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 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     Enable  compatibility  mode  to  recognize .TS and .TE even when
              followed by a character other than  space  or  newline.   Leader
              characters (\a) are handled as interpreted.

       -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
              numeric 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
       itself,  except  that  the  last format line (which you must end with a
       period) describes all remaining lines of the table.  A single key char-
       acter  describes  each  column  of each line of the table.  You may run
       format 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
       entry) 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
              (either one or two  characters  long),  font  number  (a  single
              digit),  or long name in parentheses (the last form is a GNU tbl
              extension).  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
              affected fields.  If signed, the current point  size  is  incre-
              mented 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
              default  line length for included text blocks.  If used multiple
              times to specify the width for a  particular  column,  the  last
              entry takes effect.

       x,X    This  is a GNU tbl extension.  Either of these specifiers may be
              followed by a macro name (either one or two characters long), or
              long name in parentheses.  A one-letter macro name must be sepa-
              rated by one or more blanks from whatever  follows.   The  macro
              which name can be specified here must be defined before creating
              the table.  It is called just before the table's  cell  text  is
              output.   As implemented currently, this macro is only called if
              block input is used, that is, text between `T{' and  `T}'.   The
              macro  should  contain  only simple troff requests to change the
              text block formatting, like text adjustment, hyphenation,  size,
              or  font.   The  macro  is called after other cell modifications
              like b, f or v are output.  Thus the macro can  overwrite  other
              modification specifiers.

       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).
       Default 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
       tabs).  By default, the text block is formatted with the settings which
       were active before entering the table, possibly overridden by the v and
       w tbl specifiers.  For example, to make all text  blocks  ragged-right,
       insert .na right before the starting .TS (and .ad after the table).

       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
       immediately after the format section.  Do not enclose a multi-page  ta-
       ble 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  (except  in
       compatibility mode).  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 1.19.2           September 4, 2005                        TBL(1)

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