tbl(1)tbl(1)NAMEtbl - format tables for nroff
is a preprocessor that formats tables for nroff(1). The input files
are copied to the standard output, except for lines between and command
lines, which are assumed to describe tables and are re-formatted by
(The and command lines are not altered by
is followed by global options. The available global options are:
center the table (default is left-adjust);
make the table as wide as the current line length;
enclose the table in a box;
enclose the table in a double box;
enclose each item of the table in a box;
use the character
x instead of a tab to separate items in a line of
The global options, if any, are terminated with a semi-colon
Next come lines describing the format of each line of the table. Each
such format line describes one line of the actual table, except that
the last format line (which must end with a period) describes all
remaining lines of the table. Each column of each line of the table is
described by a single key-letter, optionally followed by specifiers
that determine the font and point size of the corresponding item, indi‐
cate where vertical bars are to appear between columns, or determine
column width, inter-column spacing, etc. The available key-letters
center item within the column;
right-adjust item within the column;
left-adjust item within the column;
numerically adjust item in the column:
units positions of numbers are aligned vertically;
span previous item on the left into this column;
center longest line in this column,
then left-adjust all other lines in this column with
respect to that centered line;
span down previous entry in this column;
replace this entry with a horizontal line;
replace this entry with a double horizontal line.
The characters and stand for the bold (font position 3) and italic
(font position 2) fonts, respectively; the character indicates a verti‐
cal line between columns.
The format lines are followed by lines containing the actual data for
the table, followed finally by Within such data lines, data items are
normally separated by tab characters.
If a data line consists of only or a single or double line, respec‐
tively, is drawn across the table at that point; if a single item in a
data line consists of only or then that item is replaced by a single or
The option forces to use only full vertical line motions, making the
output more suitable for devices that cannot generate partial vertical
line motions (such as line printers).
If no file names are given as arguments (or if is specified as the last
argument), reads the standard input, and thus can be used as a filter.
When used with should be used first to minimize the volume of data
passed through pipes (see neqn(1)).
determines the interpretation of text as single- and/or multi-byte
determines the radix character used in numerical data.
determines the language in which messages are displayed.
If or is not specified in the environment or is set to the empty
string, the value of is used as a default for each unspecified or empty
is not specified or is set to the empty string, a default of "C"
(see lang(5)) is used instead of If any internationalization
variable contains an invalid setting, behaves as if all interna‐
tionalization variables are set to "C". See environ(5).
International Code Set Support
Single- and multi-byte character code sets are supported.
If we redefine the tab character to a semicolon, then the input:
│ Household Population │
│ Town │ Households │
│ │ Number Size │
│Bedminster │ 789 3.26 │
│Bernards Twp. │ 3087 3.74 │
│Bernardsville │ 2018 3.30 │
│Bound Brook │ 3425 3.04 │
│Bridgewater │ 7897 3.81 │
│Far Hills │ 240 3.19 │
The command is used most often with and (see col(1)). A common usage
See WARNINGS under nroff(1).
SEE ALSOcol(1), mm(1), neqn(1), nroff(1), soelim(1), mm(5).