GROFFER(1)                  General Commands Manual                 GROFFER(1)

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

       groffer [option...]  [--] [filespec...]
       groffer -h|--help
       groffer -v|--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.  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 groff native X Window viewer
       gxditview(1), each Postcript, pdf, or dvi display program, a web
       browser by generating html in www mode, or several text modes in text

       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]
              [--dvi-viewer prog] [--groff] [--html] [--html-viewer prog]
              [--mode display_mode] [--pdf] [--pdf-viewer prog] [--ps]
              [--ps-viewer prog] [--source] [--text] [--to-stdout] [--tty]
              [--tty-viewer prog] [--www] [--www-viewer prog] [--x|--X]
              [--x-viewer|--X-viewer prog]

       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

              Further long options of GNU man are accepted as well.

       X Window Toolkit 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-all] [--debug-filenames] [--debug-func]
              [--debug-keep] [--debug-lm] [--debug-params] [--debug-shell]
              [--debug-stacks] [--debug-tmpdir] [--debug-user] [--do-nothing]
              [--print text] [--shell prog] [-V]

       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 lacking.

              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.

   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 a helping information with a short explanation of option
              sto 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 x, and mode dvi in X Window with
       different viewers and mode tty with device latin1 under less on a
       terminal; other modes are tested if the programs for the main default
       mode do not exist.

       In X Window, 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 graphical
       programs.  The groffer script has a small set of information on some
       viewer names.  If a viewer argument of the command-line chooses an
       element that is kept as X Window program in this list it is treated as
       a viewer that can run in the background.  All other, unknown viewer
       calls 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 --ps-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

       --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.

       --dvi-viewer prog
              Choose a viewer program for dvi mode.  This can be a file name
              or a program to be searched in $PATH.  Known X Window dvi
              viewers include xdvi(1) and dvilx(1) In each case, arguments can
              be provided additionally.

              Equivalent to --mode=groff.

       --html Equivalent to --mode=html.

              Choose a web browser program for viewing in html mode.  It can
              be the path name of an executable file or a program in $PATH.
              In each case, arguments can be provided additionally.

       --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) program.  --dvi.

              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).

              pdf    Display formatted input in a PDF (Portable Document
                     Format) viewer program.  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.  pdf has a big advantage
                     because the text is displayed graphically and is
                     searchable as well.

              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
                     X Window.

              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 standard X Window tool xditview(1) can
                     also be chosen with the option --x-viewer.  The default
                     resolution is 75 dpi, but 100 dpi are also possible.  The
                     default groff device for the resolution of 75 dpi is
                     X75-12, for 100 dpi it is X100.  The corresponding groff
                     intermediate output for the actual device is generated
                     and the result is displayed.  For a resolution of
                     100 dpi, the default width of the geometry of the display
                     program is chosen to 850 dpi.

              X      Equivalent to --mode=x.

              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.

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

       --ps   Equivalent to --mode=ps.

       --ps-viewer prog
              Choose a viewer program for ps mode.  This can be a file name or
              a program to be searched in $PATH.  Common Postscript viewers
              inlude gv(1), ghostview(1), and gs(1), In each case, arguments
              can be provided additionally.

              Equivalent --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 mode.

       --tty  Equivalent to --mode=tty.

       --tty-viewer prog
              Choose a text pager for mode tty.  The standard pager is
              less(1).  This option is eqivalent 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.

       --www  Equivalent to --mode=html.

       --www-viewer prog
              Equivalent to --html-viewer.

       --X | --x
              Equivalent to --mode=x.

       --X-viewer | --x-viewer prog
              Choose a viewer program for x mode.  Suitable viewer programs
              are gxditview(1) which is the default and xditview(1).  The
              argument can be any executable file or a program in $PATH;
              arguments can be provided additionally.

       --     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 | --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, 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, 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

   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 concepts

              · 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

       --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 option.

              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

       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 groff_tmac(5).

              Produce groff intermediate output.  This is equivalent to
              groffer -Z.

       --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 ncurses.

       --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 is
              equivalent to --tty-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.

              Eqivalent to --location.

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

       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 option -font.

       See X(1), X(7), and the documentation on the X Window Toolkit options
       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 window.

       --display X-display
              Set the X Window display on which the viewer program shall be
              started, see the X Window documentation for the syntax of the

       --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 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 X(7) for the syntax of the argument.

       --resolution value
              Set X Window 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 75 dpi.
              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 X Window resource.

   Options for Development
              Enable seven debugging informations.  The temporary files are
              kept and not deleted, the name of the temporary directory and
              the shell name for are printed, the displayed file
              names are printed, the parameters are printed at several steps
              of development, and a function stack is output with function
              error_user() as well.  Neither the function call stack at the
              opening and closing of each function call nor the landmark
              information to determine how far the program is running are
              printed.  These seem to be the most useful parts among all
              debugging options.

              Enable all nine debugging informations including the function
              call stack and the landmark information.

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

              Enable the basic debugging information for checking the
              functions on the beginning and end of each call.  The options
              --debug-stacks and --debug-user enable this option
              automatically.  This option is important for the development,
              but it decreases the speed of groffer by large amounts.

              Enable two debugging informations, the printing of the name of
              the temporary directory and the keeping of the temporary files.

              Enable one debugging information, the landmark information.

              Enable one debugging information, the parameters at several

              Enable one debugging information, the shell name for

              Enable one debugging information, the function call stack.

              Enable one debugging information, the name of the temporary

              Enable one debugging information, the function stack with

              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.

       --shell shell_program
              Specify the shell under which the script should be
              run.  This option overwrites the automatic shell determination
              of the program.  If the argument shell_program is empty a former
              shell option and the automatic shell determination is cancelled
              and the default shell is restored.  Some shells run considerably
              faster than the standard shell.

       -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

   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
       througout.  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 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 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 to store 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

       · 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 an option that is constructed
       like --anymode-viewer.

       Several different modes are offered, graphical modes for X Window,
       text modes, and some direct groff modes for debugging and development.

       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 --default-modes.

       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 environment (or
       similar implementations within other windowing environments).  The
       environment variable $DISPLAY and the option --display are used for
       specifying the X Window display to be used.  If this environment
       variable is empty groffer assumes that no X Window is 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 viewer progams are

       · in a PDF viewer (pdf mode),

       · in a web browser (html or www mode).

       · in a Postscript viewer (ps mode),

       · X Window 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 diplay
       mode that allows to search 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 Toolkit.  But the groffer options use a leading double minus
       instead of the single minus used by the X Window 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 program.

       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

       The pager to be used can be specified by one of the options --pager and
       --tty-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 purposes.

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

       Otion --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 Algoritm
       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

       · 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

       · 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.

       · Enviroment 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 well.

       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

       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 found.

       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 white-space 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 groffer program is a shell script that is run through /bin/sh,
       which can be internally linked to programs like bash(1).  The
       corresponding system environment is automatically effective.  The
       following variables have a special meaning for groffer.

              If this variable is set this 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 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 IR 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 shell 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

              If the value of this variable is an existing, writable
              directory, groffer uses it for storing its temporary files, just
              as groff does.

   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.

              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

              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.

              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

       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.

       In the configuration files, arbitrary spaces are allowed at the
       beginning of each line, they are just ignored.  Apart from that, the
       lines of the configuration lines either start with a minus character,
       all other lines are interpreted as shell commands.

       The lines with the beginning minus are interpreted as groffer options.
       This easily allows to set general groffer options that should be used
       with any call of groffer.

       If a lines starts with a double minus it represents a groffer long
       option; everything behind the first equal sign `=' or space character
       up to the end of the line is interpreted as its argument.  A line
       starting with a single minus represents a short options cluster with or
       without a final argument.  It is not necessary to use quotes in these
       lines; quotes are just ignored.

       The lines starting with a minus are changed into a prepend to the
       existing value of $GROFFER_OPT.  So the configuration files will be
       transferred into a shell script that is called within groffer.

       It makes sense to use these configuration files for the following

       · Preset command line options, such as choosing a mode or a viewer.
         These are written into lines starting with a single or double minus
         sign, followed by the option name.

       · Preset environment variables recognized by groffer; but do not forget
         to export them.

       · You can also write a shell function for calling, for example a viewer
         program for some mode.  Such a function can be fed into a
         corresponding --mode-viewer option.

       · Enter --shell to specify a shell for the run of  Some
         shells run much faster than the standard shell.

       As an example, consider the following configuration file in
       ~/.groff/groffer.conf, say.

       # groffer configuration file
       # groffer options that are used in each call of groffer
       --x-viewer=gxditview -geometry 900x1200
       # some shell commands
       if test "$DISPLAY" = ""; then
         export DISPLAY='localhost:0.0'
       date >>~/mygroffer.log

       The lines starting with # are command lines.  This configuration sets
       four groffer options (the lines starting with `-') and runs two shell
       commands (the rest of the script).  This has the following effects:

       · Use ksh as the shell to run the groffer script; if it works it should
         be faster than the usual sh.

       · Use a text color of DarkBlue in all viewers that support this, such
         as gxditview.

       · Use a resolution of 100 dpi 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 900 dpi and the height to 1200 dpi.  This
         geometry is suitable for a resolution of 100 dpi.

       · If the environment variable $DISPLAY is empty set it to
         localhost:0.0.  That allows to start groffer in the standard X Window
         display, even when the program is called from a text console.

       · Just for fun, the date of each groffer start is written to the file
         mygroffer.log in the home directory.

       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 X Window, or the
              less(1) pager program when not in X Window.

       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

       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

       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 paranthesis 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 --www --www-viever=galeon ls
              Retrieve the German man page (language de) for the ls program,
              decompress it, format it to html 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 -m)

       sh# echo '\f[CB]WOW!' |
       >   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 consists of two shell scripts.

       The starting script is the file groffer that is installed in a bin
       directory.  It is generated from the source file  It is
       just a short starting script without any functions such that it can run
       on very poor shells.

       The main part of the groffer program is the file that is
       installed in the groff library directory.  This script can be run under
       a different shell by using the groffer option --shell.

       Both scripts are compatible with both GNU and POSIX.  POSIX
       compatibility refers to IEEE P1003.2/D11.2 of September 1991, a very
       early version of the POSIX standard that is still freely available in
       the internet at POSIX P1003.2 draft 11.2 ⟨

       Only a restricted set of shell language elements and shell builtins is
       used to achieve even compatibility with some Bourne shells that are not
       fully POSIX compatible.  The groffer shell scripts were tested on many
       shells, including the following Bourne shells: ash(1), bash(1),
       dash(1), ksh(1), pdksh(1), posh(1), and zsh(1).  So it should work on
       most actual free and commercial operating systems.

       The shell for the run of can be chosen by the option
       --shell on the command line or the environment variable $GROFF_OPT.  If
       you want to add it to one of the groffer configuration files you must
       write a line starting with --shell.

       The groffer program 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 supported.

       · The option consisiting 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.

       Report bugs to the bug-groff mailing list ⟨⟩.  Include
       a complete, self-contained example that will allow the bug to be
       reproduced, and say which version of groffer you are using.

       You can also use the groff mailing list ⟨⟩, but you must
       first subscribe to this list.  You can do that by visiting the groff
       mailing list web page ⟨⟩.

       See groff(1) for information on availability.

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

              Documentation of the groff language.

              Internally, groffer tries to guess the groff command line
              options from the input using this program.

              Documentation on the groff intermediate output (ditroff output).

              Documentation on the groff macro files.

       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.

       ash(1), bash(1), dash(1), ksh(1), pdksh(1), posh(1), sh(1), zsh(1)
              Bourne shells that were tested with groffer.

       gxditview(1), xditview(1x)
              Viewers for groffer's x mode.

       kpdf(1), kghostview(1), evince(1), ggv(1), gv(1), ghostview(1), gs(1)
              Viewers for groffer's ps mode.

       kpdf(1), acroread(1), evince(1), xpdf(1), gpdf(1), kghostview(1),
              Viewers for groffer's pdf mode.

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

       konqueror(1), epiphany(1), firefox(1), mozilla(1), netscape(1), lynx(1)
              Web-browsers for groffer's html or www mode.

              Standard pager program for the tty mode .

       gzip(1), bzip2(1)
              The decompression programs supported by groffer.

       This file was written by Bernd Warken.

       Copyright (C) 2001,2002,2004,2005,2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       This file is part of groffer, which is part of groff, a free software
       project.  You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of
       the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software
       Foundation, either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

       You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
       with groff, see the files COPYING and LICENSE in the top directory of
       the groff source package.  Or read the man page gpl(1).  You can also
       write to the Free Software Foundation, 51 Franklin St - Fifth Floor,
       Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.

Groff Version          05 October 2006                     GROFFER(1)