In this chapter, we continue our look at text related tools, focusing on programs that are used to format text output, rather than changing the text itself. These tools are often used to prepare text for eventual printing, a subject that we will cover in the next chapter. The programs that we will cover in this chapter include:

在这章中,我们继续着手于文本相关的工具,关注那些用来格式化输出的程序,而不是改变文本自身。 这些工具通常让文本准备就绪打印,这是我们在下一章会提到的。我们在这章中会提到的工具有以下这些:


We’ll look at some of the simple formatting tools first. These are mostly single purpose programs, and a bit unsophisticated in what they do, but they can be used for small tasks and as parts of pipelines and scripts.

我们将先着眼于一些简单的格式工具。他们都是功能单一的程序,并且做法有一点单纯, 但是他们能被用于小任务并且作为脚本和管道的一部分 。

nl - 添加行号

The nl program is a rather arcane tool used to perform a simple task. It numbers lines. In its simplest use, it resembles cat -n:

nl 程序是一个相当神秘的工具,用作一个简单的任务。它添加文件的行数。在它最简单的用途中,它相当于 cat -n:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ nl distros.txt | head

Like cat, nl can accept either multiple files as command line arguments, or standard input. However, nl has a number of options and supports a primitive form of markup to allow more complex kinds of numbering.

像 cat,nl 既能接受多个文件作为命令行参数,也能接受标准输入。然而,nl 有一个相当数量的选项并支持一个简单的标记方式去允许更多复杂的方式的计算。

nl supports a concept called “logical pages” when numbering. This allows nl to reset (start over) the numerical sequence when numbering. Using options, it is possible to set the starting number to a specific value and, to a limited extent, its format. A logical page is further broken down into a header, body, and footer. Within each of these sections, line numbering may be reset and/or be assigned a different style. If nl is given multiple files, it treats them as a single stream of text. Sections in the text stream are indicated by the presence of some rather odd-looking markup added to the text:

nl 在计算文件行数的时候支持一个叫“逻辑页面”的概念 。这允许nl在计算的时候去重设(再一次开始)可数的序列。用到那些选项 的时候,可以设置一个特殊的开始值,并且在某个可限定的程度上还能设置它的格式。一个逻辑页面被进一步分为 header,body 和 footer 这样的元素。在每一个部分中,数行数可以被重设,并且/或被设置成另外一个格式。如果nl同时处理多个文件,它会把他们当成一个单一的 文本流。文本流中的部分被一些相当古怪的标记的存在加进了文本:

Table 22-1: nl Markup
MarkUp Meaning
\:\:\: Start of logical page header
\:\: Start of logical page body
\: Start of logical page footer
Table 22-1: nl 标记
标记 含义
\:\:\: 逻辑页页眉开始处
\:\: 逻辑页主体开始处
\: 逻辑页页脚开始处

Each of the above markup elements must appear alone on its own line. After processing a markup element, nl deletes it from the text stream.

每一个上述的标记元素肯定在自己的行中独自出现。在处理完一个标记元素之后,nl 把它从文本流中删除。

Here are the common options for nl:

这里有一些常用的 nl 选项:

Table 22-2: Common nl Options
Option Meaning
-b style Set body numbering to style, where style is one of the following:

a = number all lines

t = number only non-blank lines. This is the default.

n = none

pregexp = number only lines matching basic regular expression regexp.

-f style Set footer numbering to style. Default is n (none).
-h style Set header numbering to style. Default is n (none).
-i number Set page numbering increment to number. Default is one.
-n format Sets numbering format to format, where format is:

ln = left justified, without leading zeros.

rn = right justified, without leading zeros. This is the default.

rz = right justified, with leading zeros.

-p Do not reset page numbering at the beginning of each logical page.
-s string Add string to the end of each line number to create a separator.Default is a single tab character.
-v number Set first line number of each logical page to number. Default is one.
-w width Set width of the line number field to width. Default is six.
表格 22-2: 常用 nl 选项
选项 含义
-b style 把 body 按被要求方式数行,可以是以下方式:

a = 数所有行

t = 数非空行。这是默认设置。

n = 无

pregexp = 只数那些匹配了正则表达式的行

-f style 将 footer 按被要求设置数。默认是无
-h style 将 header 按被要求设置数。默认是无
-i number 将页面增加量设置为数字。默认是一。
-n format 设置数数的格式,格式可以是:

ln = 左偏,没有前导零。

rn = 右偏,没有前导零。

rz = 右偏,有前导零。

-p 不要在没一个逻辑页面的开始重设页面数。
-s string 在没一个行的末尾加字符作分割符号。默认是单个的 tab。
-v number 将每一个逻辑页面的第一行设置成数字。默认是一。
-w width 将行数的宽度设置,默认是六。

Admittedly, we probably won’t be numbering lines that often, but we can use nl to look at how we can combine multiple tools to perform more complex tasks. We will build on our work in the previous chapter to produce a Linux distributions report. Since we will be using nl, it will be useful to include its header/body/footer markup. To do this, we will add it to the sed script from the last chapter. Using our text editor, we will change the script as follows and save it as distros-nl.sed:

坦诚的说,我们大概不会那么频繁地去数行数,但是我们能用 nl 去查看我们怎么将多个工具结合在一个去完成更复杂的任务。 我们将在之前章节的基础上做一个 Linux 发行版的报告。因为我们将使用 nl,包含它的 header/body/footer 标记将会十分有用。 我们将把它加到上一章的 sed 脚本来做这个。使用我们的文本编辑器,我们将脚本改成一下并且把它保存成 distros-nl.sed:

# sed script to produce Linux distributions report
1 i\
Linux Distributions Report\
Ver. Released\
---- --------\
$ i\
End Of Report

The script now inserts the nl logical page markup and adds a footer at the end of the report. Note that we had to double up the backslashes in our markup, because they are normally interpreted as an escape character by sed.

这个脚本现在加入了 nl 的逻辑页面标记并且在报告的最后加了一个 footer。记得我们在我们的标记中必须两次使用反斜杠, 因为他们通常被 sed 解释成一个转义字符。

Next, we’ll produce our enhanced report by combining sort, sed, and nl:

下一步,我们将结合 sort, sed, nl 来生成我们改进的报告:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ sort -k 1,1 -k 2n distros.txt | sed -f distros-nl.sed | nl
        Linux Distributions Report
        Name    Ver.    Released
        ----    ----    --------
    1   Fedora  5       2006-03-20
    2   Fedora  6       2006-10-24
    3   Fedora  7       2007-05-31
    4   Fedora  8       2007-11-08
    5   Fedora  9       2008-05-13
    6   Fedora  10      2008-11-25
    7   SUSE    10.1    2006-05-11
    8   SUSE    10.2    2006-12-07
    9   SUSE    10.3    2007-10-04
    10  SUSE    11.0    2008-06-19
    11  Ubuntu  6.06    2006-06-01
    12  Ubuntu  6.10    2006-10-26
    13  Ubuntu  7.04    2007-04-19
    14  Ubuntu  7.10    2007-10-18
    15  Ubuntu  8.04    2008-04-24
        End Of Report

Our report is the result of our pipeline of commands. First, we sort the list by distribution name and version (fields one and two), then we process the results with sed, adding the report header (including the logical page markup for nl) and footer. Finally, we process the result with nl, which, by default, only numbers the lines of the text stream that belong to the body section of the logical page.

我们的报告是一串命令的结果,首先,我们给名单按发行版本和版本号(表格1和2处)进行排序,然后我们用 sed 生产结果, 增加了 header(包括了为 nl 增加的逻辑页面标记)和 footer。最后,我们按默认用 nl 生成了结果,只数了属于逻辑页面的 body 部分的 文本流的行数。

We can repeat the command and experiment with different options for nl. Some interesting ones are:

我们能够重复命令并且实验不同的 nl 选项。一些有趣的方式:

nl -n rz


nl -w 3 -s ' '

fold - 限制文件行宽

Folding is the process of breaking lines of text at a specified width. Like our other commands, fold accepts either one or more text files or standard input. If we send fold a simple stream of text, we can see how it works:

折叠是将文本的行限制到特定的宽的过程。像我们的其他命令,fold 接受一个或多个文件及标准输入。如果我们将 一个简单的文本流 fold,我们可以看到它工作的方式:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ echo "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." | fold -w 12
The quick br
own fox jump
ed over the
lazy dog.

Here we see fold in action. The text sent by the echo command is broken into segments specified by the -w option. In this example, we specify a line width of twelve characters. If no width is specified, the default is eighty characters. Notice how the lines are broken regardless of word boundaries. The addition of the -s option will cause fold to break the line at the last available space before the line width is reached:

这里我们看到了 fold 的行为。这个用 echo 命令发送的文本用 -w 选项分解成块。在这个例子中,我们设定了行宽为12个字符。 如果没有字符设置,默认是80。注意到文本行不会因为单词边界而不会被分解。增加的 -s 选项将让 fold 分解到最后可用的空白 字符,即会考虑单词边界。

[me@linuxbox ~]$ echo "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."
| fold -w 12 -s
The quick
brown fox
jumped over
the lazy

fmt - 一个简单的文本格式器

The fmt program also folds text, plus a lot more. It accepts either files or standard input and performs paragraph formatting on the text stream. Basically, it fills and joins lines in text while preserving blank lines and indentation.

fmt 程序同样折叠文本,外加很多功能。它接受文本或标准输入并且在文本流上格式化段落。它主要是填充和连接文本行,同时保留空白符和缩进。

To demonstrate, we’ll need some text. Let’s lift some from the fmt info page:

为了解释,我们将需要一些文本。让我们抄一些 fmt 主页上的东西吧:

‘fmt’ reads from the specified FILE arguments (or standard input if
none are given), and writes to standard output.

   By default, blank lines, spaces between words, and indentation are
preserved in the output; successive input lines with different
indentation are not joined; tabs are expanded on input and introduced on

   ‘fmt’ prefers breaking lines at the end of a sentence, and tries to
avoid line breaks after the first word of a sentence or before the last
word of a sentence.  A "sentence break" is defined as either the end of
a paragraph or a word ending in any of ‘.?!’, followed by two spaces or
end of line, ignoring any intervening parentheses or quotes.  Like TeX,
‘fmt’ reads entire “paragraphs” before choosing line breaks; the
algorithm is a variant of that given by Donald E. Knuth and Michael F.
Plass in “Breaking Paragraphs Into Lines”, ‘Software—Practice &
Experience’ 11, 11 (November 1981), 1119–1184.

We’ll copy this text into our text editor and save the file as fmt-info.txt. Now, let’s say we wanted to reformat this text to fit a fifty character wide column. We could do this by processing the file with fmt and the -w option:

我们将把这段文本复制进我们的文本编辑器并且保存文件名为 fmt-info.txt。现在,让我们重新格式这个文本并且让它成为一个50 个字符宽的项目。我们能用 -w 选项对文件进行处理:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ fmt -w 50 fmt-info.txt | head
'fmt' reads from the specified FILE arguments
(or standard input if
none are given), and writes to standard output.
By default, blank lines, spaces between words,
and indentation are
preserved in the output; successive input lines
with different indentation are not joined; tabs
are expanded on input and introduced on output.

Well, that’s an awkward result. Perhaps we should actually read this text, since it explains what’s going on:


“By default, blank lines, spaces between words, and indentation are preserved in the output; successive input lines with different indentation are not joined; tabs are expanded on input and introduced on output.”

默认情况下,输出会保留空行,单词之间的空格,和缩进;持续输入的具有不同缩进的文本行不会连接在一起;tab 字符在输入时会展开,输出时复原 。

So, fmt is preserving the indentation of the first line. Fortunately, fmt provides an option to correct this:

所以,fmt 会保留第一行的缩进。幸运的是,fmt 提供了一个选项来更正这种行为:

Much better. By adding the -c option, we now have the desired result.

好多了。通过添加 -c 选项,现在我们得到了所期望的结果。

fmt has some interesting options:

fmt 有一些有意思的选项:

The -p option is particularly interesting. With it, we can format selected portions of a file, provided that the lines to be formatted all begin with the same sequence of characters. Many programming languages use the pound sign (#) to indicate the beginning of a comment and thus can be formatted using this option. Let’s create a file that simulates a program that uses comments:

这个 -p 选项尤为有趣。通过它,我们可以格式文件选中的部分,通过在开头使用一样的符号。 很多编程语言使用锚标记(#)去提醒注释的开始,而且它可以通过这个选项来被格式。让我们创建一个有用到注释的程序。

[me@linuxbox ~]$ cat > fmt-code.txt
# This file contains code with comments.

# This line is a comment.
# Followed by another comment line.
# And another.

This, on the other hand, is a line of code.
And another line of code.
And another.

Our sample file contains comments which begin the string “# “ (a # followed by a space) and lines of “code” which do not. Now, using fmt, we can format the comments and leave the code untouched:

我们的示例文件包含了用 “#” 开始的注释(一个 # 后跟着一个空白符)和代码。现在,使用 fmt,我们能格式注释并且 不让代码被触及。

[me@linuxbox ~]$ fmt -w 50 -p '# ' fmt-code.txt
# This file contains code with comments.

# This line is a comment. Followed by another
# comment line. And another.

This, on the other hand, is a line of code.
And another line of code.
And another.

Notice that the adjoining comment lines are joined, while the blank lines and the lines that do not begin with the specified prefix are preserved.


pr – 格式化打印文本

The pr program is used to paginate text. When printing text, it is often desirable to separate the pages of output with several lines of whitespace, to provide a top and bottom margin for each page. Further, this whitespace can be used to insert a header and footer on each page.

pr 程序用来把文本分页。当打印文本的时候,经常希望用几个空行在输出的页面的顶部或底部添加空白。此外,这些空行能够用来插入到每个页面的页眉或页脚。

We’ll demonstrate pr by formatting our distros.txt file into a series of very short pages (only the first two pages are shown):

下面我们将演示 pr 的用法。我们准备将 distros.txt 这个文件分成若干张很短的页面(仅展示前两张页面):

[me@linuxbox ~]$ pr -l 15 -w 65 distros.txt
2008-12-11 18:27        distros.txt         Page 1

SUSE        10.2     12/07/2006
Fedora      10       11/25/2008
SUSE        11.0     06/19/2008
Ubuntu      8.04     04/24/2008
Fedora      8        11/08/2007

2008-12-11 18:27        distros.txt         Page 2

SUSE        10.3     10/04/2007
Ubuntu      6.10     10/26/2006
Fedora      7        05/31/2007
Ubuntu      7.10     10/18/2007
Ubuntu      7.04     04/19/2007

In this example, we employ the -l option (for page length) and the -w option (page width) to define a “page” that is 65 columns wide and 15 lines long. pr paginates the contents of the distros.txt file, separates each page with several lines of whitespace and creates a default header containing the file modification time, filename, and page number. The pr program provides many options to control page layout. We’ll take a look at more of them in the next chapter.

在上面的例子中,我们用 -l 选项(页长)和 -w 选项(页宽)定义了宽65列,长15行的一个“页面”。 pr 为 distros.txt 中的内容编订页码,用空行分开各页面,生成了包含文件修改时间、文件名、页码的默认页眉。 pr 指令拥有很多调整页面布局的选项,我们将在下一章中进一步探讨。

printf – Format And Print Data

Unlike the other commands in this chapter, the printf command is not used for pipelines (it does not accept standard input) nor does it find frequent application directly on the command line (it’s mostly used in scripts). So why is it important? Because it is so widely used.

与本章中的其他指令不同, printf 并不用于流水线执行(不接受标准输入)。在命令行中,它也鲜有运用(它通常被用于自动执行指令中)。所以为什么它如此重要?因为它被广泛使用。

printf (from the phrase “print formatted”) was originally developed for the C programming language and has been implemented in many programming languages including the shell. In fact, in bash, printf is a builtin. printf works like this:

printf (来自短语“格式化打印” “print formatted”) 最初为 C 语言设计,后来在包括 shell 的多种语言中运用。事实上,在 bash 中, printf 是内置的。 printf 这样工作:

printf “format” arguments

The command is given a string containing a format description which is then applied to a list of arguments. The formatted result is sent to standard output. Here is a trivial example:


[me@linuxbox ~]$ printf "I formatted the string: %s\n" foo
I formatted the string: foo

The format string may contain literal text (like “I formatted the string:”), escape sequences (such as \n, a newline character), and sequences beginning with the % character, which are called conversion specifications. In the example above, the conversion specification %s is used to format the string “foo” and place it in the command’s output. Here it is again:

格式字符串可能包含文字文本(如“我格式化了这个字符串:” “I formatted the string:”),转义序列(例如\n,换行符)和以%字符开头的序列,这被称为转换规范。在上面的例子中,转换规范 %s 用于格式化字符串 “foo” 并将其输出在命令行中。我们再来看一遍:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ printf "I formatted '%s' as a string.\n" foo
I formatted 'foo' as a string.

As we can see, the %s conversion specification is replaced by the string “foo” in the command’s output. The s conversion is used to format string data. There are other specifiers for other kinds of data. This table lists the commonly used data types:

我们可以看到,在命令行输出中,转换规范 %s 被字符串 “foo” 所替代。s 转换用于格式化字符串数据。还有其他转换符用于其他类型的数据。此表列出了常用的数据类型:

Table 22-5: printf Conversion Specification Components
Component Description
d Format a number as a signed decimal integer.
f Format and output a floating point number.
o Format an integer as an octal number.
s Format a string.
x Format an integer as a hexadecimal number using lowercase a-f where needed.
X Same as x but use uppercase letters.
% Print a literal % symbol (i.e., specify “%%”)
表 22-5: printf 转换规范组件
组件 描述
d 将数字格式化为带符号的十进制整数
f 格式化并输出浮点数
o 将整数格式化为八进制数
s 将字符串格式化
x 将整数格式化为十六进制数,必要时使用小写a-f
X 与 x 相同,但变为大写
% 打印 % 符号 (比如,指定 “%%”)

We’ll demonstrate the effect each of the conversion specifiers on the string “380”:

下面我们以字符串 “380” 为例,展示每种转换符的效果。

[me@linuxbox ~]$ printf "%d, %f, %o, %s, %x, %X\n" 380 380 380 380 380 380
380, 380.000000, 574, 380, 17c, 17C

Since we specified six conversion specifiers, we must also supply six arguments for printf to process. The six results show the effect of each specifier. Several optional components may be added to the conversion specifier to adjust its output. A complete conversion specification may consist of the following:

由于我们指定了六个转换符,我们还必须为 printf 提供六个参数进行处理。下面六个结果展示了每个转换符的效果。 可将可选组件添加到转换符以调整输出。 完整的转换规范包含以下内容:


Multiple optional components, when used, must appear in the order specified above to be properly interpreted. Here is a description of each:


Table 22-5: printf Conversion Specification Components
Component Description
flags There are five different flags:

# – Use the “alternate format” for output. This varies by data type. For o (octal number) conversion, the output is prefixed with 0. For x and X (hexadecimal number) conversions, the output is prefixed with 0x or 0X respectively.

0–(zero) Pad the output with zeros. This means that the field will be filled with leading zeros, as in “000380”.

- – (dash) Left-align the output. By default, printf right-aligns output.

‘ ’ – (space) Produce a leading space for positive numbers.

+ – (plus sign) Sign positive numbers. By default, printf only signs negative numbers.

width A number specifying the minimum field width.
.precision For floating point numbers, specify the number of digits of precision to be output after the decimal point. For string conversion, precision specifies the number of characters to output.
表 22-5: printf 转换规范组件
组件 描述
flags 有5种不同的标志:

# – 使用“备用格式”输出。这取决于数据类型。对于o(八进制数)转换,输出以0为前缀.对于x和X(十六进制数)转换,输出分别以0x或0X为前缀。

0–(零) 用零填充输出。这意味着该字段将填充前导零,比如“000380”。

- – (破折号) 左对齐输出。默认情况下,printf右对齐输出。

‘ ’ – (空格) 在正数前空一格。

+ – (加号) 在正数前添加加号。默认情况下,printf 只在负数前添加符号。

width 指定最小字段宽度的数。
.precision 对于浮点数,指定小数点后的精度位数。对于字符串转换,指定要输出的字符数。

Here are some examples of different formats in action:


Table 22-6: print Conversion Specification Examples
Argument Format Result Notes
380 "%d" 380 Simple formatting of an integer.
380 "%#x" 0x17c Integer formatted as a hexadecimal number using the “alternate format” flag.
380 "%05d" 00380 Integer formatted with leading zeros (padding) and a minimum field width of five characters.
380 "%05.5f" 380.00000 Number formatted as a floating point number with padding and five decimal places of precision. Since the specified minimum field width (5) is less than the actual width of the formatted number, the padding has no effect.
380 "%010.5f" 0380.00000 By increasing the minimum field width to 10 the padding is now visible.
380 "%+d" +380 The + flag signs a positive number.
380 "%-d" 380 The - flag left aligns the formatting.
abcdefghijk "%5s" abcedfghijk A string formatted with a minimum field width.
abcdefghijk "%d" abcde By applying precision to a string, it is truncated.
表 22-6: print 转换规范示例
自变量 格式 结果 备注
380 "%d" 380 简单格式化整数。
380 "%#x" 0x17c 使用“替代格式”标志将整数格式化为十六进制数。
380 "%05d" 00380 用前导零(padding)格式化整数,且最小字段宽度为五个字符。
380 "%05.5f" 380.00000 使用前导零和五位小数位精度格式化数字为浮点数。由于指定的最小字段宽度(5)小于格式化后数字的实际宽度,因此前导零这一命令实际上没有起到作用。
380 "%010.5f" 0380.00000 将最小字段宽度增加到10,前导零现在变得可见。
380 "%+d" +380 使用+标志标记正数。
380 "%-d" 380 使用-标志左对齐
abcdefghijk "%5s" abcedfghijk 用最小字段宽度格式化字符串。
abcdefghijk "%d" abcde 对字符串应用精度,它被从中截断。

Again, printf is used mostly in scripts where it is employed to format tabular data, rather than on the command line directly. But we can still show how it can be used to solve various formatting problems. First, let’s output some fields separated by tab characters:

再次强调,printf 主要用在脚本中,用于格式化表格数据,而不是直接用于命令行。但是我们仍然可以展示如何使用它来解决各种格式化问题。 首先,我们输出一些由制表符分隔的字段:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ printf "%s\t%s\t%s\n" str1 str2 str3
str1 str2 str3

By inserting \t (the escape sequence for a tab), we achieve the desired effect. Next, some numbers with neat formatting:

通过插入\t(tab 的转义序列),我们实现了所需的效果。接下来,我们让一些数字的格式变得整齐:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ printf "Line: %05d %15.3f Result: %+15d\n" 1071
3.14156295 32589
Line: 01071 3.142 Result: +32589

This shows the effect of minimum field width on the spacing of the fields. Or how about formatting a tiny web page:


[me@linuxbox ~]$ printf "<html>\n\t<head>\n\t\t<title>%s</title>\n
\t</head>\n\t<body>\n\t\t<p>%s</p>\n\t</body>\n</html>\n" "Page Tit
le" "Page Content"
<title>Page Title</title>
<p>Page Content</p>

Document Formatting Systems


So far, we have examined the simple text-formatting tools. These are good for small, simple tasks, but what about larger jobs? One of the reasons that Unix became a popular operating system among technical and scientific users (aside from providing a powerful multitasking, multiuser environment for all kinds of software development) is that it offered tools that could be used to produce many types of documents, particularly scientific and academic publications. In fact, as the GNU documentation describes, document preparation was instrumental to the development of Unix:

到目前为止,我们已经查看了简单的文本格式化工具。这些对于小而简单的任务是有好处的,但更大的工作呢? Unix在技术和科学用户中流行的原因之一(除了为各种软件开发提供强大的多任务多用户环境之外), 是它提供了可用于生成许多类型文档的工具,特别是科学和学术出版物。事实上,正如GNU文档所描述的那样,文档准备对于Unix的开发起到了促进作用:

The first version of UNIX was developed on a PDP-7 which was sitting around Bell Labs. In 1971 the developers wanted to get a PDP-11 for further work on the operating system. In order to justify the cost for this system, they proposed that they would implement a document formatting system for the AT&T patents division. This first formatting program was a reimplementation of McIllroy’s `roff’, written by J. F. Ossanna.

UNIX 的第一个版本是在位于贝尔实验室的 PDP-7 上开发的。在1971年,开发人员想要获得 PDP-11 进一步开发操作系统。 为了证明这个系统的成本是合理的,他们建议为 AT&T 专利部门创建文件格式化系统。 第一个格式化程序是由 J. F. Ossanna 撰写的,重新实现了 McIllroy 的 “roff” 的。

Two main families of document formatters dominate the field: those descended from the original roff program, including nroff and troff, and those based on Donald Knuth’s TEX (pronounced “tek”) typesetting system. And yes, the dropped “E” in the middle is part of its name.

两个文件格式化程序的主要家族占据了该领域:继承自原始 roff 程序的,包括 nroff 和 troff;以及 基于 Donald Knuth 的 TEX(发音“tek”)排版系统。是的,中间那个掉下来的“E”是其名称的一部分。

The name “roff” is derived from the term “run off” as in, “I’ll run off a copy for you.” The nroff program is used to format documents for output to devices that use monospaced fonts, such as character terminals and typewriter-style printers. At the time of its introduction, this included nearly all printing devices attached to computers. The later troff program formats documents for output on typesetters, devices used to produce “camera-ready” type for commercial printing. Most computer printers today are able to simulate the output of typesetters. The roff family also includes some other programs that are used to prepare portions of documents. These include eqn (for mathematical equations) and tbl (for tables).

名称 “roff” 源于术语 “run off” ,如“I’ll run off a copy for you.”(“我将为您运行副本”)。 nroff 程序用于格式化文档以输出到使用等宽字体的设备,如字符终端和打字机式打印机。 在它刚面世时,这几乎包括了所有连接在计算机上的打印设备。 稍后的 troff 程序格式化用于排版机输出的文档,也就是“camera-ready”(可供拍摄成印刷版的)类型的用于商业打印的设备。 今天的大多数电脑打印机都能够模拟排版机的输出。roff 家族还包括一些用于准备文档部分的程序。这些包括 eqn(用于数学方程)和 tbl(用于表)。

The TEX system (in stable form) first appeared in 1989 and has, to some degree, displaced troff as the tool of choice for typesetter output. We won’t be covering TEX here, due both to its complexity (there are entire books about it) and to the fact that it is not installed by default on most modern Linux systems.

TEX 系统(稳定形式)首先在1989年出现,并在某种程度上取代了 troff 作为排版机输出的首选工具。 由于其复杂性(整本书都讲不完)以及在大多数现代 Linux 系统上默认情况下不安装的事实,我们不会在此讨论 TEX。

Tip: For those interested in installing TEX, check out the texlive package which can be found in most distribution repositories, and the LyX graphical content editor.

提示:对于有兴趣安装 TEX 的用户,请查看大多数分发版本中可以找到的 texlive 软件包,以及 LyX 图形内容编辑器。


groff is a suite of programs containing the GNU implementation of troff. It also includes a script that is used to emulate nroff and the rest of the roff family as well.

groff 是一套用GNU实现 troff 的程序。它还包括一个脚本,用来模仿 nroff 和其他 roff 家族。

While roff and its descendants are used to make formatted documents, they do it in a way that is rather foreign to modern users. Most documents today are produced using word processors that are able to perform both the composition and layout of a document in a single step. Prior to the advent of the graphical word processor, documents were often produced in a two-step process involving the use of a text editor to perform composition, and a processor, such as troff, to apply the formatting. Instructions for the formatting program were embedded into the composed text through the use of a markup language. The modern analog for such a process is the web page, which is composed using a text editor of some kind and then rendered by a web browser using HTML as the markup language to describe the final page layout.

roff 及其后继制作格式化文档的方式对现代用户来说是相当陌生的。今天的大部分文件都是由能够一次性完成排字和布局的文字处理器生成的。 在图形文字处理器出现之前,需要两步来生成文档。首先用文本编辑器排字,接着用诸如 troff 之类的处理器来格式化。 格式化程序的说明通过标记语言的形式插入到已排好字的文本当中。 类似这种过程的现代例子是网页。它首先由某种文本编辑器排好字,然后由使用 HTML 作为标记语言的 Web 浏览器渲染出最终的页面布局。

We’re not going to cover groff in its entirety, as many elements of its markup language deal with rather arcane details of typography. Instead we will concentrate on one of its macro packages that remains in wide use. These macro packages condense many of its low-level commands into a smaller set of high-level commands that make using groff much easier.

我们不会讲解 groff 的全部内容,因为它的标记语言被用来处理少有人懂的排字细节。我们将专注于其中的一个仍然广泛使用的宏包。这些宏包将 低级命令转换少量高级命令,从而简化 groff 的使用。

For a moment, let’s consider the humble man page. It lives in the /usr/share/man directory as a gzip compressed text file. If we were to examine its uncompressed contents, we would see the following (the man page for ls in section 1 is shown):

现在,我们来看一下这个简单的手册页。它位于/usr/share/man目录,是一个gzip压缩文本文件。解压后,我们将看到以下内容(显示了 ls 手册的第1节):

[me@linuxbox ~]$ zcat /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1.gz | head
.\" DO NOT MODIFY THIS FILE! It was generated by help2man 1.35.
.TH LS "1" "April 2008" "GNU coreutils 6.10" "User Commands"
ls \- list directory contents
.B ls
[\fIOPTION\fR]... [\fIFILE\fR]...
.\" Add any additional description here

Compared to the man page in its normal presentation, we can begin to see a correlation between the markup language and its results:


[me@linuxbox ~]$ man ls | head
LS(1) User Commands LS(1)
ls - list directory contents

ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

The reason this is of interest is that man pages are rendered by groff, using the mandoc macro package. In fact, we can simulate the man command with the following pipeline:

令人感兴趣的原因是手册页由 groff 渲染,使用 mandoc 宏包。事实上,我们可以用以下流水线来模拟 man 命令:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ zcat /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1.gz | groff -mandoc -T
ascii | head
LS(1) User Commands LS(1)
ls - list directory contents
ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

Here we use the groff program with the options set to specify the mandoc macro package and the output driver for ASCII. groff can produce output in several formats. If no format is specified, PostScript is output by default:

在这里,我们使用 groff 程序和选项集来指定 mandoc 宏程序包和 ASCII 的输出驱动程序。groff 可以产生多种格式的输出。 如果没有指定格式,默认情况下会输出 PostScript格式:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ zcat /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1.gz | groff -mandoc |
%%Creator: groff version 1.18.1
%%CreationDate: Thu Feb 5 13:44:37 2009
%%DocumentNeededResources: font Times-Roman
%%+ font Times-Bold
%%+ font Times-Italic
%%DocumentSuppliedResources: procset grops 1.18 1
%%Pages: 4
%%PageOrder: Ascend
%%Orientation: Portrait

We briefly mentioned PostScript in the previous chapter, and will again in the next chapter. PostScript is a page description language that is used to describe the contents of a printed page to a typesetter-like device. If we take the output of our command and store it to a file (assuming that we are using a graphical desktop with a Desktop directory):

我们在前一章中简要介绍了PostScript,并将在下一章中再次介绍。 PostScript 是一种页面描述语言,用于将打印页面的内容描述给类似排字机的设备。 如果我们输出命令并将其存储到一个文件中(假设我们正在使用带有 Desktop 目录的图形桌面):

[me@linuxbox ~]$ zcat /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1.gz | groff -mandoc >

An icon for the output file should appear on the desktop. By double-clicking the icon, a page viewer should start up and reveal the file in its rendered form:


Figure 4: Viewing PostScript Output With A Page Viewer In GNOME

图4:在GNOME中使用页面查看器查看 PostScript 输出

What we see is a nicely typeset man page for ls! In fact, it’s possible to convert the Post- Script file into a PDF (Portable Document Format) file with this command:

我们看到的是一个排版很好的 ls 手册页面!事实上,可以使用以下命令将 PostScript 输出的文件转换为PDF(便携式文档格式)文件:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ ps2pdf ~/Desktop/foo.ps ~/Desktop/ls.pdf

The ps2pdf program is part of the ghostscript package, which is installed on most Linux systems that support printing.

ps2pdf 程序是 ghostscript 包的一部分,它安装在大多数支持打印的 Linux 系统上。

Tip: Linux systems often include many command line programs for file format conversion. They are often named using the convention of format2format. Try using the command 提示:Linux 系统通常包含许多用于文件格式转换的命令行程序。它们通常以 format2format 命名。尝试使用该命令

ls /usr/bin/*[[:alpha:]]2[[:alpha:]]*

to identify them. Also try searching for programs named formattoformat.

去识别它们。同样也可以尝试搜索 formattoformat 程序。

For our last exercise with groff, we will revisit our old friend distros.txt once more. This time, we will use the tbl program which is used to format tables to typeset our list of Linux distributions. To do this, we are going to use our earlier sed script to add markup to a text stream that we will feed to groff.

groff 的最后一个练习,将再次访问我们的老朋友 distros.txt。这一次,我们将使用能够将表格格式化的 tbl 程序,来输出 Linux 发行版本列表。为此,我们将使用早期的 sed 脚本添加一个文本流的标记,提供给 groff。

First, we need to modify our sed script to add the necessary requests that tbl requires. Using a text editor, we will change distros.sed to the following:

首先,我们需要修改我们的 sed 脚本来添加 tbl 所需的请求。 使用文本编辑器,我们将将 distros.sed 更改为以下内容:

# sed script to produce Linux distributions report
1 i\
center box;\
cb s s\
cb cb cb\
l n c.\
Linux Distributions Report\
Name Version Released\
$ a\

Note that for the script to work properly, care must been taken to see that the words “Name Version Released” are separated by tabs, not spaces. We’ll save the resulting file as distros-tbl.sed. tbl uses the .TS and .TE requests to start and end the table. The rows following the .TS request define global properties of the table which, for our example, are centered horizontally on the page and surrounded by a box. The remaining lines of the definition describe the layout of each table row. Now, if we run our reportgenerating pipeline again with the new sed script, we’ll get the following :

请注意,为使脚本正常工作,必须注意单词“Name Version Released”由 tab 分隔,而不是空格。 我们将生成的文件保存为 distros-tbl.sed. tbl 使用 .TS 和 .TE 请求来启动和结束表格。 .TS 请求后面的行定义了表格的全局属性,就我们的示例而言,它在页面上水平居中并含外边框。 定义的其余行描述每行的布局。现在,如果我们再次使用新的 sed 脚本运行我们新的报告生成流水线,我们将得到以下内容:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ sort -k 1,1 -k 2n distros.txt | sed -f distros-tbl
.sed | groff -t -T ascii 2>/dev/null
| Linux Distributions Report |
| Name Version Released |
|Fedora 5 2006-03-20 |
|Fedora 6 2006-10-24 |
|Fedora 7 2007-05-31 |
|Fedora 8 2007-11-08 |
|Fedora 9 2008-05-13 |
|Fedora 10 2008-11-25 |
|SUSE 10.1 2006-05-11 |
|SUSE 10.2 2006-12-07 |
|SUSE 10.3 2007-10-04 |
|SUSE 11.0 2008-06-19 |
|Ubuntu 6.06 2006-06-01 |
|Ubuntu 6.10 2006-10-26 |
|Ubuntu 7.04 2007-04-19 |
|Ubuntu 7.10 2007-10-18 |
|Ubuntu 8.04 2008-04-24 |
|Ubuntu 8.10 2008-10-30 |

Adding the -t option to groff instructs it to pre-process the text stream with tbl. Likewise, the -T option is used to output to ASCII rather than the default output medium, PostScript.

将 -t 选项添加到 groff 指示它用 tbl 预处理文本流。同样地,-T 选项用于输出到 ASCII ,而不是默认的输出介质 PostScript。

The format of the output is the best we can expect if we are limited to the capabilities of a terminal screen or typewriter-style printer. If we specify PostScript output and graphically view the resulting output, we get a much more satisfying result:

如果仅限于终端屏幕或打字机式打印机,这样的输出格式是我们能期望的最好的。 如果我们指定 PostScript 输出并以图形方式查看生成的输出,我们将得到一个更加满意的结果:

[me@linuxbox ~]$ sort -k 1,1 -k 2n distros.txt | sed -f distros-tbl
.sed | groff -t > ~/Desktop/foo.ps

Figure 5: Viewing The Finished Table 图5:查看生成的表格

Summing Up

Given that text is so central to the character of Unix-like operating systems, it makes sense that there would be many tools that are used to manipulate and format text. As we have seen, there are! The simple formatting tools like fmt and pr will find many uses in scripts that produce short documents, while groff (and friends) can be used to write books. We may never write a technical paper using command line tools (though there are many people who do!), but it’s good to know that we could.


文本是 类 Unix 系统的核心特性,一定会有许多修改和格式化文本的工具。正如我们所看到的那样,的确很多!像 fmt 和 pr 这种比较简单的格式化工具会在 生成比较短的文件时发挥很多用途,而 groff 和其他工具则会在写书的时候用上。我们也许永远不会用命令行工具来写一篇技术文章(尽管有很多人在这么做!), 但是知道我们可以这么做也是极好的。

Further Reading


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