TGRIND 1 "20 June 1998" "Version 3.00"

Table of contents


tgrind - typeset nice program listings using TeX


tgrind [ -? ] [ -d description-file ] [ -f ] [ -fn fontfamily ] [ -h header ] [ -i increment ] [ -l language ] [ -n ] [ -o basename ] [ -p ] [ -q ] [ -r ] [ -v ] [ -x ] [ - ] filename ...


tgrind formats program sources in a nice style using tex(1).

Comments are placed in italics, keywords in bold face and strings in typewriter font.

Source file line numbers normally appear in the left margin every 10 lines. but the numbering frequency, and side of the page, are under user control.

The start of a function is indicated by the function name in large type in the right margin.

tgrind is not a prettyprinter: all line breaks and horizontal spacing in the input source files are preserved. Prettyprinters require more sophistication, and language-specific knowledge, than is possessed by tgrind. Consequently, you may find it useful to apply a prettyprinter to your source code before giving it to tgrind. Some of the available ones are: bibclean(1) for BibTeX, bstpretty(1) for BibTeX style language files, cb(1) and indent(1) for C and C++, pretty(1) for Fortran, sf3pretty(1) for Fortran and Sftran3, indent-sexp for GNU Emacs Lisp, mft(1) for Metafont, and pform(1) and pindent(1) for Pascal.

In regular mode, tgrind processes its input file(s) and passes them to tex(1) for formatting and output, and then sends the output to a DVI driver for conversion to P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2.

For privacy, all output files are normally left in the current directory with numeric base names of the form tg_12345.tex; such names conform to the ISO 9660 standard for filenames on CD-ROMs (Volume and File Structure of CD-ROM for Information Interchange, ISO 9660:1988(E)), for maximal portability across current operating systems. The -o option (see below) can change this behavior. tgrind will not overwrite existing files.

In format-only mode (i.e., when the -f flag is used), tgrind processes its input file(s) and writes the result to standard output. This output can be saved for later editing, inclusion in a larger document, etc.

With version 3.00, tgrind has been redesigned so that its output is suitable for use with plain TeX, as before, and also with major macro packages, such as AmSTeX and LaTeX 2.09 and 2e.

The output file can be typeset directly by plain TeX as a stand-alone document, but it can also be \input into an AmSTeX, LaTeX, or plain TeX document and typeset as a fragment of the surrounding document.

To do this with AmSTeX and plain TeX, just use

\let \EndTgrind = \endgroup
before including tgrind output; this replaces the default definition of that macro, which would otherwise end the job.

For LaTeX documents, the style file tgrind.sty provides suitable definitions, and can be used like this:

LaTeX 2.09:
LaTeX 2e:

You may prefer to make a private modification of this style file and save it under a different name. The distributed version suppresses the output of the \TgrindFile macro, but a comment in the style file shows how to make it invoke a sectional heading command instead. Since the heading level chosen depends on the major document style or class chosen, and also on the style of the particular document, there is no reasonable heading level that could be used in a generic tgrind.sty file.


On IBM PC DOS and DEC (Open)VMS, the leading ``-'' on option names may be replaced by a slash, ``/''; however, the ``-'' option prefix is always recognized.

Option values are always provided as separate arguments following the option name.

Letter case in option names is not significant, although it may be in option values.

Any argument that begins with a hyphen is expected to be an option, and will raise an error if it is not recognized. If a filename begins with a hyphen, you therefore need to disguise it by supplying a leading directory path. For example, ./-foo represents the file named -foo in the current directory in UNIX.

The options are:

Display a brief usage summary on stderr, and exit immediately with a success return code.

This same usage summary is given when an unrecognized option is encountered.

-d description-file
Specify the language definitions file (default is /usr/local/lib/tex/inputs/vgrindefs). This option is useful for testing new language definitions.
Force format-only mode. This simply skips the TeX and DVI driver steps and optional printer step, copies the temporary output TeX file to stdout, and deletes the temporary output TeX file.
-fn fontfamily
Define the font family to be used in the output. The default font family if this option is not specified is Computer Modern. Otherwise, all fonts are virtual fonts that map to P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 Type 1 outline fonts, making the P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 output by a DVI driver more compact, and completely resolution-independent (i.e., no character bitmaps). The fontfamily values recognized may be given as a long font family name, or as a short two- or three-letter font file prefix. The family names currently recognized are:
  • AvantGarde (pag),
  • Bookman (pbk),
  • Charter (bch),
  • ComputerModern (cm),
  • Courier (pcr),
  • Helvetica (phv),
  • HelveticaNarrow (phn),
  • NewCentury or NewCenturySchoolbook (pnc),
  • Palatino (ppl),
  • Times (ptm), and
  • Utopia (put).

All of these fonts, except Charter and Utopia, and sometimes, HelveticaNarrow, are resident in standard P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 laser printers. The exceptional fonts will be included in the output P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 by the DVI driver program, if the driver's file correctly identifies them as non-resident fonts.

When this option is provided, the P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 output will also use Courier for a typewriter font, and Symbol for certain special characters; both of these fonts are printer resident.

-h text
Specify text to go on the left top margin of every output page (default is none).
-i increment
Specify an alternate line number increment, overriding the default of 10.
-l language
Specify the language of the input file(s). The language name often has two or three acceptable forms, one of which is the standard source file extension in UNIX; see the bar-separated names beginning each language entry in the vgrindefs file; these synonyms are excluded from the list below. Here are the language names currently recognized:
Motorola 68xxx assembly language.
Another Motorola 68xxx assembly language.
awk(1), gawk(1), and nawk(1).
GNU Bourne-Again shell (bash(1)).
BibTeX (bibtex(1)).
BibTeX (bibtex(1)) style file language.
C (the default language).
C++ and Objective C.
C shell (csh(1)).
GNU Emacs Lisp. Keywords are considered to be all of those low-level Lisp functions that are implemented in the Lisp interpreter itself (in the C programming language); higher-level Lisp functions written in Lisp are not keywords.
Unknown language on NeXT systems.
Korn shell (ksh(1)).
Unknown language.
LaTeX 2.09. Keywords are considered to be all of the control sequences named in the index of the first edition of Leslie Lamport, LaTeX User's Guide and Reference Manual, Addison-Wesley (1985), ISBN 0-201-15790-X. As with Emacs Lisp and other extensible languages, it seems reasonable to distinguish built-in `system' commands from `user' commands.
Maple V. Keywords include the language keywords, operators, constants, and standard global variables.
Extended Maple V. The keywords also include all of the initially-loaded library functions.
MLisp and Emacs Lisp.
Objective C.
Bourne shell (sh(1)).
Unknown source code (no keywords, comments, or strings are recognized).
Tool Command Language (tcl(1)).
Extended C shell (tcsh(1)).
Do not display keywords in boldface.

As a side effect, this option suppresses the marginal procedure headers and thus also the index. This may be changed in a future version.

-o basename
Specify an alternate basename for the output files. The default is tg_nnnnn, where nnnnn is obtained from the current time. This option allows you to direct the output files anywhere you like. However, tgrind will still refuse to run if they already exist, in order to avoid overwriting a possibly-important file.
Send the output P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 to the default printer.
Quiet mode: suppress informational messages normally sent to stderr or stdout. Error messages to stderr are never suppressed.
Print line numbers on the right instead of on the left. Older versions of tgrind always numbered on the right, but this proved inconvenient because numbers were sometimes overwritten by program text, and other times, were so far from the text that it was difficult to match them visually. The new default of line numbering on the left eliminates both of these problems.
Display the program version number and date on stderr, and exit immediately with a success return code.
Suppress the multicolumn index at the end of the program listing.
Take input from standard input.


The marginal-function-name mechanism depends on the quality of the language description in vgrindefs. The distributed vgrindefs file fails to recognize many legal programming-language function declarations.

The -f, -o, and -x flags mean different things to tgrind and vgrind(1).


The table-driven preprocessor program, tfontedpr, is written in highly-portable C, and can be compiled with old (K&R) style C compilers, as well as with ANSI/ISO Standard C and C++ compilers, and requires only a small number of universally-available header files. It compiles and runs on numerous UNIX systems, and should be readily portable to other operating systems. Its memory requirements are modest: less than 100KB on typical UNIX systems.

tgrind is a simple front-end to tfontedpr, which is rarely invoked directly by users. tgrind handles argument parsing, and invocation of the preprocessor, indexer, TeX, DVI driver, and print spooler.

For portability, tgrind too is written in C, although the distribution also includes implementations as UNIX sh(1) and csh(1) scripts.

Installation of both programs uses the GNU autoconf(1) system for very simple one-line installation on any UNIX system.

The indexing program, tgrindex.awk, is written in nawk(1), and can be readily handled by GNU gawk(1) as well. Commercial and freely-distributable implementations of these languages are available for several personal computer operating systems, and for DEC (Open)VMS.

Volunteers for ports of tgrind to other operating systems will be most welcome!


The language translations implemented by tgrind are entirely table driven, using language descriptions given in the vgrindefs file, which is modeled after the colon-delimited key=value format of UNIX printcap(4) and termcap(4) capability files. Adding support to tgrind for a new language requires only additions to this file. Most language entries average about 9 lines, of which 6 or 7 are usually just enumerations of the language keywords.

Keys are either Boolean flags, in which case they take no =value string (the flag is set true if the key is present, and false if it is absent), or else string variables whose values are specialized patterns, jokingly referred to as irregular expressions, vaguely similar to the regular expressions recognized by the UNIX ex(1) editor and lex(1) lexical-analyzer generator.

In tgrind patterns, the characters `$', `(', `)', `:', `?', `^', `|', and `\' are reserved characters: they must be quoted with a preceding \ if they are to be interpreted as normal characters. Otherwise, they have these meanings:

Beginning of line.
End of line.
Key-value capability pair delimiter.
Escape character. Two such characters, \, represent a single backslash.
The extended patterns are:
Matches any number of characters (like `.*' in lex(1)).
Matches any number of whitespace delimiters (space, tab, newline, start of line).
Matches any number of alphanumeric characters. In a procedure definition (the pb key), the string that matches this symbol is used as the procedure name.
Grouping, used mostly for alternation and optionality.
Last item is optional (i.e., occurs zero times, or one time).
Preceding any string means that the string will not match an input string if the input string is preceded by an escape character (\). This is typically used for languages (like C) that can include the string delimiter in a string by escaping it.

Unlike other implementations of regular expressions, these patterns match words and not characters. Hence something like (foo\^|\^bar)mumble? would match foo, bar, foomumble, or barmumble. In tgrind patterns, alternation binds very tightly, so grouping parentheses are likely to be necessary in expressions involving alternation.

Here are the capability keys that are currently used in the vgrindefs file, and in the source code file, tfontedpr.c:

Alternate comment begin.
Alternate comment end.
Begin statement block.
End statement block.
Comment begin.
Comment end.
Define extra characters that may appear as initial characters of procedure names (those that match \p) and keywords, beyond the hard-wired defaults of letters, digits, and underscore. This supports languages that place restrictions on the initial characters of identifiers. If this key is not provided, then initial characters are treated the same as non-initial characters. This key does not exist in vgrind(1) implementations.
Define extra characters that may appear in procedure names (those that match \p) and keywords, beyond the hard-wired defaults of letters, digits, and underscore. This supports languages, like Lisp and TeX, that have a more extensive character set for identifiers. This key does not exist in older vgrind(1) implementations; it may have been introduced first by Sun Microsystems in the Solaris 2.x operating system release.
Language keywords (a space-separated list, usually in alphabetical order for readability, though that is not a requirement).
Literal string begin.
Literal string end.
Define characters that may not appear as initial characters of procedure names (those that match \p) and keywords. This provides a way to remove initial identifier characters from the hard-wired defaults of letters, digits, and underscore. Its value is examined after any ic value. This key is not available in vgrind(1).
Define characters that may not appear in procedure names (those that match \p) and keywords. This provides a way to remove identifier characters from the hard-wired defaults of letters, digits, and underscore. Its value is examined after any id value. This key is unique to tgrind; it is not available in vgrind(1).
(Boolean) one case flag: letter case is not significant.
Procedure (function, subroutine) begin.
Character string begin.
Character string end.
If this key appears, it must be last. Its value is the name of another vgrindefs entry that is looked up and appended to the end of the current entry, minus the initial entry names. That entry in turn may end with a tc key that refers to yet another entry, and so on, up to a limit of 32 (to catch unterminating loops). If the same key appears more than once in the constructed entry, only the first value is used. Thus, tc can be used to prepare minor variations on a basic language definition.
(Boolean) top lex flag: procedures may be defined only at top level, that is, nested procedures are not permitted.

The string value of id and kw is treated as an ordinary string, rather than a pattern: backslash has significance only at end-of-line, or before a colon.

Keys are always exactly two characters long, and the equals sign that separates them from their values must follow immediately, without intervening whitespace.

If you need a single backslash in a string, represent it like this: :id=\:. vgrind(1), and older versions of tgrind, do not permit this, because their simplistic scan assumes that backslash-colon does not terminate the string. Alternatively, since backslash is significant only before colon and newline in id and ni strings, you could also write :id=\a:, since `a' is already in the identifier character set.

Let's dissect a typical entry to see how this works:

        :kw=and array begin by case const definition div \
        do else elsif end exit export for from if \
        implementation import in loop mod module not of \
        or pointer procedure qualified record repeat \
        return set then to type until var while with:

Each line after the first conventionally begins with a tab, although this is not required, and if the next character is a colon, a key name follows. Terminal backslashes indicate line continuation.

Multiple key=value pairs can be given on one line, as long as they are separated by colons, so at the loss of readability, we could compact seven lines of this entry into just one, like this:


The first line in our sample entry says that this language may be named modula2, mod2, or m2 in the tgrind -l option.

The pb line says that a procedure definition begins a line with optional whitespace, followed by one of the keywords procedure, function, or module, followed by optional whitespace, followed by an alphanumeric procedure name. That name in turn may be followed by whitespace, an open parenthesis, a semicolon, or a colon, thanks to the tight binding of alternation. It would have been clearer to include grouping parentheses, writing (\d|\(|;|\:).

The bb line says that a statement block starts with optional whitespace, and one of the keywords begin ... with, and the be line says a statement block ends with optional whitespace, followed by either the keyword end, or a semicolon.

The cb and ce lines say that comments are delimited by braces, and the ab and ae lines say that comments may also be delimited by (* *).

The sb and se lines say that strings are delimited by quotation marks.

The oc flag says that letter case is not significant in names; this seems to be in error: Niklaus Wirth's Programming in Modula-2, Springer-Verlag (1983), ISBN 0-387-12206-0, says that upper and lower case letters are distinct.

Finally, the kw lines enumerate all of the Modula-2 language keywords, from and to with.


Any -fn font name specified on the tgrind command line is written directly to the beginning of the output TeX file in the form
\def \TgrindFontFamily {NewCenturySchoolbook}
followed by the lines
\ifx \BeginTgrind \undefined
  \input tgrindmac
The interpretation of the font family name is handled entirely in the TeX file, tgrindmac.tex. For this example, a line in that file says

\def \TgrindFontFamily {pnc}\fi

This replaces the definition of \TgrindFontFamily with pnc. A few lines later, we find
\ifstreq{\TgrindFontFamily}{pnc} \setfonts pnc r ri b.\fi
When \TgrindFontFamily has the value pnc, \setfonts is executed with four arguments: the basename of the virtual font, and the suffixes to be added to it to name upright, italic, and bold fonts.

Thus, TeX will expect to find in its TEXFONTS search path the TeX font metric files pncr.tfm, pncri.tfm, and pncb.tfm, and the DVI driver will expect to find in the same search path the virtual font files pncr.vf, pncri.vf, and pncb.vf.

Besides these files, \setfonts will generate references to fonts pcrro and psyr for typewriter text and special symbols, so TeX will also need pcrro.tfm and psyr.tfm, and the DVI driver will need pcrro.vf and psyr.vf.

If all of the referenced fonts exist on the system, TeX and the DVI driver will handle the rest of the job automatically, and if you added two lines similar to the ones above to a private copy of tgrindmac.tex to define a new font family, you can stop reading this section now.

However, here's what goes on behind the scenes. The virtual font files contain references to the so-called `raw' TeX font metric files, prefixed by a letter `r', in this case, rpcrro.tfm and rpsyr.tfm. The correspondence between these raw font metric files and the actual long P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 font names, such as Courier-Oblique and Symbol, is made in the file, with lines like these:

rpcrro  Courier-Oblique
rpsyr   Symbol
rptmro  Times-Roman ".167 SlantFont"
putb0   Utopia-Bold <putb0.pfb
putbo0  Utopia-Bold ".167 SlantFont " <putb0.pfb
The first two simply identify the mapping between a file name and a font name. The third additionally specifies that the Times-Roman font is to be slanted to the right by one-sixth, to synthesize an oblique Times-Roman. The fourth tells the DVI driver that the font definition must be downloaded from the putb0.pfb Type 1 P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 binary font file, and the fifth specifies both a slant and a source file to be downloaded.


In the absence of the -fn option, tgrind produces output that requires only fonts that are standardly preloaded in plain TeX, so that the output files can be typeset by any TeX installation. Specifically, the default fonts used are:
cmr7                           % margin line numbers
cmbx10 scaled \magstep1        % page headers
cmr10 scaled \magstep2         % right margin proc names

Larger font sizes than the default 10pt sizes are usually undesirable for program listings, because their lines are already often rather long for normal typesetting conventions.

When a P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 font is specified, the sizes called for are

roman              at  7pt       % margin line numbers
bold               at 10pt
italic             at 10pt
roman              at 10pt
Symbol             at 10pt
Courier-Oblique    at 10pt
bold               at 12pt       % page headers
roman              at 14pt       % right margin proc names

The exact names for the bold, italic, and roman variants depend on the font chosen; the calls to the \setfont macro in tgrindmac.tex encode this information.


NB: The names of the default installation directories shown below can be changed at installation time, and may be different at your site.
default temporary files, where nnnnn is a generated number
multi-column plain TeX macro package
DVI driver P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 font mapping file
indexing program
indexing macro package
tgrind macro package
user-callable tgrind program
tgrind preprocessor program
language descriptions


Van Jacobson, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (based on vgrind(1) by Dave Presotto and William Joy of UC Berkeley).

Extensions for P\s-2OST\s+2S\s-2CRIPT\s+2 fonts, procedure indexing, space after the -l option, the -o option, the ic, id, nc, and ni keywords, language support for Ada, awk, bash, BibTeX, BibTeX style file language, ANSI/ISO Standard C, ANSI/ISO Standard C++, CAML, ELisp, Fortran, ksh, LaTeX, Maple, Matlab, MLisp, Miranda, Objective C, PostScript, Russell, Sftran3, and tcsh, plus major revisions of documentation and source distribution, by

Nelson H. F. Beebe
Center for Scientific Computing
University of Utah
Department of Mathematics, 322 INSCC
155 S 1400 E RM 233
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090
Email:,, (Internet)
FAX: +1 801 585 1640, +1 801 581 4148
Tel: +1 801 581 5254


tgrind is freely distributable. The definitive master archive at the maintainer's site is available at
where x.y is a version number (3.00 for this release)

You should also be able to find the most recent version in the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN) collections; for a list of CTAN hosts, do

The three main CTAN master sites at the time of writing are: (Germany) (England) (Massachusetts, USA)


autoconf(1) awk(1), bash(1), bibclean(1), bibtex(1), bstpretty(1), cb(1), csh(1), dpsexec(1), ex(1), gawk(1), gs(1), indent(1), ksh(1), lex(1), maple(1), matlab(1), mft(1), nawk(1), pageview(1), pform(1), pindent(1), postscript(1), pretty(1), printcap(4), sf3pretty(1), sh(1), tcsh(1), termcap(4), tex(1), vgrind(1), vgrindefs(5), xmaple(1), xsf3(1).