Unix View the Manual Pages

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Viewing the Manual Page for a System Command[edit | edit source]

man <command>

This will show the manual page for the specified command.

For example, man ping will show:

PING(8)                   BSD System Manager's Manual                  PING(8)

NAME
     ping -- send ICMP ECHO_REQUEST packets to network hosts

SYNOPSIS
     ping [-AaCDdfnoQqRrv] [-b boundif] [-c count] [-G sweepmaxsize]
          [-g sweepminsize] [-h sweepincrsize] [-i wait] [-k trafficclass]
          [-l preload] [-M mask | time] [-m ttl] [-P policy] [-p pattern]
          [-S src_addr] [-s packetsize] [-t timeout] [-W waittime] [-z tos]
          host
     ping [-AaDdfLnoQqRrv] [-b boundif] [-c count] [-I iface] [-i wait]
          [-k trafficclass] [-l preload] [-M mask | time] [-m ttl] [-P policy]
          [-p pattern] [-S src_addr] [-s packetsize] [-T ttl] [-t timeout]
          [-W waittime] [-z tos] mcast-group

DESCRIPTION
     The ping utility uses the ICMP protocol's mandatory ECHO_REQUEST datagram
     to elicit an ICMP ECHO_RESPONSE from a host or gateway.  ECHO_REQUEST
     datagrams (``pings'') have an IP and ICMP header, followed by a ``struct
     timeval'' and then an arbitrary number of ``pad'' bytes used to fill out
     the packet.  The options are as follows:

...

While viewing the manpage it can be searched. Typing a slash (/) followed by the search term will jump to the first occurence of the term. Example: /ping

Pressing N afterwards will skip to the next occurrence. Shift+N will jump to the previous ocurrence.

Search for a Manual Page[edit | edit source]

You can search for man pages containing a particular string in their description using:

man -k <string>

For example:

man -k unzip

Might return:

man -k unzip
IO::Uncompress::Bunzip2(3pm) - Read bzip2 files/buffers
IO::Uncompress::Gunzip(3pm) - Read RFC 1952 files/buffers
IO::Uncompress::Unzip(3pm) - Read zip files/buffers
PerlIO::gzip(3pm)        - Perl extension to provide a PerlIO layer to gzip/gunzip
gzip(1), gunzip(1), zcat(1) - compress or expand files
IO::Uncompress::Bunzip2(3pm) - Read bzip2 files/buffers
IO::Uncompress::Gunzip(3pm) - Read RFC 1952 files/buffers
IO::Uncompress::Unzip(3pm) - Read zip files/buffers
PerlIO::gzip(3pm)        - Perl extension to provide a PerlIO layer to gzip/gunzip
bzip2(1), bunzip2(1)     - a block-sorting file compressor, v1.0.6 bzcat - decompresses files to stdout bzip2recover - recovers data from damaged bzip2 files
funzip(1)                - filter for extracting from a ZIP archive in a pipe
unzip(1)                 - list, test and extract compressed files in a ZIP archive
unzipsfx(1)              - self-extracting stub for prepending to ZIP archives

Find a man page in a different section[edit | edit source]

Sometimes a term is defined in multiple sections of the manual. By default, man will only display the first page it finds, which can be annoying for programmers because C functions are documented in a later section than commands and system calls. Use the following to display all pages that match a name:

$ man -wa printf
/usr/share/man/man1/printf.1.gz
/usr/share/man/man1p/printf.1p.gz
/usr/share/man/man3/printf.3.gz
/usr/share/man/man3p/printf.3p.gz

To view the page from a specific section, simply place it before the term:

man 3 printf

Read a manual file with man[edit | edit source]

This is same as reading a manual for a command:

man /path/to/man/file

Get the File Path for a Manual Page[edit | edit source]

$ man -w find
/usr/share/man/man1/find.1.gz

$ man -w printf
/usr/share/man/man1/printf.1.gz

$ man -w man
/usr/share/man/man1/man.1.gz

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