GROFFER(1)                   General Commands Manual                  GROFFER(1)

       groffer - display groff files and man pages on X and tty

       groffer [mode-option ...] [groff-option ...] [man-option ...] [X-option
               ...] [--] [filespec ...]

       groffer -h
       groffer --help

       groffer -v
       groffer --version

       The groffer program is the easiest way to use groff(1).  It can display
       arbitrary documents written in the groff language, see groff(7), or other
       roff languages, see roff(7), that are compatible to the original troff
       language.  It finds and runs all necessary groff preprocessors, such as

       The groffer program also includes many of the features for finding and
       displaying the Unix manual pages (man pages), such that it can be used as
       a replacement for a man(1) program.  Moreover, compressed files that can
       be handled by gzip(1) or bzip2(1) are decompressed on-the-fly.

       The normal usage is quite simple by supplying a file name or name of a
       man page without further options.  But the option handling has many
       possibilities for creating special behaviors.  This can be done either in
       configuration files, with the shell environment variable GROFFER_OPT, or
       on the command line.

       The output can be generated and viewed in several different ways
       available for groff.  This includes the X Window System-based groff
       program gxditview(1), each PostScript, PDF, or DVI display program, a web
       browser by generating HTML or XHTML in www mode, or several text modes in
       text terminals.

       Most of the options that must be named when running groff directly are
       determined automatically for groffer, due to the internal usage of the
       grog(1) program.  But all parts can also be controlled manually by

       Several file names can be specified on the command-line arguments.  They
       are transformed into a single document in the normal way of groff.

       Option handling is done in GNU style.  Options and file names can be
       mixed freely.  The option “--” closes the option handling, all following
       arguments are treated as file names.  Long options can be abbreviated in
       several ways.

       breaking options

               [-h | --help] [-v | --version]

       groffer mode options

               [--auto] [--default] [--default-modes mode1,mode2,...] [--dvi]
               [--groff] [--html] [--latin1] [--mode display_mode] [--pdf]
               [--pdf2] [--ps] [--source] [--text] [--to-stdout] [--tty]
               [--utf8] [--viewer prog] [--www] [--xhtml] [--x | --X]

       options related to groff

               [-T | --device device] [-Z | --intermediate-output | --ditroff]

              All further groff short options are accepted.

       options for man pages

               [--apropos] [--apropos-data] [--apropos-devel] [--apropos-progs]
               [--man] [--no-man] [--no-special] [--whatis]

       long options taken over from GNU man

               [--all] [--ascii] [--ditroff] [--extension suffix]
               [--locale language] [--local-file] [--location | --where]
               [--manpath dir1:dir2:...] [--no-location] [--pager program]
               [--sections sec1:sec2:...] [--systems sys1,sys2,...]
               [--troff-device device]

              Further long options of GNU man are accepted as well.

       options mapped to X Window System Toolkit Intrinsics options

               [--bd | --bordercolor pixels] [--bg | --background color]
               [--bw | --borderwidth pixels] [--display X-display]
               [--fg | --foreground color] [--fn | --ft | --font font_name]
               [--geometry size_pos] [--resolution value] [--rv]
               [--title string] [--xrm X-resource]

       options for development

               [--debug] [--debug-filenames] [--debug-grog] [--debug-keep]
               [--debug-params] [--debug-tmpdir] [--do-nothing] [--print text]

       filespec arguments

              The filespec parameters are all arguments that are neither an
              option nor an option argument.  They usually mean a file name or a
              man page searching scheme.

              In the following, the term section_extension is used.  It means a
              word that consists of a man section that is optionally followed by
              an extension.  The name of a man section is a single character
              from [1–9on], the extension is some word.  The extension is mostly

              No filespec parameters means standard input.

              -         stands for standard input (can occur several times).

              filename  the path name of an existing file.

              section_extension name
                        search the man page name in the section with optional
                        extension section_extension.

              man:name  man page in the lowest man section that has name.

              name      if name is not an existing file search for the man page
                        name in the lowest man section.

       The groffer program can usually be run with very few options.  But for
       special purposes, it supports many options.  These can be classified in 5
       option classes.

       All short options of groffer are compatible with the short options of
       groff(1).  All long options of groffer are compatible with the long
       options of man(1).

       Arguments for long option names can be abbreviated in several ways.
       First, the argument is checked whether it can be prolonged as is.
       Furthermore, each minus sign - is considered as a starting point for a
       new abbreviation.  This leads to a set of multiple abbreviations for a
       single argument.  For example, --de-n-f can be used as an abbreviation
       for --debug-not-func, but --de-n works as well.  If the abbreviation of
       the argument leads to several resulting options an error is raised.

       These abbreviations are only allowed in the environment variable
       GROFFER_OPT, but not in the configuration files.  In configuration, all
       long options must be exact.

   groffer breaking Options
       As soon as one of these options is found on the command line it is
       executed, printed to standard output, and the running groffer is
       terminated thereafter.  All other arguments are ignored.

       -h | --help
              Print help information with a short explanation of options to
              standard output.

       -v | --version
              Print version information to standard output.

   groffer Mode Options
       The display mode and the viewer programs are determined by these options.
       If none of these mode and viewer options is specified groffer tries to
       find a suitable display mode automatically.  The default modes are mode
       pdf, mode ps, mode html, mode xhtml, mode x, and mode dvi in the X Window
       System with different viewers and mode tty with device utf8 under less on
       a terminal; other modes are tested if the programs for the main default
       mode do not exist.

       In the X Window System, many programs create their own window when
       called.  groffer can run these viewers as an independent program in the
       background.  As this does not work in text mode on a terminal (tty) there
       must be a way to know which viewers are X Window System-based graphical
       programs.  The groffer script has a small amount of information on some
       viewer names.  If a viewer argument of the command-line chooses an
       element that is recognized as an X Window System-based program in this
       list, it is treated as a viewer that can run in the background.
       Unrecognized viewers are not run in the background.

       For each mode, you are free to choose whatever viewer you want.  That
       need not be some graphical viewer suitable for this mode.  There is a
       chance to view the output source; for example, the combination of the
       options --mode=ps and --viewer=less shows the content of the PostScript
       output, the source code, with the pager less.

       --auto Equivalent to --mode=auto.

              Reset all configuration from previously processed command-line
              options to the default values.  This is useful to wipe out all
              former options of the configuration, in GROFFER_OPT, and restart
              option processing using only the rest of the command line.

       --default-modes mode1,mode2,...
              Set the sequence of modes for auto mode to the comma separated
              list given in the argument.  See --mode for details on modes.
              Display in the default manner; actually, this means to try the
              modes x, ps, and tty in this sequence.

       --dvi  Equivalent to --mode=dvi.  Known DVI viewers for the X Window
              System include xdvi(1) and dvilx(1).

              Equivalent to --mode=groff.

       --html Equivalent to --mode=html.

       --mode value
              Set the display mode.  The following mode values are recognized:

              auto   Select the automatic determination of the display mode.
                     The sequence of modes that are tried can be set with the
                     --default-modes option.  Useful for restoring the
                     default mode when a different mode was specified before.

              dvi    Display formatted input in a DVI viewer program.  By
                     default, the formatted input is displayed with the xdvi(1)

              groff  After the file determination, switch groffer to process the
                     input like groff(1) would do.  This disables the groffer
                     viewing features.

              html   Translate the input into HTML format and display the result
                     in a web browser program.  By default, the existence of a
                     sequence of standard web browsers is tested, starting with
                     konqueror(1) and mozilla(1).  The text HTML viewer is
                     lynx(1).  By default, the existence of a sequence of
                     standard web browsers is tested, starting with konqueror(1)
                     and mozilla(1).  The text HTML viewer is lynx(1).

              pdf    Transform roff input files into a PDF file by using the
                     groff (1) device -Tpdf.  This is the default PDF generator.
                     The generated PDF file is displayed with suitable viewer
                     programs, such as okular(1).

              pdf2   This is the traditional pdf mode.  Sometimes this mode
                     produces more correct output than the default PDF mode.  By
                     default, the input is formatted by groff using the
                     PostScript device, then it is transformed into the PDF file
                     format using gs(1), or ps2pdf(1).  If that's not possible,
                     the PostScript mode (ps) is used instead.  Finally it is
                     displayed using different viewer programs.

              ps     Display formatted input in a PostScript viewer program.  By
                     default, the formatted input is displayed in one of many
                     viewer programs.

              text   Format in a groff text mode and write the result to
                     standard output without a pager or viewer program.  The
                     text device, latin1 by default, can be chosen with option

              tty    Format in a groff text mode and write the result to
                     standard output using a text pager program, even when in
                     the X Window System.

              www    Equivalent to --mode=html.

              x      Display the formatted input in a native roff viewer.  By
                     default, the formatted input is displayed with the
                     gxditview(1) program being distributed together with groff.
                     But the legacy X Window System application xditview(1) can
                     also be chosen with the option --viewer.  The default
                     resolution is 75dpi, but 100dpi are also possible.  The
                     default groff device for the resolution of 75dpi is X75-12,
                     for 100dpi it is X100.  The corresponding groff
                     intermediate output for the actual device is generated and
                     the result is displayed.  For a resolution of 100dpi, the
                     default width of the geometry of the display program is
                     chosen to 850dpi.

              X      Equivalent to --mode=x.

              xhtml  Translate the input into XHTML format, which is an XML
                     version of HTML.  Then display the result in a web browser
                     program, mostly the known HTML viewers.

              The following modes do not use the groffer viewing features.  They
              are only interesting for advanced applications.

              groff  Generate device output with plain groff without using the
                     special viewing features of groffer.  If no device was
                     specified by option -T the groff default ps is assumed.

              source Output the roff source code of the input files without
                     further processing.

       --pdf  Equivalent to --mode=pdf.
       --pdf2 Equivalent to --mode=pdf2.

       --ps   Equivalent to --mode=ps.  Common PostScript viewers include
              okular(1), evince(1), gv(1), ghostview(1), and gs(1), In each
              case, arguments can be provided additionally.

              Equivalent to --mode=source.

       --text Equivalent to --mode=text.

              The file for the chosen mode is generated and its content is
              printed to standard output.  It will not be displayed in graphical

       --tty  Equivalent to --mode=tty.  The standard pager is less(1).  This
              option is equivalent to man option --pager=prog.  The option
              argument can be a file name or a program to be searched in $PATH;
              arguments can be provided additionally.

       --viewer prog
              Choose a viewer program for actual device or mode.  This can be a
              file name or a program to be searched in $PATH; arguments can be
              provided additionally.

       --www  Equivalent to --mode=html.

       --X | --x
              Equivalent to --mode=x.  Suitable viewer programs are gxditview(1)
              which is the default and xditview(1).

       --     Signals the end of option processing; all remaining arguments are
              interpreted as filespec parameters.

       Besides these, groffer accepts all short options that are valid for the
       groff(1) program.  All non-groffer options are sent unmodified via grog
       to groff.  So postprocessors, macro packages, compatibility with
       classical troff, and much more can be manually specified.

   Options related to groff
       All short options of groffer are compatible with the short options of
       groff(1).  The following of groff options have either an additional
       special meaning within groffer or make sense for normal usage.

       Because of the special outputting behavior of the groff option -Z groffer
       was designed to be switched into groff mode; the groffer viewing features
       are disabled there.  The other groff options do not switch the mode, but
       allow to customize the formatting process.

       --a    This generates an ASCII approximation of output in the text modes.
              That could be important when the text pager has problems with
              control sequences in tty mode.

       --m file
              Add file as a groff macro file.  This is useful in case it cannot
              be recognized automatically.

       --P opt_or_arg
              Send the argument opt_or_arg as an option or option argument to
              the actual groff postprocessor.

       --T devname | --device devname
              This option determines groff's output device.  The most important
              devices are the text output devices for referring to the different
              character sets, such as ascii, utf8, latin1, utf8, and others.
              Each of these arguments switches groffer into a text mode using
              this device, to mode tty if the actual mode is not a text mode.
              The following devname arguments are mapped to the corresponding
              groffer --mode=devname option: dvi, html, xhtml, and ps.  All X*
              arguments are mapped to mode x.  Each other devname argument
              switches to mode groff using this device.

       --X    is equivalent to groff -X.  It displays the groff intermediate
              output with gxditview.  As the quality is relatively bad this
              option is deprecated; use --X instead because the x mode uses an
              X* device for a better display.

       -Z | --intermediate-output | --ditroff
              Switch into groff mode and format the input with the groff
              intermediate output without postprocessing; see groff_out(5).
              This is equivalent to option --ditroff of man, which can be used
              as well.

       All other groff options are supported by groffer, but they are just
       transparently transferred to groff without any intervention.  The options
       that are not explicitly handled by groffer are transparently passed to
       groff.  Therefore these transparent options are not documented here, but
       in groff(1).  Due to the automatism in groffer, none of these groff
       options should be needed, except for advanced usage.

   Options for man pages
              Start the apropos(1) command or facility of man(1) for searching
              the filespec arguments within all man page descriptions.  Each
              filespec argument is taken for search as it is; section specific
              parts are not handled, such that 7 groff searches for the two
              arguments 7 and groff, with a large result; for the filespec
              groff.7 nothing will be found.  The language locale is handled
              only when the called programs do support this; the GNU apropos and
              man -k do not.  The display differs from the apropos program by
              the following concepts:

              * Construct a groff frame similar to a man page to the output of

              * each filespec argument is searched on its own.

              * The restriction by --sections is handled as well,

              * wildcard characters are allowed and handled without a further

              Show only the apropos descriptions for data documents, these are
              the man(7) sections 4, 5, and 7.  Direct section declarations are
              ignored, wildcards are accepted.

              Show only the apropos descriptions for development documents,
              these are the man(7) sections 2, 3, and 9.  Direct section
              declarations are ignored, wildcards are accepted.

              Show only the apropos descriptions for documents on programs,
              these are the man(7) sections 1, 6, and 8.  Direct section
              declarations are ignored, wildcards are accepted.

              For each filespec argument search all man pages and display their
              description — or say that it is not a man page.  This is written
              from anew, so it differs from man's whatis output by the following

              * each retrieved file name is added,

              * local files are handled as well,

              * the language and system locale is supported,

              * the display is framed by a groff output format similar to a
                man page,

              * wildcard characters are allowed without a further option.

       The following options were added to groffer for choosing whether the file
       name arguments are interpreted as names for local files or as a search
       pattern for man pages.  The default is looking up for local files.

       --man  Check the non-option command-line arguments (filespecs) first on
              being man pages, then whether they represent an existing file.  By
              default, a filespec is first tested whether it is an existing

       --no-man | --local-file
              Do not check for man pages.  --local-file is the corresponding man

              Disable former calls of --all, --apropos*, and --whatis.

   Long options taken over from GNU man
       The long options of groffer were synchronized with the long options of
       GNU man.  All long options of GNU man are recognized, but not all of
       these options are important to groffer, so most of them are just ignored.
       These ignored man options are --catman, --troff, and --update.

       In the following, the man options that have a special meaning for groffer
       are documented.

       If your system has GNU man installed the full set of long and short
       options of the GNU man program can be passed via the environment variable
       MANOPT; see man(1).

       --all  In searching man pages, retrieve all suitable documents instead of
              only one.

       -7 | --ascii
              In text modes, display ASCII translation of special characters for
              critical environment.  This is equivalent to groff -mtty_char; see

              Produce groff intermediate output.  This is equivalent to groffer

       --extension suffix
              Restrict man page search to file names that have suffix appended
              to their section element.  For example, in the file name
              /usr/share/man/man3/terminfo.3ncurses.gz the man page extension is

       --locale language
              Set the language for man pages.  This has the same effect, but
              overwrites $LANG.

              Print the location of the retrieved files to standard error.

              Do not display the location of retrieved files; this resets a
              former call to --location.  This was added by groffer.

       --manpath 'dir1:dir2:...'
              Use the specified search path for retrieving man pages instead of
              the program defaults.  If the argument is set to the empty string
              "" the search for man page is disabled.

              Set the pager program in tty mode; default is less.  This can be
              set with --viewer.

       --sections sec1:sec2:...
              Restrict searching for man pages to the given sections, a colon-
              separated list.

       --systems sys1,sys2,...
              Search for man pages for the given operating systems; the argument
              systems is a comma-separated list.

              Equivalent to --location.

   X Window System Toolkit Intrinsics Options
       The following long options were adapted from the corresponding X Window
       System Toolkit Intrinsics options.  groffer will pass them to the actual
       viewer program if it is an X Window System program.  Otherwise these
       options are ignored.

       Unfortunately these options use the old style of a single minus for long
       options.  For groffer that was changed to the standard with using a
       double minus for long options, for example, groffer uses the option
       --font for the X Window System Toolkit Intrinsics option -font.

       See X(7) and the manual X Toolkit Intrinsics – C Language Interface for
       more details on these options and their arguments.

       --background color
              Set the background color of the viewer window.

       --bd pixels
              This is equivalent to --bordercolor.

       --bg color
              This is equivalent to --background.

       --bw pixels
              This is equivalent to --borderwidth.

       --bordercolor pixels
              Specifies the color of the border surrounding the viewer window.

       --borderwidth pixels
              Specifies the width in pixels of the border surrounding the viewer

       --display X-display
              Set the X Window System display on which the viewer program shall
              be started.  See section “Display Names” in X(7) for the syntax of
              the argument.

       --foreground color
              Set the foreground color of the viewer window.

       --fg color
              This is equivalent to --foreground.

       --fn font_name
              This is equivalent to --font.

       --font font_name
              Set the font used by the viewer window.  The argument is an X
              Window System font name.

       --ft font_name
              This is equivalent to --font.

       --geometry size_pos
              Set the geometry of the display window, that means its size and
              its starting position.  See section “Geometry Specifications” in
              X(7) for the syntax of the argument.

       --resolution value
              Set X Window System resolution in dpi (dots per inch) in some
              viewer programs.  The only supported dpi values are 75 and 100.
              Actually, the default resolution for groffer is set to 75dpi.  The
              resolution also sets the default device in mode x.

       --rv   Reverse foreground and background color of the viewer window.

       --title 'some text'
              Set the title for the viewer window.

       --xrm 'resource'
              Set the X Window System server resource to the given value.

   Options for Development
              Enable all debugging options --debug-type.  The temporary files
              are kept and not deleted, the grog output is printed, the name of
              the temporary directory is printed, the displayed file names are
              printed, and the parameters are printed.

              Print the names of the files and man pages that are displayed by

              Print the output of all grog commands.

              Enable two debugging informations.  Print the name of the
              temporary directory and keep the temporary files, do not delete
              them during the run of groffer.

              Print the parameters, as obtained from the configuration files,
              from GROFFER_OPT, and the command-line arguments.

              Print the name of the temporary directory.

              This is like --version, but without the output; no viewer is
              started.  This makes only sense in development.

              Just print the argument to standard error.  This is good for
              parameter check.

       -V     This is an advanced option for debugging only.  Instead of
              displaying the formatted input, a lot of groffer specific
              information is printed to standard output:

              * the output file name in the temporary directory,

              * the display mode of the actual groffer run,

              * the display program for viewing the output with its arguments,

              * the active parameters from the config files, the arguments in
                GROFFER_OPT, and the arguments of the command line,

              * the pipeline that would be run by the groff program, but without
                executing it.

       Other useful debugging options are the groff option -Z and --mode=groff.

   Filespec Arguments
       A filespec parameter is an argument that is not an option or option
       argument.  In groffer, filespec parameters are a file name or a template
       for searching man pages.  These input sources are collected and composed
       into a single output file such as groff does.

       The strange POSIX behavior to regard all arguments behind the first non-
       option argument as filespec arguments is ignored.  The GNU behavior to
       recognize options even when mixed with filespec arguments is used
       throughout.  But, as usual, the double minus argument -- ends the option
       handling and interprets all following arguments as filespec arguments; so
       the POSIX behavior can be easily adopted.

       The options --apropos* have a special handling of filespec arguments.
       Each argument is taken as a search scheme of its own.  Also a regexp
       (regular expression) can be used in the filespec.  For example, groffer
       --apropos '^gro.f$' searches groff in the man page name, while groffer
       --apropos groff searches groff somewhere in the name or description of
       the man pages.

       All other parts of groffer, such as the normal display or the output with
       --whatis have a different scheme for filespecs.  No regular expressions
       are used for the arguments.  The filespec arguments are handled by the
       following scheme.

       It is necessary to know that on each system the man pages are sorted
       according to their content into several sections.  The classical man
       sections have a single-character name, either a digit from 1 to 9 or one
       of the characters n or o.

       This can optionally be followed by a string, the so-called extension.
       The extension allows the storage of several man pages with the same name
       in the same section.  But the extension is only rarely used; usually it
       is omitted.  Then the extensions are searched automatically by alphabet.

       In the following, we use the name section_extension for a word that
       consists of a single character section name or a section character that
       is followed by an extension.  Each filespec parameter can have one of the
       following forms in decreasing sequence.

       * No filespec parameters means that groffer waits for standard input.
         The minus option - always stands for standard input; it can occur
         several times.  If you want to look up a man page called - use the
         argument man:-.

       * Next a filespec is tested whether it is the path name of an existing
         file.  Otherwise it is assumed to be a searching pattern for a
         man page.

       * man:name(section_extension), man:name.section_extension,
         name(section_extension), or name.section_extension search the man page
         name in man section and possibly extension of section_extension.

       * Now man:name searches for a man page in the lowest man section that has
         a document called name.

       * section_extension name is a pattern of 2 arguments that originates from
         a strange argument parsing of the man program.  Again, this searches
         the man page name with section_extension, a combination of a section
         character optionally followed by an extension.

       * We are left with the argument name which is not an existing file.  So
         this searches for the man page called name in the lowest man section
         that has a document for this name.

       Several file name arguments can be supplied.  They are mixed by groff
       into a single document.  Note that the set of option arguments must fit
       to all of these file arguments.  So they should have at least the same
       style of the groff language.

       By default, the groffer program collects all input into a single file,
       formats it with the groff program for a certain device, and then chooses
       a suitable viewer program.  The device and viewer process in groffer is
       called a mode.  The mode and viewer of a running groffer program is
       selected automatically, but the user can also choose it with options.
       The modes are selected by option the arguments of --mode=anymode.
       Additionally, each of this argument can be specified as an option of its
       own, such as anymode.  Most of these modes have a viewer program, which
       can be chosen by the option --viewer.

       Several different modes are offered: graphical modes for the X Window
       System, text modes, and some direct groff modes for debugging and

       By default, groffer first tries whether x mode is possible, then ps mode,
       and finally tty mode.  This mode testing sequence for auto mode can be
       changed by specifying a comma separated list of modes with the option

       The searching for man pages and the decompression of the input are active
       in every mode.

   Graphical Display Modes
       The graphical display modes work mostly in the X Window System
       environment (or similar implementations within other windowing
       environments).  The environment variable DISPLAY and the option --display
       are used for specifying the X Window System display to be used.  If this
       environment variable is empty, groffer assumes that the X Window System
       is not running and changes to a text mode.  You can change this automatic
       behavior by the option --default-modes.

       Known viewers for the graphical display modes and their standard X Window
       System viewer programs are

       * in a PDF viewer (pdf mode)

       * in a web browser (html, (xhtml, or www mode)

       * in a PostScript viewer (ps mode)

       * X Window System roff viewers such as gxditview(1) or xditview(1) (in
         x mode)

       * in a DVI viewer program (dvi mode)

       The pdf mode has a major advantage — it is the only graphical display
       mode that allows searching for text within the viewer; this can be a
       really important feature.  Unfortunately, it takes some time to transform
       the input into the PDF format, so it was not chosen as the major mode.

       These graphical viewers can be customized by options of the X Window
       System Toolkit Intrinsics.  But the groffer options use a leading double
       minus instead of the single minus used by the X Window System Toolkit

   Text modes
       There are two modes for text output, mode text for plain output without a
       pager and mode tty for a text output on a text terminal using some pager

       If the variable DISPLAY is not set or empty, groffer assumes that it
       should use tty mode.

       In the actual implementation, the groff output device latin1 is chosen
       for text modes.  This can be changed by specifying option -T or --device.

       The pager to be used can be specified by one of the options --pager and
       --viewer, or by the environment variable PAGER.  If all of this is not
       used the less(1) program with the option -r for correctly displaying
       control sequences is used as the default pager.

   Special Modes for Debugging and Development
       These modes use the groffer file determination and decompression.  This
       is combined into a single input file that is fed directly into groff with
       different strategy without the groffer viewing facilities.  These modes
       are regarded as advanced, they are useful for debugging and development

       The source mode with option --source just displays the decompressed

       Option --to-stdout does not display in a graphical mode.  It just
       generates the file for the chosen mode and then prints its content to
       standard output.

       The groff mode passes the input to groff using only some suitable options
       provided to groffer.  This enables the user to save the generated output
       into a file or pipe it into another program.

       In groff mode, the option -Z disables post-processing, thus producing the
       groff intermediate output.  In this mode, the input is formatted, but not
       postprocessed; see groff_out(5) for details.

       All groff short options are supported by groffer.

       The default behavior of groffer is to first test whether a file parameter
       represents a local file; if it is not an existing file name, it is
       assumed to represent the name of a man page.  The following options can
       be used to determine whether the arguments should be handled as file name
       or man page arguments.

       --man  forces to interpret all file parameters as filespecs for searching
              man pages.

              disable the man searching; so only local files are displayed.

       If neither a local file nor a man page was retrieved for some file
       parameter a warning is issued on standard error, but processing is

   Search Algorithm
       Let us now assume that a man page should be searched.  The groffer
       program provides a search facility for man pages.  All long options, all
       environment variables, and most of the functionality of the GNU man(1)
       program were implemented.  The search algorithm shall determine which
       file is displayed for a given man page.  The process can be modified by
       options and environment variables.

       The only man action that is omitted in groffer are the preformatted
       man pages, also called cat pages.  With the excellent performance of the
       actual computers, the preformatted man pages aren't necessary any longer.
       Additionally, groffer is a roff program; it wants to read roff source
       files and format them itself.

       The algorithm for retrieving the file for a man page needs first a set of
       directories.  This set starts with the so-called man path that is
       modified later on by adding names of operating system and language.  This
       arising set is used for adding the section directories which contain the
       man page files.

       The man path is a list of directories that are separated by colon.  It is
       generated by the following methods.

       * The environment variable MANPATH can be set.

       * It can be read from the arguments of the environment variable MANOPT.

       * The man path can be manually specified by using the option --manpath.
         An empty argument disables the man page searching.

       * When no man path was set the manpath(1) program is tried to determine

       * If this does not work a reasonable default path from $PATH is

       We now have a starting set of directories.  The first way to change this
       set is by adding names of operating systems.  This assumes that man pages
       for several operating systems are installed.  This is not always true.
       The names of such operating systems can be provided by 3 methods.

       * The environment variable SYSTEM has the lowest precedence.

       * This can be overridden by an option in MANOPT.

       * This again is overridden by the command-line option --systems.

       Several names of operating systems can be given by appending their names,
       separated by a comma.

       The man path is changed by appending each system name as subdirectory at
       the end of each directory of the set.  No directory of the man path set
       is kept.  But if no system name is specified the man path is left

       After this, the actual set of directories can be changed by language
       information.  This assumes that there exist man pages in different
       languages.  The wanted language can be chosen by several methods.

       * Environment variable LANG.

       * This is overridden by LC_MESSAGES.

       * This is overridden by LC_ALL.

       * This can be overridden by providing an option in MANOPT.

       * All these environment variables are overridden by the command-line
         option --locale.

       The default language can be specified by specifying one of the pseudo-
       language parameters C or POSIX.  This is like deleting a formerly given
       language information.  The man pages in the default language are usually
       in English.

       Of course, the language name is determined by man.  In GNU man, it is
       specified in the POSIX 1003.1 based format:


       but the two-letter code in <language> is sufficient for most purposes.
       If for a complicated language formulation no man pages are found groffer
       searches the country part consisting of these first two characters as

       The actual directory set is copied thrice.  The language name is appended
       as subdirectory to each directory in the first copy of the actual
       directory set (this is only done when a language information is given).
       Then the 2-letter abbreviation of the language name is appended as
       subdirectories to the second copy of the directory set (this is only done
       when the given language name has more than 2 letters).  The third copy of
       the directory set is kept unchanged (if no language information is given
       this is the kept directory set).  These maximally 3 copies are appended
       to get the new directory set.

       We now have a complete set of directories to work with.  In each of these
       directories, the man files are separated in sections.  The name of a
       section is represented by a single character, a digit between 1 and 9, or
       the character o or n, in this order.

       For each available section, a subdirectory man<section> exists containing
       all man files for this section, where <section> is a single character as
       described before.  Each man file in a section directory has the form
       man<section>/<name>.<section>[<extension>][.<compression>], where
       <extension> and <compression> are optional.  <name> is the name of the
       man page that is also specified as filespec argument on the command line.

       The extension is an addition to the section.  This postfix acts like a
       subsection.  An extension occurs only in the file name, not in name of
       the section subdirectory.  It can be specified on the command line.

       On the other hand, the compression is just an information on how the file
       is compressed.  This is not important for the user, such that it cannot
       be specified on the command line.

       There are 4 methods to specify a section on the command line:

       * Environment variable MANSECT

       * Command line option --sections

       * Appendix to the name argument in the form <name>.<section>

       * Preargument before the name argument in the form <section> <name>

       It is also possible to specify several sections by appending the single
       characters separated by colons.  One can imagine that this means to
       restrict the man page search to only some sections.  The multiple
       sections are only possible for MANSECT and --sections.

       If no section is specified all sections are searched one after the other
       in the given order, starting with section 1, until a suitable file is

       There are 4 methods to specify an extension on the command line.  But it
       is not necessary to provide the whole extension name, some abbreviation
       is good enough in most cases.

       * Environment variable EXTENSION

       * Command line option --extension

       * Appendix to the <name>.<section> argument in the form

       * Preargument before the name argument in the form <section><extension>

       For further details on man page searching, see man(1).

   Examples of man files
              This is an uncompressed file for the man page groff in section 1.
              It can be called by
              sh# groffer groff
              No section is specified here, so all sections should be searched,
              but as section 1 is searched first this file will be found first.
              The file name is composed of the following components.
              /usr/share/man/ must be part of the man path; the subdirectory
              man1/ and the part .1 stand for the section; groff is the name of
              the man page.

              The file name is composed of the following components.
              /usr/local/share/man must be part of the man path; the
              subdirectory man7/ and the part .7 stand for the section; groff is
              the name of the man page; the final part .gz stands for a
              compression with gzip(1).  As the section is not the first one it
              must be specified as well.  This can be done by one of the
              following commands.
              sh# groffer groff.7
              sh# groffer 7 groff
              sh# groffer --sections=7 groff

              Here /usr/local/man must be in man path; the subdirectory man1/
              and the file name part .1 stand for section 1; the name of the
              man page is ctags; the section has an extension emacs21; and the
              file is compressed as .bz2 with bzip2(1).  The file can be viewed
              with one of the following commands
              sh# groffer ctags.1e
              sh# groffer 1e ctags
              sh# groffer --extension=e --sections=1 ctags
              where e works as an abbreviation for the extension emacs21.

              The directory /usr/man is now part of the man path; then there is
              a subdirectory for an operating system name linux/; next comes a
              subdirectory de/ for the German language; the section names man7
              and .7 are known so far; man is the name of the man page; and .Z
              signifies the compression that can be handled by gzip(1).  We want
              now show how to provide several values for some options.  That is
              possible for sections and operating system names.  So we use as
              sections 5 and 7 and as system names linux and aix.  The command
              is then

              sh# groffer --locale=de --sections=5:7 --systems=linux,aix man
              sh# LANG=de MANSECT=5:7 SYSTEM=linux,aix groffer man

       The program has a decompression facility.  If standard input or a file
       that was retrieved from the command line parameters is compressed with a
       format that is supported by either gzip(1) or bzip2(1) it is decompressed
       on-the-fly.  This includes the GNU .gz, .bz2, and the traditional .Z
       compression.  The program displays the concatenation of all decompressed
       input in the sequence that was specified on the command line.

       The groffer program supports many system variables, most of them by
       courtesy of other programs.  All environment variables of groff(1) and
       GNU man(1) and some standard system variables are honored.

   Native groffer Variables
              Store options for a run of groffer.  The options specified in this
              variable are overridden by the options given on the command line.
              The content of this variable is run through the shell builtin
              “eval”, so arguments containing whitespace or special shell
              characters should be quoted.  Do not forget to export this
              variable, otherwise it does not exist during the run of groffer.

   System Variables
       The following variables have a special meaning for groffer.

              If set, this variable indicates that the X Window System is
              running.  Testing this variable decides on whether graphical or
              text output is generated.  This variable should not be changed by
              the user carelessly, but it can be used to start the graphical
              groffer on a remote X Window System terminal.  For example,
              depending on your system, groffer can be started on the second
              monitor by the command

              sh# DISPLAY=:0.1 groffer what.ever &

       LANG   If one of these variables is set (in the above sequence), its
              content is interpreted as the locale, the language to be used,
              especially when retrieving man pages.  A locale name is typically
              of the form language[_territory[.codeset[@modifier]]], where
              language is an ISO 639 language code, territory is an ISO 3166
              country code, and codeset is a character set or encoding
              identifier like ISO-8859-1 or UTF-8; see setlocale(3).  The locale
              values C and POSIX stand for the default, i.e. the man page
              directories without a language prefix.  This is the same behavior
              as when all 3 variables are unset.

       PAGER  This variable can be used to set the pager for the tty output.
              For example, to disable the use of a pager completely set this
              variable to the cat(1) program

              sh# PAGER=cat groffer anything

       PATH   All programs within the groffer script are called without a fixed
              path.  Thus this environment variable determines the set of
              programs used within the run of groffer.

   Groff Variables
       The groffer program internally calls groff, so all environment variables
       documented in groff(1) are internally used within groffer as well.  The
       following variable has a direct meaning for the groffer program.

              If the value of this variable is an existing, writable directory,
              groffer uses it for storing its temporary files, just as groff
              does.  See the groff(1) man page for more details on the location
              of temporary files.

   Man Variables
       Parts of the functionality of the man program were implemented in
       groffer; support for all environment variables documented in man(1) was
       added to groffer, but the meaning was slightly modified due to the
       different approach in groffer; but the user interface is the same.  The
       man environment variables can be overwritten by options provided with
       MANOPT, which in turn is overwritten by the command line.

              Restrict the search for man pages to files having this extension.
              This is overridden by option --extension; see there for details.

       MANOPT This variable contains options as a preset for man(1).  As not all
              of these are relevant for groffer only the essential parts of its
              value are extracted.  The options specified in this variable
              overwrite the values of the other environment variables that are
              specific to man.  All options specified in this variable are
              overridden by the options given on the command line.

              If set, this variable contains the directories in which the
              man page trees are stored.  This is overridden by option

              If this is a colon separated list of section names, the search for
              man pages is restricted to those manual sections in that order.
              This is overridden by option --sections.

       SYSTEM If this is set to a comma separated list of names these are
              interpreted as man page trees for different operating systems.
              This variable can be overwritten by option --systems; see there
              for details.

       The environment variable MANROFFSEQ is ignored by groffer because the
       necessary preprocessors are determined automatically.

       The groffer program can be preconfigured by two configuration files.

              System-wide configuration file for groffer.

              User-specific configuration file for groffer, where $HOME denotes
              the user's home directory.  This file is called after the system-
              wide configuration file to enable overriding by the user.

       Both files are handled for the configuration, but the configuration file
       in /etc comes first; it is overwritten by the configuration file in the
       home directory; both configuration files are overwritten by the
       environment variable GROFFER_OPT; everything is overwritten by the
       command line arguments.

       The configuration files contain options that should be called as default
       for every groffer run.  These options are written in lines such that each
       contains either a long option, a short option, or a short option cluster;
       each with or without an argument.  So each line with configuration
       information starts with a minus character “-”; a line with a long option
       starts with two minus characters “--”, a line with a short option or
       short option cluster starts with a single minus “-”.

       The option names in the configuration files may not be abbreviated, they
       must be exact.

       The argument for a long option can be separated from the option name
       either by an equal sign “=” or by whitespace, i.e. one or several space
       or tab characters.  An argument for a short option or short option
       cluster can be directly appended to the option name or separated by
       whitespace.  The end of an argument is the end of the line.  It is not
       allowed to use a shell environment variable in an option name or

       It is not necessary to use quotes in an option or argument, except for
       empty arguments.  An empty argument can be provided by appending a pair
       of quotes to the separating equal sign or whitespace; with a short
       option, the separator can be omitted as well.  For a long option with a
       separating equal sign “=”, the pair of quotes can be omitted, thus ending
       the line with the separating equal sign.  All other quote characters are
       cancelled internally.

       In the configuration files, arbitrary whitespace is allowed at the
       beginning of each line, it is just ignored.  Each whitespace within a
       line is replaced by a single space character “ ” internally.

       All lines of the configuration lines that do not start with a minus
       character are ignored, such that comments starting with “#” are possible.
       So there are no shell commands in the configuration files.

       As an example, consider the following configuration file that can be used
       either in /etc/groff/groffer.conf or ~/.groff/groffer.conf .

       # groffer configuration file
       # groffer options that are used in each call of groffer
       --viewer=gxditview -geometry 900x1200

       The lines starting with # are just ignored, so they act as command lines.
       This configuration sets four groffer options (the lines starting with
       “-”).  This has the following effects:

       * Use a text color of DarkBlue in all viewers that support this, such as

       * Use a resolution of 100dpi in all viewers that support this, such as
         gxditview.  By this, the default device in x mode is set to X100.

       * Force gxditview(1) as the x-mode viewer using the geometry option for
         setting the width to 900px and the height to 1200px.  This geometry is
         suitable for a resolution of 100dpi.

       * Use xpdf(1) as the pdf-mode viewer with the argument -Z 150.

       The usage of groffer is very easy.  Usually, it is just called with a
       file name or man page.  The following examples, however, show that
       groffer has much more fancy capabilities.

       sh# groffer /usr/local/share/doc/groff/

       Decompress, format and display the compressed file in the
       directory /usr/local/share/doc/groff, using the standard viewer gxditview
       as graphical viewer when in the X Window System, or the less(1) pager
       program otherwise.

       sh# groffer groff

       If the file ./groff exists use it as input.  Otherwise interpret the
       argument as a search for the man page named groff in the smallest
       possible man section, being section 1 in this case.

       sh# groffer man:groff

       search for the man page of groff even when the file ./groff exists.

       sh# groffer groff.7
       sh# groffer 7 groff

       search the man page of groff in man section 7.  This section search works
       only for a digit or a single character from a small set.

       sh# groffer fb.modes

       If the file ./fb.modes does not exist interpret this as a search for the
       man page of fb.modes.  As the extension modes is not a single character
       in classical section style the argument is not split to a search for fb.

       sh# groffer groff ’troff(1)’ man:roff

       The arguments that are not existing files are looked-up as the following
       man pages: groff (automatic search, should be found in man section 1),
       troff (in section 1), and roff (in the section with the lowest number,
       being 7 in this case).  The quotes around troff(1)are necessary
       because the parentheses are special shell characters; escaping them with
       a backslash character \( and \) would be possible, too.  The formatted
       files are concatenated and displayed in one piece.

       sh# LANG=de groffer --man --viewer=galeon ls

       Retrieve the German man page (language de) for the ls program, decompress
       it, format it to html or xhtml format (www mode) and view the result in
       the web browser galeon.  The option --man guarantees that the man page is
       retrieved, even when a local file ls exists in the actual directory.

       sh# groffer --source 'man:roff(7)'

       Get the man page called roff in man section 7, decompress it, and print
       its unformatted content, its source code.

       sh# groffer --de-p --in --ap

       This is a set of abbreviated arguments, it is determined as

       sh# groffer --debug-params --intermediate-output --apropos

       sh# cat file.gz | groffer -Z -mfoo

       The file file.gz is sent to standard input, this is decompressed, and
       then this is transported to the groff intermediate output mode without
       post-processing (groff option -Z), using macro package foo (groff option

       sh# echo '\f(CBWOW!' |
       > groffer --x --bg red --fg yellow --geometry 200x100 -

       Display the word WOW! in a small window in constant-width bold font,
       using color yellow on red background.

       The groffer program is written in Perl, the Perl version during writing
       was v5.8.8.

       groffer provides its own parser for command-line arguments that is
       compatible to both POSIX getopts(1) and GNU getopt(1).  It can handle
       option arguments and file names containing white space and a large set of
       special characters.  The following standard types of options are

       * The option consisting of a single minus - refers to standard input.

       * A single minus followed by characters refers to a single character
         option or a combination thereof; for example, the groffer short option
         combination -Qmfoo is equivalent to -Q -m foo.

       * Long options are options with names longer than one character; they are
         always preceded by a double minus.  An option argument can either go to
         the next command-line argument or be appended with an equal sign to the
         argument; for example, --long=arg is equivalent to --long arg.

       * An argument of -- ends option parsing; all further command-line
         arguments are interpreted as filespec parameters, i.e. file names or
         constructs for searching man pages).

       * All command-line arguments that are neither options nor option
         arguments are interpreted as filespec parameters and stored until
         option parsing has finished.  For example, the command line

         sh# groffer file1 -a -o arg file2

         is equivalent to

         sh# groffer -a -o arg -- file1 file2

       The free mixing of options and filespec parameters follows the GNU
       principle.  That does not fulfill the strange option behavior of POSIX
       that ends option processing as soon as the first non-option argument has
       been reached.  The end of option processing can be forced by the option
       “--” anyway.

       groffer was written by Bernd Warken ⟨⟩.

       groff(1), troff(1)
              Details on the options and environment variables available in
              groff; all of them can be used with groffer.

              This program tries to guess the necessary groff command-line
              options from the input and the groffer options.

              Documentation of the groff language.

              Documentation on the groff characters, special characters, and

              Documentation on the groff macro files.

              Documentation on the groff intermediate output before the run of a
              postprocessor.  (ditroff output).  This can be run by the groff or
              groffer option -Z.

       man(1) The standard program to display man pages.  The information there
              is only useful if it is the man page for GNU man.  Then it
              documents the options and environment variables that are supported
              by groffer.

              Viewers for groffer's x mode.

       gs(1)  Viewers for groffer's ps mode.

       ggv(1) Viewers for groffer's pdf mode.

       kdvi(1), xdvi(1), dvilx(1)
              Viewers for groffer's dvi mode.

              Web-browsers for groffer's html, xhtml, or www mode.

              Standard pager program for the tty mode.

       xz(1)  The decompression programs supported by groffer.

groff 1.22.4                      21 June 2021                        GROFFER(1)