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POD2TEXT(1) Perl Programmers Reference Guide POD2TEXT(1)


pod2text – Convert POD data to formatted ASCII text


pod2text [-aclostu] [–code] [–errors=style] [-i indent] [-q quotes] [–nourls] [–stderr] [-w width] [input [output …]]

pod2text -h


pod2text is a front-end for Pod::Text and its subclasses. It uses them
to generate formatted ASCII text from POD source. It can optionally
use either termcap sequences or ANSI color escape sequences to format
the text.

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 pod2text invocation (saving module
load and compile times) by providing multiple pairs of input and output
files on the command line.


-a, –alt
Use an alternate output format that, among other things, uses a
different heading style and marks “=item” entries with a colon in
the left margin.

Include any non-POD text from the input file in the output as well.
Useful for viewing code documented with POD blocks with the POD
rendered and the code left intact.

-c, –color
Format the output with ANSI color escape sequences. Using this
option requires that Term::ANSIColor be installed on your system.

-i indent, –indent=indent
Set the number of spaces to indent regular text, and the default
indentation for “=over” blocks. Defaults to 4 spaces if this
option isn’t given.

Set the error handling style. “die” says to throw an exception on
any POD formatting error. “stderr” says to report errors on
standard error, but not to throw an exception. “pod” says to
include a POD ERRORS section in the resulting documentation
summarizing the errors. “none” ignores POD errors entirely, as
much as possible.

The default is “die”.

-h, –help
Print out usage information and exit.

-l, –loose
Print a blank line after a “=head1” heading. Normally, no blank
line is printed after “=head1”, although one is still printed after
“=head2”, because this is the expected formatting for manual pages;
if you’re formatting arbitrary text documents, using this option is

-m width, –left-margin=width, –margin=width
The width of the left margin in spaces. Defaults to 0. This is
the margin for all text, including headings, not the amount by
which regular text is indented; for the latter, see -i option.

Normally, L<> formatting codes with a URL but anchor text are
formatted to show both the anchor text and the URL. In other


is formatted as:


This flag, if given, suppresses the URL when anchor text is given,
so this example would be formatted as just “foo”. This can produce
less cluttered output in cases where the URLs are not particularly

-o, –overstrike
Format the output with overstrike printing. Bold text is rendered
as character, backspace, character. Italics and file names are
rendered as underscore, backspace, character. Many pagers, such as
less, know how to convert this to bold or underlined text.

-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.

-s, –sentence
Assume each sentence ends with two spaces and try to preserve that
spacing. Without this option, all consecutive whitespace in non-
verbatim paragraphs is compressed into a single space.

By default, pod2text dies if any errors are detected in the POD
input. If –stderr is given and no –errors flag is present,
errors are sent to standard error, but pod2text does not abort.
This is equivalent to “–errors=stderr” and is supported for
backward compatibility.

-t, –termcap
Try to determine the width of the screen and the bold and underline
sequences for the terminal from termcap, and use that information
in formatting the output. Output will be wrapped at two columns
less than the width of your terminal device. Using this option
requires that your system have a termcap file somewhere where
Term::Cap can find it and requires that your system support
termios. With this option, the output of pod2text will contain
terminal control sequences for your current terminal type.

-u, –utf8
By default, pod2text tries to use the same output encoding as its
input encoding (to be backward-compatible with older versions).
This option says to instead force the output encoding to UTF-8.

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 for more information on the
“=encoding” command.

-w, –width=width, -width
The column at which to wrap text on the right-hand side. Defaults
to 76, unless -t is given, in which case it’s two columns less than
the width of your terminal device.

As long as all documents processed result in some output, even if that
output includes errata (a “POD ERRORS” section generated with
“–errors=pod”), pod2text will exit with status 0. If any of the
documents being processed do not result in an output document, pod2text
will exit with status 1. If there are syntax errors in a POD document
being processed and the error handling style is set to the default of
“die”, pod2text will abort immediately with exit status 255.

If pod2text fails with errors, see Pod::Text and Pod::Simple for
information about what those errors might mean. Internally, it can
also produce the following diagnostics:

-c (–color) requires Term::ANSIColor be installed
(F) -c or –color were given, but Term::ANSIColor could not be

Unknown option: %s
(F) An unknown command line option was given.

In addition, other Getopt::Long error messages may result from invalid
command-line options.

If -t is given, pod2text will take the current width of your screen
from this environment variable, if available. It overrides
terminal width information in TERMCAP.

If -t is given, pod2text will use the contents of this environment
variable if available to determine the correct formatting sequences
for your current terminal device.


Pod::Text, Pod::Text::Color, Pod::Text::Overstrike, Pod::Text::Termcap,
Pod::Simple, perlpod

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 .

Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 Russ
Allbery .

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

perl v5.22.1 2016-03-13 POD2TEXT(1)