txt2man - convert flat ASCII text to man page format
txt2man [-hpTX] [-t mytitle] [-P pname] [-r rel] [-s sect]
[-v vol] [-I txt] [-B txt] [-d date] [ifile]
txt2man converts the input text into nroff/troff standard man(7) macros
used to format Unix manual pages. Nice pages can be generated specially
for commands (section 1 or 8) or for C functions reference (sections 2,
3), with the ability to recognize and format command and function
names, flags, types and arguments.
txt2man is also able to recognize and format sections, paragraphs,
lists (standard, numbered, description, nested), cross references and
literal display blocks.
If input file ifile is omitted, standard input is used. Result is dis‐
played on standard output.
Here is how text patterns are recognized and processed:
These headers are defined by a line in upper case, starting col‐
umn 1. If there is one or more leading spaces, a sub-section
will be generated instead. Optionally, the Section name can be
preceded by a blank line. This is useful for a better visualiza‐
tion of the source text to be used to generate the manpage.
They must be separated by a blank line, and left aligned.
Alternatively two blank spaces can be used to produce the same
result. This option will provide a better visualization of the
source text to be used to generate the manpage.
The item definition is separated from the item description by at
least 2 blank spaces, even before a new line, if definition is
too long. Definition will be emphasized by default.
Bullet list items are defined by the first word being "-" or "*"
The first word must be a number followed by a dot.
Literal display blocks
This paragraph type is used to display unmodified text, for
example source code. It must be separated by a blank line and be
indented by a TAB. It is primarily used to format unmodified
source code. It will be printed using fixed font whenever possi‐
A cross reference (another man page) is defined by a word fol‐
lowed by a number in parenthesis.
NAME The function or command name and short description are set in
This section receives a special treatment to identify command
name, flags and arguments, and propagate corresponding
attributes later in the text. If a C like function is recognized
(word immediately followed by an open parenthesis), txt2man will
print function name in bold font, types in normal font, and
variables in italic font. The whole section will be printed
using a fixed font family (courier) whenever possible (troff).
It is a good practice to embed documentation into source code, by using
comments or constant text variables. txt2man allows one to do that,
keeping the document source readable, usable even without further for‐
matting (i.e. for online help) and easy to write. The result is high
quality and standard complying document.
-h The option -h displays help.
Set date in header. Defaults to current date.
Set pname as project name in header. Default to uname -s.
-p Probe title, section name and volume.
Set mytitle as title of generated man page.
-r rel Set rel as project name and release.
Set sect as section in heading, usually a value from 1 to 8.
-v vol Set vol as volume name, i.e. "Unix user 's manual".
-I txt Italicize txt in output. Can be specified more than once.
-B txt Emphasize (bold) txt in output. Can be specified more than once.
-T Text result previewing using PAGER, usually more(1).
-X X11 result previewing using gxditview(1).
PAGER name of paging command, usually more(1), or less(1). If not set
falls back to more(1).
Unix timestamp that is used for date in header instead of cur‐
Try this command to format this text itself:
$ txt2man -h 2>&1 | txt2man -T
The following command will generate a manpage level 1 to foo-1.1.0 pro‐
gram, from foo.txt file, used as source code to previously mentioned
$ txt2man -d "15 May 2016" -t foo -r foo-1.1.0 -s 1 -v "show stars on screen" foo.txt > foo.1
To obtain an overall good formatting of output document, keep para‐
graphs indented correctly. If you have unwanted bold sections, search
for multiple spaces between words, which are used to identify a tag
list (term followed by a description). Choose also carefully the name
of command line or function parameters, as they will be emphasized each
time they are encountered in the document.
man(1), mandoc(7), rman(1), groff(1), more(1), gxditview(1), troff(1).
· Automatic probe (-p option) works only if input is a regular file
(i.e. not stdin).
Marc Vertes <email@example.com>
txt2man-1.6.0 15 August 2016 txt2man(1)