col(1)col(1)NAMEcol - Filters text containing linefeeds
SYNOPSIScol [-bfhpx] [-l number]
The col command reads from standard input and writes to standard out‐
Interfaces documented on this reference page conform to industry stan‐
dards as follows:
Refer to the standards(5) reference page for more information about
industry standards and associated tags.
Assumes that the output device in use is not capable of backspacing.
In this case, if two or more characters are to be displayed in the same
position, only the last one that is read is displayed in the output.
This function is useful for converting nroff output to produce readable
results on terminals or printers that do not support underlining or
overstriking characters. Suppresses the default treatment of half-line
motions in the input. Normally, col does not emit half-line motions on
output, although it does accept them in its input. With this option,
output may contain forward half-linefeeds (<ESC-9>), but not reverse
linefeeds (<ESC-7> or <ESC-8>). [Tru64 UNIX] Compresses spaces into
tabs. This is the default. [Tru64 UNIX] Buffers at least number lines
in memory. By default, 128 lines are buffered. Displays unknown
escape sequences as characters, subject to overprinting from reverse
line motions. Normally, col ignores them. You should be fully aware
of the textual position of escape sequences before you use this option.
Outputs multiple spaces instead of tabs.
The col command performs the line overlays implied by reverse linefeeds
(ASCII <ESC-7>), and by forward and reverse half-linefeeds (ASCII
<ESC-9> and ASCII <ESC-8>). It also replaces white-space characters
with tabs where possible.
[Tru64 UNIX] The col command is particularly useful for filtering mul‐
ticolumn output made by the nroff and tbl commands.
The col command assumes that the ASCII control characters SO (\017) and
SI (\016) begin and end text in an alternate character set. The col
command remembers the character set each input character belongs to,
and on output generates SI and SO characters as appropriate to ensure
that each character is printed in the correct character set.
On input, the col command accepts only the control characters for the
<Space>, <Backspace>, <Tab>, and <Return> keys; the newline character;
the SI, SO, and VT control characters; and <ESC-7>, <ESC-8>, or
<ESC-9>. The VT control character (\013) is an alternate form of full
reverse linefeed included for compatibility with some earlier programs
of this type. The col command discards all other nonprinting charac‐
[Tru64 UNIX] If the input attempts to back up to the last flushed
line, col displays a warning message.
Depending on the printer, using the -x option may increase printing
time. Local vertical motion that causes a backwards move over the
first line of input is ignored. The first line of input may not have
any superscripts. This command is marked LEGACY in XCU Issue 5.
The following exit values are returned: Successful completion. An
The following environment variables affect the execution of col: Pro‐
vides a default value for the internationalization variables that are
unset or null. If LANG is unset or null, the corresponding value from
the default locale is used. If any of the internationalization vari‐
ables contain an invalid setting, the utility behaves as if none of the
variables had been defined. If set to a non-empty string value, over‐
rides the values of all the other internationalization variables.
Determines the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of
text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi‐
byte characters in arguments). Determines the locale for the format
and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error. Deter‐
mines the location of message catalogues for the processing of LC_MES‐
Commands: deroff(1), neqn(1), nroff(1), tbl(1)