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pod2man - Convert POD data to formatted *roff input


pod2man [--center=string] [--date=string] [--fixed=font] [--fixedbold=font] [--fixeditalic=font] [--fixedbolditalic=font] [--name=name] [--official] [--quotes=quotes] [--release[=version]] [--section=manext] [--stderr] [--utf8] [--verbose] [input [output] ...]

pod2man --help


pod2man is a front-end for Pod::Man, using it to generate *roff input from POD source. The resulting *roff code is suitable for display on a terminal using nroff(1), normally via man(1), or printing using troff(1).

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. Several POD files can be processed in the same pod2man invocation (saving module load and compile times) by providing multiple pairs of input and output files on the command line.

--section, --release, --center, --date, and --official can be used to set the headers and footers to use; if not given, Pod::Man will assume various defaults. See below or Pod::Man for details.

pod2man assumes that your *roff formatters have a fixed-width font named CW. If yours is called something else (like CR), use --fixed to specify it. This generally only matters for troff output for printing. Similarly, you can set the fonts used for bold, italic, and bold italic fixed-width output.

Besides the obvious pod conversions, Pod::Man, and therefore pod2man also takes care of formatting func(), func(n), and simple variable references like $foo or @bar so you don't have to use code escapes for them; complex expressions like $fred{'stuff'} will still need to be escaped, though. It also translates dashes that aren't used as hyphens into en dashes, makes long dashes--like this--into proper em dashes, fixes "paired quotes," and takes care of several other troff-specific tweaks. See Pod::Man for complete information.


-c string, --center=string

Sets the centered page header to string. The default is "User Contributed Perl Documentation", but also see --official below.

-d string, --date=string

Set the left-hand footer string to this value. By default, the modification date of the input file will be used, or the current date if input comes from STDIN.


The fixed-width font to use for verbatim text and code. Defaults to CW. Some systems may want CR instead. Only matters for troff(1) output.


Bold version of the fixed-width font. Defaults to CB. Only matters for troff(1) output.


Italic version of the fixed-width font (actually, something of a misnomer, since most fixed-width fonts only have an oblique version, not an italic version). Defaults to CI. Only matters for troff(1) output.


Bold italic (probably actually oblique) version of the fixed-width font. Pod::Man doesn't assume you have this, and defaults to CB. Some systems (such as Solaris) have this font available as CX. Only matters for troff(1) output.

-h, --help

Print out usage information.

-l, --lax

No longer used. pod2man used to check its input for validity as a manual page, but this should now be done by podchecker(1) instead. Accepted for backward compatibility; this option no longer does anything.

-n name, --name=name

Set the name of the manual page to name. Without this option, the manual name is set to the uppercased base name of the file being converted unless the manual section is 3, in which case the path is parsed to see if it is a Perl module path. If it is, a path like .../lib/Pod/ is converted into a name like Pod::Man. This option, if given, overrides any automatic determination of the name.

Note that this option is probably not useful when converting multiple POD files at once. The convention for Unix man pages for commands is for the man page title to be in all-uppercase even if the command isn't.

-o, --official

Set the default header to indicate that this page is part of the standard Perl release, if --center is not also given.

-q quotes, --quotes=quotes

Sets the quote marks used to surround C<> text to quotes. If quotes is a single character, it is used as both the left and right quote; if quotes is two characters, the first character is used as the left quote and the second as the right quoted; and if quotes is four characters, the first two are used as the left quote and the second two as the right quote.

quotes may also be set to the special value none, in which case no quote marks are added around C<> text (but the font is still changed for troff output).

-r, --release

Set the centered footer. By default, this is the version of Perl you run pod2man under. Note that some system an macro sets assume that the centered footer will be a modification date and will prepend something like "Last modified: "; if this is the case, you may want to set --release to the last modified date and --date to the version number.

-s, --section

Set the section for the .TH macro. The standard section numbering convention is to use 1 for user commands, 2 for system calls, 3 for functions, 4 for devices, 5 for file formats, 6 for games, 7 for miscellaneous information, and 8 for administrator commands. There is a lot of variation here, however; some systems (like Solaris) use 4 for file formats, 5 for miscellaneous information, and 7 for devices. Still others use 1m instead of 8, or some mix of both. About the only section numbers that are reliably consistent are 1, 2, and 3.

By default, section 1 will be used unless the file ends in .pm, in which case section 3 will be selected.


By default, pod2man puts any errors detected in the POD input in a POD ERRORS section in the output manual page. If --stderr is given, errors are sent to standard error instead and the POD ERRORS section is suppressed.

-u, --utf8

By default, pod2man produces the most conservative possible *roff output to try to ensure that it will work with as many different *roff implementations as possible. Many *roff implementations cannot handle non-ASCII characters, so this means all non-ASCII characters are converted either to a *roff escape sequence that tries to create a properly accented character (at least for troff output) or to X.

This option says to instead output literal UTF-8 characters. If your *roff implementation can handle it, this is the best output format to use and avoids corruption of documents containing non-ASCII characters. However, be warned that *roff source with literal UTF-8 characters is not supported by many implementations and may even result in segfaults and other bad behavior.

Be aware that, when using this option, the input encoding of your POD source must be properly declared unless it is US-ASCII or Latin-1. POD input without an =encoding command will be assumed to be in Latin-1, and if it's actually in UTF-8, the output will be double-encoded. See perlpod(1) for more information on the =encoding command.

-v, --verbose

Print out the name of each output file as it is being generated.


If pod2man fails with errors, see Pod::Man and Pod::Simple for information about what those errors might mean.


pod2man program > program.1
pod2man /usr/perl/man/man3/SomeModule.3
pod2man --section=7 note.pod > note.7

If you would like to print out a lot of man page continuously, you probably want to set the C and D registers to set contiguous page numbering and even/odd paging, at least on some versions of man(7).

troff -man -rC1 -rD1 perl.1 perldata.1 perlsyn.1 ...

To get index entries on STDERR, turn on the F register, as in:

troff -man -rF1 perl.1

The indexing merely outputs messages via .tm for each major page, section, subsection, item, and any X<> directives. See Pod::Man for more details.


Lots of this documentation is duplicated from Pod::Man.


Pod::Man, Pod::Simple, man(1), nroff(1), perlpod(1), podchecker(1), perlpodstyle(1), troff(1), man(7)

The man page documenting the an macro set may be man(5) instead of man(7) on your system.

The current version of this script is always available from its web site at It is also part of the Perl core distribution as of 5.6.0.


Russ Allbery <>, based very heavily on the original pod2man by Larry Wall and Tom Christiansen.


Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 Russ Allbery <>.

This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.