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Title: TYPSET and RUNOFF  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: SCRIPT (markup), Troff, Scribe (markup language), Word processors, History of software
Collection: History of Software, Troff, Word Processors
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


RUNOFF was the first computer text formatting program to see significant use. It was written in 1964 for the CTSS operating system by Jerome H. Saltzer in MAD and FAP.

It actually consisted of a pair of programs, TYPSET (which was basically a document editor), and RUNOFF (the output processor). RUNOFF had support for pagination and headers, as well as text justification (TJ-2 appears to have been the earliest text justification system, but it did not have the other capabilities).

RUNOFF is a direct predecessor of the runoff document formatting program of Multics, which in turn was the ancestor of the roff and nroff document formatting programs of Unix, and their descendants. It was also the ancestor of FORMAT for the IBM System/360, and of course indirectly of every computerized word processing system.

Likewise, RUNOFF for CTSS was the predecessor of the various RUNOFFs for DEC's operating systems, via the RUNOFF developed by the University of California, Berkeley's Project Genie for the SDS 940 system.[1][2]

The name is alleged to have come from the phrase at the time, I'll run off a copy.


  • Example 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4



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See also


  1. ^ John V. Everett (1997-02-08). "Re: Runoffs (was: TJ-2, a very early word-processor-like program for the PDP-1)".  
  2. ^ Barnes, Larry (27 March 1973). RUNOFF: A Program for the Preparation of Documents (PDF). Bitsavers' PDF Document Archive. Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. R-37. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 


  • Jerome H. Saltzer, TYPSET and RUNOFF: Memorandum editor and type-out commands (MIT Computation Center CC-244, Project MAC MAC-M-193, Cambridge, 1964)
  • Jerome H. Saltzer, Manuscript typing and editing: TYPSET, RUNOFF (Section AH.9.01, CTSS Programmer's Guide, Project MAC, Cambridge, 1966)
  • Jerome H. Saltzer, Experimental Additions to the RUNOFF Command (Programming Staff Note 40, Project MAC, Cambridge, 1965)
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