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MAN(7)                 Miscellaneous Information Manual                 MAN(7)

NAME
     man -- legacy formatting language for manual pages

DESCRIPTION
     Traditionally, the man language has been used to write UNIX manuals for
     the man(1) utility.  It supports limited control of presentational
     details like fonts, indentation and spacing.  This reference document
     describes the structure of manual pages and the syntax and usage of the
     man language.

     Do not use man to write your manuals: It lacks support for semantic
     markup.  Use the mdoc(7) language, instead.

     In a man document, lines beginning with the control character `.' are
     called ``macro lines''.  The first word is the macro name.  It usually
     consists of two capital letters.  For a list of available macros, see
     MACRO OVERVIEW.  The words following the macro name are arguments to the
     macro.

     Lines not beginning with the control character are called ``text lines''.
     They provide free-form text to be printed; the formatting of the text
     depends on the respective processing context:

           .SH Macro lines change control state.
           Text lines are interpreted within the current state.

     Many aspects of the basic syntax of the man language are based on the
     roff(7) language; see the LANGUAGE SYNTAX and MACRO SYNTAX sections in
     the roff(7) manual for details, in particular regarding comments, escape
     sequences, whitespace, and quoting.

MANUAL STRUCTURE
     Each man document must contain the TH macro describing the document's
     section and title.  It may occur anywhere in the document, although
     conventionally it appears as the first macro.

     Beyond TH, at least one macro or text line must appear in the document.

     The following is a well-formed skeleton man file for a utility
     "progname":

           .TH PROGNAME 1 2009-10-10
           .SH NAME
           \fBprogname\fR \(en a description goes here
           .\" .SH LIBRARY
           .\" For sections 2 & 3 only.
           .\" Not used in OpenBSD.
           .SH SYNOPSIS
           \fBprogname\fR [\fB\-options\fR] arguments...
           .SH DESCRIPTION
           The \fBfoo\fR utility processes files...
           .\" .SH IMPLEMENTATION NOTES
           .\" Not used in OpenBSD.
           .\" .SH RETURN VALUES
           .\" For sections 2, 3, & 9 only.
           .\" .SH ENVIRONMENT
           .\" For sections 1, 6, 7, & 8 only.
           .\" .SH FILES
           .\" .SH EXIT STATUS
           .\" For sections 1, 6, & 8 only.
           .\" .SH EXAMPLES
           .\" .SH DIAGNOSTICS
           .\" For sections 1, 4, 6, 7, & 8 only.
           .\" .SH ERRORS
           .\" For sections 2, 3, & 9 only.
           .\" .SH SEE ALSO
           .\" .BR foo ( 1 )
           .\" .SH STANDARDS
           .\" .SH HISTORY
           .\" .SH AUTHORS
           .\" .SH CAVEATS
           .\" .SH BUGS
           .\" .SH SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS
           .\" Not used in OpenBSD.

     The sections in a man document are conventionally ordered as they appear
     above.  Sections should be composed as follows:

           NAME
           The name(s) and a short description of the documented material.
           The syntax for this is generally as follows:

                 \fBname\fR \(en description

           LIBRARY
           The name of the library containing the documented material, which
           is assumed to be a function in a section 2 or 3 manual.  For
           functions in the C library, this may be as follows:

                 Standard C Library (libc, -lc)

           SYNOPSIS
           Documents the utility invocation syntax, function call syntax, or
           device configuration.

           For the first, utilities (sections 1, 6, and 8), this is generally
           structured as follows:

                 \fBname\fR [-\fBab\fR] [-\fBc\fR\fIarg\fR] \fBpath\fR...

           For the second, function calls (sections 2, 3, 9):

                 .B char *name(char *\fIarg\fR);

           And for the third, configurations (section 4):

                 .B name* at cardbus? function?

           Manuals not in these sections generally don't need a SYNOPSIS.

           DESCRIPTION
           This expands upon the brief, one-line description in NAME.  It
           usually contains a break-down of the options (if documenting a
           command).

           IMPLEMENTATION NOTES
           Implementation-specific notes should be kept here.  This is useful
           when implementing standard functions that may have side effects or
           notable algorithmic implications.

           RETURN VALUES
           This section documents the return values of functions in sections
           2, 3, and 9.

           ENVIRONMENT
           Documents any usages of environment variables, e.g., environ(7).

           FILES
           Documents files used.  It's helpful to document both the file name
           and a short description of how the file is used (created, modified,
           etc.).

           EXIT STATUS
           This section documents the command exit status for section 1, 6,
           and 8 utilities.  Historically, this information was described in
           DIAGNOSTICS, a practise that is now discouraged.

           EXAMPLES
           Example usages.  This often contains snippets of well-formed, well-
           tested invocations.  Make sure that examples work properly!

           DIAGNOSTICS
           Documents error conditions.  This is most useful in section 4
           manuals.  Historically, this section was used in place of EXIT
           STATUS for manuals in sections 1, 6, and 8; however, this practise
           is discouraged.

           ERRORS
           Documents error handling in sections 2, 3, and 9.

           SEE ALSO
           References other manuals with related topics.  This section should
           exist for most manuals.

                 .BR bar ( 1 ),

           Cross-references should conventionally be ordered first by section,
           then alphabetically.

           STANDARDS
           References any standards implemented or used, such as

                 IEEE Std 1003.2 (\(lqPOSIX.2\(rq)

           If not adhering to any standards, the HISTORY section should be
           used.

           HISTORY
           A brief history of the subject, including where support first
           appeared.

           AUTHORS
           Credits to the person or persons who wrote the code and/or
           documentation.  Authors should generally be noted by both name and
           email address.

           CAVEATS
           Common misuses and misunderstandings should be explained in this
           section.

           BUGS
           Known bugs, limitations, and work-arounds should be described in
           this section.

           SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS
           Documents any security precautions that operators should consider.

MACRO OVERVIEW
     This overview is sorted such that macros of similar purpose are listed
     together, to help find the best macro for any given purpose.  Deprecated
     macros are not included in the overview, but can be found in the
     alphabetical reference below.

   Page header and footer meta-data
     TH           set the title: title section date [source [volume]]
     AT           display AT&T UNIX version in the page footer (<= 1 argument)
     UC           display BSD version in the page footer (<= 1 argument)

   Sections and paragraphs
     SH           section header (one line)
     SS           subsection header (one line)
     PP, LP, P    start an undecorated paragraph (no arguments)
     RS, RE       reset the left margin: [width]
     IP           indented paragraph: [head [width]]
     TP           tagged paragraph: [width]
     HP           hanged paragraph: [width]
     br           force output line break in text mode (no arguments)
     sp           force vertical space: [height]
     fi, nf       fill mode and no-fill mode (no arguments)
     in           additional indent: [width]

   Physical markup
     B            boldface font
     I            italic font
     R            roman (default) font
     SB           small boldface font
     SM           small roman font
     BI           alternate between boldface and italic fonts
     BR           alternate between boldface and roman fonts
     IB           alternate between italic and boldface fonts
     IR           alternate between italic and roman fonts
     RB           alternate between roman and boldface fonts
     RI           alternate between roman and italic fonts

   Semantic markup
     OP           optional arguments

MACRO REFERENCE
     This section is a canonical reference to all macros, arranged
     alphabetically.  For the scoping of individual macros, see MACRO SYNTAX.

   AT
     Sets the volume for the footer for compatibility with man pages from AT&T
     UNIX releases.  The optional arguments specify which release it is from.

   B
     Text is rendered in bold face.

     See also I and R.

   BI
     Text is rendered alternately in bold face and italic.  Thus, `.BI this
     word and that' causes `this' and `and' to render in bold face, while
     `word' and `that' render in italics.  Whitespace between arguments is
     omitted in output.

     Examples:

           .BI bold italic bold italic

     The output of this example will be emboldened ``bold'' and italicised
     ``italic'', with spaces stripped between arguments.

     See also IB, BR, RB, RI, and IR.

   BR
     Text is rendered alternately in bold face and roman (the default font).
     Whitespace between arguments is omitted in output.

     See BI for an equivalent example.

     See also BI, IB, RB, RI, and IR.

   DT
     Has no effect.  Included for compatibility.

   HP
     Begin a paragraph whose initial output line is left-justified, but
     subsequent output lines are indented, with the following syntax:

           .HP [width]

     The width argument must conform to Scaling Widths.  If specified, it's
     saved for later paragraph left-margins; if unspecified, the saved or
     default width is used.

     See also IP, LP, P, PP, and TP.

   I
     Text is rendered in italics.

     See also B and R.

   IB
     Text is rendered alternately in italics and bold face.  Whitespace
     between arguments is omitted in output.

     See BI for an equivalent example.

     See also BI, BR, RB, RI, and IR.

   IP
     Begin an indented paragraph with the following syntax:

           .IP [head [width]]

     The width argument defines the width of the left margin and is defined by
     Scaling Widths.  It's saved for later paragraph left-margins; if
     unspecified, the saved or default width is used.

     The head argument is used as a leading term, flushed to the left margin.
     This is useful for bulleted paragraphs and so on.

     See also HP, LP, P, PP, and TP.

   IR
     Text is rendered alternately in italics and roman (the default font).
     Whitespace between arguments is omitted in output.

     See BI for an equivalent example.

     See also BI, IB, BR, RB, and RI.

   LP
     Begin an undecorated paragraph.  The scope of a paragraph is closed by a
     subsequent paragraph, sub-section, section, or end of file.  The saved
     paragraph left-margin width is reset to the default.

     See also HP, IP, P, PP, and TP.

   OP
     Optional command-line argument.  This has the following syntax:

           .OP key [value]

     The key is usually a command-line flag and value its argument.

   P
     Synonym for LP.

     See also HP, IP, LP, PP, and TP.

   PP
     Synonym for LP.

     See also HP, IP, LP, P, and TP.

   R
     Text is rendered in roman (the default font).

     See also I and B.

   RB
     Text is rendered alternately in roman (the default font) and bold face.
     Whitespace between arguments is omitted in output.

     See BI for an equivalent example.

     See also BI, IB, BR, RI, and IR.

   RE
     Explicitly close out the scope of a prior RS.  The default left margin is
     restored to the state of the original RS invocation.

   RI
     Text is rendered alternately in roman (the default font) and italics.
     Whitespace between arguments is omitted in output.

     See BI for an equivalent example.

     See also BI, IB, BR, RB, and IR.

   RS
     Temporarily reset the default left margin.  This has the following
     syntax:

           .RS [width]

     The width argument must conform to Scaling Widths.  If not specified, the
     saved or default width is used.

     See also RE.

   SB
     Text is rendered in small size (one point smaller than the default font)
     bold face.

   SH
     Begin a section.  The scope of a section is only closed by another
     section or the end of file.  The paragraph left-margin width is reset to
     the default.

   SM
     Text is rendered in small size (one point smaller than the default font).

   SS
     Begin a sub-section.  The scope of a sub-section is closed by a
     subsequent sub-section, section, or end of file.  The paragraph left-
     margin width is reset to the default.

   TH
     Sets the title of the manual page with the following syntax:

           .TH title section date [source [volume]]

     Conventionally, the document title is given in all caps.  The recommended
     date format is YYYY-MM-DD as specified in the ISO-8601 standard; if the
     argument does not conform, it is printed verbatim.  If the date is empty
     or not specified, the current date is used.  The optional source string
     specifies the organisation providing the utility.  The volume string
     replaces the default rendered volume, which is dictated by the manual
     section.

     Examples:

           .TH CVS 5 1992-02-12 GNU

   TP
     Begin a paragraph where the head, if exceeding the indentation width, is
     followed by a newline; if not, the body follows on the same line after a
     buffer to the indentation width.  Subsequent output lines are indented.
     The syntax is as follows:

           .TP [width]

     The width argument must conform to Scaling Widths.  If specified, it's
     saved for later paragraph left-margins; if unspecified, the saved or
     default width is used.

     See also HP, IP, LP, P, and PP.

   UC
     Sets the volume for the footer for compatibility with man pages from BSD
     releases.  The optional first argument specifies which release it is
     from.

   br
     Breaks the current line.  Consecutive invocations have no further effect.

     See also sp.

   fi
     End literal mode begun by nf.

   ft
     Change the current font mode.  See Text Decoration for a listing of
     available font modes.

   in
     Indent relative to the current indentation:

           .in [width]

     If width is signed, the new offset is relative.  Otherwise, it is
     absolute.  This value is reset upon the next paragraph, section, or sub-
     section.

   na
     Don't align to the right margin.

   nf
     Begin literal mode: all subsequent free-form lines have their end of line
     boundaries preserved.  May be ended by fi.  Literal mode is implicitly
     ended by SH or SS.

   sp
     Insert vertical spaces into output with the following syntax:

           .sp [height]

     Insert height spaces, which must conform to Scaling Widths.  If 0, this
     is equivalent to the br macro.  Defaults to 1, if unspecified.

     See also br.

MACRO SYNTAX
     The man macros are classified by scope: line scope or block scope.  Line
     macros are only scoped to the current line (and, in some situations, the
     subsequent line).  Block macros are scoped to the current line and
     subsequent lines until closed by another block macro.

   Line Macros
     Line macros are generally scoped to the current line, with the body
     consisting of zero or more arguments.  If a macro is scoped to the next
     line and the line arguments are empty, the next line, which must be text,
     is used instead.  Thus:

           .I
           foo

     is equivalent to `.I foo'.  If next-line macros are invoked
     consecutively, only the last is used.  If a next-line macro is followed
     by a non-next-line macro, an error is raised, except for br, sp, and na.

     The syntax is as follows:

           .YO [body...]
           [body...]

           Macro     Arguments     Scope         Notes
           AT        <=1           current
           B         n             next-line
           BI        n             current
           BR        n             current
           DT        0             current
           I         n             next-line
           IB        n             current
           IR        n             current
           OP        0, 1          current       compat
           R         n             next-line
           RB        n             current
           RI        n             current
           SB        n             next-line
           SM        n             next-line
           TH        >1, <6        current
           UC        <=1           current
           br        0             current       compat
           fi        0             current       compat
           ft        1             current       compat
           in        1             current       compat
           na        0             current       compat
           nf        0             current       compat
           sp        1             current       compat

     Macros marked as "compat" are included for compatibility with the
     significant corpus of existing manuals that mix dialects of roff.  These
     macros should not be used for portable man manuals.

   Block Macros
     Block macros comprise a head and body.  As with in-line macros, the head
     is scoped to the current line and, in one circumstance, the next line
     (the next-line stipulations as in Line Macros apply here as well).

     The syntax is as follows:

           .YO [head...]
           [head...]
           [body...]

     The closure of body scope may be to the section, where a macro is closed
     by SH; sub-section, closed by a section or SS; part, closed by a section,
     sub-section, or RE; or paragraph, closed by a section, sub-section, part,
     HP, IP, LP, P, PP, or TP.  No closure refers to an explicit block closing
     macro.

     As a rule, block macros may not be nested; thus, calling a block macro
     while another block macro scope is open, and the open scope is not
     implicitly closed, is syntactically incorrect.

           Macro    Arguments    Head Scope    Body Scope     Notes
           HP       <2           current       paragraph
           IP       <3           current       paragraph
           LP       0            current       paragraph
           P        0            current       paragraph
           PP       0            current       paragraph
           RE       0            current       none           compat
           RS       1            current       part           compat
           SH       >0           next-line     section
           SS       >0           next-line     sub-section
           TP       n            next-line     paragraph

     Macros marked "compat" are as mentioned in Line Macros.

     If a block macro is next-line scoped, it may only be followed by in-line
     macros for decorating text.

   Font handling
     In man documents, both Physical markup macros and roff(7) `\f' font
     escape sequences can be used to choose fonts.  In text lines, the effect
     of manual font selection by escape sequences only lasts until the next
     macro invocation; in macro lines, it only lasts until the end of the
     macro scope.  Note that macros like BR open and close a font scope for
     each argument.

COMPATIBILITY
     This section documents areas of questionable portability between
     implementations of the man language.

     -   Do not depend on SH or SS to close out a literal context opened with
         nf.  This behaviour may not be portable.
     -   In quoted literals, GNU troff allowed pair-wise double-quotes to
         produce a standalone double-quote in formatted output.  It is not
         known whether this behaviour is exhibited by other formatters.
     -   troff suppresses a newline before `'' macro output; in mandoc, it is
         an alias for the standard `.' control character.
     -   The `\h' (horizontal position), `\v' (vertical position), `\m' (text
         colour), `\M' (text filling colour), `\z' (zero-length character),
         `\w' (string length), `\k' (horizontal position marker), `\o' (text
         overstrike), and `\s' (text size) escape sequences are all discarded
         in mandoc.
     -   The `\f' scaling unit is accepted by mandoc, but rendered as the
         default unit.
     -   The sp macro does not accept negative values in mandoc.  In GNU
         troff, this would result in strange behaviour.
     -   In page header lines, GNU troff versions up to and including 1.21
         only print volume names explicitly specified in the TH macro; mandoc
         and newer groff print the default volume name corresponding to the
         section number when no volume is given, like in mdoc(7).

     The OP macro is part of the extended man macro set, and may not be
     portable to non-GNU troff implementations.

SEE ALSO
     man(1), mandoc(1), eqn(7), mandoc_char(7), mdoc(7), roff(7), tbl(7)

HISTORY
     The man language first appeared as a macro package for the roff
     typesetting system in Version 7 AT&T UNIX.  It was later rewritten by
     James Clark as a macro package for groff.  Eric S. Raymond wrote the
     extended man macros for groff in 2007.  The stand-alone implementation
     that is part of the mandoc(1) utility written by Kristaps Dzonsons
     appeared in OpenBSD 4.6.

AUTHORS
     This man reference was written by Kristaps Dzonsons, kristaps@bsd.lv.

CAVEATS
     Do not use this language.  Use mdoc(7), instead.

NetBSD 6.1.5                    January 3, 2012                   NetBSD 6.1.5