DEC Runoff to any modern format conversion - MORE INFO

Robert Jarratt robert.jarratt at
Sun Jun 7 02:19:31 CDT 2015

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Ernest G.
> Allen
> Sent: 07 June 2015 01:02
> To: cctalk at
> Subject: RE: DEC Runoff to any modern format conversion - MORE INFO
> On Sat, 6 Jun 2015, Robert Jarratt wrote:
> > Date: Sat, 6 Jun 2015 05:36:40
> > From: Robert Jarratt <robert.jarratt at>
> > To: "'General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts'"
> >     <cctalk at>
> > Subject: RE: DEC Runoff to any modern format conversion - MORE INFO
> >
> > I have had a go with some of Tom's files but I have encountered some
> > problems. It seems the files have some commands in them that are not
> > recognised by any of the versions of runoff that I have. I have tried
> > on VMS 5.5-2, 7.3 and 8.4.
> >
> > The commands that are not recognised include (not a full list):
> >
> > .style header
> > .autotitle
> > .ebb
> > .fta
> > .referencepoint
> >
> > I have a vague recollection that DEC had some other internal version
> > of runoff, and I wonder if these commands are for such a version.
> >
> > Anyone know?
> >
> > Regards
> >
> > Rob
> >
> The .ebb is the short version of .ENABLE BAR (for change bars).
> It allows the .bb (.BEGIN BAR) and .eb (.END BAR) commands to take effect.
> Without .ebb the .bb and .eb commands don't affect the output.  A .dbb
> (.DISABLE BAR) command will cause the .bb and .eb commands to be ignored.
> The .style header is a fancy one that controls which levels of headings
> have section numbers before them, which are made into run-in headers or
> centered headers, and so forth.  See the "OpenVMS DIGITAL Standard Runoff
> Reference Manual" at
> c04623260
> I don't know about .autotitle, .fta, or .referencepoint and could only

That is the manual I looked at. I should have said with regard to .style
headers that I think the problem is the following syntax, it has lines like

.style header (level=1,before=1,after=1,norunin,firstcap)

Which don't appear to conform to the definition of the command in the
manual, although there could be more syntax defined somewhere in the manual
that allows this, but suffice to say runoff doesn't like those lines.

Another example is .EBB, in the file it is:

.ebb '|'

And it complains about the bit after "ebb", the manual doesn't seem to allow
for the bar character to be specified

Overall, it looks like some special version of runoff to me. I tried the
/DEC_INTERNAL switch, but it made no difference.



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