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FMT(1)			  BSD General Commands Manual			FMT(1)

     fmt -- simple text	formatter

     fmt [-cmnps] [-d chars] [-l num] [-t num]
	 [goal [maximum] | -width | -w width] [file ...]

     The fmt utility is	a simple text formatter	which reads the	concatenation
     of	input files (or	standard input if none are given) and produces on
     standard output a version of its input with lines as close	to the goal
     length as possible	without	exceeding the maximum.	The goal length	de-
     faults to 65 and the maximum to 10	more than the goal length.  Alterna-
     tively, a single width parameter can be specified either by prepending a
     hyphen to it or by	using -w.  For example,	"fmt -w	72", "fmt -72",	and
     "fmt 72 72" all produce identical output.	The spacing at the beginning
     of	the input lines	is preserved in	the output, as are blank lines and in-
     terword spacing.  Lines are joined	or split only at white space; that is,
     words are never joined or hyphenated.

     The options are as	follows:

     -c	     Center the	text, line by line.  In	this case, most	of the other
	     options are ignored; no splitting or joining of lines is done.

     -m	     Try to format mail	header lines contained in the input sensibly.

     -n	     Format lines beginning with a `.' (dot) character.	 Normally, fmt
	     does not fill these lines,	for compatibility with nroff(1).

     -p	     Allow indented paragraphs.	 Without the -p	flag, any change in
	     the amount	of whitespace at the start of a	line results in	a new
	     paragraph being begun.

     -s	     Collapse whitespace inside	lines, so that multiple	whitespace
	     characters	are turned into	a single space.	 (Or, at the end of a
	     sentence, a double	space.)

     -d	chars
	     Treat the chars (and no others) as	sentence-ending	characters.
	     By	default	the sentence-ending characters are full	stop (`.'),
	     question mark (`?') and exclamation mark (`!').  Remember that
	     some characters may need to be escaped to protect them from your

     -l	number
	     Replace multiple spaces with tabs at the start of each output
	     line, if possible.	 Each number spaces will be replaced with one
	     tab.  The default is 8.  If number	is 0, spaces are preserved.

     -t	number
	     Assume that the input files' tabs assume number spaces per	tab
	     stop.  The	default	is 8.

     The fmt utility is	meant to format	mail messages prior to sending,	but
     may also be useful	for other simple tasks.	 For instance, within visual
     mode of the ex(1) editor (e.g., vi(1)) the	command


     will reformat a paragraph,	evening	the lines.

     The LANG, LC_ALL and LC_CTYPE environment variables affect	the execution
     of	fmt as described in environ(7).

     fold(1), mail(1), nroff(1)

     The fmt command appeared in 3BSD.

     The version described herein is a complete	rewrite	and appeared in
     FreeBSD 4.4.

     Kurt Shoens
     Liz Allen (added goal length concept)
     Gareth McCaughan

     The program was designed to be simple and fast - for more complex opera-
     tions, the	standard text processors are likely to be more appropriate.

     When the first line of an indented	paragraph is very long (more than
     about twice the goal length), the indentation in the output can be	wrong.

     The fmt utility is	not infallible in guessing what	lines are mail headers
     and what lines are	not.

BSD				August 2, 2004				   BSD


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