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pod2text - Convert POD data to formatted ASCII text


pod2text [-aclst] [-i indent] [-w width] [input [output]]

pod2text -h


pod2text is a front-end for Pod::Text and its subclasses. It uses them to generate formatted ASCII text from POD source. It can optionally use either termcap sequences or ANSI color escape sequences to format the text.

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 output is written to STDOUT.


-a, --alt

Use an alternate output format that, among other things, uses a different heading style and marks =item entries with a colon in the left margin.

-c, --color

Format the output with ANSI color escape sequences. Using this option requires that Term::ANSIColor be installed on your system.

-i indent, --indent=indent

Set the number of spaces to indent regular text, and the default indentation for =over blocks. Defaults to 4 spaces if this option isn't given.

-h, --help

Print out usage information and exit.

-l, --loose

Print a blank line after a =head1 heading. Normally, no blank line is printed after =head1, although one is still printed after =head2, because this is the expected formatting for manual pages; if you're formatting arbitrary text documents, using this option is recommended.

-s, --sentence

Assume each sentence ends with two spaces and try to preserve that spacing. Without this option, all consecutive whitespace in non-verbatim paragraphs is compressed into a single space.

-t, --termcap

Try to determine the width of the screen and the bold and underline sequences for the terminal from termcap, and use that information in formatting the output. Output will be wrapped at two columns less than the width of your terminal device. Using this option requires that your system have a termcap file somewhere where Term::Cap can find it and requires that your system support termios. With this option, the output of pod2text will contain terminal control sequences for your current terminal type.

-w, --width=width, -width

The column at which to wrap text on the right-hand side. Defaults to 76, unless -t is given, in which case it's two columns less than the width of your terminal device.


If pod2text fails with errors, see Pod::Text and Pod::Parser for information about what those errors might mean. Internally, it can also produce the following diagnostics:

-c (--color) requires Term::ANSIColor be installed

(F) -c or --color were given, but Term::ANSIColor could not be loaded.

Unknown option: %s

(F) An unknown command line option was given.

In addition, other Getopt::Long error messages may result from invalid command-line options.



If -t is given, pod2text will take the current width of your screen from this environment variable, if available. It overrides terminal width information in TERMCAP.


If -t is given, pod2text will use the contents of this environment variable if available to determine the correct formatting sequences for your current terminal device.


Pod::Text, Pod::Text::Color, Pod::Text::Termcap, Pod::Parser


Russ Allbery <>.