Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Iyad Natour

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Trenary

Third Advisor

Dr. Ben Pinkowski

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Text, as seen in books and magazines, can take on three forms: string, graphic (two-dimensional), and image (digitized pictures). Text formatting processes text into a representation suitable for printing. Since a printer is really a computer, this representation is machine code for the printer. ASCII is one such code.

Six historically significant text formatting languages are surveyed: Runoff, Troff, TeX, Bravo, Scribe, and Postscript. The emphasis is on the text types available and the code generated. The main evolutionary forces are the changes in printers. Comparisons are made with programming languages.

Each of the six languages has ASCII as its basis, even though ASCII was originally meant for string text processing. With the electronic text fast approaching, the reliance upon ASCII will need to change in the future.