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Re: troff

>   Is there any way to specify within a troff file that it needs to
> be preprocessed by tbl or any other preprocessor?

Not that I am aware of.  One might be able to grep the file looking for
a TS TE pair to denote the start and end of a table, and then use that
to set a flag of some sort that would indicate tbl was needed.

But, it does not hurt to preprocess a file with tbl.  If no table
syntax is present, it just passes right through tbl and onto the
next item in the pipe.  All it eats up is a little time and disk
space for the input and output files.

I generically use grap filename.tro | pic | eqn | tbl | troff -whatever
in makefiles or batch files on dos (yes, I use troff on dos now and then).
That works fine.