fmt(1)								       fmt(1)



NAME
  fmt - Formats mail messages prior to sending

SYNOPSIS

  fmt [-width] file ...

DESCRIPTION

  The fmt command reads the input file or files, or standard input if no
  files are specified, and writes to standard output a version of the input
  with lines of a length as close as possible to width bytes.

  The fmt command both joins and splits lines to achieve the desired width,
  but words are never joined or split; spaces are always preserved, and lines
  are split at spaces only.  In effect, fmt ignores newline characters in the
  input and wraps words to make lines a close as possible to width bytes,
  resulting in individual lines of varying length but a consistent (new) text
  width overall.  Because blank lines are always preserved, fmt does not
  merge paragraphs separated by blank lines.

  If you specify more than one file, the files are concatenated as input to
  fmt.	If you do not specify -width, the default line length is 72 bytes.
  Spacing at the beginning of input lines is always preserved in the output.

  The fmt command is generally used to format mail messages to improve their
  appearance before they are sent.  It may also be useful, however, for other
  simple formatting tasks.  For example, when you are using vi, you can use
  the command :%!fmt -60 to reformat your text so that all lines are approxi-
  mately 60 bytes long.

EXAMPLES

   1.  file1 contains these lines:
	    Australia is an island-continent, home to many
	    very interesting plants and animals.

       To reformat this text to a narrower width, enter:
	    fmt -30 file1

       This results in the following, displayed on your screen:
	    Australia is an island-continent,
	    home to many very interesting
	    plants and animals.

       To make file1 wider, enter:
	    fmt -60 file1

       This results in:
	    Australia is an island-continent, home to many very
	    interesting plants and animals.


   2.  To format a message you have created with the mailx editor, at the
       left margin enter:
	    ~|fmt

       After you enter the command, your message is formatted, in this case
       to the default line length of 72, and the word continue is displayed
       to indicate that you can enter more information or send your message.

NOTES

   1.  The fmt command is a fast, simple formatting program.  Standard text
       editing programs are more appropriate than fmt for complex formatting
       operations.

   2.  Do not use the fmt command if the message contains embedded messages
       or preformatted information from other files.  This command formats
       the heading information in embedded messages and may change the format
       of preformatted information.

RELATED INFORMATION

  Commands:  mail(1)/binmail(1), mailx(1)/Mail(1), vi(1)/vedit(1)/view(1).