What's the recommended way to get the pdfroff command working on macOS?

It appears groff v1.19.2 comes still bundled with macOS 10.13, but pdfroff not anymore. So do I need to reinstall the entire groff using homebrew. Or is there a better way?

There is also this pdfroff.sh script on opensource.apple.com, which seems to work when executed with sh pdfroff.

  • What does running type -a awk output?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:20
  • Any concern with installing groff from Homebrew? It appears thats the only way to get pdfroff.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:24
  • @Nimesh, ah, with sh pdfroff it seems to work, as opposed to ./pdfroff
    – mb21
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:25
  • if that's the best way I'll go with homebrew, just thought it would be nice to use the builtin groff, since it's alreadyd there...
    – mb21
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:26

1 Answer 1


It is recommend to install groff from Homebrew.

Apple's built-in groff is pretty outdated (version 1.19.2) and doesn't include pdfroff.

Homebrew's supplied version on the other hand is up-to-date with recent version available (version 1.22.3).

Install the required packages (GNU troff and Ghostscript) by running:

brew install groff gs
  • Yes, groff 1.19 seems to be from 2005 or something. I also needed to install GhostScript: brew install gs
    – mb21
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:45
  • If you are looking to work with most up-to-date UNIX tools, Homebrew is the way to go. Apple supplied tools are not updated very frequently.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:46

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