How to adjust man page line length

Dan Nelson dnelson at
Tue Jan 18 04:33:17 UTC 2011

In the last episode (Jan 17), David J. Weller-Fahy said:
> To expand on the question in the subject: How does one tell `man` not to
> automatically format man pages to 80 columns?  I'm looking for a fairly
> easy way to do this, or confirmation it would involve internal gymnastics
> I may not be willing to perform.

For FreeBSD-originated manpages, it looks like the line length is taken from
the .ll and .lt definitions in /usr/share/tmac/mdoc/doc-nroff .  If you
comment them out, you get the groff default width of 6 inches.  I don't know
if groff can pull values from environment variables or the physical TTY.

	Dan Nelson
	dnelson at

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