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TBL(1)			    General Commands Manual			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 compiles descriptions of	tables
       embedded	 within	troff input files into commands	that are understood by
       troff.  Normally, it should be invoked using the	-t  option  of	groff.
       It is highly compatible with Unix tbl.  The output generated 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

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

       -v     Print the	version	number.

       tbl expects to find table descriptions wrapped in the .TS (table	start)
       and  .TE	 (table	 end)  macros.	The line immediately following the .TS
       macro may contain any of	the following  global  options	(ignoring  the
       case of characters -- Unix tbl only accepts options with	all characters
       lowercase or all	characters uppercase):

       center Centers the table	(default is left-justified).  The  alternative
	      keyword name centre is also recognized (this is a	GNU tbl	exten-

	      Use x and	y as start and end delimiters for eqn(1).

       expand Makes the	table as wide as the current line length.

       box    Encloses the table in a box.

	      Encloses the table in a double box.

       allbox Encloses each item of the	table in a box.

       frame  Same as box (GNU tbl only).

	      Same as doublebox	(GNU tbl only).

       tab(x) Uses the character x instead of a	tab to	separate  items	 in  a
	      line of input data.

	      Sets lines or rules (e.g.	from box) in n-point type.

       nokeep Don't  use  diversions  to  prevent  page	breaks (GNU tbl	only).
	      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 exam-
	      ple, are used.

	      Set  the	character to be	recognized as the decimal point	in nu-
	      meric columns (GNU tbl only).

	      Ignore leading and trailing spaces in data items (GNU tbl	only).

       The global options must end with	a semicolon.  There  might  be	white-
       space after an option and its argument in parentheses.

       After  global  options come lines describing the	format of each line of
       the table.  Each	such format line describes one line of the  table  it-
       self,  except  that the last format line	(which you must	end with a pe-
       riod) describes all remaining lines of the table.  A single key charac-
       ter  describes each column of each line of the table.  You may run for-
       mat specs for multiple lines together on	the same  line	by  separating
       them with commas.

       You  may	 follow	 each key character with specifiers that determine the
       font and	point size of the corresponding	item,  that  determine	column
       width, inter-column spacing, etc.

       The  longest  format  line  defines the number of columns in the	table;
       missing format descriptors at the end of	format lines are assumed to be
       `L'.  Extra columns in the data (which have no corresponding format en-
       try) are	ignored.

       The available key characters are:

       c,C    Centers item within the column.

       r,R    Right-justifies item within the column.

       l,L    Left-justifies item within the column.

       n,N    Numerically justifies item in the	 column:  Units	 positions  of
	      numbers are aligned vertically.

       s,S    Spans previous item on the left into this	column.

       a,A    Centers  longest line in this column and then left-justifies all
	      other lines in this column with respect to that centered line.

       ^      Spans down entry from previous row in this column.

       _,-    Replaces this entry with a horizontal line.

       =      Replaces this entry with a double	horizontal line.

       |      The corresponding	column becomes a  vertical  rule  (if  two  of
	      these are	adjacent, a double vertical rule).

       A  vertical  bar	to the left of the first key-letter or to the right of
       the last	one produces a line at the edge	of the table.

       Here are	the specifiers that can	appear in suffixes to column key  let-

       b,B    Short form of fB (make affected entries bold).

       i,I    Short form of fI (make affected entries italic).

       t,T    Start  an	 item vertically spanning rows at the top of its range
	      rather than vertically centering it.

       d,D    Start an item vertically spanning	rows  at  the  bottom  of  its
	      range rather than	vertically centering it	(GNU tbl only).

       v,V    Followed	by  a number, this indicates the vertical line spacing
	      to be used in a multi-line table entry.  If signed, the  current
	      vertical	line  spacing  is  incremented or decremented (using a
	      signed number instead of a signed	digit is a GNU tbl extension).
	      A	 vertical  line	spacing	specifier followed by a	column separa-
	      tion number must be separated by one or more blanks.  No	effect
	      if the corresponding table entry isn't a text block.

       f,F    Either  of  these	specifiers may be followed by a	font name (ei-
	      ther one or two characters long),	font number (a single  digit),
	      or  long	name in	parentheses (the last form is a	GNU tbl	exten-
	      sion).  A	one-letter font	name must be separated by one or  more
	      blanks from whatever follows.

       p,P    Followed	by a number, this does a point size change for the af-
	      fected fields.  If signed, the current point size	is incremented
	      or  decremented (using a signed number instead of	a signed digit
	      is a GNU tbl extension).	A point	size specifier followed	 by  a
	      column  separation  number  must	be  separated  by  one or more

       w,W    Minimal column width  value.   Must  be  followed	 either	 by  a
	      troff(1)	width expression in parentheses	or a unitless integer.
	      If no unit is given, en units are	used.  Also used  as  the  de-
	      fault  line  length  for included	text blocks.  If used multiple
	      times to specify the width for a particular column, the last en-
	      try takes	effect.

       e,E    Make equally-spaced columns.

       u,U    Move the corresponding column up one half-line.

       z,Z    Ignore the corresponding column for width-calculation purposes.

       A  number  suffix on a key character is interpreted as a	column separa-
       tion in ens (multiplied in proportion if	the expand option is on).  De-
       fault separation	is 3n.

       The  format  lines are followed by lines	containing the actual data for
       the table, followed finally by .TE.  Within such	data lines, items  are
       normally	 separated  by tab characters (or the character	specified with
       the tab option).	 Long input lines can be broken	across multiple	 lines
       if the last character on	the line is `\'	(which vanishes	after concate-

       A dot starting a	line, followed by anything but a digit is handled as a
       troff  command,	passed through without changes.	 The table position is
       unchanged in this case.

       If a data line consists of only `_' or `=', a single  or	 double	 line,
       respectively, is	drawn across the table at that point; if a single item
       in a data line consists of only `_' or `=', then	that item is  replaced
       by  a  single  or  double line, joining its neighbours.	If a data item
       consists	only of	`\_' or	`\=', a	single or double  line,	 respectively,
       is  drawn across	the field at that point	which does not join its	neigh-

       A data item consisting only of `\Rx' (`x' any character)	is replaced by
       repetitions  of	character  `x'	as wide	as the column (not joining its

       A data item consisting only of `\^' indicates that  the	field  immedi-
       ately above spans downward over this row.

       A text block can	be used	to enter data as a single entry	which would be
       too long	as a simple string between tabs.  It is	started	with `T{'  and
       closed  with  `T}'.   The  former  must end a line, and the latter must
       start a line, probably followed by other	data columns  (separated  with

       To  change  the data format within a table, use the .T& command (at the
       start of	a line).  It is	followed by format  and	 data  lines  (but  no
       global options) similar to the .TS request.

       tbl(1)  should  always  be called before	eqn(1) (groff(1) automatically
       takes care of the correct order of preprocessors).

       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 column.

       Numeric and alphabetic items may	span horizontally.

       tbl uses	register, string, macro	and diversion names beginning with the
       digit 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 im-
       mediately 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 page.

       The bp request cannot be	used to	force a	page-break in a	multi-page ta-
       ble.  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	an uninterpreted leader.  To get leaders use a
       real leader, either by using a control A	or like	this:

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

       Lesk, M.E.: "TBL	-- A Program to	Format Tables".	 For copyright reasons
       it  cannot  be  included	 in  the groff distribution, but copies	can be
       found with a title search on the	World Wide Web.

       groff(1), troff(1)

Groff Version 1.19		 26 June 2003				TBL(1)


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