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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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UNIX Commands
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col

col [options]

A postprocessing filter that handles reverse linefeeds and escape characters, allowing output from tbl (or nroff, occasionally) to appear in reasonable form on a terminal.

Options

-b

Ignore backspace characters; helpful when printing man pages.

-f

Process half-line vertical motions, but not reverse line motion. (Normally, half-line input motion is displayed on the next full line.)

-p

Print unknown escape sequences (normally ignored) as regular characters. This option can garble output, so its use is not recommended.

-x

Normally, col saves printing time by converting sequences of spaces to tabs. Use -x to suppress this conversion.

-h

Save printing time by converting sequences of spaces to tabs.

Examples

Run file through tbl and nroff, then capture output on screen by filtering through col and more:

tbl file | nroff | col | more

Save man page output in file.print, stripping out backspaces (which would otherwise appear as ^H):

man file | col -b > file.print


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