Here are the complete 1988-vintage Sun manuals “Using NROFF and TROFF” and “Formatting Documents” scanned just for you. I’d scanned these in 2000, and they’d sat on a forgotten archive volume since then.

Update: there are better versions on the Internet Archive: Using NROFF and TROFF and Formatting Documents, all as part of the Sun Microsystems, Inc. manual collection.

(if you need to get your troff on, go to Ralph’s troff.org.)


  1. That brought back some memories. I was very “Into” nroff and troff back in 1985/86, and used it to typeset a bunch of stuff when I was at university. Amazingly powerful for when it was made, but so quirky that nothing ever seemed to come out right first time.

    Not surprising that most people who liked that approach to document production moved over to TeX instead

  2. troff got some heavy use by our typesetters at Collins Dictionaries. I am still amazed at what Morton Word Processing did with the Dictionary & Thesaurus: dictionary at the top of the page, matching thesaurus entries in the bottom half. Some very, very clever hacking of troff footnote code, I think.

  3. i remember formatting my MSc. thesis on a VAX 11-750 using troff. Summer of 86 !

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