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grops - PostScript driver for groff
grops [ -glmv ] [ -bn ] [ -cn ] [ -Fdir ] [ -Idir ] [ -ppapersize ]
[ -Pprologue ] [ -wn ] [ files... ]
It is possible to have whitespace between a command line option and its
grops translates the output of GNU troff to PostScript. Normally grops
should be invoked by using the groff command with a -Tps option.
(Actually, this is the default for groff.) If no files are given,
grops will read the standard input. A filename of - will also cause
grops to read the standard input. PostScript output is written to the
standard output. When grops is run by groff options can be passed to
grops using the groff -P option.
Note that grops doesn't produce a valid document structure (conforming
to the Document Structuring Convention) if called with multiple file
arguments. To print such concatenated output it is necessary to deac-
tivate DSC handling in the printing program or previewer.
-bn Provide workarounds for older printers, broken spoolers, and
previewers. Normally grops produces output at PostScript Lan-
guageLevel 2 that conforms to the Document Structuring Conven-
tions version 3.0. Some older printers, spoolers, and preview-
ers can't handle such output. The value of n controls what
grops does to make its output acceptable to such programs. A
value of 0 will cause grops not to employ any workarounds.
Add 1 if no %%BeginDocumentSetup and %%EndDocumentSetup comments
should be generated; this is needed for early versions of Tran-
Script that get confused by anything between the %%EndProlog
comment and the first %%Page comment.
Add 2 if lines in included files beginning with %! should be
stripped out; this is needed for Sun's pageview previewer.
Add 4 if %%Page, %%Trailer and %%EndProlog comments should be
stripped out of included files; this is needed for spoolers that
don't understand the %%BeginDocument and %%EndDocument comments.
Add 8 if the first line of the PostScript output should be %!PS-
Adobe-2.0 rather than %!PS-Adobe-3.0; this is needed when using
Sun's Newsprint with a printer that requires page reversal.
Add 16 if no media size information should be included in the
document (this is, neither use %%DocumentMedia nor the set-
pagedevice PostScript command). This was the behaviour of groff
version 1.18.1 and earlier; it is needed for older printers
which don't understand PostScript LanguageLevel 2. It is also
necessary if the output is further processed to get an encapsu-
lated PS (EPS) file -- see below.
The default value can be specified by a
command in the DESC file. Otherwise the default value is 0.
-cn Print n copies of each page.
-Fdir Prepend directory dir/devname to the search path for prologue,
font, and device description files; name is the name of the
device, usually ps.
-g Guess the page length. This generates PostScript code that
guesses the page length. The guess will be correct only if the
imageable area is vertically centered on the page. This option
allows you to generate documents that can be printed both on
letter (8.5×11) paper and on A4 paper without change.
-Idir This option may be used to specify a directory to search for
files on the command line and files named in \X'ps: import' and
\X'ps: file' escapes. The current directory is always searched
first. This option may be specified more than once; the direc-
tories will be searched in the order specified. No directory
search is performed for files specified using an absolute path.
-l Print the document in landscape format.
-m Turn manual feed on for the document.
Set physical dimension of output medium. This overrides the
papersize, paperlength, and paperwidth commands in the DESC
file; it accepts the same arguments as the papersize command.
See groff_font (5) for details.
Use the file prologue-file (in the font path) as the prologue
instead of the default prologue file prologue. This option
overrides the environment variable GROPS_PROLOGUE.
-wn Lines should be drawn using a thickness of n thousandths of an
em. If this option is not given, the line thickness defaults to
-v Print the version number.
There are styles called R, I, B, and BI mounted at font positions 1
to 4. The fonts are grouped into families A, BM, C, H, HN, N, P, and T
having members in each of these styles:
There is also the following font which is not a member of a family:
There are also some special fonts called S for the PS Symbol font, and
SS, containing slanted lowercase Greek letters taken from PS Symbol.
Zapf Dingbats is available as ZD and a reversed version of ZapfDingbats
(with symbols pointing in the opposite direction) is available as ZDR;
most characters in these fonts are unnamed and must be accessed using
The default color for \m and \M is black; for colors defined in the
`rgb' color space, setrgbcolor is used, for `cmy' and `cmyk' setcmyk-
color, and for `gray' setgray. Note that setcmykcolor is a PostScript
LanguageLevel 2 command and thus not available on some older printers.
grops understands various X commands produced using the \X escape
sequence; grops will only interpret commands that begin with a ps: tag.
\X'ps: exec code'
This executes the arbitrary PostScript commands in code. The
PostScript currentpoint will be set to the position of the \X
command before executing code. The origin will be at the top
left corner of the page, and y coordinates will increase down
the page. A procedure u will be defined that converts groff
units to the coordinate system in effect. For example,
.nr x 1i
\X'ps: exec \nx u 0 rlineto stroke'
will draw a horizontal line one inch long. code may make
changes to the graphics state, but any changes will persist only
to the end of the page. A dictionary containing the definitions
specified by the def and mdef will be on top of the dictionary
stack. If your code adds definitions to this dictionary, you
should allocate space for them using \X'ps mdef n'. Any defini-
tions will persist only until the end of the page. If you use
the \Y escape sequence with an argument that names a macro, code
can extend over multiple lines. For example,
.nr x 1i
\nx u 0 rlineto
is another way to draw a horizontal line one inch long.
\X'ps: file name'
This is the same as the exec command except that the PostScript
code is read from file name.
\X'ps: def code'
Place a PostScript definition contained in code in the prologue.
There should be at most one definition per \X command. Long
definitions can be split over several \X commands; all the code
arguments are simply joined together separated by newlines. The
definitions are placed in a dictionary which is automatically
pushed on the dictionary stack when an exec command is executed.
If you use the \Y escape sequence with an argument that names a
macro, code can extend over multiple lines.
\X'ps: mdef n code'
Like def, except that code may contain up to n definitions.
grops needs to know how many definitions code contains so that
it can create an appropriately sized PostScript dictionary to
\X'ps: import file llx lly urx ury width [ height ]'
Import a PostScript graphic from file. The arguments llx, lly,
urx, and ury give the bounding box of the graphic in the default
PostScript coordinate system; they should all be integers; llx
and lly are the x and y coordinates of the lower left corner of
the graphic; urx and ury are the x and y coordinates of the
upper right corner of the graphic; width and height are integers
that give the desired width and height in groff units of the
graphic. The graphic will be scaled so that it has this width
and height and translated so that the lower left corner of the
graphic is located at the position associated with \X command.
If the height argument is omitted it will be scaled uniformly in
the x and y directions so that it has the specified width. Note
that the contents of the \X command are not interpreted by
troff; so vertical space for the graphic is not automatically
added, and the width and height arguments are not allowed to
have attached scaling indicators. If the PostScript file com-
plies with the Adobe Document Structuring Conventions and con-
tains a %%BoundingBox comment, then the bounding box can be
automatically extracted from within groff by using the psbb
See groff_tmac(5) for a description of the PSPIC macro which
provides a convenient high-level interface for inclusion of
No output will be generated for text and drawing commands that
are bracketed with these \X commands. These commands are
intended for use when output from troff will be previewed before
being processed with grops; if the previewer is unable to dis-
play certain characters or other constructs, then other substi-
tute characters or constructs can be used for previewing by
bracketing them with these \X commands.
For example, gxditview is not able to display a proper \(em
character because the standard X11 fonts do not provide it; this
problem can be overcome by executing the following request
.char \(em \X'ps: invis'\
\Z'\v'-.25m'\h'.05m'\D'l .9m 0'\h'.05m''\
In this case, gxditview will be unable to display the \(em char-
acter and will draw the line, whereas grops will print the \(em
character and ignore the line (this code is already in file
Xps.tmac which will be loaded if a document intended for grops
is previewed with gxditview).
The input to grops must be in the format output by troff(1). This is
described in groff_out(5).
In addition, the device and font description files for the device used
must meet certain requirements. The device and font description files
supplied for ps device meet all these requirements. afmtodit(1) can be
used to create font files from AFM files. The resolution must be an
integer multiple of 72 times the sizescale. The ps device uses a reso-
lution of 72000 and a sizescale of 1000.
The device description file must contain a valid paper size; see
groff_font(5) for more information.
Each font description file must contain a command
which says that the PostScript name of the font is psname. It may also
contain a command
which says that the PostScript font should be reencoded using the
encoding described in enc_file; this file should consist of a sequence
of lines of the form:
where pschar is the PostScript name of the character, and code is its
position in the encoding expressed as a decimal integer; valid values
are in the range 0 to 255. Lines starting with # and blank lines are
ignored. The code for each character given in the font file must cor-
respond to the code for the character in encoding file, or to the code
in the default encoding for the font if the PostScript font is not to
be reencoded. This code can be used with the \N escape sequence in
troff to select the character, even if the character does not have a
groff name. Every character in the font file must exist in the Post-
Script font, and the widths given in the font file must match the
widths used in the PostScript font. grops will assume that a character
with a groff name of space is blank (makes no marks on the page); it
can make use of such a character to generate more efficient and compact
Note that grops is able to display all glyphs in a PostScript font, not
only 256. enc_file (or the default encoding if no encoding file speci-
fied) just defines the order of glyphs for the first 256 characters;
all other glyphs are accessed with additional encoding vectors which
grops produces on the fly.
grops can automatically include the downloadable fonts necessary to
print the document. Such fonts must be in PFA format. Use pfbtops(1)
to convert a Type 1 font in PFB format. Any downloadable fonts which
should, when required, be included by grops must be listed in the file
/usr/share/groff_font/devps/download; this should consist of lines of
where font is the PostScript name of the font, and filename is the name
of the file containing the font; lines beginning with # and blank lines
are ignored; fields may be separated by tabs or spaces; filename will
be searched for using the same mechanism that is used for groff font
metric files. The download file itself will also be searched for using
this mechanism; currently, only the first found file in the font path
If the file containing a downloadable font or imported document con-
forms to the Adobe Document Structuring Conventions, then grops will
interpret any comments in the files sufficiently to ensure that its own
output is conforming. It will also supply any needed font resources
that are listed in the download file as well as any needed file
resources. It is also able to handle inter-resource dependencies. For
example, suppose that you have a downloadable font called Garamond, and
also a downloadable font called Garamond-Outline which depends on Gara-
mond (typically it would be defined to copy Garamond's font dictionary,
and change the PaintType), then it is necessary for Garamond to appear
before Garamond-Outline in the PostScript document. grops will handle
this automatically provided that the downloadable font file for Gara-
mond-Outline indicates its dependence on Garamond by means of the Docu-
ment Structuring Conventions, for example by beginning with the follow-
%%DocumentNeededResources: font Garamond
%%IncludeResource: font Garamond
In this case both Garamond and Garamond-Outline would need to be listed
in the download file. A downloadable font should not include its own
name in a %%DocumentSuppliedResources comment.
grops will not interpret %%DocumentFonts comments. The %%Document-
NeededResources, %%DocumentSuppliedResources, %%IncludeResource,
%%BeginResource, and %%EndResource comments (or possibly the old
%%DocumentNeededFonts, %%DocumentSuppliedFonts, %%IncludeFont, %%Begin-
Font, and %%EndFont comments) should be used.
grops itself doesn't emit bounding box information. With the help of
GhostScript the following commands will produce an encapsulated PS file
foo.eps from input file foo:
groff -P-b16 foo > foo.ps
gs -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=bbox -- foo.ps 2> foo.bbox
cat foo.ps | sed -e '/%%Orientation/rfoo.bbx' > foo.eps
TrueType fonts can be used with grops if converted first to Type 42
format, an especial PostScript wrapper equivalent to the PFA format
mentioned in pfbtops(1). There are several different methods to gener-
ate a type42 wrapper and most of them involve the use of a PostScript
interpreter such as Ghostscript -- see gs(1). Yet, the easiest method
involves the use of the application ttftot42. This program uses
freetype(3) (version 1.3.1) to generate type42 font wrappers and well-
formed AFM files that can be fed to the afmtodit(1) script to create
appropriate metric files. The resulting font wrappers should be added
to the download file. ttftot42 source code can be downloaded from
If this is set to foo, then grops will use the file foo (in the
font path) instead of the default prologue file prologue. The
option -P overrides this environment variable.
Device description file.
Font description file for font F.
List of downloadable fonts.
Encoding used for text fonts.
Macros for use with grops; automatically loaded by troffrc
Definition of PSPIC macro, automatically loaded by ps.tmac.
Macros to disable use of characters not present in older Post-
Script printers (e.g. `eth' or `thorn').
afmtodit(1), groff(1), troff(1), pfbtops(1), groff_out(5),
groff_font(5), groff_char(7), groff_tmac(5)
PostScript Language Document Structuring Conventions Specification
Groff Version 1.19.2 September 4, 2005 GROPS(1)