1 contains these lines:


	    Australia is an island-continent, home to many
	    very interesting plants and	animals.

       To reformat this	text to	a narrower width, enter:
	    fmt	-30 file1

       This results in the following, displayed	on your	screen:
	    Australia is an island-continent,
	    home to many very interesting
	    plants and animals.

       To make file1 wider, enter:
	    fmt	-60 file1

       This results in:
	    Australia is an island-continent, home to many very
	    interesting	plants and animals.

   2.  To format a message you have created with the mailx editor, at the
       left margin enter:
	    ~|fmt

       After you enter the command, your message is formatted, in this case
       to the default line length of 72	columns, and the word continue is
       displayed to indicate that you can enter	more information or send your
       message.

SEE ALSO

  Commands:  mail(1), mailx(1),	vi(1)