NAME

mdocsemantic markup language for formatting manual pages

DESCRIPTION

The mdoc language supports authoring of manual pages for the man(1) utility by allowing semantic annotations of words, phrases, page sections and complete manual pages. Such annotations are used by formatting tools to achieve a uniform presentation across all manuals written in mdoc, and to support hyperlinking if supported by the output medium.
This reference document describes the structure of manual pages and the syntax and usage of the mdoc language. The reference implementation of a parsing and formatting tool is mandoc(1); the COMPATIBILITY section describes compatibility with other implementations.
In an mdoc document, lines beginning with the control character ‘.’ are called “macro lines”. The first word is the macro name. It consists of two or three letters. Most macro names begin with a capital letter. For a list of available macros, see MACRO OVERVIEW. The words following the macro name are arguments to the macro, optionally including the names of other, callable macros; see MACRO SYNTAX for details.
Lines not beginning with the control character are called “text lines”. They provide free-form text to be printed; the formatting of the text depends on the respective processing context:
.Sh Macro lines change control state. 
Text lines are interpreted within the current state.
Many aspects of the basic syntax of the mdoc language are based on the roff(7) language; see the LANGUAGE SYNTAX and MACRO SYNTAX sections in the roff(7) manual for details, in particular regarding comments, escape sequences, whitespace, and quoting. However, using roff(7) requests in mdoc documents is discouraged; mandoc(1) supports some of them merely for backward compatibility.

MANUAL STRUCTURE

A well-formed mdoc document consists of a document prologue followed by one or more sections.
The prologue, which consists of the Dd, Dt, and Os macros in that order, is required for every document.
The first section (sections are denoted by Sh) must be the NAME section, consisting of at least one Nm followed by Nd.
Following that, convention dictates specifying at least the SYNOPSIS and DESCRIPTION sections, although this varies between manual sections.
The following is a well-formed skeleton mdoc file for a utility “progname”:
.Dd $Mdocdate: June 28 2015 $ 
.Dt PROGNAME section 
.Os 
.Sh NAME 
.Nm progname 
.Nd one line about what it does 
.\" .Sh LIBRARY 
.\" For sections 2, 3, and 9 only. 
.\" Not used in OpenBSD. 
.Sh SYNOPSIS 
.Nm progname 
.Op Fl options 
.Ar 
.Sh DESCRIPTION 
The 
.Nm 
utility processes files ... 
.\" .Sh CONTEXT 
.\" For section 9 functions only. 
.\" .Sh IMPLEMENTATION NOTES 
.\" Not used in OpenBSD. 
.\" .Sh RETURN VALUES 
.\" For sections 2, 3, and 9 function return values only. 
.\" .Sh ENVIRONMENT 
.\" For sections 1, 6, 7, and 8 only. 
.\" .Sh FILES 
.\" .Sh EXIT STATUS 
.\" For sections 1, 6, and 8 only. 
.\" .Sh EXAMPLES 
.\" .Sh DIAGNOSTICS 
.\" For sections 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 printf/stderr messages only. 
.\" .Sh ERRORS 
.\" For sections 2, 3, 4, and 9 errno settings only. 
.\" .Sh SEE ALSO 
.\" .Xr foobar 1 
.\" .Sh STANDARDS 
.\" .Sh HISTORY 
.\" .Sh AUTHORS 
.\" .Sh CAVEATS 
.\" .Sh BUGS 
.\" .Sh SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS 
.\" Not used in OpenBSD.
The sections in an mdoc document are conventionally ordered as they appear above. Sections should be composed as follows:
NAME
The name(s) and a one line description of the documented material. The syntax for this as follows:
.Nm name0 , 
.Nm name1 , 
.Nm name2 
.Nd a one line description
Multiple ‘Nm’ names should be separated by commas.
The Nm macro(s) must precede the Nd macro.
See Nm and Nd.
LIBRARY
The name of the library containing the documented material, which is assumed to be a function in a section 2, 3, or 9 manual. The syntax for this is as follows:
.Lb libarm
See Lb.
SYNOPSIS
Documents the utility invocation syntax, function call syntax, or device configuration.
For the first, utilities (sections 1, 6, and 8), this is generally structured as follows:
.Nm bar 
.Op Fl v 
.Op Fl o Ar file 
.Op Ar 
.Nm foo 
.Op Fl v 
.Op Fl o Ar file 
.Op Ar
Commands should be ordered alphabetically.
For the second, function calls (sections 2, 3, 9):
.In header.h 
.Vt extern const char *global; 
.Ft "char *" 
.Fn foo "const char *src" 
.Ft "char *" 
.Fn bar "const char *src"
Ordering of In, Vt, Fn, and Fo macros should follow C header-file conventions.
And for the third, configurations (section 4):
.Cd "it* at isa? port 0x2e" 
.Cd "it* at isa? port 0x4e"
Manuals not in these sections generally don't need a SYNOPSIS.
Some macros are displayed differently in the SYNOPSIS section, particularly Nm, Cd, Fd, Fn, Fo, In, Vt, and Ft. All of these macros are output on their own line. If two such dissimilar macros are pairwise invoked (except for Ft before Fo or Fn), they are separated by a vertical space, unless in the case of Fo, Fn, and Ft, which are always separated by vertical space.
When text and macros following an Nm macro starting an input line span multiple output lines, all output lines but the first will be indented to align with the text immediately following the Nm macro, up to the next Nm, Sh, or Ss macro or the end of an enclosing block, whichever comes first.
DESCRIPTION
This begins with an expansion of the brief, one line description in NAME:
The 
.Nm 
utility does this, that, and the other.
It usually follows with a breakdown of the options (if documenting a command), such as:
The arguments are as follows: 
.Bl -tag -width Ds 
.It Fl v 
Print verbose information. 
.El
Manuals not documenting a command won't include the above fragment.
Since the DESCRIPTION section usually contains most of the text of a manual, longer manuals often use the Ss macro to form subsections. In very long manuals, the DESCRIPTION may be split into multiple sections, each started by an Sh macro followed by a non-standard section name, and each having several subsections, like in the present mdoc manual.
CONTEXT
This section lists the contexts in which functions can be called in section 9. The contexts are autoconf, process, or interrupt.
IMPLEMENTATION NOTES
Implementation-specific notes should be kept here. This is useful when implementing standard functions that may have side effects or notable algorithmic implications.
RETURN VALUES
This section documents the return values of functions in sections 2, 3, and 9.
See Rv.
ENVIRONMENT
Lists the environment variables used by the utility, and explains the syntax and semantics of their values. The environ(7) manual provides examples of typical content and formatting.
See Ev.
FILES
Documents files used. It's helpful to document both the file name and a short description of how the file is used (created, modified, etc.).
See Pa.
EXIT STATUS
This section documents the command exit status for section 1, 6, and 8 utilities. Historically, this information was described in DIAGNOSTICS, a practise that is now discouraged.
See Ex.
EXAMPLES
Example usages. This often contains snippets of well-formed, well-tested invocations. Make sure that examples work properly!
DIAGNOSTICS
Documents error messages. In section 4 and 9 manuals, these are usually messages printed by the kernel to the console and to the kernel log. In section 1, 6, 7, and 8, these are usually messages printed by userland programs to the standard error output.
Historically, this section was used in place of EXIT STATUS for manuals in sections 1, 6, and 8; however, this practise is discouraged.
See Bl -diag.
ERRORS
Documents errno(2) settings in sections 2, 3, 4, and 9.
See Er.
SEE ALSO
References other manuals with related topics. This section should exist for most manuals. Cross-references should conventionally be ordered first by section, then alphabetically (ignoring case).
References to other documentation concerning the topic of the manual page, for example authoritative books or journal articles, may also be provided in this section.
See Rs and Xr.
STANDARDS
References any standards implemented or used. If not adhering to any standards, the HISTORY section should be used instead.
See St.
HISTORY
A brief history of the subject, including where it was first implemented, and when it was ported to or reimplemented for the operating system at hand.
AUTHORS
Credits to the person or persons who wrote the code and/or documentation. Authors should generally be noted by both name and email address.
See An.
CAVEATS
Common misuses and misunderstandings should be explained in this section.
BUGS
Known bugs, limitations, and work-arounds should be described in this section.
SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS
Documents any security precautions that operators should consider.

MACRO OVERVIEW

This overview is sorted such that macros of similar purpose are listed together, to help find the best macro for any given purpose. Deprecated macros are not included in the overview, but can be found below in the alphabetical MACRO REFERENCE.

Document preamble and NAME section macros

Dd document date: $Mdocdate: June 28 2015 $ | month day, year
Dt document title: TITLE section [arch]
Os operating system version: [system [version]]
Nm document name (one argument)
Nd document description (one line)

Sections and cross references

Sh section header (one line)
Ss subsection header (one line)
Sx internal cross reference to a section or subsection
Xr cross reference to another manual page: name section
Pp, Lp start a text paragraph (no arguments)

Displays and lists

Bd, Ed display block: -type [-offset width] [-compact]
D1 indented display (one line)
Dl indented literal display (one line)
Ql in-line literal display: ‘text
Bl, El list block: -type [-width val] [-offset val] [-compact]
It list item (syntax depends on -type)
Ta table cell separator in Bl -column lists
Rs, %*, Re bibliographic block (references)

Spacing control

Pf prefix, no following horizontal space (one argument)
Ns roman font, no preceding horizontal space (no arguments)
Ap apostrophe without surrounding whitespace (no arguments)
Sm switch horizontal spacing mode: [on | off]
Bk, Ek keep block: -words
br force output line break in text mode (no arguments)
sp force vertical space: [height]

Semantic markup for command line utilities:

Nm start a SYNOPSIS block with the name of a utility
Fl command line options (flags) (>=0 arguments)
Cm command modifier (>0 arguments)
Ar command arguments (>=0 arguments)
Op, Oo, Oc optional syntax elements (enclosure)
Ic internal or interactive command (>0 arguments)
Ev environmental variable (>0 arguments)
Pa file system path (>=0 arguments)

Semantic markup for function libraries:

Lb function library (one argument)
In include file (one argument)
Fd other preprocessor directive (>0 arguments)
Ft function type (>0 arguments)
Fo, Fc function block: funcname
Fn function name: [functype] funcname [[argtype] argname]
Fa function argument (>0 arguments)
Vt variable type (>0 arguments)
Va variable name (>0 arguments)
Dv defined variable or preprocessor constant (>0 arguments)
Er error constant (>0 arguments)
Ev environmental variable (>0 arguments)

Various semantic markup:

An author name (>0 arguments)
Lk hyperlink: uri [name]
Mt “mailto” hyperlink: address
Cd kernel configuration declaration (>0 arguments)
Ad memory address (>0 arguments)
Ms mathematical symbol (>0 arguments)

Physical markup

Em italic font or underline (emphasis) (>0 arguments)
Sy boldface font (symbolic) (>0 arguments)
Li typewriter font (literal) (>0 arguments)
No return to roman font (normal) (no arguments)
Bf, Ef font block: [-type | Em | Li | Sy]

Physical enclosures

Dq, Do, Dc enclose in typographic double quotes: “text”
Qq, Qo, Qc enclose in typewriter double quotes: “text”
Sq, So, Sc enclose in single quotes: ‘text’
Pq, Po, Pc enclose in parentheses: (text)
Bq, Bo, Bc enclose in square brackets: [text]
Brq, Bro, Brc enclose in curly braces: {text}
Aq, Ao, Ac enclose in angle brackets: ⟨text⟩
Eo, Ec generic enclosure

Text production

Ex -std standard command exit values: [utility ...]
Rv -std standard function return values: [function ...]
St reference to a standards document (one argument)
At AT&T UNIX
Bx BSD
Bsx BSD/OS
Nx NetBSD
Fx FreeBSD
Ox OpenBSD
Dx DragonFly

MACRO REFERENCE

This section is a canonical reference of all macros, arranged alphabetically. For the scoping of individual macros, see MACRO SYNTAX.

%A

Author name of an Rs block. Multiple authors should each be accorded their own %A line. Author names should be ordered with full or abbreviated forename(s) first, then full surname.

%B

Book title of an Rs block. This macro may also be used in a non-bibliographic context when referring to book titles.

%C

Publication city or location of an Rs block.

%D

Publication date of an Rs block. Recommended formats of arguments are month day, year or just year.

%I

Publisher or issuer name of an Rs block.

%J

Journal name of an Rs block.

%N

Issue number (usually for journals) of an Rs block.

%O

Optional information of an Rs block.

%P

Book or journal page number of an Rs block.

%Q

Institutional author (school, government, etc.) of an Rs block. Multiple institutional authors should each be accorded their own %Q line.

%R

Technical report name of an Rs block.

%T

Article title of an Rs block. This macro may also be used in a non-bibliographical context when referring to article titles.

%U

URI of reference document.

%V

Volume number of an Rs block.

Ac

Close an Ao block. Does not have any tail arguments.

Ad

Memory address. Do not use this for postal addresses.
Examples:
.Ad [0,$]
.Ad 0x00000000

An

Author name. Can be used both for the authors of the program, function, or driver documented in the manual, or for the authors of the manual itself. Requires either the name of an author or one of the following arguments:
-split
Start a new output line before each subsequent invocation of An.
-nosplit
The opposite of -split.
The default is -nosplit. The effect of selecting either of the -split modes ends at the beginning of the AUTHORS section. In the AUTHORS section, the default is -nosplit for the first author listing and -split for all other author listings.
Examples:
.An -nosplit
.An Kristaps Dzonsons Aq Mt kristaps@bsd.lv

Ao

Begin a block enclosed by angle brackets. Does not have any head arguments.
Examples:
.Fl -key= Ns Ao Ar val Ac
See also Aq.

Ap

Inserts an apostrophe without any surrounding whitespace. This is generally used as a grammatical device when referring to the verb form of a function.
Examples:
.Fn execve Ap d

Aq

Encloses its arguments in angle brackets.
Examples:
.Fl -key= Ns Aq Ar val
Remarks: this macro is often abused for rendering URIs, which should instead use Lk or Mt, or to note pre-processor “#include” statements, which should use In.
See also Ao.

Ar

Command arguments. If an argument is not provided, the string “file ...” is used as a default.
Examples:
.Fl o Ar file
.Ar
.Ar arg1 , arg2 .
The arguments to the Ar macro are names and placeholders for command arguments; for fixed strings to be passed verbatim as arguments, use Fl or Cm.

At

Formats an AT&T UNIX version. Accepts one optional argument:
v[1-7] | 32v
A version of AT&T UNIX.
III
AT&T System III UNIX.
V[.[1-4]]?
A version of AT&T System V UNIX.
Note that these arguments do not begin with a hyphen.
Examples:
.At
.At III
.At V.1
See also Bsx, Bx, Dx, Fx, Nx, and Ox.

Bc

Close a Bo block. Does not have any tail arguments.

Bd

Begin a display block. Its syntax is as follows:
.Bd -type [-offset width] [-compact]
Display blocks are used to select a different indentation and justification than the one used by the surrounding text. They may contain both macro lines and text lines. By default, a display block is preceded by a vertical space.
The type must be one of the following:
-centered
Produce one output line from each input line, and center-justify each line. Using this display type is not recommended; many mdoc implementations render it poorly.
-filled
Change the positions of line breaks to fill each line, and left- and right-justify the resulting block.
-literal
Produce one output line from each input line, and do not justify the block at all. Preserve white space as it appears in the input. Always use a constant-width font. Use this for displaying source code.
-ragged
Change the positions of line breaks to fill each line, and left-justify the resulting block.
-unfilled
The same as -literal, but using the same font as for normal text, which is a variable width font if supported by the output device.
The type must be provided first. Additional arguments may follow:
-offset width
Indent the display by the width, which may be one of the following:
  • One of the pre-defined strings indent, the width of a standard indentation (six constant width characters); indent-two, twice indent; left, which has no effect; right, which justifies to the right margin; or center, which aligns around an imagined center axis.
  • A macro invocation, which selects a predefined width associated with that macro. The most popular is the imaginary macro Ds, which resolves to 6n.
  • A scaling width as described in roff(7).
  • An arbitrary string, which indents by the length of this string.
When the argument is missing, -offset is ignored.
-compact
Do not assert vertical space before the display.
Examples:
.Bd -literal -offset indent -compact 
   Hello       world. 
.Ed
See also D1 and Dl.

Bf

Change the font mode for a scoped block of text. Its syntax is as follows:
.Bf [-emphasis | -literal | -symbolic | Em | Li | Sy]
The -emphasis and Em argument are equivalent, as are -symbolic and Sy, and -literal and Li. Without an argument, this macro does nothing. The font mode continues until broken by a new font mode in a nested scope or Ef is encountered.
See also Li, Ef, Em, and Sy.

Bk

For each macro, keep its output together on the same output line, until the end of the macro or the end of the input line is reached, whichever comes first. Line breaks in text lines are unaffected. The syntax is as follows:
.Bk -words
The -words argument is required; additional arguments are ignored.
The following example will not break within each Op macro line:
.Bk -words 
.Op Fl f Ar flags 
.Op Fl o Ar output 
.Ek
Be careful in using over-long lines within a keep block! Doing so will clobber the right margin.

Bl

Begin a list. Lists consist of items specified using the It macro, containing a head or a body or both. The list syntax is as follows:
.Bl -type [-width val] [-offset val] [-compact] [HEAD ...]
The list type is mandatory and must be specified first. The -width and -offset arguments accept macro names as described for Bd -offset, scaling widths as described in roff(7), or use the length of the given string. The -offset is a global indentation for the whole list, affecting both item heads and bodies. For those list types supporting it, the -width argument requests an additional indentation of item bodies, to be added to the -offset. Unless the -compact argument is specified, list entries are separated by vertical space.
A list must specify one of the following list types:
-bullet
No item heads can be specified, but a bullet will be printed at the head of each item. Item bodies start on the same output line as the bullet and are indented according to the -width argument.
-column
A columnated list. The -width argument has no effect; instead, each argument specifies the width of one column, using either the scaling width syntax described in roff(7) or the string length of the argument. If the first line of the body of a -column list is not an It macro line, It contexts spanning one input line each are implied until an It macro line is encountered, at which point items start being interpreted as described in the It documentation.
-dash
Like -bullet, except that dashes are used in place of bullets.
-diag
Like -inset, except that item heads are not parsed for macro invocations. Most often used in the DIAGNOSTICS section with error constants in the item heads.
-enum
A numbered list. No item heads can be specified. Formatted like -bullet, except that cardinal numbers are used in place of bullets, starting at 1.
-hang
Like -tag, except that the first lines of item bodies are not indented, but follow the item heads like in -inset lists.
-hyphen
Synonym for -dash.
-inset
Item bodies follow items heads on the same line, using normal inter-word spacing. Bodies are not indented, and the -width argument is ignored.
-item
No item heads can be specified, and none are printed. Bodies are not indented, and the -width argument is ignored.
-ohang
Item bodies start on the line following item heads and are not indented. The -width argument is ignored.
-tag
Item bodies are indented according to the -width argument. When an item head fits inside the indentation, the item body follows this head on the same output line. Otherwise, the body starts on the output line following the head.
Lists may be nested within lists and displays. Nesting of -column and -enum lists may not be portable.
See also El and It.

Bo

Begin a block enclosed by square brackets. Does not have any head arguments.
Examples:
.Bo 1 , 
.Dv BUFSIZ Bc
See also Bq.

Bq

Encloses its arguments in square brackets.
Examples:
.Bq 1, Dv BUFSIZ
Remarks: this macro is sometimes abused to emulate optional arguments for commands; the correct macros to use for this purpose are Op, Oo, and Oc.
See also Bo.

Brc

Close a Bro block. Does not have any tail arguments.

Bro

Begin a block enclosed by curly braces. Does not have any head arguments.
Examples:
.Bro 1 , ... , 
.Va n Brc
See also Brq.

Brq

Encloses its arguments in curly braces.
Examples:
.Brq 1, ..., Va n
See also Bro.

Bsx

Format the BSD/OS version provided as an argument, or a default value if no argument is provided.
Examples:
.Bsx 1.0
.Bsx
See also At, Bx, Dx, Fx, Nx, and Ox.

Bt

Supported only for compatibility, do not use this in new manuals. Prints “is currently in beta test.”

Bx

Format the BSD version provided as an argument, or a default value if no argument is provided.
Examples:
.Bx 4.3 Tahoe
.Bx 4.4
.Bx
See also At, Bsx, Dx, Fx, Nx, and Ox.

Cd

Kernel configuration declaration. This denotes strings accepted by config(8). It is most often used in section 4 manual pages.
Examples:
.Cd device le0 at scode?
Remarks: this macro is commonly abused by using quoted literals to retain whitespace and align consecutive Cd declarations. This practise is discouraged.

Cm

Command modifiers. Typically used for fixed strings passed as arguments, unless Fl is more appropriate. Also useful when specifying configuration options or keys.
Examples:
.Nm mt Fl f Ar device Cm rewind
.Nm ps Fl o Cm pid , Ns Cm command
.Nm dd Cm if= Ns Ar file1 Cm of= Ns Ar file2
.Cm IdentityFile Pa ~/.ssh/id_rsa
.Cm LogLevel Dv DEBUG

D1

One-line indented display. This is formatted by the default rules and is useful for simple indented statements. It is followed by a newline.
Examples:
.D1 Fl abcdefgh
See also Bd and Dl.

Db

This macro is obsolete. No replacement is needed. It is ignored by mandoc(1) and groff including its arguments. It was formerly used to toggle a debugging mode.

Dc

Close a Do block. Does not have any tail arguments.

Dd

Document date for display in the page footer. This is the mandatory first macro of any mdoc manual. Its syntax is as follows:
.Dd month day, year
The month is the full English month name, the day is an optionally zero-padded numeral, and the year is the full four-digit year.
Other arguments are not portable; the mandoc(1) utility handles them as follows:
  • To have the date automatically filled in by the OpenBSD version of cvs(1), the special string “$Mdocdate: June 28 2015 $” can be given as an argument.
  • The traditional, purely numeric man(7) format yearmonthday is accepted, too.
  • If a date string cannot be parsed, it is used verbatim.
  • If no date string is given, the current date is used.
Examples:
.Dd $Mdocdate: June 28 2015 $
.Dd $Mdocdate: June 28 2015 $
.Dd July 21, 2007
See also Dt and Os.

Dl

One-line indented display. This is formatted as literal text and is useful for commands and invocations. It is followed by a newline.
Examples:
.Dl % mandoc mdoc.7 \(ba less
See also Ql, Bd -literal, and D1.

Do

Begin a block enclosed by double quotes. Does not have any head arguments.
Examples:
.Do 
April is the cruellest month 
.Dc 
\(em T.S. Eliot
See also Dq.

Dq

Encloses its arguments in “typographic” double-quotes.
Examples:
.Dq April is the cruellest month 
\(em T.S. Eliot
See also Qq, Sq, and Do.

Dt

Document title for display in the page header. This is the mandatory second macro of any mdoc file. Its syntax is as follows:
.Dt TITLE section [arch]
Its arguments are as follows:
TITLE
The document's title (name), defaulting to “UNTITLED” if unspecified. To achieve a uniform appearance of page header lines, it should by convention be all caps.
section
The manual section. This may be one of 1 (General Commands), 2 (System Calls), 3 (Library Functions), 3p (Perl Library), 4 (Device Drivers), 5 (File Formats), 6 (Games), 7 (Miscellaneous Information), 8 (System Manager's Manual), or 9 (Kernel Developer's Manual). It should correspond to the manual's filename suffix and defaults to the empty string if unspecified.
arch
This specifies the machine architecture a manual page applies to, where relevant, for example alpha, amd64, i386, or sparc64. The list of valid architectures varies by operating system.
Examples:
.Dt FOO 1
.Dt FOO 9 i386
See also Dd and Os.

Dv

Defined variables such as preprocessor constants, constant symbols, enumeration values, and so on.
Examples:
.Dv NULL
.Dv BUFSIZ
.Dv STDOUT_FILENO
See also Er and Ev for special-purpose constants, Va for variable symbols, and Fd for listing preprocessor variable definitions in the SYNOPSIS.

Dx

Format the DragonFly version provided as an argument, or a default value if no argument is provided.
Examples:
.Dx 2.4.1
.Dx
See also At, Bsx, Bx, Fx, Nx, and Ox.

Ec

Close a scope started by Eo. Its syntax is as follows:
.Ec [TERM]
The TERM argument is used as the enclosure tail, for example, specifying \(rq will emulate Dc.

Ed

End a display context started by Bd.

Ef

End a font mode context started by Bf.

Ek

End a keep context started by Bk.

El

End a list context started by Bl.
See also Bl and It.

Em

Request an italic font. If the output device does not provide that, underline.
This is most often used for stress emphasis (not to be confused with importance, see Sy). In the rare cases where none of the semantic markup macros fit, it can also be used for technical terms and placeholders, except that for syntax elements, Sy and Ar are preferred, respectively.
Examples:
Selected lines are those 
.Em not 
matching any of the specified patterns. 
Some of the functions use a 
.Em hold space 
to save the pattern space for subsequent retrieval.
See also Bf, Li, No, and Sy.

En

This macro is obsolete. Use Eo or any of the other enclosure macros.
It encloses its argument in the delimiters specified by the last Es macro.

Eo

An arbitrary enclosure. Its syntax is as follows:
.Eo [TERM]
The TERM argument is used as the enclosure head, for example, specifying \(lq will emulate Do.

Er

Error constants for definitions of the errno libc global variable. This is most often used in section 2 and 3 manual pages.
Examples:
.Er EPERM
.Er ENOENT
See also Dv for general constants.

Es

This macro is obsolete. Use Eo or any of the other enclosure macros.
It takes two arguments, defining the delimiters to be used by subsequent En macros.

Ev

Environmental variables such as those specified in environ(7).
Examples:
.Ev DISPLAY
.Ev PATH
See also Dv for general constants.

Ex

Insert a standard sentence regarding command exit values of 0 on success and >0 on failure. This is most often used in section 1, 6, and 8 manual pages. Its syntax is as follows:
.Ex -std [utility ...]
If utility is not specified, the document's name set by Nm is used. Multiple utility arguments are treated as separate utilities.
See also Rv.

Fa

Function argument or parameter. Its syntax is as follows:
.Fa “[argtype] [argname]” ...
Each argument may be a name and a type (recommended for the SYNOPSIS section), a name alone (for function invocations), or a type alone (for function prototypes). If both a type and a name are given or if the type consists of multiple words, all words belonging to the same function argument have to be given in a single argument to the Fa macro.
This macro is also used to specify the field name of a structure.
Most often, the Fa macro is used in the SYNOPSIS within Fo blocks when documenting multi-line function prototypes. If invoked with multiple arguments, the arguments are separated by a comma. Furthermore, if the following macro is another Fa, the last argument will also have a trailing comma.
Examples:
.Fa "const char *p"
.Fa "int a" "int b" "int c"
.Fa "char *" size_t
See also Fo.

Fc

End a function context started by Fo.

Fd

Preprocessor directive, in particular for listing it in the SYNOPSIS. Historically, it was also used to document include files. The latter usage has been deprecated in favour of In.
Its syntax is as follows:
.Fd #directive [argument ...]
Examples:
.Fd #define sa_handler __sigaction_u.__sa_handler
.Fd #define SIO_MAXNFDS
.Fd #ifdef FS_DEBUG
.Ft void
.Fn dbg_open "const char *"
.Fd #endif
See also MANUAL STRUCTURE, In, and Dv.

Fl

Command-line flag or option. Used when listing arguments to command-line utilities. Prints a fixed-width hyphen ‘-’ directly followed by each argument. If no arguments are provided, a hyphen is printed followed by a space. If the argument is a macro, a hyphen is prefixed to the subsequent macro output.
Examples:
.Fl R Op Fl H | L | P
.Op Fl 1AaCcdFfgHhikLlmnopqRrSsTtux
.Fl type Cm d Fl name Pa CVS
.Fl Ar signal_number
.Fl o Fl
See also Cm.

Fn

A function name. Its syntax is as follows:
.Fn [functype] funcname [[argtype] argname]
Function arguments are surrounded in parenthesis and are delimited by commas. If no arguments are specified, blank parenthesis are output. In the SYNOPSIS section, this macro starts a new output line, and a blank line is automatically inserted between function definitions.
Examples:
.Fn "int funcname" "int arg0" "int arg1"
.Fn funcname "int arg0"
.Fn funcname arg0
.Ft functype 
.Fn funcname
When referring to a function documented in another manual page, use Xr instead. See also MANUAL STRUCTURE, Fo, and Ft.

Fo

Begin a function block. This is a multi-line version of Fn. Its syntax is as follows:
.Fo funcname
Invocations usually occur in the following context:
.Ft functype
 
.Fo funcname
 
.Faargtype argname
 
...
 
.Fc
A Fo scope is closed by Fc.
See also MANUAL STRUCTURE, Fa, Fc, and Ft.

Fr

This macro is obsolete. No replacement markup is needed.
It was used to show numerical function return values in an italic font.

Ft

A function type. Its syntax is as follows:
.Ft functype
In the SYNOPSIS section, a new output line is started after this macro.
Examples:
.Ft int
.Ft functype 
.Fn funcname
See also MANUAL STRUCTURE, Fn, and Fo.

Fx

Format the FreeBSD version provided as an argument, or a default value if no argument is provided.
Examples:
.Fx 7.1
.Fx
See also At, Bsx, Bx, Dx, Nx, and Ox.

Hf

This macro is not implemented in mandoc(1).
It was used to include the contents of a (header) file literally. The syntax was:
.Hf filename

Ic

Designate an internal or interactive command. This is similar to Cm but used for instructions rather than values.
Examples:
.Ic :wq
.Ic hash
.Ic alias
Note that using Bd -literal or D1 is preferred for displaying code; the Ic macro is used when referring to specific instructions.

In

The name of an include file. This macro is most often used in section 2, 3, and 9 manual pages.
When invoked as the first macro on an input line in the SYNOPSIS section, the argument is displayed in angle brackets and preceded by “#include”, and a blank line is inserted in front if there is a preceding function declaration. In other sections, it only encloses its argument in angle brackets and causes no line break.
Examples:
.In sys/types.h
See also MANUAL STRUCTURE.

It

A list item. The syntax of this macro depends on the list type.
Lists of type -hang, -ohang, -inset, and -diag have the following syntax:
.It args
Lists of type -bullet, -dash, -enum, -hyphen and -item have the following syntax:
.It
with subsequent lines interpreted within the scope of the It until either a closing El or another It.
The -tag list has the following syntax:
.It [args]
Subsequent lines are interpreted as with -bullet and family. The line arguments correspond to the list's left-hand side; body arguments correspond to the list's contents.
The -column list is the most complicated. Its syntax is as follows:
.It cell [<TAB> cell ...]
.It cell [Ta cell ...]
The arguments consist of one or more lines of text and macros representing a complete table line. Cells within the line are delimited by tabs or by the special Ta block macro. The tab cell delimiter may only be used within the It line itself; on following lines, only the Ta macro can be used to delimit cells, and Ta is only recognised as a macro when called by other macros, not as the first macro on a line.
Note that quoted strings may span tab-delimited cells on an It line. For example,
.It "col1; <TAB> col2 ;" ;
will preserve the semicolon whitespace except for the last.
See also Bl.

Lb

Specify a library. The syntax is as follows:
.Lb library
The library parameter may be a system library, such as libz or libpam, in which case a small library description is printed next to the linker invocation; or a custom library, in which case the library name is printed in quotes. This is most commonly used in the SYNOPSIS section as described in MANUAL STRUCTURE.
Examples:
.Lb libz
.Lb libmandoc

Li

Denotes text that should be in a literal font mode. Note that this is a presentation term and should not be used for stylistically decorating technical terms.
On terminal output devices, this is often indistinguishable from normal text.
See also Bf, Em, No, and Sy.

Lk

Format a hyperlink. Its syntax is as follows:
.Lk uri [name]
Examples:
.Lk http://bsd.lv "The BSD.lv Project"
.Lk http://bsd.lv
See also Mt.

Lp

Synonym for Pp.

Ms

Display a mathematical symbol. Its syntax is as follows:
.Ms symbol
Examples:
.Ms sigma
.Ms aleph

Mt

Format a “mailto:” hyperlink. Its syntax is as follows:
.Mt address
Examples:
.Mt discuss@manpages.bsd.lv
.An Kristaps Dzonsons Aq Mt kristaps@bsd.lv

Nd

A one line description of the manual's content. This is the mandatory last macro of the NAME section and not appropriate for other sections.
Examples:
The Nd macro technically accepts child macros and terminates with a subsequent Sh invocation. Do not assume this behaviour: some whatis(1) database generators are not smart enough to parse more than the line arguments and will display macros verbatim.
See also Nm.

Nm

The name of the manual page, or — in particular in section 1, 6, and 8 pages — of an additional command or feature documented in the manual page. When first invoked, the Nm macro expects a single argument, the name of the manual page. Usually, the first invocation happens in the NAME section of the page. The specified name will be remembered and used whenever the macro is called again without arguments later in the page. The Nm macro uses Block full-implicit semantics when invoked as the first macro on an input line in the SYNOPSIS section; otherwise, it uses ordinary In-line semantics.
Examples:
.Sh SYNOPSIS 
.Nm cat 
.Op Fl benstuv 
.Op Ar
In the SYNOPSIS of section 2, 3 and 9 manual pages, use the Fn macro rather than Nm to mark up the name of the manual page.

No

Normal text. Closes the scope of any preceding in-line macro. When used after physical formatting macros like Em or Sy, switches back to the standard font face and weight. Can also be used to embed plain text strings in macro lines using semantic annotation macros.
Examples:
.Em italic , Sy bold , No and roman
.Sm off 
.Cm :C No / Ar pattern No / Ar replacement No / 
.Sm on
See also Em, Li, and Sy.

Ns

Suppress a space between the output of the preceding macro and the following text or macro. Following invocation, input is interpreted as normal text just like after an No macro.
This has no effect when invoked at the start of a macro line.
Examples:
.Ar name Ns = Ns Ar value
.Cm :M Ns Ar pattern
.Fl o Ns Ar output
See also No and Sm.

Nx

Format the NetBSD version provided as an argument, or a default value if no argument is provided.
Examples:
.Nx 5.01
.Nx
See also At, Bsx, Bx, Dx, Fx, and Ox.

Oc

Close multi-line Oo context.

Oo

Multi-line version of Op.
Examples:
.Oo 
.Op Fl flag Ns Ar value 
.Oc

Op

Optional part of a command line. Prints the argument(s) in brackets. This is most often used in the SYNOPSIS section of section 1 and 8 manual pages.
Examples:
.Op Fl a Ar b
.Op Ar a | b
See also Oo.

Os

Operating system version for display in the page footer. This is the mandatory third macro of any mdoc file. Its syntax is as follows:
.Os [system [version]]
The optional system parameter specifies the relevant operating system or environment. It is suggested to leave it unspecified, in which case mandoc(1) uses its -Ios argument, or, if that isn't specified either, sysname and release as returned by uname(3).
Examples:
.Os
.Os KTH/CSC/TCS
.Os BSD 4.3
See also Dd and Dt.

Ot

This macro is obsolete. Use Ft instead; with mandoc(1), both have the same effect.
Historical mdoc packages described it as “old function type (FORTRAN)”.

Ox

Format the OpenBSD version provided as an argument, or a default value if no argument is provided.
Examples:
.Ox 4.5
.Ox
See also At, Bsx, Bx, Dx, Fx, and Nx.

Pa

An absolute or relative file system path, or a file or directory name. If an argument is not provided, the character ‘~’ is used as a default.
Examples:
.Pa /usr/bin/mandoc
.Pa /usr/share/man/man7/mdoc.7
See also Lk.

Pc

Close parenthesised context opened by Po.

Pf

Removes the space between its argument (“prefix”) and the following macro. Its syntax is as follows:
.Pf prefix macro arguments ...
This is equivalent to:
.No prefix Ns macro arguments ...
Examples:
.Pf $ Ar variable_name
.Pf 0x Ar hex_digits
See also Ns and Sm.

Po

Multi-line version of Pq.

Pp

Break a paragraph. This will assert vertical space between prior and subsequent macros and/or text.
Paragraph breaks are not needed before or after Sh or Ss macros or before displays (Bd) or lists (Bl) unless the -compact flag is given.

Pq

Parenthesised enclosure.
See also Po.

Qc

Close quoted context opened by Qo.

Ql

In-line literal display. This can for example be used for complete command invocations and for multi-word code fragments when more specific markup is not appropriate and an indented display is not desired. While mandoc(1) always encloses the arguments in single quotes, other formatters usually omit the quotes on non-terminal output devices when the arguments have three or more characters.
See also Dl and Bd -literal.

Qo

Multi-line version of Qq.

Qq

Encloses its arguments in “typewriter” double-quotes. Consider using Dq.
See also Dq, Sq, and Qo.

Re

Close an Rs block. Does not have any tail arguments.

Rs

Begin a bibliographic (“reference”) block. Does not have any head arguments. The block macro may only contain %A, %B, %C, %D, %I, %J, %N, %O, %P, %Q, %R, %T, %U, and %V child macros (at least one must be specified).
Examples:
.Rs 
.%A J. E. Hopcroft 
.%A J. D. Ullman 
.%B Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation 
.%I Addison-Wesley 
.%C Reading, Massachusettes 
.%D 1979 
.Re
If an Rs block is used within a SEE ALSO section, a vertical space is asserted before the rendered output, else the block continues on the current line.

Rv

Insert a standard sentence regarding a function call's return value of 0 on success and -1 on error, with the errno libc global variable set on error. Its syntax is as follows:
.Rv -std [function ...]
If function is not specified, the document's name set by Nm is used. Multiple function arguments are treated as separate functions.
See also Ex.

Sc

Close single-quoted context opened by So.

Sh

Begin a new section. For a list of conventional manual sections, see MANUAL STRUCTURE. These sections should be used unless it's absolutely necessary that custom sections be used.
Section names should be unique so that they may be keyed by Sx. Although this macro is parsed, it should not consist of child node or it may not be linked with Sx.
See also Pp, Ss, and Sx.

Sm

Switches the spacing mode for output generated from macros. Its syntax is as follows:
.Sm [on | off]
By default, spacing is on. When switched off, no white space is inserted between macro arguments and between the output generated from adjacent macros, but text lines still get normal spacing between words and sentences.
When called without an argument, the Sm macro toggles the spacing mode. Using this is not recommended because it makes the code harder to read.

So

Multi-line version of Sq.

Sq

Encloses its arguments in ‘typewriter’ single-quotes.
See also Dq, Qq, and So.

Ss

Begin a new subsection. Unlike with Sh, there is no convention for the naming of subsections. Except DESCRIPTION, the conventional sections described in MANUAL STRUCTURE rarely have subsections.
Sub-section names should be unique so that they may be keyed by Sx. Although this macro is parsed, it should not consist of child node or it may not be linked with Sx.
See also Pp, Sh, and Sx.

St

Replace an abbreviation for a standard with the full form. The following standards are recognised. Where multiple lines are given without a blank line in between, they all refer to the same standard, and using the first form is recommended.
C language standards
-ansiC
ANSI X3.159-1989 (“ANSI C89”)
-ansiC-89
ANSI X3.159-1989 (“ANSI C89”)
-isoC
ISO/IEC 9899:1990 (“ISO C90”)
-isoC-90
ISO/IEC 9899:1990 (“ISO C90”)
 
The original C standard.
-isoC-amd1
ISO/IEC 9899/AMD1:1995 (“ISO C90, Amendment 1”)
-isoC-tcor1
ISO/IEC 9899/TCOR1:1994 (“ISO C90, Technical Corrigendum 1”)
-isoC-tcor2
ISO/IEC 9899/TCOR2:1995 (“ISO C90, Technical Corrigendum 2”)
-isoC-99
ISO/IEC 9899:1999 (“ISO C99”)
 
The second major version of the C language standard.
-isoC-2011
ISO/IEC 9899:2011 (“ISO C11”)
 
The third major version of the C language standard.
POSIX.1 before the Single UNIX Specification
-p1003.1-88
IEEE Std 1003.1-1988 (“POSIX.1”)
-p1003.1
IEEE Std 1003.1 (“POSIX.1”)
 
The original POSIX standard, based on ANSI C.
-p1003.1-90
IEEE Std 1003.1-1990 (“POSIX.1”)
-iso9945-1-90
ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990 (“POSIX.1”)
 
The first update of POSIX.1.
-p1003.1b-93
IEEE Std 1003.1b-1993 (“POSIX.1b”)
-p1003.1b
IEEE Std 1003.1b (“POSIX.1b”)
 
Real-time extensions.
-p1003.1c-95
IEEE Std 1003.1c-1995 (“POSIX.1c”)
 
POSIX thread interfaces.
-p1003.1i-95
IEEE Std 1003.1i-1995 (“POSIX.1i”)
 
Technical Corrigendum.
-p1003.1-96
ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996 (“POSIX.1”)
-iso9945-1-96
ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996 (“POSIX.1”)
 
Includes POSIX.1-1990, 1b, 1c, and 1i.
X/Open Portability Guide version 4 and related standards
-xpg3
X/Open Portability Guide Issue 3 (“XPG3”)
 
An XPG4 precursor, published in 1989.
-p1003.2
IEEE Std 1003.2 (“POSIX.2”)
-p1003.2-92
IEEE Std 1003.2-1992 (“POSIX.2”)
-iso9945-2-93
ISO/IEC 9945-2:1993 (“POSIX.2”)
 
An XCU4 precursor.
-p1003.2a-92
IEEE Std 1003.2a-1992 (“POSIX.2”)
 
Updates to POSIX.2.
-xpg4
X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4 (“XPG4”)
 
Based on POSIX.1 and POSIX.2, published in 1992.
Single UNIX Specification version 1 and related standards
-susv1
Version 1 of the Single UNIX Specification (“SUSv1”)
-xpg4.2
X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4, Version 2 (“XPG4.2”)
 
This standard was published in 1994. It was used as the basis for UNIX 95 certification. The following three refer to parts of it.
-xsh4.2
X/Open System Interfaces and Headers Issue 4, Version 2 (“XSH4.2”)
-xcurses4.2
X/Open Curses Issue 4, Version 2 (“XCURSES4.2”)
-p1003.1g-2000
IEEE Std 1003.1g-2000 (“POSIX.1g”)
 
Networking APIs, including sockets.
-svid4
System V Interface Definition, Fourth Edition (“SVID4”),
 
Published in 1995.
Single UNIX Specification version 2 and related standards
-susv2
Version 2 of the Single UNIX Specification (“SUSv2”) This Standard was published in 1997 and is also called X/Open Portability Guide version 5. It was used as the basis for UNIX 98 certification. The following refer to parts of it.
-xbd5
X/Open Base Definitions Issue 5 (“XBD5”)
-xsh5
X/Open System Interfaces and Headers Issue 5 (“XSH5”)
-xcu5
X/Open Commands and Utilities Issue 5 (“XCU5”)
-xns5
X/Open Networking Services Issue 5 (“XNS5”)
-xns5.2
X/Open Networking Services Issue 5.2 (“XNS5.2”)
Single UNIX Specification version 3
-p1003.1-2001
IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (“POSIX.1”)
-susv3
Version 3 of the Single UNIX Specification (“SUSv3”)
 
This standard is based on C99, SUSv2, POSIX.1-1996, 1d, and 1j. It is also called X/Open Portability Guide version 6. It is used as the basis for UNIX 03 certification.
-p1003.1-2004
IEEE Std 1003.1-2004 (“POSIX.1”)
 
The second and last Technical Corrigendum.
Single UNIX Specification version 4
-p1003.1-2008
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”)
-susv4
Version 4 of the Single UNIX Specification (“SUSv4”)
 
This standard is also called X/Open Portability Guide version 7.
-p1003.1-2013
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008/Cor 1-2013 (“POSIX.1”)
 
This is the first Technical Corrigendum.
Other standards
-ieee754
IEEE Std 754-1985
 
Floating-point arithmetic.
-iso8601
ISO 8601
 
Representation of dates and times, published in 1988.
-iso8802-3
ISO 8802-3: 1989
 
Ethernet local area networks.
-ieee1275-94
IEEE Std 1275-1994 (“Open Firmware”)

Sx

Reference a section or subsection in the same manual page. The referenced section or subsection name must be identical to the enclosed argument, including whitespace.
Examples:
.Sx MANUAL STRUCTURE
See also Sh and Ss.

Sy

Request a boldface font.
This is most often used to indicate importance or seriousness (not to be confused with stress emphasis, see Em). When none of the semantic macros fit, it is also adequate for syntax elements that have to be given or that appear verbatim.
Examples:
.Sy Warning : 
If 
.Sy s 
appears in the owner permissions, set-user-ID mode is set. 
This utility replaces the former 
.Sy dumpdir 
program.
See also Bf, Em, Li, and No.

Ta

Table cell separator in Bl -column lists; can only be used below It.

Tn

Supported only for compatibility, do not use this in new manuals. Even though the macro name (“tradename”) suggests a semantic function, historic usage is inconsistent, mostly using it as a presentation-level macro to request a small caps font.

Ud

Supported only for compatibility, do not use this in new manuals. Prints out “currently under development.”

Ux

Supported only for compatibility, do not use this in new manuals. Prints out “UNIX”.

Va

A variable name.
Examples:
.Va foo
.Va const char *bar;
For function arguments and parameters, use Fa instead. For declarations of global variables in the SYNOPSIS section, use Vt.

Vt

A variable type.
This is also used for indicating global variables in the SYNOPSIS section, in which case a variable name is also specified. Note that it accepts Block partial-implicit syntax when invoked as the first macro on an input line in the SYNOPSIS section, else it accepts ordinary In-line syntax. In the former case, this macro starts a new output line, and a blank line is inserted in front if there is a preceding function definition or include directive.
Examples:
.Vt unsigned char
.Vt extern const char * const sys_signame[] ;
For parameters in function prototypes, use Fa instead, for function return types Ft, and for variable names outside the SYNOPSIS section Va, even when including a type with the name. See also MANUAL STRUCTURE.

Xc

Close a scope opened by Xo.

Xo

Extend the header of an It macro or the body of a partial-implicit block macro beyond the end of the input line. This macro originally existed to work around the 9-argument limit of historic roff(7).

Xr

Link to another manual (“cross-reference”). Its syntax is as follows:
.Xr name [section]
Cross reference the name and section number of another man page; omitting the section number is rarely useful.
Examples:
.Xr mandoc 1
.Xr mandoc 1 ;
.Xr mandoc 1 Ns s behaviour

br

Emits a line-break. This macro should not be used; it is implemented for compatibility with historical manuals.
Consider using Pp in the event of natural paragraph breaks.

sp

Emits vertical space. This macro should not be used; it is implemented for compatibility with historical manuals. Its syntax is as follows:
.sp [height]
The height argument is a scaling width as described in roff(7). If unspecified, sp asserts a single vertical space.

MACRO SYNTAX

The syntax of a macro depends on its classification. In this section, ‘-arg’ refers to macro arguments, which may be followed by zero or more ‘parm’ parameters; ‘Yo’ opens the scope of a macro; and if specified, ‘Yc’ closes it out.
The Callable column indicates that the macro may also be called by passing its name as an argument to another macro. For example, ‘.Op Fl O Ar file’ produces ‘[-O file]’. To prevent a macro call and render the macro name literally, escape it by prepending a zero-width space, ‘\&’. For example, ‘Op \&Fl O’ produces ‘[Fl O]’. If a macro is not callable but its name appears as an argument to another macro, it is interpreted as opaque text. For example, ‘.Fl Sh’ produces ‘-Sh’.
The Parsed column indicates whether the macro may call other macros by receiving their names as arguments. If a macro is not parsed but the name of another macro appears as an argument, it is interpreted as opaque text.
The Scope column, if applicable, describes closure rules.

Block full-explicit

Multi-line scope closed by an explicit closing macro. All macros contains bodies; only Bf and (optionally) Bl contain a head.
.Yo [-arg [parm...]] [head...] 
[body...] 
.Yc
Macro Callable Parsed Scope
Bd No No closed by Ed
Bf No No closed by Ef
Bk No No closed by Ek
Bl No No closed by El
Ed No No opened by Bd
Ef No No opened by Bf
Ek No No opened by Bk
El No No opened by Bl

Block full-implicit

Multi-line scope closed by end-of-file or implicitly by another macro. All macros have bodies; some (It -bullet, -hyphen, -dash, -enum, -item) don't have heads; only one (It in Bl -column) has multiple heads.
.Yo [-arg [parm...]] [head... [Ta head...]] 
[body...]
Macro Callable Parsed Scope
It No Yes closed by It, El
Nd No No closed by Sh
Nm No Yes closed by Nm, Sh, Ss
Sh No Yes closed by Sh
Ss No Yes closed by Sh, Ss
Note that the Nm macro is a Block full-implicit macro only when invoked as the first macro in a SYNOPSIS section line, else it is In-line.

Block partial-explicit

Like block full-explicit, but also with single-line scope. Each has at least a body and, in limited circumstances, a head (Fo, Eo) and/or tail (Ec).
.Yo [-arg [parm...]] [head...] 
[body...] 
.Yc [tail...] 
 
.Yo [-arg [parm...]] [head...] [body...] Yc [tail...]
Macro Callable Parsed Scope
Ac Yes Yes opened by Ao
Ao Yes Yes closed by Ac
Bc Yes Yes closed by Bo
Bo Yes Yes opened by Bc
Brc Yes Yes opened by Bro
Bro Yes Yes closed by Brc
Dc Yes Yes opened by Do
Do Yes Yes closed by Dc
Ec Yes Yes opened by Eo
Eo Yes Yes closed by Ec
Fc Yes Yes opened by Fo
Fo No No closed by Fc
Oc Yes Yes closed by Oo
Oo Yes Yes opened by Oc
Pc Yes Yes closed by Po
Po Yes Yes opened by Pc
Qc Yes Yes opened by Oo
Qo Yes Yes closed by Oc
Re No No opened by Rs
Rs No No closed by Re
Sc Yes Yes opened by So
So Yes Yes closed by Sc
Xc Yes Yes opened by Xo
Xo Yes Yes closed by Xc

Block partial-implicit

Like block full-implicit, but with single-line scope closed by the end of the line.
.Yo [-arg [val...]] [body...] [res...]
Macro Callable Parsed
Aq Yes Yes
Bq Yes Yes
Brq Yes Yes
D1 No Yes
Dl No Yes
Dq Yes Yes
En Yes Yes
Op Yes Yes
Pq Yes Yes
Ql Yes Yes
Qq Yes Yes
Sq Yes Yes
Vt Yes Yes
Note that the Vt macro is a Block partial-implicit only when invoked as the first macro in a SYNOPSIS section line, else it is In-line.

Special block macro

The Ta macro can only be used below It in Bl -column lists. It delimits blocks representing table cells; these blocks have bodies, but no heads.
Macro Callable Parsed Scope
Ta Yes Yes closed by Ta, It

In-line

Closed by the end of the line, fixed argument lengths, and/or subsequent macros. In-line macros have only text children. If a number (or inequality) of arguments is (n), then the macro accepts an arbitrary number of arguments.
.Yo [-arg [val...]] [args...] [res...] 
 
.Yo [-arg [val...]] [args...] Yc... 
 
.Yo [-arg [val...]] arg0 arg1 argN
Macro Callable Parsed Arguments
%A No No >0
%B No No >0
%C No No >0
%D No No >0
%I No No >0
%J No No >0
%N No No >0
%O No No >0
%P No No >0
%Q No No >0
%R No No >0
%T No No >0
%U No No >0
%V No No >0
Ad Yes Yes >0
An Yes Yes >0
Ap Yes Yes 0
Ar Yes Yes n
At Yes Yes 1
Bsx Yes Yes n
Bt No No 0
Bx Yes Yes n
Cd Yes Yes >0
Cm Yes Yes >0
Db No No 1
Dd No No n
Dt No No n
Dv Yes Yes >0
Dx Yes Yes n
Em Yes Yes >0
Er Yes Yes >0
Es Yes Yes 2
Ev Yes Yes >0
Ex No No n
Fa Yes Yes >0
Fd No No >0
Fl Yes Yes n
Fn Yes Yes >0
Fr Yes Yes >0
Ft Yes Yes >0
Fx Yes Yes n
Hf No No n
Ic Yes Yes >0
In No No 1
Lb No No 1
Li Yes Yes >0
Lk Yes Yes >0
Lp No No 0
Ms Yes Yes >0
Mt Yes Yes >0
Nm Yes Yes n
No Yes Yes 0
Ns Yes Yes 0
Nx Yes Yes n
Os No No n
Ot Yes Yes >0
Ox Yes Yes n
Pa Yes Yes n
Pf Yes Yes 1
Pp No No 0
Rv No No n
Sm No No <2
St No Yes 1
Sx Yes Yes >0
Sy Yes Yes >0
Tn Yes Yes >0
Ud No No 0
Ux Yes Yes n
Va Yes Yes n
Vt Yes Yes >0
Xr Yes Yes >0
br No No 0
sp No No 1

Delimiters

When a macro argument consists of one single input character considered as a delimiter, the argument gets special handling. This does not apply when delimiters appear in arguments containing more than one character. Consequently, to prevent special handling and just handle it like any other argument, a delimiter can be escaped by prepending a zero-width space (‘\&’). In text lines, delimiters never need escaping, but may be used as normal punctuation.
For many macros, when the leading arguments are opening delimiters, these delimiters are put before the macro scope, and when the trailing arguments are closing delimiters, these delimiters are put after the macro scope. For example,
.Aq ( [ word ] ) .
renders as:
([⟨word⟩]).
Opening delimiters are:
(
left parenthesis
[
left bracket
Closing delimiters are:
.
period
,
comma
:
colon
;
semicolon
)
right parenthesis
]
right bracket
?
question mark
!
exclamation mark
Note that even a period preceded by a backslash (‘\.’) gets this special handling; use ‘\&.’ to prevent that.
Many in-line macros interrupt their scope when they encounter delimiters, and resume their scope when more arguments follow that are not delimiters. For example,
.Fl a ( b | c \*(Ba d ) e
renders as:
-a (-b | -c | -d) -e
This applies to both opening and closing delimiters, and also to the middle delimiter:
|
vertical bar
As a special case, the predefined string \*(Ba is handled and rendered in the same way as a plain ‘|’ character. Using this predefined string is not recommended in new manuals.

Font handling

In mdoc documents, usage of semantic markup is recommended in order to have proper fonts automatically selected; only when no fitting semantic markup is available, consider falling back to Physical markup macros. Whenever any mdoc macro switches the roff(7) font mode, it will automatically restore the previous font when exiting its scope. Manually switching the font using the roff(7)\f’ font escape sequences is never required.

COMPATIBILITY

This section provides an incomplete list of compatibility issues between mandoc and GNU troff (“groff”).
The following problematic behaviour is found in groff:
The following features are unimplemented in mandoc:

SEE ALSO

man(1), mandoc(1), eqn(7), man(7), mandoc_char(7), roff(7), tbl(7)

HISTORY

The mdoc language first appeared as a troff macro package in 4.4BSD. It was later significantly updated by Werner Lemberg and Ruslan Ermilov in groff-1.17. The standalone implementation that is part of the mandoc(1) utility written by Kristaps Dzonsons appeared in OpenBSD 4.6.

AUTHORS

The mdoc reference was written by Kristaps Dzonsons <kristaps@bsd.lv>.