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scdoc - Man Page

document format for writing manual pages


Input files must use the UTF-8 encoding.


Each scdoc file must begin with the following preamble:

NAME(section) ["left_footer" ["center_header"]]

NAME is the name of the man page you are writing, and section is the section you're writing for (see man(1) for information on manual sections).

left_footer and center_header are optional arguments which set the text positioned at those locations in the generated man page, and must be surrounded with double quotes.

Section headers

Each section of your man page should begin with something similar to the following:


Subsection headers are also understood - use two hashes. Each header must have an empty line on either side.


Begin a new paragraph with an empty line.

Line breaks

Insert a line break by ending a line with ++.

The result looks
like this.


Text can be made bold or underlined with asterisks and underscores: *bold* or _underlined_. Underscores in the_middle_of_words will be disregarded.


You may indent lines with tab characters (\t) to indent them by 4 spaces in the output. Indented lines may not contain headers.

The result looks something like this.

You may use multiple lines and most formatting.

Deindent to return to normal, or indent again to increase your indentation depth.


You may start bulleted lists with dashes (-), like so:

  - Item 1
  - Item 2
  	- Subitem 1
  	- Subitem 2
  - Item 3

The result looks like this:

  • Item 1
  • Item 2

    • Subitem 1
    • Subitem 2
  • Item 3

You may also extend long entries onto another line by giving it the same indent level, plus two spaces. They will be rendered as a single list entry.

  - Item 1 is pretty long so let's
    break it up onto two lines
  - Item 2 is shorter
  	- But its children can go on
  	  for a while
  • Item 1 is pretty long so let's break it up onto two lines
  • Item 2 is shorter

    • But its children can go on for a while

Numbered lists

Numbered lists are similar to normal lists, but begin with periods (.) instead of dashes (-), like so:

  . Item 1
  . Item 2
  . Item 3,
    with multiple lines
  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3, with multiple lines


To begin a table, add an empty line followed by any number of rows.

Each line of a table should start with | or : to start a new row or column respectively (or space to continue the previous cell on multiple lines), followed by [ or - or ] to align the contents to the left, center, or right, followed by a space and the contents of that cell. You may use a space instead of an alignment specifier to inherit the alignment of the same column in the previous row. Each row must have the same number of columns; empty columns are permitted.

The first character of the first row is not limited to | and has special meaning. [ will produce a table with borders around each cell. | will produce a table with no borders. ] will produce a table with one border around the whole table.

To conclude your table, add an empty line after the last row.

  [[ *Foo*
  :- _Bar_
  |  *Row 1*
  :  Hello
  :] world!
  |  *Row 2*
  :  こんにちは
  :  世界
Row 1Helloworld!
Row 2こんにちは世界 !

You may also cause columns to expand to fill the available space with < (left align), = (center align), and > (right align), like so:

  [[ *Normal column*
  :< Expanded column
  |  *Foo*
  :  Bar
Normal columnExpanded column

Literal text

You may turn off scdoc formatting and output literal text with escape codes and literal blocks. Inserting a \ into your source will cause the subsequent symbol to be treated as a literal and copied directly to the output. You may also make blocks of literal syntax like so:

  _This formatting_ will *not* be interpreted by scdoc.

These blocks will be indented one level. Note that literal text is shown literally in the man viewer - that is, it's not a means for inserting your own roff macros into the output. Note that \ is still interpreted within literal blocks, which for example can be useful to output ``` inside of a literal block.


Lines beginning with ; and a space are ignored.

  ; This is a comment


By convention, all scdoc documents should be hard wrapped at 80 columns.

See Also



Maintained by Drew DeVault <sir@cmpwn.com>. Up-to-date sources can be found at https://git.sr.ht/~sircmpwn/scdoc and bugs/patches can be submitted by email to ~sircmpwn/public-inbox@lists.sr.ht.

Referenced By

scd2html(1), scdoc(1).