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RocketLink!--> Man page versions:

TBL(1)                                                     TBL(1)

       tbl - format tables for troff

       tbl [ -Cv ] [ files...  ]

       This  manual  page describes the GNU version of tbl, which
       is part of the groff document formatting system.  tbl com-
       piles  descriptions  of tables embedded within troff input
       files into commands that are understood  by  troff.   Nor-
       mally,  it should be invoked using the -t option of groff.
       It is highly compatible with Unix tbl.  The output  gener-
       ated  by  GNU  tbl cannot be processed with Unix troff; it
       must be processed with GNU troff.  If no files  are  given
       on  the  command line, the standard input will be read.  A
       filename of - will cause the standard input to be read.

       -C     Recognize .TS and .TE even when followed by a char-
              acter other than space or newline.

       -v     Print the version number.

       Only  the  differences  between  GNU  tbl and Unix tbl are
       described here.

       Normally tbl attempts to prevent undesirable breaks in the
       table  by  using  diversions.  This can sometimes interact
       badly with macro packages' own  use  of  diversions,  when
       footnotes, for example, are used.  The nokeep option tells
       tbl not to try and prevent breaks in this way.

       The decimalpoint option specifies the character to be rec-
       ognized  as  the  decimal  point character in place of the
       default period.  It  takes  an  argument  in  parentheses,
       which must be a single character, as for the tab option.

       The  f  format  modifier  can  be followed by an arbitrary
       length font name in parentheses.

       There is a d format modifier which means that a vertically
       spanning  entry  should  be  aligned  at the bottom of its

       There is no limit on the number of columns in a table, nor
       any  limit on the number of text blocks.  All the lines of
       a table are considered in deciding column widths, not just
       the  first  200.   Table  continuation (.T&) lines are not
       restricted to the first 200 lines.

       Numeric and alphabetic items may appear in the  same  col-

Groff Version 1.11      14 September 1996                       1

TBL(1)                                                     TBL(1)

       Numeric and alphabetic items may span horizontally.

       tbl  uses  register,  string,  macro  and  diversion names
       beginning with 3.  When using tbl you should  avoid  using
       any names beginning with a 3.

       You  should use .TS H/.TH in conjunction with a supporting
       macro package for all multi-page boxed tables.   If  there
       is  no  header  that you wish to appear at the top of each
       page of the table, place the .TH  line  immediately  after
       the  format  section.   Do  not enclose a multi-page table
       within keep/release macros, or divert it in any other way.

       A  text  block  within  a table must be able to fit on one

       The bp request cannot be used to force a page-break  in  a
       multi-page table.  Instead, define BP as follows

              .de BP
              .ie '\\n(.z'' .bp \\$1
              .el \!.BP \\$1

       and use BP instead of bp.

       Using \a directly in a table to get leaders will not work.
       This is correct behaviour: \a is a  uninterpreted  leader.
       To  get  leaders use a real leader, either by using a con-
       trol A or like this:

              .ds a \a
              lw(1i) l.

       groff(1), troff(1)

Groff Version 1.11      14 September 1996                       2

Source: OpenBSD 2.6 man pages. Copyright: Portions are copyrighted by BERKELEY
SOFTWARE DESIGN, INC., The Regents of the University of California, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD Inc., and others.

(Corrections, notes, and links courtesy of RocketAware.com)

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