The input to gropdf must be in the format output by
gtroff(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 resolution must be an integer multiple of 72 times
the sizescale. The pdf device uses a resolution of 72000 and a
sizescale of 1000.
The device description file must contain a valid paper format; see
groff_font(5). gropdf uses the same Type 1 Adobe
PostScript fonts as the grops device driver. Although the PDF
Standard allows the use of other font types (like TrueType) this
implementation only accepts the Type 1 PostScript font. Fewer
Type 1 fonts are supported natively in PDF documents than the
standard 35 fonts supported by grops and all PostScript printers, but
all the fonts are available since any which aren't supported natively are
automatically embedded in the PDF.
gropdf supports the concept of foundries, that is different
versions of basically the same font. During install a Foundry file
controls where fonts are found and builds groff fonts from the files
it discovers on your system.
Each font description file must contain a command
- internalname psname
which says that the PostScript name of the font is psname.
Lines starting with # and blank lines are ignored. The code for each
character given in the font file must correspond to the code in the default
encoding for the font. 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 PostScript font, and the widths given in the font file must match the
widths used in the PostScript font.
Note that gropdf is currently only able to display the
first 256 glyphs in any font. This restriction will be lifted in a later
gropdf can automatically include the downloadable fonts
necessary to print the document. Fonts may be in PFA or PFB format.
Any downloadable fonts which should, when required, be included by
gropdf must be listed in the file
/usr/share/groff/1.23.0/font/devpdf/download; this should consist of
lines of the form
- foundry font filename
where foundry is the foundry name or blank for the default
foundry. 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 must be separated by tabs (spaces are
not allowed); filename is searched for using the same
mechanism that is used for groff font metric files. The
download file itself is also sought using this mechanism. Foundry
names are usually a single character (such as ‘U’ for the URW
foundry) or empty for the default foundry. This default uses the same fonts
as ghostscript uses when it embeds fonts in a PDF file.
In the default setup 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
There is also the following font which is not a member of a
There are also some special fonts called S for the PS
Symbol font. The lower case greek characters are automatically slanted (to
match the SymbolSlanted font (SS) available to PostScript). Zapf Dingbats is
available as ZD; the “hand pointing left” glyph
(\[lh]) is available since it has been defined using the \X'pdf:
xrev' device control command, which reverses the direction of letters
The default color for \m and \M is black.
gropdf understands some of the device control commands
supported by grops(1).
- \X'ps: invis'
- Suppress output.
- \X'ps: endinvis'
- Stop suppressing output.
- \X'ps: exec gsave currentpoint 2 copy
translate n rotate neg exch neg exch
- where n is the angle of rotation. This is to support the
align command in gpic(1).
- \X'ps: exec grestore'
- Used by gpic(1) to restore state after rotation.
- \X'ps: exec n setlinejoin'
- where n can be one of the following values.
- 0 = Miter join
1 = Round join
2 = Bevel join
- \X'ps: exec n setlinecap'
- where n can be one of the following values.
- 0 = Butt cap
1 = Round cap, and
2 = Projecting square cap
- \X'ps: ... pdfmark'
- All the pdfmark macros installed by using -m pdfmark or
-m mspdf (see documentation in pdfmark.pdf). A subset of
these macros are installed automatically when you use -Tpdf so you
should not need to use “-m pdfmark” to access most
gropdf also supports a subset of the commands introduced in
present.tmac. Specifically it supports:-
Which allows you to create presentation type PDFs. Many of the
other commands are already available in other macro packages.
These commands are implemented with groff X commands:-
- \X'ps: exec %%%%PAUSE'
- The section before this is treated as a block and is introduced using the
current BLOCK transition setting (see “\X'pdf:
transition'” below). Equivalently, .pdfpause is
available as a macro.
- \X'ps: exec %%%%BEGINONCE'
- Any text following this command (up to %%%%ENDONCE) is shown only once,
the next %%%%PAUSE will remove it. If producing a non-presentation PDF,
i.e. ignoring the pauses, see GROPDF_NOSLIDE below, this text is
- \X'ps: exec %%%%ENDONCE'
- This terminates the block defined by %%%%BEGINONCE. This pair of commands
is what implements the .BLOCKS Once/.BLOCKE commands in
The mom macro package already integrates these extensions,
so you can build slides with mom.
If you use present.tmac with gropdf there is no need
to run the program presentps(1) since the output will already be a
All other ps: tags are silently ignored.
One \X device control command used by the DVI driver is
- where the paper-format parameter is the same as that to the
papersize directive. See groff_font(5). This means that you
can alter the page size at will within the PDF file being created by
gropdf. If you do want to change the paper format, it must be done
before you start creating the page.
gropdf supports several more device control features using
the pdf: tag. Some have counterpart convenience macros that
take the same arguments and behave equivalently.
- \X'pdf: pdfpic file alignment width height
- Place an image of the specified width containing the PDF drawing
from file file of desired width and height (if
height is missing or zero then it is scaled proportionally). If
alignment is -L the drawing is left-aligned. If it is
-C or -R a line-length greater than the width of the
drawing is required as well. If width is specified as zero then the
width is scaled in proportion to the height.
- \X'pdf: xrev'
- Toggle the reversal of glyph direction. This feature works “letter
by letter”, that is, each letter in a word is reversed
left-to-right, not the entire word. One application is the reversal of
glyphs in the Zapf Dingbats font. To restore the normal glyph orientation,
repeat the command.
- \X'pdf: markstart /ANN-definition'
- \X'pdf: markend'
- Macros that support PDF bookmarks use these calls internally to start and
stop (respectively) the placement of the bookmark's hot spot; the
user will have called “.pdfhref L” with the
text of the hot spot. Normally, these are never used except from within
the pdfmark macros.
- \X'pdf: marksuspend'
- \X'pdf: markrestart'
- If you use a page location trap to produce a header or footer, or
otherwise interrupt a document's text, you need to use these commands if a
PDF hot spot crosses a trap boundary; otherwise any text output by
the trap will be marked as part of the hot spot. To prevent this error,
place these device control commands or their corresponding convenience
macros .pdfmarksuspend and .pdfmarkrestart at the start and
end of the trap macro, respectively.
- \X'pdf: pagename name'
- Assign the current page a name. All documents bear two default
names, ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. The
convenience macro for this command is .pdfpagename.
- \X'pdf: switchtopage when name'
- Normally each new page is appended to the end of the document, this
command allows following pages to be inserted at a
‘named’ position within the document (see pagename
command above). ‘when’ can be either
‘after’ or ‘before’. If it is
omitted it defaults to ‘before’. It should be used at
the end of the page before you want the switch to happen. This allows
pages such as a TOC to be moved to elsewhere in the document, but more
esoteric uses are possible. The convenience macro for this command is
- \X'pdf: transition feature mode
duration dimension motion direction scale bool'
- where feature can be either SLIDE or BLOCK. When it is SLIDE the
transition is used when a new slide is introduced to the screen, if BLOCK
then this transition is used for the individual blocks which make up the
- mode is the transition type between slides:-
- Split - Two lines sweep across the screen, revealing the new page.
The lines may be either horizontal or vertical and may move inward from
the edges of the page or outward from the center, as specified by the
dimension and motion entries, respectively.
Blinds - Multiple lines, evenly spaced across the screen,
synchronously sweep in the same direction to reveal the new page. The
lines may be either horizontal or vertical, as specified by the
dimension entry. Horizontal lines move downward; vertical lines
move to the right.
Box - A rectangular box sweeps inward from the edges of the page or
outward from the center, as specified by the motion entry,
revealing the new page.
Wipe - A single line sweeps across the screen from one edge to the
other in the direction specified by the direction entry, revealing
the new page.
Dissolve - The old page dissolves gradually to reveal the new one.
Glitter - Similar to Dissolve, except that the effect sweeps across
the page in a wide band moving from one side of the screen to the other in
the direction specified by the direction entry.
R - The new page simply replaces the old one with no special
transition effect; the direction entry shall be ignored.
Fly - (PDF 1.5) Changes are flown out or in (as specified by
motion), in the direction specified by direction, to or from
a location that is offscreen except when direction is None.
Push - (PDF 1.5) The old page slides off the screen while the new
page slides in, pushing the old page out in the direction specified by
Cover - (PDF 1.5) The new page slides on to the screen in the
direction specified by direction, covering the old page.
Uncover - (PDF 1.5) The old page slides off the screen in the
direction specified by direction, uncovering the new page in the
direction specified by direction.
Fade - (PDF 1.5) The new page gradually becomes visible through the
- duration is the length of the transition in seconds (default
- dimension (Optional; Split and Blinds transition
styles only) The dimension in which the specified transition effect shall
occur: H Horizontal, or V Vertical.
- motion (Optional; Split, Box and Fly
transition styles only) The direction of motion for the specified
transition effect: I Inward from the edges of the page, or O
Outward from the center of the page.
- direction (Optional; Wipe, Glitter, Fly,
Cover, Uncover and Push transition styles only) The
direction in which the specified transition effect shall moves, expressed
in degrees counterclockwise starting from a left-to-right direction. If
the value is a number, it shall be one of: 0 = Left to right,
90 = Bottom to top (Wipe only), 180 = Right to left (Wipe
only), 270 = Top to bottom, 315 = Top-left to bottom-right
(Glitter only) The value can be None, which is relevant only for
the Fly transition when the value of scale is not 1.0.
- scale (Optional; PDF 1.5; Fly transition style only) The
starting or ending scale at which the changes shall be drawn. If
motion specifies an inward transition, the scale of the changes
drawn shall progress from scale to 1.0 over the course of the
transition. If motion specifies an outward transition, the scale of
the changes drawn shall progress from 1.0 to scale over the course
of the transition
- bool (Optional; PDF 1.5; Fly transition style only) If
true, the area that shall be flown in is rectangular and
- This command can be used by calling the macro .pdftransition using
the parameters described above. Any of the parameters may be replaced with
a "." which signifies the parameter retains its previous value,
also any trailing missing parameters are ignored.
- Note: not all PDF Readers support any or all these
background cmd left top right bottom
- \X'pdf: background
- \X'pdf: background
- produces a background rectangle on the page, where
- is the command, which can be any of
“page|fill|box” in combination. Thus,
“pagefill” would draw a rectangle which covers the
whole current page size (in which case the rest of the parameters can be
omitted because the box dimensions are taken from the current media size).
“boxfill”, on the other hand, requires the given
dimensions to place the box. Including “fill” in the
command will paint the rectangle with the current fill colour (as with
\M) and including “box” will give the
rectangle a border in the current stroke colour (as with
- cmd may also be “off” on its own, which will
terminate drawing the current box. If you have specified a page colour
with “pagefill”, it is always the first box in the
stack, and if you specify it again, it will replace the first entry. Be
aware that the “pagefill” box renders the page
opaque, so tools that “watermark” PDF pages are unlikely to
be successful. To return the background to transparent, issue an
“off” command with no other boxes open.
- Finally, cmd may be “footnote” followed by a
new value for bottom, which will be used for all open boxes on the
current page. This is to allow room for footnote areas that grow while a
page is processed (to accommodate multiple footnotes, for instance). (If
the value is negative, it is used as an offset from the bottom of the
- are the coordinates of the box. The top and bottom
coordinates are the minimum and maximum for the box, since the actual
start of the box is groff's drawing position when you issue the
command, and the bottom of the box is the point where you turn the box
“off”. The top and bottom coordinates are used only
if the box drawing extends onto the next page; ordinarily, they would be
set to the header and footer margins.
- provides the line width for the border if “box” is
included in the command.
The convenience macro for this escape sequence is
.pdfbackground. An sboxes macro file is also available; see
gropdf's support macros in pdf.tmac define the
convenience macros described above. Some features have no direct device
control command counterpart.
- .pdfinfo /field content ...
- Define PDF metadata. field may be be one of Title,
Author, Subject, Keywords, or another datum supported
by the PDF standard or your reader. field must be prefixed with a
gropdf supports only the inclusion of other PDF files for
inline images. Such a PDF file may, however, contain any of the graphic
formats supported by the PDF standard, such as JPEG/JFIF, PNG, and GIF. Any
application that outputs PDF can thus be used to prepare files for embedding
in documents processed by groff and gropdf.
The PDF file you wish to insert must be a single page and the
drawing must just fit inside the media size of the PDF file. In
inkscape(1) or gimp(1), for example, make sure the canvas size
just fits the image.
The PDF parser gropdf implements has not been rigorously
tested with all applications that produce PDF. If you find a single-page PDF
which fails to import properly, try processing it with the pdftk(1)
You may find that new-file imports successfully.
gropdf does not yet support any font formats besides Adobe
Type 1 (PFA or PFB).