The man Command

       man - format and display the on-line manual pages
       manpath - determine user's search path for man pages


       man  [-acdfFhkKtwW]  [-m  system]  [-p  string]  [-C  con­
       fig_file] [-M path] [-P pager] [-S section_list] [section]
       name ...


       man  formats  and displays the on-line manual pages.  This
       version knows about the MANPATH and (MAN)PAGER environment
       variables, so you can have your own set(s) of personal man
       pages and choose whatever program you like to display  the
       formatted  pages.  If section is specified, man only looks
       in that section of the manual.  You may also  specify  the
       order to search the sections for entries and which prepro­
       cessors to run  on  the  source  files  via  command  line
       options  or  environment  variables.  If name contains a /
       then it is first tried as a filename, so that you  can  do
       man ./foo.5 or even man /cd/foo/bar.1.gz.


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

       -M  path
              Specify the list of directories to search  for  man
              pages.  If no such option is given, the environment
              variable MANPATH is used. If  no  such  environment
              variable  is  found,  the  default list is found by
              consulting /etc/man.config.  An empty substring  of
              MANPATH denotes the default list.

       -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

       -S  section_list
              List is a colon separated list of  manual  sections
              to search.  This option overrides the MANSECT envi­
              ronment 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
              page is corrupted.

       -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     Print a one-line help message 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 preproces­
              sors 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
              environment variable.

       -t     Use  /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc to format the man­
              ual page, passing the output to stdout.  The output
              from  /usr/bin/groff  -Tps  -mandoc  may need to be
              passed through some filter or another before  being

       -w or --path
              Don't  actually display the man pages, but do print
              the location(s) of the files that would be  format­
              ted  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

       -W     Like -w, but print file names one per line, without
              additional information.  This is  useful  in  shell

       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.

       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.


              If MANPATH is set, its value is used as the path to
              search 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 deter­
              mine the set of preprocessors  run  before  running
              nroff  or  troff.   By  default,  pages  are passed
              through the table 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

              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.

              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 direc­
              tory 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 is used in the  construction  of  the  default
              search path for man pages.

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


       apropos(1), whatis(1), less(1), groff(1).


       The -t option  only  works  if  a  troff-like  program  is
       If  you  see blinking 5 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  position.

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

         # man foo | col -b > foo.mantxt


Comments - most recent first
(Please feel free to answer questions posted by others!)

BALRAJ SINGH SINGH RATHOR     (26 Feb 2012, 20:53)
I am to learn linux. How should I start.
Jonacani Bulai     (17 Nov 2011, 15:34)
I am new to this and I am indid need a help.
Bob Rankin     (26 Jan 2011, 09:49)
@Sharron - type q and press Enter.
Sharron     (24 Jan 2011, 12:37)
Help I can't get out of the manual... :-) I'm getting a : prompt?
Avinash Patil     (25 Aug 2010, 09:28)
Thankssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss sssssssss

I welcome your comments. However... I am puzzled by many people who say "Please send me the Linux tutorial." This website *is* your Linux Tutorial! Read everything here, learn all you can, ask questions if you like. But don't ask me to send what you already have. :-)

NO SPAM! If you post garbage, it will be deleted, and you will be banned.
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my email

Ask Bob Rankin - Free Tech Support

Copyright © by - Privacy Policy
All rights reserved - Redistribution is allowed only with permission.

privacy policy