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man - manual page format


The Inferno manual pages are stored as text files in a format originally defined for use with the Unix and Plan 9 troff command, when used with the man macro package. Within Inferno, the format is interpreted by the programs of man(1).

Except in .LR and .RL requests, any text argument denoted t in the request summary may be zero to six words. Quotes " ... " may be used to include blanks in a `word'. If t is empty, the special treatment is applied to the next text input line (the next line that doesn't begin with dot). In this way, for example, .I may be used to italicize a line of more than 6 words, or .SM followed by .B to make small letters in `bold' font.

A prevailing indent distance is remembered between successive indented paragraphs, and is reset to default value upon reaching a non-indented paragraph. Default units for indents i are ens.

The fonts are

roman, the main font, preferred for diagnostics
italic, preferred for parameters, short names of commands, names of manual pages, and naked function names
`bold', actually the constant width font, preferred for examples, file names, declarations, keywords, names of struct members, and literals (numbers are rarely literals)
also the constant width font. For graphical display and printing, L=B; when converted to plain text, the arguments of the macros .L, .LR, and .RL are printed in quotes; preferred only where quotes really help (e.g. lower-case literals and punctuation).

Type font and size are reset to default values before each paragraph, and after processing font- or size-setting macros.

The man format admits equations and tables in the style of Unix eqn (equation setting) and tbl (table layout) preprocessors, but do not support arguments on .EQ and .TS macros.

These strings are predefined by man:

Trademark symbol
Change to default type size.


Source files of manual pages.




Request Cause If no Explanation
Break Argument
.B t no t=n.t.l.* Text t is `bold'.
.BI t no t=n.t.l. Join words of t alternating bold and italic.
.BR t no t=n.t.l. Join words of t alternating bold and Roman.
.DT no Restore default tabs.
.EE yes End displayed example
.EX yes Begin displayed example
.HP i yes i=p.i.* Set prevailing indent to i. Begin paragraph with hanging indent.
.I t no t=n.t.l. Text t is italic.
.IB t no t=n.t.l. Join words of t alternating italic and bold.
.IP x i yes x="" Same as .TP with tag x.
.IR t no t=n.t.l. Join words of t alternating italic and Roman.
.L t no t=n.t.l. Text t is literal.
.LP yes Same as .PP.
.LR t no Join 2 words of t alternating literal and Roman.
.PD d no d=.4v Interparagraph distance is d.
.PP yes Begin paragraph. Set prevailing indent to default.
.RE yes End of relative indent. Set prevailing indent to amount of starting .RS.
.RI t no t=n.t.l. Join words of t alternating Roman and italic.
.RL t no Join 2 or 3 words of t alternating Roman and literal.
.RS i yes i=p.i. Start relative indent, move left margin in distance i. Set prevailing indent to default for nested indents.
.SH t yes t="" Subhead; reset paragraph distance.
.SM t no t=n.t.l. Text t is small.
.SS t no t="" Secondary subhead.
.TF s yes Prevailing indent is wide as string s in font L; paragraph distance is 0.
.TH n c x yes Begin page named n of chapter c; x is extra commentary, e.g. `local', for page head. Set prevailing indent and tabs to default.
.TP i yes i=p.i. Set prevailing indent to i. Restore default indent if i=0. Begin indented paragraph with hanging tag given by next text line. If tag doesn't fit, place it on separate line.
.1C yes Equalize columns and return to 1-column output
.2C yes Start 2-column nofill output

* n.t.l. = next text line; p.i. = prevailing indent


There's no way to include literal double quote marks in font-alternation macros, such as .BI.
There is no direct way to suppress column widows in 2-column output; the column lengths may be adjusted by inserting .sp requests before the closing .1C.

MAN(6 ) Rev:  Thu Feb 15 14:43:48 GMT 2007