UNIX man manual pages
Here are the manual pages you would see if you typed man man on a Linux machine:
man-format and display the on-line manual pages
manpath-determine user's search path for man pages
man [-acdfhkKtwW] [-m system] [-p string]
[-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 preprocessors 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.5or even man /cd/foo/bar.1.gz.
Specify the man.config file to use; the default
is /etc/man.config. (See man.config(5).)
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.
Specify which pager to use. This option overrides
the MANPAGER environment variable, which in turn
overrides the PAGER variable. By default, man uses
List is a colon separated list of manual sections
to search. This option overrides the MANSECT
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.
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.
Don't actually display the man pages, but do
print gobs of debugging information.
Both display and print debugging info.
Equivalent to whatis.
Print a one-line help message and exit.
Equivalent to apropos.
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.)
Specify an alternate set of man pages to search
based on the system name given.
Specify the sequence of preprocessors to run before nroff or troff. Not all installations
will have a full set of preprocessors. Some of the pre-processors 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.
Use /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc to format the
manual 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 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
Like -w, but print file names one per line,
without additional information. This is useful
in shellcommands 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.
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
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.
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 table preprocessor before
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.
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 is used in the construction of the
default search path for man pages.
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 installed. If you see blinking
\255 or <AD> instead of hyphens, put
`LESSCHARSET=latin1' in your environment.