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tbl – format tables for nroff or troff

tbl [ file ... ]

Tbl is a preprocessor for formatting tables for nroff or troff(1). The input files are copied to the standard output, except for segments of the form
options ;
format .
format .
. . .

which describe tables and are replaced by troff requests to lay out the tables. If no arguments are given, tbl reads the standard input.

The (optional) options line is terminated by a semicolon and contains one or more of
center        center the table; default is left–adjust
expand        make table as wide as current line length
enclose the table in a box or double box
allbox        enclose every item in a box
tab(x)        use x to separate input items; default is tab
linesize(n)   set rules in n–point type
delim(xy)     recognize x and y as eqn(1) delimiters

Each line, except the last, of the obligatory format describes one row of the table. The last line describes all rows until the next .T&, where the format changes, or the end of the table at .TE. A format is specified by key letters, one per column, either upper or lower case:
L     Left justify: the default for columns without format keys.
R     Right justify.
C     Center.
N     Numeric: align at decimal point (inferred for integers) or at \&.
S     Span: extend previous column across this one.
A     Alphabetic: left–aligned within column, widest item centered, indented relative to L rows.
^     Vertical span: continue item from previous row into this row.
–     Draw a horizontal rule in this column.
=     Draw a double horizontal rule in this column.

Key letters may be followed by modifiers, also either case:
|      Draw vertical rule between columns.
||     Draw a double vertical rule between columns.
n      Gap between column is n ens wide. Default is 3.
Ffont   Use specified font. B and I mean FB and FI.
T      Begin vertically–spanned item at top row of range; default is vertical centering (with ^).
Pn     Use point size n.
Vn     Use n–point vertical spacing in text block; signed n means relative change.
W(n)   Column width as a troff width specification. Parens are optional if n is a simple integer.
E      Equalize the widths of all columns marked E.

Each line of data becomes one row of the table; tabs separate items. Lines beginning with . are troff requests. Certain special data items are recognized:
_     Draw a horizontal rule in this column.
=     Draw a double horizontal rule in this column. A data line consisting of a single _ or = draws the rule across the whole table.
\_    Draw a rule only as wide as the contents of the column.
\Rx   Repeat character x across the column.
\^    Span the previous item in this column down into this row.
T{    The item is a text block to be separately formatted by troff and placed in the table. The block continues to the next line beginning with T}. The remainder of the data line follows at that point.

When it is used in a pipeline with eqn, the tbl command should be first, to minimize the volume of data passed through pipes.

Let <tab> represent a tab (which should be typed as a genuine tab).
c s s
c c s
c c c
l n n.
Household Population
Bernards Twp.<tab>3087<tab>3.74

c s s
c c s
c c c
l n n.
Household Population
Town Households
Number      Size
Bedminster    789    3.26
Bernards Twp. 3087    3.74
Bernardsville 2018    3.30