MirBSD manpage: pod2man(1)

POD2MAN(1)      Perl Programmers Reference Guide       POD2MAN(1)


     pod2man - Convert POD data to formatted *roff input


     pod2man [--section=manext] [--release=version]
     [--center=string] [--date=string] [--fixed=font]
     [--fixedbold=font] [--fixeditalic=font]
     [--fixedbolditalic=font] [--name=name] [--official] [--lax]
     [--quotes=quotes] [--verbose] [input [output] ...]

     pod2man --help


     pod2man is a front-end for Pod::Man, using it to generate
     *roff input from POD source.  The resulting *roff code is
     suitable for display on a terminal using nroff(1), normally
     via man(1), or printing using troff(1).

     input is the file to read for POD source (the POD can be
     embedded in code).  If input isn't given, it defaults to
     STDIN.  output, if given, is the file to which to write the
     formatted output.  If output isn't given, the formatted out-
     put is written to STDOUT.  Several POD files can be pro-
     cessed in the same pod2man invocation (saving module load
     and compile times) by providing multiple pairs of input and
     output files on the command line.

     --section, --release, --center, --date, and --official can
     be used to set the headers and footers to use; if not given,
     Pod::Man will assume various defaults.  See below or
     Pod::Man for details.

     pod2man assumes that your *roff formatters have a fixed-
     width font named CW.  If yours is called something else
     (like CR), use --fixed to specify it.  This generally only
     matters for troff output for printing.  Similarly, you can
     set the fonts used for bold, italic, and bold italic fixed-
     width output.

     Besides the obvious pod conversions, Pod::Man, and therefore
     pod2man also takes care of formatting func(), func(n), and
     simple variable references like $foo or @bar so you don't
     have to use code escapes for them; complex expressions like
     $fred{'stuff'} will still need to be escaped, though. It
     also translates dashes that aren't used as hyphens into en
     dashes, makes long dashes--like this--into proper em dashes,
     fixes "paired quotes," and takes care of several other
     troff-specific tweaks.  See Pod::Man for complete informa-


     -c string, --center=string

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         Sets the centered page header to string.  The default is
         "User Contributed Perl Documentation", but also see
         --official below.

     -d string, --date=string
         Set the left-hand footer string to this value.  By
         default, the modification date of the input file will be
         used, or the current date if input comes from STDIN.

         The fixed-width font to use for vertabim text and code.
         Defaults to CW. Some systems may want CR instead.  Only
         matters for troff(1) output.

         Bold version of the fixed-width font.  Defaults to CB.
         Only matters for troff(1) output.

         Italic version of the fixed-width font (actually, some-
         thing of a misnomer, since most fixed-width fonts only
         have an oblique version, not an italic version).
         Defaults to CI.  Only matters for troff(1) output.

         Bold italic (probably actually oblique) version of the
         fixed-width font. Pod::Man doesn't assume you have this,
         and defaults to CB.  Some systems (such as Solaris) have
         this font available as CX.  Only matters for troff(1)

     -h, --help
         Print out usage information.

     -l, --lax
         No longer used.  pod2man used to check its input for
         validity as a manual page, but this should now be done
         by podchecker(1) instead.  Accepted for backwards compa-
         tibility; this option no longer does anything.

     -n name, --name=name
         Set the name of the manual page to name.  Without this
         option, the manual name is set to the uppercased base
         name of the file being converted unless the manual sec-
         tion is 3, in which case the path is parsed to see if it
         is a Perl module path.  If it is, a path like
         ".../lib/Pod/Man.pm" is converted into a name like
         "Pod::Man".  This option, if given, overrides any
         automatic determination of the name.

         Note that this option is probably not useful when con-
         verting multiple POD files at once.  The convention for

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         Unix man pages for commands is for the man page title to
         be in all-uppercase even if the command isn't.

     -o, --official
         Set the default header to indicate that this page is
         part of the standard Perl release, if --center is not
         also given.

     -q quotes, --quotes=quotes
         Sets the quote marks used to surround C<> text to
         quotes.  If quotes is a single character, it is used as
         both the left and right quote; if quotes is two charac-
         ters, the first character is used as the left quote and
         the second as the right quoted; and if quotes is four
         characters, the first two are used as the left quote and
         the second two as the right quote.

         quotes may also be set to the special value "none", in
         which case no quote marks are added around C<> text (but
         the font is still changed for troff output).

     -r, --release
         Set the centered footer.  By default, this is the ver-
         sion of Perl you run pod2man under.  Note that some sys-
         tem an macro sets assume that the centered footer will
         be a modification date and will prepend something like
         "Last modified: "; if this is the case, you may want to
         set --release to the last modified date and --date to
         the version number.

     -s, --section
         Set the section for the ".TH" macro.  The standard sec-
         tion numbering convention is to use 1 for user commands,
         2 for system calls, 3 for functions, 4 for devices, 5
         for file formats, 6 for games, 7 for miscellaneous
         information, and 8 for administrator commands.  There is
         a lot of variation here, however; some systems (like
         Solaris) use 4 for file formats, 5 for miscellaneous
         information, and 7 for devices.  Still others use 1m
         instead of 8, or some mix of both.  About the only sec-
         tion numbers that are reliably consistent are 1, 2, and

         By default, section 1 will be used unless the file ends
         in .pm in which case section 3 will be selected.

     -v, --verbose
         Print out the name of each output file as it is being


     If pod2man fails with errors, see Pod::Man and Pod::Parser

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     for information about what those errors might mean.


         pod2man program > program.1
         pod2man SomeModule.pm /usr/perl/man/man3/SomeModule.3
         pod2man --section=7 note.pod > note.7

     If you would like to print out a lot of man page continu-
     ously, you probably want to set the C and D registers to set
     contiguous page numbering and even/odd paging, at least on
     some versions of man(7).

         troff -man -rC1 -rD1 perl.1 perldata.1 perlsyn.1 ...

     To get index entries on stderr, turn on the F register, as

         troff -man -rF1 perl.1

     The indexing merely outputs messages via ".tm" for each
     major page, section, subsection, item, and any "X<>" direc-
     tives.  See Pod::Man for more details.


     Lots of this documentation is duplicated from Pod::Man.


     For those not sure of the proper layout of a man page, here
     are some notes on writing a proper man page.

     The name of the program being documented is conventionally
     written in bold (using B<>) wherever it occurs, as are all
     program options. Arguments should be written in italics
     (I<>).  Functions are traditionally written in italics; if
     you write a function as function(), Pod::Man will take care
     of this for you.  Literal code or commands should be in C<>.
     References to other man pages should be in the form
     "manpage(section)", and Pod::Man will automatically format
     those appropriately.  As an exception, it's traditional not
     to use this form when referring to module documentation; use
     "L<Module::Name>" instead.

     References to other programs or functions are normally in
     the form of man page references so that cross-referencing
     tools can provide the user with links and the like.  It's
     possible to overdo this, though, so be careful not to
     clutter your documentation with too much markup.

     The major headers should be set out using a "=head1" direc-
     tive, and are historically written in the rather startling
     ALL UPPER CASE format, although this is not mandatory.
     Minor headers may be included using "=head2", and are

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     typically in mixed case.

     The standard sections of a manual page are:

         Mandatory section; should be a comma-separated list of
         programs or functions documented by this podpage, such

             foo, bar - programs to do something

         Manual page indexers are often extremely picky about the
         format of this section, so don't put anything in it
         except this line.  A single dash, and only a single
         dash, should separate the list of programs or functions
         from the description.  Functions should not be qualified
         with "()" or the like. The description should ideally
         fit on a single line, even if a man program replaces the
         dash with a few tabs.

         A short usage summary for programs and functions.  This
         section is mandatory for section 3 pages.

         Extended description and discussion of the program or
         functions, or the body of the documentation for man
         pages that document something else.  If particularly
         long, it's a good idea to break this up into subsections
         "=head2" directives like:

             =head2 Normal Usage

             =head2 Advanced Features

             =head2 Writing Configuration Files

         or whatever is appropriate for your documentation.

         Detailed description of each of the command-line options
         taken by the program.  This should be separate from the
         description for the use of things like Pod::Usage.  This
         is normally presented as a list, with each option as a
         separate "=item".  The specific option string should be
         enclosed in B<>.  Any values that the option takes
         should be enclosed in I<>.  For example, the section for
         the option --section=manext would be introduced with:

             =item B<--section>=I<manext>

         Synonymous options (like both the short and long forms)

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         are separated by a comma and a space on the same "=item"
         line, or optionally listed as their own item with a
         reference to the canonical name.  For example, since
         --section can also be written as -s, the above would be:

             =item B<-s> I<manext>, B<--section>=I<manext>

         (Writing the short option first is arguably easier to
         read, since the long option is long enough to draw the
         eye to it anyway and the short option can otherwise get
         lost in visual noise.)

         What the program or function returns, if successful.
         This section can be omitted for programs whose precise
         exit codes aren't important, provided they return 0 on
         success as is standard.  It should always be present for

         Exceptions, error return codes, exit statuses, and errno
         settings. Typically used for function documentation;
         program documentation uses DIAGNOSTICS instead.  The
         general rule of thumb is that errors printed to STDOUT
         or STDERR and intended for the end user are documented
         in DIAGNOSTICS while errors passed internal to the cal-
         ling program and intended for other programmers are
         documented in ERRORS.  When documenting a function that
         sets errno, a full list of the possible errno values
         should be given here.

         All possible messages the program can print out--and
         what they mean.  You may wish to follow the same docu-
         mentation style as the Perl documentation; see
         perldiag(1) for more details (and look at the POD source
         as well).

         If applicable, please include details on what the user
         should do to correct the error; documenting an error as
         indicating "the input buffer is too small" without tel-
         ling the user how to increase the size of the input
         buffer (or at least telling them that it isn't possible)
         aren't very useful.

         Give some example uses of the program or function.
         Don't skimp; users often find this the most useful part
         of the documentation.  The examples are generally given
         as verbatim paragraphs.

         Don't just present an example without explaining what it

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         does.  Adding a short paragraph saying what the example
         will do can increase the value of the example immensely.

         Environment variables that the program cares about, nor-
         mally presented as a list using "=over", "=item", and
         "=back".  For example:

             =over 6

             =item HOME

             Used to determine the user's home directory.  F<.foorc> in this
             directory is read for configuration details, if it exists.


         Since environment variables are normally in all upper-
         case, no additional special formatting is generally
         needed; they're glaring enough as it is.

         All files used by the program or function, normally
         presented as a list, and what it uses them for.  File
         names should be enclosed in F<>.  It's particularly
         important to document files that will be potentially

         Things to take special care with, sometimes called WARN-

         Things that are broken or just don't work quite right.

         Bugs you don't plan to fix.  :-)

         Miscellaneous commentary.

         Other man pages to check out, like man(1), man(7),
         makewhatis(8), or catman(8).  Normally a simple list of
         man pages separated by commas, or a paragraph giving the
         name of a reference work.  Man page references, if they
         use the standard "name(section)" form, don't have to be
         enclosed in L<> (although it's recommended), but other
         things in this section probably should be when appropri-

         If the package has a mailing list, include a URL or

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         subscription instructions here.

         If the package has a web site, include a URL here.

         Who wrote it (use AUTHORS for multiple people).  Includ-
         ing your current e-mail address (or some e-mail address
         to which bug reports should be sent) so that users have
         a way of contacting you is a good idea.  Remember that
         program documentation tends to roam the wild for far
         longer than you expect and pick an e-mail address that's
         likely to last if possible.

         For copyright

             Copyright YEAR(s) by YOUR NAME(s)

         (No, (C) is not needed.  No, "all rights reserved" is
         not needed.)

         For licensing the easiest way is to use the same licens-
         ing as Perl itself:

             This library is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify
             it under the same terms as Perl itself.

         This makes it easy for people to use your module with
         Perl.  Note that this licensing is neither an endorse-
         ment or a requirement, you are of course free to choose
         any licensing.

         Programs derived from other sources sometimes have this,
         or you might keep a modification log here.  If the log
         gets overly long or detailed, consider maintaining it in
         a separate file, though.

     In addition, some systems use CONFORMING TO to note confor-
     mance to relevant standards and MT-LEVEL to note safeness
     for use in threaded programs or signal handlers.  These
     headings are primarily useful when documenting parts of a C
     library.  Documentation of object-oriented libraries or
     modules may use CONSTRUCTORS and METHODS sections for
     detailed documentation of the parts of the library and save
     the DESCRIPTION section for an overview; other large modules
     may use FUNCTIONS for similar reasons.  Some people use
     OVERVIEW to summarize the description if it's quite long.

     Section ordering varies, although NAME should always be the
     first section (you'll break some man page systems other-

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     generally always occur first and in that order if present.
     In general, SEE ALSO, AUTHOR, and similar material should be
     left for last.  Some systems also move WARNINGS and NOTES to
     last.  The order given above should be reasonable for most

     Finally, as a general note, try not to use an excessive
     amount of markup. As documented here and in Pod::Man, you
     can safely leave Perl variables, function names, man page
     references, and the like unadorned by markup and the POD
     translators will figure it out for you.  This makes it much
     easier to later edit the documentation.  Note that many
     existing translators (including this one currently) will do
     the wrong thing with e-mail addresses or URLs when wrapped
     in L<>, so don't do that.

     For additional information that may be more accurate for
     your specific system, see either man(5) or man(7) depending
     on your system manual section numbering conventions.


     Pod::Man, Pod::Parser, man(1), nroff(1), podchecker(1),
     troff(1), man(7)

     The man page documenting the an macro set may be man(5)
     instead of man(7) on your system.

     The current version of this script is always available from
     its web site at
     <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/software/podlators/>.  It is
     also part of the Perl core distribution as of 5.6.0.


     Russ Allbery <rra@stanford.edu>, based very heavily on the
     original pod2man by Larry Wall and Tom Christiansen.  Large
     portions of this documentation, particularly the sections on
     the anatomy of a proper man page, are taken from the pod2man
     documentation by Tom.


     Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 by Russ Allbery

     This program is free software; you may redistribute it
     and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

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