This file describes recent user-visible changes in groff.  Bug fixes
are not described.  There are more details in the man pages.



The escape sequence \V[xxx] will interpolate the value of the
environment variable xxx.


The decimalpoint option can be used to specify the character to be
recognized as the decimal point character in place of the default



The environment variable GROFF_COMMAND_PREFIX can be used to control
whether groff looks for `gtroff' or `troff' (similarily for the


Multilingual hyphenation is supported by new `hpf' and `hla' requests,
and by a `\n[.hla]' number register.  The -H option has been removed.
Files of hyphenation patterns can have comments.

When a font cannot be found, troff gives a warning (of type `font',
enabled by default) instead of an error.

There's a new request `trnt' that's like `tr' except that it doesn't
apply to text transparently throughput into a diversion with \!.


There is a `nokeep' option which tells tbl not to use diversions to
try to keep the table on one page.


Setting the parameter `nroff' to a non-zero value causes `ndefine' to
behave like `define' and `tdefine' to be ignored.  This is done by
eqnrc when the current device is ascii or latin1.  There's a `neqn'
script that just does `eqn -Tascii'.


grotty uses whatever page length was specified using the `pl' request
rather than using the paperlength command in the DESC file.  The
paperwidth command in the DESC file is also ignored.


The programs in groff that have Unix counterparts can now be installed
without a leading `g' prefix.  See the `g' variable in the Makefile.

The g?nroff script simulates the nroff command using groff.

New special characters \(+h, \(+f, \(+p, \(Fn, \(Bq, \(bq, \(aq, \(lz,
\(an.  See groff_char(7).

^L is now a legal input character.


The Xps pseudo-device has disappeared.  Instead there is a new -X
option that tells groff to use gxditview instead of the usual
postprocessor. (So instead of -TXps, use -XTps or just -X if your
default device is ps.)

The postprocessor to be used for a particular device is now specified
by a `postpro' command in the DESC file rather than being compiled
into groff.  Similarily the command to be used for printing (with the
-l option) is now specified by a `print' command in the DESC file.

The groff command no longer specifies eqnchar as an input file for
eqn.  Instead eqn automatically loads a file `eqnrc'.  The groff
command no longer passes the -D option to eqn.  Instead eqnrc sets the
draw_lines parameter.

The groff command no longer tells troff to load a device-specific
macro file.  This is handled instead by the `troffrc' file, which is
always loaded by troff.

The shell script version of groff has been removed.


The `rchar' request removes a character definition established with `char'.

Compatibility mode is disabled and the escape character is set to `\'
while a character definition is being processed.

The `\#' escape sequence is like `\%' except that the terminating
newline is ignored.

The `shc' request tells troff which character to insert (instead of
the default \(hy) when a word is hyphenated at a line break.

A font name of 0 (zero) in the DESC file will cause no font to be
mounted on the corresponding font position.  This is useful for
arranging that special fonts are mounted on positions on which users
are not likely explicitly to mount fonts.  All groff devices now avoid
initially mounting fonts on positions 5-9.

The `do' request allows a single request or macro to be interpreted
with compatibility mode disabled.

troff automatically loads a file `troffrc' before any other input file.
This can be prevented with the -R option.  This file is responsible
for loading the device-specific macros.


The -x option has been removed and a -n option has been added.  By
default, pic now assumes that the postprocessor supports groff
extensions.  The -n option tells pic to generate output that works
with ditroff drivers.  The -z option now applies only to TeX mode.

The -p option has been removed. Instead if the -n option is not
specified, pic generates output that uses \X'ps: ...' if the \n(0p
register is non-zero and tmac.ps sets this register to 1.

In places where you could 1st or 5th you can now say `i'th or `i+1'th
(the quotes are required).


Eqn now automatically reads a file `eqnrc' from the macro directory.
This performs the same role that the eqnchar files used to.  This can
be prevented by the -R option.

Setting the draw_lines parameter to a non-zero value causes lines to
be drawn using \D rather than \l.  The -D option is now obsolete.

`uparrow', `downarrow' and `updownarrow' can be used with `left' and

The amount of extra space added before and after lines containing
equations can be controlled using the `body_height' and `body_depth'


Font description files have been regenerated from newer AFM files.
You can get access to the additional characters present in the text
fonts in newer PostScript printers by using -mpsnew.

The default value of the -b option is specified by a `broken' command
in the DESC file.

With the -g option, grops will generate PostScript code that guesses
the page height.  This allows documents to be printed on both letter
(8.5x11) and A4 paper without change.


ISO Latin-1 characters are available with -Tdvi.  Format groff_char(7)
with groff -Tdvi for more information.


The -mtty-char macros contain additional character definitions for
use with grotty.


In previous releases the groff -me macros treated the $r and $R number
registers in a way that was incompatible with the BSD -me macros.  The
reason for this was that the approach used by the BSD -me macros does
not work with low resolution devices such as -TX75 and -TX100.
However, this caused problems with existing -me documents.  In this
release, the vertical spacing is controlled by the $v and $V registers
which have the same meaning as $r and $R in earlier groff releases.
In addition, if the $r or $R register is set to a value that would be
correct for for the BSD -me macros and a low resolution device is not
being used, then an appropriate value for the $v or $V register will
be derived from the $r or $R register.

The groff -me macros work with -C and (I think) with Unix troff.

For backward compatibility with BSD -me, the \*{ and \*} strings are
also available as \*[ and \*].  Of course, \*[ will only be useable
with -C.

The \*T string has been deleted.  Use \*(Tm instead.


The `n', Space and Return keys are bound to the Next Page action.  The
`p', BackSpace and Delete keys are bound to the Previous Page action.
The `q' key is bound to the Quit action.

The `r' key is bound to a rerasterize action that reruns groff, and
redisplays the current page.



There is a alternative assignment operator `:=' which interacts
differently with blocks.

There is a new command `command', which allows the values of variables
to be passed through to troff or TeX.

The `print' command now accepts multiple arguments.

String comparison expressions (using `==' or `!=') are allowed in more


Horizontal and vertical lines drawn with \D'l ...' will be rendered
using -, | and + characters.  This is intended to give reasonable
results with boxed tables.  It won't work well with pic.


The -mdoc macros have been upgraded to the version in the second
Berkeley networking release.  This version is not completely
compatible with earlier versions; the old version is still available
as -mdoc.old.  The grog script has been enhanced so that it can
usually determine whether a document requires the old or new versions.

With -TX75, -TX100 and -TXps, the PSPIC macro will produce a box
around where the picture would appear with -Tps.


An implementation of the -mm macros is included.

The directory in which temporary files are created can be controlled
by setting the GROFF_TMPDIR or TMPDIR environment variables.


Some MS-DOS support (see pic/make-dos-dist).


There are two new \X commands (\X'ps: invis' and \X'ps: endinvis')
which make it possible to have substitute characters that are
displayed when previewing with -TXps but ignored when printing with


Support for scalable fonts.


No changes other than bug fixes.


There is an implementation of refer and associated programs.  groff -R
preprocesses with grefer; no mechanism is provided for passing
arguments to grefer because most grefer options have equivalent
commands which can be included in the file.  grog also supports refer.

There is an alternative perl implementation of the grog script.

The code field in lines in the charset section of font description
files is now allowed to contain an arbitrary integer (previously it
was required to lie between 0 and 255).  Currently grops and grodvi
use only the low order 8 bits of the value.  Grodvi will use the
complete value; however, this is unlikely to be useful with
traditional TeX tools (.tfm files only allow 8 bit character codes.)

Left and right double quotes can be obtained with \(lq and \(rq

There is a new program called pfbtops which translates PostScript
fonts in pfb format to ASCII.

A slightly modified version of the Berkeley tmac.doc is included.


In long escape names the closing ] is now required to be at the same
input level as the opening [.

The \A'S' escape sequence returns 1 or 0 according as S is or is not
suitable for use as a name.

\~ produces an unbreakable space that can be stretched when the line
is adjusted.

The `mso' request is like the `so' request except that it searches for
the file in the same directories in which tmac.X is searched for when
the -mX option is given.

The escape sequence `\R' is similar to the `nr' request.


A new `special' primitive allows you to add new types of unary
constructs by writing a troff macro.


The implementation no longer uses gperf.


The compile-time -DBROKEN_SPOOLER option has been replaced by a
BROKEN_SPOOLER_FLAGS option.  This allows more precise control over
how grops should workaround broken spoolers and previewers.  There is
a new -b option that can change this at run-time.

Grops now generates PostScript that complies with version 3.0 of the
Document Structuring Convention.

The resource management component of grops (the part that deals with
imported documents and downloadable fonts) has been rewritten and now
supports version 3.0 of the Document Structuring Conventions.  The
%%DocumentFonts comment is no longer supported; you must use the
%%Document{Needed,Supplied}{Fonts,Resources} comments instead
(or as well.)

tmac.psatk contains some macros that support the mechanism used by the
Andrew Toolkit for including PostScript graphics in troff documents.


Parts of xditview have been rewritten so that it can be used with the
output of gtroff -Tps.  groff -TXps will run gtroff -Tps with

There is a new menu entry `Print' which brings up a dialog box for
specifying a command with which the file being previewed should be

Xditview now uses imake.


The groff command now understands the gtroff `-a' and `-i' options.

With the `m' and `n' scale indicators, the scale factor is rounded
horizontally before being applied.  This makes (almost) no difference
for devices with `hor' equal to 1, but it makes groff with -Tascii or
-Tlatin1 behave more like nroff in its treatment of these scale
indicators.  Accordingly tmac.tty now calls the `nroff' request so
that the `n' condition will be true.

The device-specific macros (tmac.ps, tmac.dvi, tmac.tty and tmac.X)
have been made to work at least somewhat with -C.  In particular the
special characters defined by these macros now work with -C.

groff -Tdvi -p will now pass pic the -x flag; this will enable filling
of arrowheads and boxes, provided that your dvi driver supports the
latest version of the tpic specials.


There is a new `-N' option that tells eqn not to allow newlines in
delimiters.  This allows eqn to recover better from missing closing
delimiters.  The groff command will pass on a `-N' option to eqn.


You can now use psfig with grops.  See the file ps/psfig.diff.  I do
not recommend using psfig for new documents.

The command \X'ps: file F' is similar to \X'ps: exec ...' except that
the PostScript code is read from the file F instead of being contained
within the \X command.  This was added to support psfig.


There are font files HB and HI corresponding to cmsssbx10 and cmssi10.


The groff -me macros now work with the -C option.  As a result, they
may also work with Unix nroff/troff.

In -me, the $r and $R number registers now contain the line spacing as
a percentage of the pointsize expressed in units (normally about 120).
The previous definition was useless with low resolution devices such
as X75 and X100.


A -ms-like macro-package is now included.

The name for the Icelandic lowercase eth character has been changed
from \(-d to \(Sd.


There is a new request `nroff', which makes the `n' built-in condition
true and the `t' built-in condition false; also a new request `troff'
which undoes the effect of the `nroff' request.  This is intended only
for backward compatibility: it is usually better to test \n(.H or
\n(.V or to use the `c' built-in condition.

The \R escape sequence has been deleted.  Use \E instead.

There are `break' and `continue' requests for use with the `while'

There is a request `hym' that can ensure that when the current
adjustment mode is not `b' a line will not be hyphenated if it is no
more than a given amount short, and a request `hys' that can ensure
that when the current adjustment mode is `b' a line will not be
hyphenated if it can be justified by adding no more than a given
amount of extra space to each word space.

There is a request `rj' similar to `ce' that right justifies lines.

A warning of type `space' will be given when a call is made to an
undefined request or macro with a name longer than two characters, and
the first two characters of the name make a name that is defined.
This is intended to find places where a space has been omitted been a
request or macro and its argument.  This type of warning is enabled by


A comma is permitted between the arguments to the `reset' command.

For use with TeX, there is a new `-c' option that makes gpic treat
lines beginning with `.' in a way that is more compatible with tpic
(but ugly).


It is no longer necessary to add `space 0' at the beginning of
complicated equations inside pictures.

`prime' is now treated as an ordinary character, as in Unix eqn.  The
previous behaviour of `prime' as an operator can now be obtained using


There are two new devices X75-12 and X100-12 which are the same as X75
and X100 except that they are optimized for documents that use mostly
12 point text.


The installation process has been refined to make it easy for you to
share groff with someone who has the same type of machine as you but
does not have a C++ compiler.  See the end of the INSTALL file for

There is a man page for the tfmtodit program which explains how to use
your own fonts with groff -Tdvi.

There is a man page for afmtodit which explains how to use your own
PostScript fonts with groff -Tps.

The \N escape sequence is now fully supported.  It can now be used to
access any character in a font by its output code, even if it doesn't
have a groff name.  This is made possible by a convention in the font
files that a character name of `---' refers to an unnamed character.
The drivers now all support the `N' command required for this.  The font
description files have been updated to include unnamed characters.

The `x' command in font description files has been removed: instead
any unknown commands are automatically made available to the drivers.
If you constructed your own font files with an earlier version of
tfmtodit or afmtodit, you must construct them again using the current

Characters between 0200 and 0237 octal are no longer legal input
characters.  Note that these are not used in ISO 8859.

A command called `grog' has been added, similar to the `doctype'
command described in Kernighan and Pike.


The groff command has some new options: -V prints the pipeline
instead of executing it; -P passes an argument to the postprocessor,
-L passes an argument to the spooler.

There is a C++ implementation of the groff command.  This handles some
things slightly better than the shell script.  In particular, it can
correctly handle arguments containing characters that have a special
meaning to the shell; it can give an error message when child
processes other than the last in the pipeline terminate abnormally;
its exit status can take account of the exit statuses of all its child
processes; it is a little more efficient; when geqn is used, it
searches for the eqnchar file in the same way that font metric files
are searched for, rather than expecting to find it in one particular


There is font translation feature: For example, you can tell gtroff to
use font `HR' whenever font `H' is requested with the line
  .ftr H HR
This would be useful for a document that uses `H' to refer to

There are some new number registers: `.kern' contains the current kern
mode, `.lg' the current ligature mode, `.x' the major version number,
`.y' the minor version number, `.ce' the number of lines to be
centered in the current environment, `.trunc' the amount of vertical
space truncated by the most recently sprung vertical position trap,
`.ne' the amount of vertical space needed in the last `ne' request
that caused a vertical position trap to be sprung.

The `cf' request now behaves sensibly in a diversion.  If used in a
diversion, it will now arrange for the file to be copied to the output
when the diversion is reread.

There is a new request `trf' (transparent file) similar to `cf', but
more like `\!'.

There is a new escape sequence `\Y[xxx]', roughly equivalent to
`\X'\*[xxx]'', except that the contents of string or macro xxx are not
interpreted, and xxx may contain newlines.  This requires an output
format extension; the drivers have been modified to understand this.
Grops has also been modified to cope with newlines in the arguments to
\X commands; grops has a new \X command mdef, which is like def except
that it has a first argument giving the number of definitions.

There is a new warning category `escape' which warns about unknown
escape sequences.

The `fp' request now takes an optional third argument giving the external
name of the font.

The `\_' character is now automatically translated to `\(ul' as in troff.

The environment variable `GROFF_HYPHEN' gives the name of the file
containing the hyphenation patterns.

There is a `\C'xxx'' escape sequence equivalent to `\[xxx]'.

Characters ", ', ), ], *, \(dg are now initially transparent for the purposes
of end of sentence recognition.

There is an anti-recusion feature in the `char' request, so you can
say `.char \(bu \s+2\(bu\s-2'.

The limit on the number of font positions has been removed.
Accordingly `\n[.fp]' never returns 0.

The restriction on the number of numbered environments has been removed.

There is a new escape sequence `\E' that makes it possible to
guarantee that an escape sequence won't get interpreted in copy-mode.
The `\R' escape sequence is accordingly now deprecated.


Arguments of the form `X anything X' (in the `copy thru', `sh', `for',
`if' and `define' constructs) can now be of the form `{ anything }'.

If the `linethick' variable is negative (as it now is initially),
lines will be drawn with a thickness proportional to the current point

The `rand' function now takes no arguments and returns a number between
0 and 1.  The old syntax is still supported.

`^' can be used in expressions to indicate exponentiation.

In the `for' construct the argument to the by clause can be prefixed
by `*' to indicate that the increment is multiplicative.

A bare expression may be used as an attribute.  If the current
direction is `dir', then an attribute `expr' is equivalent to
`dir expr'

There is a `sprintf' construct that allows numbers to be formatted and used
wherever a quoted string can be used.

The height of a text object without an explicit height attribute is
the number of text strings associated with the object times the value
of the `textht' variable.

The maximum height and width of a picture is controlled by the
`maxpswid' and `maxpsht' variables.


Gtbl can now handle gracefully the situation where the `ce' request
has been applied to a table.


The `ifdef' primitive has been generalized.

A tilde accent can be put underneath a box using `utilde'.  This
defined using a general `uaccent' primitive.


There is a new PostScript font downloading scheme which handles font
downloading for imported illustrations.  Previously, the name of the
file containing the font was given in the `x download' line in the
groff font metric file.  Now, there is a `download' file which says
for each PostScript font name which file contains that font.  Grops
can also now handle inter-font dependencies, where one downloadable
font depends on some other (possibly downloadable) font.

The `T' font has been removed.  The characters it used to provide are
now provided by `char' definitions in tmac.ps. TSymbol.ps has also
been removed, and the tweaks it provided are now provided by `char'