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Re: [Nmh-workers] manpage table help

From: Lyndon Nerenberg
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] manpage table help
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 18:18:36 -0800

On 2013-02-20, at 6:09 PM, Ken Hornstein wrote:

> Ok, I understand that ".PP" is new paragraph, ".RS" is an indent (although
> I'm not sure what the units are), and .nf is "no fill".  And I understand
> that .ta sets tab stops .... but I'm confused by the syntax.  Specifically,
> what are the \w'/rnd/phyl/Mail/EP ' stuff (it doesn't even appear in
> the output!), the 'u. and the +\w', etc etc.  I understand that after that
> the cells are separated by tabs, but I don't understand waht the \0 is for.
> Also ... why, exactly, do we use \- instead of -?

\w'foo' is replaced by the amount of horizontal space taken up by the string 
foo in the current environment (in raw units).

The .ta line defines where the horizontal tabs stops are. It's using \w'foo' to 
set the tab stops at locations that match the length of the enclosed strings.

\0 represents a space the width of the digit '0' in the current environment.  
Basically, it gives you a space that larger than the usual between-words space.

\- represents an n-dash; on a typesetter it's wider than the hyphen ('-'). 
Also, it also doesn't trigger a word break if hyphenation is turned on.

I'll send you a copy of the troff user guide later tonight.

The syntax looks weird at first, but it's actually very elegant once you 
understand how the parser works.


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