man format and display the on-line manual pages

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

formats and displays the on-line manual pages. With a section, Only that section is processed. name the name of a command, function. Specifing a file may simply display that file.

-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 envi- ronment 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 MAN- SECT environment 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 pre- formatted 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.
Format only - do not display.
-h Print a 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 pages.)
-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 des- ignate 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 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.
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 equiva- lent 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
CAT PAGES Saves the formatted pages. 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. HTML PAGES 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. SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES 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 specifica- tion 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 contents of the configuration file /etc/man.config. The MANPATH statements in the configura- tion 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.con- fig. 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 com- pression suffix (like .gz), man assumes it is gzipped. If you want to see where (or if) man would find the manual page for a particular topic, use the --path (-w) option. ENVIRONMENT MANPATH If MANPATH is set, man uses it as the path to search for manual page files. It overrides the configuration 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. MANROFFSEQ If MANROFFSEQ is set, its value is used to determine the set of preprocessors run before run- ning nroff or troff. By default, pages are passed through the tbl preprocessor before nroff. MANSECT If MANSECT is set, its value is used to determine which manual sections to search. MANWIDTH 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. MANPAGER 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. BROWSER The name of a browser to use for displaying HTML manual pages. If it is not set, /usr/bin/less -is is used. HTMLPAGER 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. NLSPATH, LC_MESSAGES, LANG 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).


# manpath.config
# This file is used by the man-db package to configure the man and cat paths.
# It is also used to provide a manpath for those without one by examining
# their PATH environment variable. For details see the manpath(5) man page.
# Lines beginning with `#' are comments and are ignored. Any combination of
# tabs or spaces may be used as `whitespace' separators.
# There are three mappings allowed in this file:
# --------------------------------------------------------
# MANDATORY_MANPATH         manpath_element
# MANPATH_MAP       path_element    manpath_element
# MANDB_MAP     global_manpath  [relative_catpath]
# every automatically generated MANPATH includes these fields
#MANDATORY_MANPATH          /usr/src/pvm3/man
MANDATORY_MANPATH           /usr/man
MANDATORY_MANPATH           /usr/share/man
MANDATORY_MANPATH           /usr/local/share/man
# set up PATH to MANPATH mapping
# ie. what man tree holds man pages for what binary directory.
#       *PATH*        ->    *MANPATH*
MANPATH_MAP /bin            /usr/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/bin        /usr/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /sbin           /usr/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/sbin       /usr/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/local/bin      /usr/local/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/local/bin      /usr/local/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/local/sbin     /usr/local/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/local/sbin     /usr/local/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/X11R6/bin      /usr/X11R6/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/bin/X11        /usr/X11R6/man
MANPATH_MAP /usr/games      /usr/share/man
MANPATH_MAP /opt/bin        /opt/man
MANPATH_MAP /opt/sbin       /opt/man
# For a manpath element to be treated as a system manpath 
# (those are), it must be mentioned below. 
# Each line may have an optional extra string indicating the catpath associated with the  manpath.
# If no catpath string is used, the catpath will default to the given manpath.
# provide all system manpaths, including those for alternate
# operating systems, locale specific manpaths, and combinations of both, if
# they exist, otherwise the permissions of the user running man/mandb will
# be used to manipulate the manual pages.
# mandb will not initialise the database cache for any manpaths not mentioned below 
# unless explicitly requested 
# In a user configuration file, this directive only controls the
# location of catpaths and the creation of database caches; it has no effect on privileges.
# Any manpaths that are subdirectories of other manpaths must be mentioned
# *before* the containing manpath. E.g. /usr/man/preformat must be listed
# before /usr/man.
#       *MANPATH*     ->    *CATPATH*
MANDB_MAP   /usr/man        /var/cache/man/fsstnd
MANDB_MAP   /usr/share/man      /var/cache/man
MANDB_MAP   /usr/local/man      /var/cache/man/oldlocal
MANDB_MAP   /usr/local/share/man    /var/cache/man/local
MANDB_MAP   /usr/X11R6/man      /var/cache/man/X11R6
MANDB_MAP   /opt/man        /var/cache/man/opt
# Program definitions.  These are commented out by default as the value
# of the definition is already the default.  To change: uncomment a
# definition and modify it.
#DEFINE     pager   pager
#DEFINE     cat cat
#DEFINE     tr  tr '\255\267\264\327' '\055\157\047\170'
#DEFINE     grep    grep
#DEFINE     troff   groff -mandoc
#DEFINE     nroff   nroff -mandoc
#DEFINE     eqn     eqn
#DEFINE     neqn    neqn
#DEFINE     tbl     tbl
#DEFINE     col     col
#DEFINE     vgrind  vgrind
#DEFINE     refer   refer
#DEFINE     grap    grap
#DEFINE     pic     pic -S
#DEFINE     compressor  gzip -c7
# Misc definitions: same as program definitions above.
#DEFINE     whatis_grep_flags       -i
#DEFINE     apropos_grep_flags      -iEw
#DEFINE     apropos_regex_grep_flags    -iE
# Section names. Manual sections will be searched in the order listed here;
# the default is 1, n, l, 8, 3, 0, 2, 5, 4, 9, 6, 7. Multiple SECTION
# directives may be given for clarity, and will be concatenated together in
# the expected way.
# If a particular extension is not in this list (say, 1mh), it will be
# displayed with the rest of the section it belongs to. The effect of this
# is that you only need to explicitly list extensions if you want to force a
# particular order. Sections with extensions should usually be adjacent to
# their main section (e.g. "1 1mh 8 ...").
SECTION     1 n l 8 3 2 3posix 3pm 3perl 3am 5 4 9 6 7
# Range of terminal widths permitted when displaying cat pages. If the
# terminal falls outside this range, cat pages will not be created (if
# missing) or displayed.
# If CATWIDTH is set to a non-zero number, cat pages will always be
# formatted for a terminal of the given width, regardless of the width of
# the terminal actually being used. This should generally be within the
# Flags.
# NOCACHE keeps man from creating cat pages.
dapi2:/home/dgerman > 
BUGS The -t option only works if a troff-like program is installed. If you see blinking \255 or instead of hyphens, put 'LESSCHARSET=latin1' in your environment. TIPS 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 AUTHOR 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 cur- rent maintainer. SEE ALSO apropos(1), whatis(1), less(1), groff(1), man.config(5).