MAN linux command manual

man(1)                                                                     man(1)

       man - format and display the on-line manual pages

       man  [-acdfFhkKtwW]  [--path] [-m system] [-p string] [-C config_file]
       [-M pathlist] [-P pager] [-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 nor-
       mally 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

       -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.  Sepa-
              rate 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  vari-
              able.  By default, man uses /usr/bin/less -iRs.

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

       -b     Disable any reference to color in the roff source.  NOCOLOR  in
              the configuration file will have the same effect.

       -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.

       -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 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  prepro-
              cessors.   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 groff -Tps -man to format the manual page, passing the out-
              put  to stdout.  The output from groff -Tps -man 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  loca-
              tion(s)  of  the files that would be formatted or displayed. If
              no argument is given: display (on stdout) the list of  directo-
              ries  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 format-
       ting  time  the next time these pages are needed.  Traditionally, for-
       matted 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 dif-
       ferent from 80.  No cat pages are saved  when  man.conf  contains  the
       line NOCACHE.

       It  is  possible to make man suid to a user man. Then, if a cat direc-
       tory 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

       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

       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

       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 configuration
       file identify particular directories to include in the search path.

       Furthermore, the MANPATH_MAP statements add to the search path depend-
       ing on your command search path (i.e. your PATH environment variable).
       For each directory that may be in the  command  search  path,  a  MAN-
       PATH_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  NOAU-
       TOPATH 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 gzipped.

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

              If MANPATH is set, man uses it as the path to search for manual
              page files.  It overrides the configuration file and the  auto-
              matic  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  pro-
              gram  to  use  to  display the man page.  If not, then PAGER is
              used. If that has no value either, /usr/bin/less -iRs 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.

       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), man.conf(5).

       The -t option only works if a troff-like program is installed.

       If you add the line

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

       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

                              September 2, 1995                        man(1)