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43.13 The Text Formatters nroff, troff, ditroff, ...

Have you used a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) desktop publishing program like FrameMaker, WordPerfect, Interleaf, and so on? Then you might not have much experience with the original UNIX formatters, nroff and troff.

Instead of showing a picture of the completed document on your screen as you type, these formatters read a source file full of text and special formatting commands. The formatted output goes into a file (text, PostScript, or some other format) or straight to a printer. You create and edit the source file with any text editor (like vi). O'Reilly & Associates still uses troff to produce many of its books. For example, the start of the source file for this article looks like:

.Ah 2520 "The Text Formatters nroff, troff, ditroff, ..."
Have you used a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) desktop
publishing program  like FrameMaker, WordPerfect, Interleaf and so on?
Then you might not have much experience with the original UNIX
formatters, \fInroff\fP and \fItroff\fP.
.LP
Instead of showing a picture of the completed document on your
screen as you type, these formatters read a \fIsource file\fP full
...

You might wonder, "Why use these dinosaurs?"

Batch formatters like nroff and troff aren't the answer for all formatting jobs, but they're worth looking into - especially for small or very complex jobs.

- JP


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43.12 Typesetting Overview Book Index43.14 nroff/troff and Macro Packages

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