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pod2man - translate embedded Perl pod directives into man pages


pod2man [ --section=manext ] [ --release=relpatch ] [ --center=string ] [ --date=string ] [ --fixed=font ] [ --official ] [ --lax ] inputfile


pod2man converts its input file containing embedded pod directives (see perlpod) into nroff source suitable for viewing with nroff(1) or troff(1) using the man(7) macro set.

Besides the obvious pod conversions, pod2man also takes care of 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. Other nagging little roffish things that it catches include translating the minus in something like foo-bar, making a long dash--like this--into a real em dash, fixing up "paired quotes", putting a little space after the parens in something like func(), making C++ and PI look right, making double underbars have a little tiny space between them, making ALLCAPS a teeny bit smaller in troff(1), and escaping backslashes so you don't have to.



Set the centered header to a specific string. The default is "User Contributed Perl Documentation", unless the --official flag is given, in which case the default is "Perl Programmers Reference Guide".


Set the left-hand footer string to this value. By default, the modification date of the input file will be used.


The fixed font to use for code refs. Defaults to CW.


Set the default header to indicate that this page is of the standard release in case --center is not given.


Set the centered footer. By default, this is the current perl release.


Set the section for the .TH macro. The standard conventions on sections are 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. This works best if you put your Perl man pages in a separate tree, like /usr/local/perl/man/. By default, section 1 will be used unless the file ends in .pm in which case section 3 will be selected.


Don't complain when required sections aren't present.

Anatomy of a Proper Man Page

For those not sure of the proper layout of a man page, here's an example of the skeleton of a proper man page. Head of the major headers should be setout as a =head1 directive, 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 typically in mixed case.


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

foo, bar - programs to do something

A short usage summary for programs and functions, which may someday be deemed mandatory.


Long drawn out discussion of the program. It's a good idea to break this up into subsections using the =head2 directives, like

=head2 A Sample Subection

=head2 Yet Another Sample Subection

Some people make this separate from the description.


What the program or function returns if successful.


Exceptions, return codes, exit stati, and errno settings.


Give some example uses of the program.


Envariables this program might care about.


All files used by the program. You should probably use the F<> for these.


Other man pages to check out, like man(1), man(7), makewhatis(8), or catman(8).


Miscellaneous commentary.


Things to take special care with; sometimes called WARNINGS.


All possible messages the program can print out--and what they mean.


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


Bugs you don't plan to fix :-)


Who wrote it (or AUTHORS if multiple).


Programs derived from other sources sometimes have this, or you might keep a modification log here.


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


The following diagnostics are generated by pod2man. Items marked "(W)" are non-fatal, whereas the "(F)" errors will cause pod2man to immediately exit with a non-zero status.

bad option in paragraph %d of %s: ``%s'' should be [%s]<%s>

(W) If you start include an option, you should set it off as bold, italic, or code.

can't open %s: %s

(F) The input file wasn't available for the given reason.

Improper man page - no dash in NAME header in paragraph %d of %s

(W) The NAME header did not have an isolated dash in it. This is considered important.

Invalid man page - no NAME line in %s

(F) You did not include a NAME header, which is essential.

roff font should be 1 or 2 chars, not `%s' (F)

(F) The font specified with the --fixed option was not a one- or two-digit roff font.

%s is missing required section: %s

(W) Required sections include NAME, DESCRIPTION, and if you're using a section starting with a 3, also a SYNOPSIS. Actually, not having a NAME is a fatal.

Unknown escape: %s in %s

(W) An unknown HTML entity (probably for an 8-bit character) was given via a E<> directive. Besides amp, lt, gt, and quot, recognized entities are Aacute, aacute, Acirc, acirc, AElig, aelig, Agrave, agrave, Aring, aring, Atilde, atilde, Auml, auml, Ccedil, ccedil, Eacute, eacute, Ecirc, ecirc, Egrave, egrave, ETH, eth, Euml, euml, Iacute, iacute, Icirc, icirc, Igrave, igrave, Iuml, iuml, Ntilde, ntilde, Oacute, oacute, Ocirc, ocirc, Ograve, ograve, Oslash, oslash, Otilde, otilde, Ouml, ouml, szlig, THORN, thorn, Uacute, uacute, Ucirc, ucirc, Ugrave, ugrave, Uuml, uuml, Yacute, yacute, and yuml.

Unmatched =back

(W) You have a =back without a corresponding =over.

Unrecognized pod directive: %s

(W) You specified a pod directive that isn't in the known list of =head1, =head2, =item, =over, =back, or =cut.


If you would like to print out a lot of man page continuously, 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). Settting the F register will get you some additional experimental indexing:

troff -man -rC1 -rD1 -rF1 perl.1 perldata.1 perlsyn.1 ...

The indexing merely outputs messages via .tm for each major page, section, subsection, item, and any X<> directives.


None at this time.


The =over and =back directives don't really work right. They take absolute positions instead of offsets, don't nest well, and making people count is suboptimal in any event.


Original prototype by Larry Wall, but so massively hacked over by Tom Christiansen such that Larry probably doesn't recognize it anymore.