Man Pages

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man(1)                                                                  man(1)

       man - format and display the on-line manual pages

       man  [-acdDfFhkKtvVwW]  [--path] [-m system] [-p string] [-C config_file] [-M pathlist] [-P pager] [-B browser]
       [-H htmlpager] [-S section_list] [section] name ...

       man formats and displays the on-line manual pages.  If you specify section, man only looks in that  section  of
       the  manual.  name is normally the name of the manual page, which is typically the name of a command, function,
       or file.  However, if name contains a slash (/) then man interprets it as a file specification, so that you can
       do man ./foo.5 or even man /cd/foo/bar.1.gz.

       See below for a description of where man looks for the manual page files.

       The standard sections of the manual include:

       1      User Commands

       2      System Calls

       3      C Library Functions

       4      Devices and Special Files

       5      File Formats and Conventions

       6      Games et. Al.

       7      Miscellanea

       8      System Administration tools and Daemons

       Distributions customize the manual section to their specifics, which often include additional sections.

       -C  config_file
              Specify the configuration file to use; the default is /etc/man.config.  (See man.config(5).)

       -M  path
              Specify  the  list  of  directories  to search for man pages.  Separate the directories with colons.  An
              empty list is the same as not specifying -M at all.  See SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES.

       -P  pager
              Specify which pager to use.  This option overrides the MANPAGER  environment  variable,  which  in  turn
              overrides the PAGER variable.  By default, man uses /usr/bin/less -is.

       -B     Specify  which browser to use on HTML files.  This option overrides the BROWSER environment variable. By
              default, man uses /usr/bin/less-is,

       -H     Specify a command that renders HTML files as text.  This  option  overrides  the  HTMLPAGER  environment
              variable. By default, man uses /bin/cat,

       -S  section_list
              List is a colon separated list of manual sections to search.  This option overrides the MANSECT environ-
              ment variable.

       -a     By default, man will exit after displaying the first manual page it finds.  Using this option forces man
              to display all the manual pages that match name, not just the first.

       -c     Reformat  the  source  man page, even when an up-to-date cat page exists.  This can be meaningful if the
              cat page was formatted for a screen with a different number of columns, or if the preformatted  page  is

       -d     Don't actually display the man pages, but do print gobs of debugging information.

       -D     Both display and print debugging info.

       -f     Equivalent to whatis.

       -F or --preformat
              Format only - do not display.

       -h or --help
              Print a help message and exit.

       -v, -V or --version
              Print version information and exit.

       -k     Equivalent to apropos.

       -K     Search  for  the  specified  string in *all* man pages. Warning: this is probably very slow! It helps to
              specify a section.  (Just to give a rough idea, on my machine this takes about  a  minute  per  500  man

       -m  system
              Specify an alternate set of man pages to search based on the system name given.

       -p  string
              Specify  the  sequence of preprocessors to run before nroff or troff.  Not all installations will have a
              full set of preprocessors.  Some of the preprocessors and the letters used to designate  them  are:  eqn
              (e),  grap  (g), pic (p), tbl (t), vgrind (v), refer (r).  This option overrides the MANROFFSEQ environ-
              ment variable.

       -t     Use /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc to format the manual page, passing the output to  stdout.   The  default
              output  format  of /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc is Postscript, refer to the manual page of /usr/bin/groff
              -Tps -mandoc for ways to pick an alternate format.

       Depending on the selected format and the availability of printing devices, the output may  need  to  be  passed
       through some filter or another before being printed.

       -w or --path
              Don't  actually display the man pages, but do print the location(s) of the files that would be formatted
              or displayed. If no argument is given: display (on stdout) the list of directories that is  searched  by
              man for man pages. If manpath is a link to man, then "manpath" is equivalent to "man --path".

       -W     Like  -w,  but  print  file names one per line, without additional information.  This is useful in shell
              commands like man -aW man | xargs ls -l

       Man will try to save the formatted man pages, in order to save formatting time the next time  these  pages  are
       needed.   Traditionally, formatted versions of pages in DIR/manX are saved in DIR/catX, but other mappings from
       man dir to cat dir can be specified in /etc/man.config.  No cat pages are saved when the required cat directory
       does  not  exist.   No cat pages are saved when they are formatted for a line length different from 80.  No cat
       pages are saved when man.config contains the line NOCACHE.

       It is possible to make man suid to a user man. Then, if a cat directory has  owner  man  and  mode  0755  (only
       writable by man), and the cat files have owner man and mode 0644 or 0444 (only writable by man, or not writable
       at all), no ordinary user can change the cat pages or put other files in the cat directory. If man is not  made
       suid, then a cat directory should have mode 0777 if all users should be able to leave cat pages there.

       The option -c forces reformatting a page, even if a recent cat page exists.

       Man  will find HTML pages if they live in directories named as expected to be ".html", thus a valid name for an
       HTML version of the ls(1) man page would be /usr/share/man/htmlman1/ls.1.html.

       man uses a sophisticated method of finding manual page files, based on the invocation options  and  environment
       variables, the /etc/man.config configuration file, and some built in conventions and heuristics.

       First  of  all,  when  the  name  argument  to man contains a slash (/), man assumes it is a file specification
       itself, and there is no searching involved.

       But in the normal case where name doesn't contain a slash, man searches a variety of  directories  for  a  file
       that could be a manual page for the topic named.

       If you specify the -M pathlist option, pathlist is a colon-separated list of the directories that man searches.

       If you don't specify -M but set the MANPATH environment variable, the value of that variable is the list of the
       directories that man searches.

       If you don't specify an explicit path list with -M or MANPATH, man develops its own path list based on the con-
       tents of the configuration file /etc/man.config.  The MANPATH statements in  the  configuration  file  identify
       particular directories to include in the search path.

       Furthermore, the MANPATH_MAP statements add to the search path depending on your command search path (i.e. your
       PATH environment variable).  For each directory that may be in the command search path, a MANPATH_MAP statement
       specifies  a  directory  that  should be added to the search path for manual page files.  man looks at the PATH
       variable and adds the corresponding directories to the manual page file search path.  Thus, with the proper use
       of MANPATH_MAP, when you issue the command man xyz, you get a manual page for the program that would run if you
       issued the command xyz.

       In addition, for each directory in the command search path (we'll call it a "command directory") for which  you
       do  not  have a MANPATH_MAP statement, man automatically looks for a manual page directory "nearby" namely as a
       subdirectory in the command directory itself or in the parent directory of the command directory.

       You can disable the automatic "nearby" searches by including a NOAUTOPATH statement in /etc/man.config.

       In each directory in the search path as described above, man searches for a file named topic.section,  with  an
       optional  suffix  on  the section number and possibly a compression suffix.  If it doesn't find such a file, it
       then looks in any subdirectories named manN or catN where N is the manual section number.  If the file is in  a
       catN  subdirectory,  man  assumes  it is a formatted manual page file (cat page).  Otherwise, man assumes it is
       unformatted.  In either case, if the filename has a known compression suffix (like  .gz),  man  assumes  it  is

       If  you  want  to  see where (or if) man would find the manual page for a particular topic, use the --path (-w)

              If MANPATH is set, man uses it as the path to search for manual page files.  It overrides the configura-
              tion file and the automatic search path, but is overridden by the -M invocation option.  See SEARCH PATH
              FOR MANUAL PAGES.

       MANPL  If MANPL is set, its value is used as the display page length.  Otherwise,  the  entire  man  page  will
              occupy one (long) page.

              If  MANROFFSEQ  is set, its value is used to determine the set of preprocessors run before running nroff
              or troff.  By default, pages are passed through the tbl preprocessor before nroff.

              If MANSECT is set, its value is used to determine which manual sections to search.

              If MANWIDTH is set, its value is used as the width manpages should be displayed.   Otherwise  the  pages
              may be displayed over the whole width of your screen.

              If  MANPAGER  is  set,  its value is used as the name of the program to use to display the man page.  If
              not, then PAGER is used. If that has no value either, /usr/bin/less -is is used.

              The name of a browser to use for displaying HTML manual pages.  If it is not set, /usr/bin/less  -is  is

              The command to use for rendering HTML manual pages as text.  If it is not set, /bin/cat is used.

       LANG   If  LANG  is  set,  its  value defines the name of the subdirectory where man first looks for man pages.
              Thus, the command 'LANG=dk man 1 foo' will cause man to look for the foo man page in  .../dk/man1/foo.1,
              and  if it cannot find such a file, then in .../man1/foo.1, where ... is a directory on the search path.

              The environment variables NLSPATH and LC_MESSAGES (or LANG when the latter does not exist) play  a  role
              in  locating the message catalog.  (But the English messages are compiled in, and for English no catalog
              is required.)  Note that programs like col(1) called by man also use e.g. LC_CTYPE.

       PATH   PATH helps determine the search path for manual page files.  See SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES.

       SYSTEM SYSTEM is used to get the default alternate system name (for use with the -m option).

       The -t option only works if a troff-like program is installed.
       If you see blinking \255 or <AD> instead of hyphens, put 'LESSCHARSET=latin1' in your environment.

       If you add the line

        (global-set-key [(f1)] (lambda () (interactive) (manual-entry (current-word))))

       to your .emacs file, then hitting F1 will give you the man page for the library  call  at  the  current  cursor

       To get a plain text version of a man page, without backspaces and underscores, try

         # man foo | col -b > foo.mantxt

       John W. Eaton was the original author of man.  Zeyd M. Ben-Halim released man 1.2, and Andries Brouwer followed
       up with versions 1.3 thru 1.5p.  Federico Lucifredi <> is the current maintainer.

       apropos(1), whatis(1), less(1), groff(1), man.config(5).

                              September 19, 2005                        man(1)