I use my browser for opening man pages, converted on the fly to HTML pages. This works quite well, except tables aren't shown. Instead I see an Alt-text like <p align="center"><font color="#000000"><b><img src="grohtml-199582.png" alt="Image grohtml-199582.png"></b></font></p> and the image is actually not found.

I use following environment variables:

MANOPT='--encoding=UTF-8 -Txhtml --preprocessor=tpr --html'
MANLESS='$MAN_PN$-i -J -Q -R -x4'
BROWSER='firefox %s:lynx %s'

If I set MANOPT to an empty string the man page with nice drawn tables is shown in my terminal.

Any advice?

  • man2html is a perl script, which is "available", like many other scripts. Apr 5, 2017 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


groff has incomplete support for converting manual pages to html, in particular tables. groff generates an image file which is clipped from its pdf-output code. Sometimes the clipping is poor (trimming parts of the text), and other times it dumps core.

You might find that your image files were written to a temporary directory (rather than to the location where your webpage resides). If they are not in the same directory as the webpage when the browser loads the page, it will not find the images.

Additionally, it's not possible to search for text in those tables, defeating the purpose of making a table.

After several years of working around groff's problems, I converted all of my manual/html to use man2html. See for example, xterm's manual page.

  • Even man2html isn't perfect as it can't properly parse tables, but uses the ascii/utf8 representation. This looks only good with a monospace font. Also sometimes this breaks (see manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/zesty/en/man5/…). Apr 7, 2017 at 11:33
  • Sure - it uses a monospace font because it's a post-processor for nroff. As I'm using it, I'm limiting that to ASCII (to simplify parsing web-links), but groff does use UTF-8 line-drawing in a Unicode locale, so man2html could be modified to handle that. But proportional fonts - no, because nroff doesn't do anything else. Apr 7, 2017 at 19:52

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