UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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UNIX Commands
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col [options]

A postprocessing filter that handles reverse linefeeds and escape characters, allowing output from tbl (or nroff, occasionally) to appear in reasonable form on a terminal.



Ignore backspace characters; helpful when printing man pages.


Process half-line vertical motions, but not reverse line motion. (Normally, half-line input motion is displayed on the next full line.)


Print unknown escape sequences (normally ignored) as regular characters. This option can garble output, so its use is not recommended.


Normally, col saves printing time by converting sequences of spaces to tabs. Use -x to suppress this conversion.


Save printing time by converting sequences of spaces to tabs.


Run file through tbl and nroff, then capture output on screen by filtering through col and more:

tbl file | nroff | col | more

Save man page output in file.print, stripping out backspaces (which would otherwise appear as ^H):

man file | col -b > file.print

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