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GROFF_ME(7) Miscellaneous Information Manual GROFF_ME(7)


groff_me - “me” macro package for formatting documents with GNU roff


groff -me [option ...] [input-file ...]
groff -m me [option ...] [input-file ...]


The me package of macro definitions for the roff language provides a convenient facility for preparing technical papers in various formats. This manual page describes the GNU version of the me macros, which is part of the groff document formatting system. This version can be used with both GNU troff and Unix troff.

Many roff requests are unsafe in conjunction with this package; however, the following requests may be used with impunity after the first .pp:

.bp begin new page
.br break output line here
.sp n insert n spacing lines
.ls n (line spacing) n=1 single, n=2 double space
.na no alignment of right margin
.ce n center next n lines
.ul n underline next n lines

Note: In contrast to its behavior with other macro packages and “raw” roff, when using the me package, the .sp request will not put space at the top of a page.

Output of the pic, eqn, refer, and tbl preprocessors is acceptable as input.

Macro Reference

Numeric arguments to macros are denoted with lowercase letters and string arguments with uppercase. An optional macro argument such as x appears in brackets, [x]. Note that arguments to macros generally must be quoted if they contain whitespace. An exception is the argument to header and footer macros, which require some explanation. They take the form “c left c middle c right c”, with spaces added here for clarity. The strings left, middle, and right correspond to their page placement and can contain unprotected whitespace, but must not contain the (non-space) character c, which delimits them. For brevity, the table presents header and footer arguments as clcmcrc. Popular choices for c are the ASCII apostrophe “'” and the ASCII double quote “"”.

This list is incomplete; some requests are too complex to summarize in a table, and some that are listed below accept additional arguments not shown. See the -me Reference Manual for interesting details.

Request Initial Causes Explanation
Value Break
.(c - yes Begin centered block.
.(d - no Begin delayed text.
.(f - no Begin footnote.
.(l - yes Begin list.
.(q - yes Begin major quote.
.(x [X] - no Begin item in index (named X ).
.(z - no Begin floating keep.
.)c - yes End centered block.
.)d - yes End delayed text.
.)f - yes End footnote.
.)l - yes End list.
.)q - yes End major quote.
.)x - yes End index item.
.)z - yes End floating keep.
.++ M [clcmcrc] - no Define paper section as M , which must be one of C (chapter), A (appendix), P (preliminary, i.e., front matter or table of contents), AB (abstract), B (bibliography), RC (chapters renumbered from page one each chapter), or RA (appendix renumbered from page one) (and set page header to clcmcrc ).
.+c [T] - yes Begin chapter (or appendix, etc., as set by .++ ) (with title T ).
.1c 1 yes One-column format on a new page.
.2c 1 yes Two-column format.
.EN - yes Space after equation produced by eqn or neqn .
.EQ [M [T]] - yes Begin displayed equation (with indentation M , which must be one of C (centered, default), I (indented), or L (justified left) (and title T in right margin)).
.GE - yes End gremlin picture.
.GS - yes Begin gremlin picture.
.PE - yes End pic picture.
.PS - yes Begin pic picture.
.TE - yes End tbl table.
.TH - yes End heading of tbl table.
.TS [H] - yes Begin tbl table; if H , table repeats heading on each page.
.b [X [Y]] - no Print X in bold (appending Y in the previous font); if no arguments, switch to bold.
.ba n 0 yes Augment the base indent (for regular text, like paragraphs) by n .
.bc - yes Begin new column.
.bi [X [Y]] - no Print X in bold italics (appending Y in the previous font); if no arguments, switch to bold italics.
.bu - yes Begin bulleted paragraph.
.bx [X [Y]] - no Print X in a box (with Y appended). Renders reliably only in no-fill mode.
.ef clcmcrc """" no Set even-numbered page footer.
.eh clcmcrc """" no Set even-numbered page header.
.fo clcmcrc """" no Set page footer.
.hx - no Suppress headers and footers on next page.
.he clcmcrc """" no Set page header.
.hl - yes Draw a horizontal line.
.i [X [Y]] - no Print X in italics (appending Y in the previous font); if no arguments, switch to italics.
.ip [X [n]] n=5n yes Start indented paragraph (with hanging tag X (and indentation n )).
.lp - yes Begin paragraph with first line flush left.
.np 1 yes Start numbered paragraph.
.of clcmcrc """" no Set odd-numbered page footer.
.oh clcmcrc """" no Set odd-numbered page header.
.pd - yes Print delayed text.
.pp - yes Begin paragraph with indented first line.
.r [X [Y]] - no Print X in roman (appending Y in the previous font); if no arguments, switch to roman.
.re 0.5i no Reset tabs to default values.
.sh [n [T]] n=1 yes Start numbered section; print section number (set to n (and title T )) in bold.
.sk - no Leave the next page blank. Only one page is remembered ahead.
.sm X [Y] - no Print X in a smaller point size (appending Y at the previous size).
.sz n 10p no Augment the point size by n points.
.tp - yes Begin title page.
.u X [Y] - no Underline X (appending Y without underlining). Renders reliably only in no-fill mode.
.uh [T] - yes Start unnumbered section (and print title T in bold).
.xp [X] - no Print index (named X ).


/usr/share/groff/1.22.4/tmac/me.tmac (a wrapper file for e.tmac)


Early roff macro packages limited themselves to a single-letter namespace (mm, ms, mv, mn, etc.). The “e” in “me” stands for “Eric P. Allman”, who wrote the macro package and the original technical papers documenting it while an undergraduate at the University of California.


groff(1), troff(1)

Two manuals are available in source and rendered form. On your system, they may be compressed and/or available in additional formats.

is Writing Papers with Groff Using -me, by Eric P. Allman and James Clark.
is the -me Reference Manual, by Eric P. Allman and James Clark.

For preprocessors supported by me, see eqn(1), grn(1), pic(1), refer(1), and tbl(1).

26 December 2021 groff 1.22.4