MAN(1)                        Manual pager utils                        MAN(1)

       man - an interface to the system reference manuals

       man [man options] [[section] page ...] ...
       man -k [apropos options] regexp ...
       man -K [man options] [section] term ...
       man -f [whatis options] page ...
       man -l [man options] file ...
       man -w|-W [man options] page ...

       man  is  the system's manual pager.  Each page argument given to man is
       normally the name of a program, utility or function.  The  manual  page
       associated with each of these arguments is then found and displayed.  A
       section, if provided, will direct man to look only in that  section  of
       the  manual.   The  default action is to search in all of the available
       sections following a pre-defined order (see DEFAULTS), and to show only
       the first page found, even if page exists in several sections.

       The table below shows the section numbers of the manual followed by the
       types of pages they contain.

       1   Executable programs or shell commands
       2   System calls (functions provided by the kernel)
       3   Library calls (functions within program libraries)
       4   Special files (usually found in /dev)
       5   File formats and conventions, e.g. /etc/passwd
       6   Games
       7   Miscellaneous (including  macro  packages  and  conventions),  e.g.
           man(7), groff(7)
       8   System administration commands (usually only for root)
       9   Kernel routines [Non standard]

       A manual page consists of several sections.

       Conventional  section  names include NAME, SYNOPSIS, CONFIGURATION, DE-
       SEE ALSO.

       The following conventions apply to the SYNOPSIS section and can be used
       as a guide in other sections.

       bold text          type exactly as shown.
       italic text        replace with appropriate argument.
       [-abc]             any or all arguments within [ ] are optional.
       -a|-b              options delimited by | cannot be used together.
       argument ...       argument is repeatable.
       [expression] ...   entire expression within [ ] is repeatable.

       Exact rendering may vary depending on the output device.  For instance,
       man will usually not be able to render italics when running in a termi-
       nal, and will typically use underlined or coloured text instead.

       The command or function illustration is a pattern that should match all
       possible invocations.  In some cases it is advisable to illustrate sev-
       eral  exclusive invocations as is shown in the SYNOPSIS section of this
       manual page.

       man ls
           Display the manual page for the item (program) ls.

       man man.7
           Display the manual page for  macro  package  man  from  section  7.
           (This is an alternative spelling of "man 7 man".)

       man 'man(7)'
           Display  the  manual  page  for  macro  package man from section 7.
           (This is another alternative spelling of "man 7 man".   It  may  be
           more convenient when copying and pasting cross-references to manual
           pages.  Note that the parentheses must normally be quoted  to  pro-
           tect them from the shell.)

       man -a intro
           Display,  in  succession,  all  of the available intro manual pages
           contained within the manual.  It is possible to quit  between  suc-
           cessive displays or skip any of them.

       man -t bash | lpr -Pps
           Format  the  manual  page  for bash into the default troff or groff
           format and pipe it to the printer named ps.  The default output for
           groff  is usually PostScript.  man --help should advise as to which
           processor is bound to the -t option.

       man -l -Tdvi ./foo.1x.gz > ./foo.1x.dvi
           This command will decompress and format  the  nroff  source  manual
           page  ./foo.1x.gz  into a device independent (dvi) file.  The redi-
           rection is necessary as the -T flag causes output to be directed to
           stdout  with  no  pager.  The output could be viewed with a program
           such as xdvi or further processed into PostScript using  a  program
           such as dvips.

       man -k printf
           Search the short descriptions and manual page names for the keyword
           printf as regular expression.  Print out any  matches.   Equivalent
           to apropos printf.

       man -f smail
           Lookup the manual pages referenced by smail and print out the short
           descriptions of any found.  Equivalent to whatis smail.

       Many options are available to man in order to give as much  flexibility
       as  possible to the user.  Changes can be made to the search path, sec-
       tion order, output processor, and other behaviours and  operations  de-
       tailed below.

       If set, various environment variables are interrogated to determine the
       operation of man.  It is  possible  to  set  the  "catch-all"  variable
       $MANOPT  to  any string in command line format, with the exception that
       any spaces used as part of an option's argument must be  escaped  (pre-
       ceded by a backslash).  man will parse $MANOPT prior to parsing its own
       command line.  Those options requiring an argument will  be  overridden
       by the same options found on the command line.  To reset all of the op-
       tions set in $MANOPT, -D can be specified as the initial  command  line
       option.  This will allow man to "forget" about the options specified in
       $MANOPT, although they must still have been valid.

       Manual pages are normally stored in nroff(1) format under  a  directory
       such  as /usr/share/man.  In some installations, there may also be pre-
       formatted cat pages to improve performance.  See manpath(5) for details
       of where these files are stored.

       This package supports manual pages in multiple languages, controlled by
       your locale.  If your system did not set this up for you automatically,
       then  you may need to set $LC_MESSAGES, $LANG, or another system-depen-
       dent environment variable to indicate your  preferred  locale,  usually
       specified in the POSIX format:


       If  the  desired page is available in your locale, it will be displayed
       in lieu of the standard (usually American English) page.

       If you find that the translations supplied with this  package  are  not
       available  in  your  native language and you would like to supply them,
       please contact the maintainer who will be coordinating such activity.

       Individual manual pages are normally  written  and  maintained  by  the
       maintainers  of  the  program, function, or other topic that they docu-
       ment, and are not included with this package.  If you find that a  man-
       ual  page is missing or inadequate, please report that to the maintain-
       ers of the package in question.

       For information regarding other features and extensions available  with
       this manual pager, please read the documents supplied with the package.

       The  order  of  sections to search may be overridden by the environment
       variable $MANSECT or by the SECTION directive  in  /etc/manpath.config.
       By default it is as follows:

              1 n l 8 3 2 3posix 3pm 3perl 3am 5 4 9 6 7

       The  formatted  manual  page  is  displayed using a pager.  This can be
       specified in a number of ways, or else will fall back to a default (see
       option -P for details).

       The  filters are deciphered by a number of means.  Firstly, the command
       line option -p or the environment variable $MANROFFSEQ is interrogated.
       If  -p  was not used and the environment variable was not set, the ini-
       tial line of the nroff file is parsed for a  preprocessor  string.   To
       contain a valid preprocessor string, the first line must resemble

       '\" <string>

       where  string  can be any combination of letters described by option -p

       If none of the above methods provide any filter information, a  default
       set is used.

       A  formatting  pipeline is formed from the filters and the primary for-
       matter (nroff or [tg]roff with -t) and executed.  Alternatively, if  an
       executable program mandb_nfmt (or mandb_tfmt with -t) exists in the man
       tree root, it is executed instead.  It gets passed  the  manual  source
       file, the preprocessor string, and optionally the device specified with
       -T or -E as arguments.

       Non-argument options that are duplicated either on the command line, in
       $MANOPT,  or  both, are not harmful.  For options that require an argu-
       ment, each duplication will override the previous argument value.

   General options
       -C file, --config-file=file
              Use this user configuration file  rather  than  the  default  of

       -d, --debug
              Print debugging information.

       -D, --default
              This  option is normally issued as the very first option and re-
              sets man's behaviour to its default.  Its use is to reset  those
              options  that  may  have  been set in $MANOPT.  Any options that
              follow -D will have their usual effect.

              Enable warnings from groff.  This may be used to perform  sanity
              checks on the source text of manual pages.  warnings is a comma-
              separated list of warning names; if it is not supplied, the  de-
              fault  is  "mac".   See  the "Warnings" node in info groff for a
              list of available warning names.

   Main modes of operation
       -f, --whatis
              Equivalent to whatis.  Display a short description from the man-
              ual page, if available.  See whatis(1) for details.

       -k, --apropos
              Equivalent  to  apropos.   Search the short manual page descrip-
              tions for keywords and display any matches.  See apropos(1)  for

       -K, --global-apropos
              Search  for  text  in  all  manual pages.  This is a brute-force
              search, and is likely to take some time; if you can, you  should
              specify  a section to reduce the number of pages that need to be
              searched.  Search terms may be simple strings (the default),  or
              regular expressions if the --regex option is used.

              Note that this searches the sources of the manual pages, not the
              rendered text, and so may include false positives due to  things
              like  comments  in  source  files.   Searching the rendered text
              would be much slower.

       -l, --local-file
              Activate "local" mode.  Format and display  local  manual  files
              instead  of  searching  through  the system's manual collection.
              Each manual page argument will be interpreted as an nroff source
              file in the correct format.  No cat file is produced.  If '-' is
              listed as one of the arguments, input will be taken from  stdin.
              When this option is not used, and man fails to find the page re-
              quired, before displaying the error message, it attempts to  act
              as if this option was supplied, using the name as a filename and
              looking for an exact match.

       -w, --where, --path, --location
              Don't actually display the manual page, but do print  the  loca-
              tion  of  the source nroff file that would be formatted.  If the
              -a option is also used, then print the locations of  all  source
              files that match the search criteria.

       -W, --where-cat, --location-cat
              Don't  actually  display the manual page, but do print the loca-
              tion of the preformatted cat file that would be  displayed.   If
              the -a option is also used, then print the locations of all pre-
              formatted cat files that match the search criteria.

              If -w and -W are both used, then print both source file and  cat
              file  separated  by a space.  If all of -w, -W, and -a are used,
              then do this for each possible match.

       -c, --catman
              This option is not for general use and should only  be  used  by
              the catman program.

       -R encoding, --recode=encoding
              Instead  of  formatting the manual page in the usual way, output
              its source converted to the specified encoding.  If you  already
              know  the  encoding  of  the  source file, you can also use man-
              conv(1) directly.  However, this option allows  you  to  convert
              several  manual pages to a single encoding without having to ex-
              plicitly state the encoding of each, provided that they were al-
              ready  installed in a structure similar to a manual page hierar-

              Consider using man-recode(1)  instead  for  converting  multiple
              manual  pages,  since it has an interface designed for bulk con-
              version and so can be much faster.

   Finding manual pages
       -L locale, --locale=locale
              man will normally determine your current locale by a call to the
              C  function  setlocale(3) which interrogates various environment
              variables, possibly including $LC_MESSAGES and $LANG.  To tempo-
              rarily  override the determined value, use this option to supply
              a locale string directly to man.  Note that it will not take ef-
              fect until the search for pages actually begins.  Output such as
              the help message will always be displayed in the  initially  de-
              termined locale.

       -m system[,...], --systems=system[,...]
              If  this  system  has  access to other operating system's manual
              pages, they can be accessed using this option.  To search for  a
              manual  page from NewOS's manual page collection, use the option
              -m NewOS.

              The system specified can be a combination of comma delimited op-
              erating system names.  To include a search of the native operat-
              ing system's manual pages, include the system name  man  in  the
              argument string.  This option will override the $SYSTEM environ-
              ment variable.

       -M path, --manpath=path
              Specify an alternate manpath to use.  By default, man uses  man-
              path  derived code to determine the path to search.  This option
              overrides the $MANPATH environment variable and causes option -m
              to be ignored.

              A  path specified as a manpath must be the root of a manual page
              hierarchy structured into sections as described  in  the  man-db
              manual  (under  "The manual page system").  To view manual pages
              outside such hierarchies, see the -l option.

       -S list, -s list, --sections=list
              The given list is a colon- or comma-separated list of  sections,
              used  to  determine  which manual sections to search and in what
              order.  This option overrides the $MANSECT environment variable.
              (The -s spelling is for compatibility with System V.)

       -e sub-extension, --extension=sub-extension
              Some systems incorporate large packages of manual pages, such as
              those that accompany the Tcl package, into the main manual  page
              hierarchy.  To get around the problem of having two manual pages
              with the same name such as exit(3), the Tcl pages  were  usually
              all  assigned  to  section l.  As this is unfortunate, it is now
              possible to put the pages in the correct section, and to  assign
              a specific "extension" to them, in this case, exit(3tcl).  Under
              normal operation, man will  display  exit(3)  in  preference  to
              exit(3tcl).   To negotiate this situation and to avoid having to
              know which section the page you require resides in,  it  is  now
              possible  to  give  man  a sub-extension string indicating which
              package the page must belong to.  Using the above example,  sup-
              plying  the  option  -e tcl  to  man will restrict the search to
              pages having an extension of *tcl.

       -i, --ignore-case
              Ignore case when searching for manual pages.  This  is  the  de-

       -I, --match-case
              Search for manual pages case-sensitively.

              Show  all pages with any part of either their names or their de-
              scriptions matching each page argument as a regular  expression,
              as with apropos(1).  Since there is usually no reasonable way to
              pick a "best" page when searching for a regular expression, this
              option implies -a.

              Show  all pages with any part of either their names or their de-
              scriptions matching each page argument using  shell-style  wild-
              cards,  as  with  apropos(1) --wildcard.  The page argument must
              match the entire name or description, or match  on  word  bound-
              aries  in the description.  Since there is usually no reasonable
              way to pick a "best" page when searching for  a  wildcard,  this
              option implies -a.

              If  the  --regex  or  --wildcard option is used, match only page
              names, not page descriptions, as with whatis(1).  Otherwise,  no

       -a, --all
              By  default,  man  will  exit after displaying the most suitable
              manual page it finds.  Using this option forces man  to  display
              all the manual pages with names that match the search criteria.

       -u, --update
              This  option  causes  man  to  update its database caches of in-
              stalled manual pages.  This is only needed in  rare  situations,
              and it is normally better to run mandb(8) instead.

              By default, man will try to interpret pairs of manual page names
              given on the command line as equivalent to a single manual  page
              name  containing  a  hyphen or an underscore.  This supports the
              common pattern of programs that implement a  number  of  subcom-
              mands,  allowing  them to provide manual pages for each that can
              be accessed using similar syntax as would be used to invoke  the
              subcommands themselves.  For example:

                $ man -aw git diff

              To disable this behaviour, use the --no-subpages option.

                $ man -aw --no-subpages git diff

   Controlling formatted output
       -P pager, --pager=pager
              Specify  which output pager to use.  By default, man uses pager,
              falling back to cat if pager is not found or is not  executable.
              This  option overrides the $MANPAGER environment variable, which
              in turn overrides the $PAGER environment variable.   It  is  not
              used in conjunction with -f or -k.

              The  value  may be a simple command name or a command with argu-
              ments, and may use shell quoting (backslashes, single quotes, or
              double  quotes).   It may not use pipes to connect multiple com-
              mands; if you need that, use a wrapper script,  which  may  take
              the file to display either as an argument or on standard input.

       -r prompt, --prompt=prompt
              If  a  recent version of less is used as the pager, man will at-
              tempt to set its prompt and some sensible options.  The  default
              prompt looks like

               Manual page name(sec) line x

              where name denotes the manual page name, sec denotes the section
              it was found under and x  the  current  line  number.   This  is
              achieved by using the $LESS environment variable.

              Supplying  -r  with  a  string  will override this default.  The
              string may contain the text $MAN_PN which will  be  expanded  to
              the  name  of  the current manual page and its section name sur-
              rounded by "(" and ")".  The string used to produce the  default
              could be expressed as

              \ Manual\ page\ \$MAN_PN\ ?ltline\ %lt?L/%L.:
              byte\ %bB?s/%s..?\ (END):?pB\ %pB\\%..
              (press h for help or q to quit)

              It  is  broken into three lines here for the sake of readability
              only.  For its meaning see the less(1) manual page.  The  prompt
              string  is  first  evaluated  by  the shell.  All double quotes,
              back-quotes and backslashes in the prompt must be escaped  by  a
              preceding  backslash.  The prompt string may end in an escaped $
              which may be followed by further options for less.   By  default
              man sets the -ix8 options.

              The $MANLESS environment variable described below may be used to
              set a default prompt string if none is supplied on  the  command

       -7, --ascii
              When  viewing a pure ascii(7) manual page on a 7 bit terminal or
              terminal emulator, some characters  may  not  display  correctly
              when  using  the  latin1(7)  device  description with GNU nroff.
              This option allows pure ascii manual pages to  be  displayed  in
              ascii  with the latin1 device.  It will not translate any latin1
              text.  The following table  shows  the  translations  performed:
              some  parts  of it may only be displayed properly when using GNU
              nroff's latin1(7) device.

              Description        Octal   latin1   ascii
              continuation hy-    255      -        -
              bullet (middle      267      o        o
              acute accent        264      '        '
              multiplication      327      x        x

              If  the  latin1  column displays correctly, your terminal may be
              set up for latin1 characters and this option is  not  necessary.
              If  the  latin1 and ascii columns are identical, you are reading
              this page using this option or man did not format this page  us-
              ing  the  latin1  device  description.   If the latin1 column is
              missing or corrupt, you may need to view manual pages with  this

              This  option is ignored when using options -t, -H, -T, or -Z and
              may be useless for nroff other than GNU's.

       -E encoding, --encoding=encoding
              Generate output for a character encoding other than the default.
              For backward compatibility, encoding may be an nroff device such
              as ascii, latin1, or utf8 as well as a true  character  encoding
              such as UTF-8.

       --no-hyphenation, --nh
              Normally, nroff will automatically hyphenate text at line breaks
              even in words that do not contain hyphens, if it is necessary to
              do  so  to  lay  out  words on a line without excessive spacing.
              This option disables automatic hyphenation, so words  will  only
              be hyphenated if they already contain hyphens.

              If  you  are  writing  a  manual page and simply want to prevent
              nroff from hyphenating a word at an inappropriate point, do  not
              use  this  option,  but consult the nroff documentation instead;
              for instance, you can put "\%" inside a word to indicate that it
              may  be  hyphenated at that point, or put "\%" at the start of a
              word to prevent it from being hyphenated.

       --no-justification, --nj
              Normally, nroff will automatically justify text to both margins.
              This  option disables full justification, leaving justified only
              to the left margin, sometimes called "ragged-right" text.

              If you are writing a manual page  and  simply  want  to  prevent
              nroff  from  justifying  certain paragraphs, do not use this op-
              tion, but consult the nroff documentation instead; for instance,
              you  can use the ".na", ".nf", ".fi", and ".ad" requests to tem-
              porarily disable adjusting and filling.

       -p string, --preprocessor=string
              Specify the sequence of preprocessors to  run  before  nroff  or
              troff/groff.  Not all installations will have a full set of pre-
              processors.  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.   zsoelim  is  always run as the very first pre-

       -t, --troff
              Use groff -mandoc to format the manual page to stdout.  This op-
              tion is not required in conjunction with -H, -T, or -Z.

       -T[device], --troff-device[=device]
              This option is used to change groff (or possibly troff's) output
              to be suitable for a device other than the default.  It  implies
              -t.   Examples  (provided  with Groff-1.17) include dvi, latin1,
              ps, utf8, X75 and X100.

       -H[browser], --html[=browser]
              This option will cause groff to produce HTML  output,  and  will
              display  that output in a web browser.  The choice of browser is
              determined by the optional browser argument if one is  provided,
              by  the  $BROWSER environment variable, or by a compile-time de-
              fault if that is unset (usually lynx).  This option implies  -t,
              and will only work with GNU troff.

       -X[dpi], --gxditview[=dpi]
              This  option  displays the output of groff in a graphical window
              using the gxditview program.  The dpi (dots per inch) may be 75,
              75-12,  100, or 100-12, defaulting to 75; the -12 variants use a
              12-point base font.   This  option  implies  -T  with  the  X75,
              X75-12, X100, or X100-12 device respectively.

       -Z, --ditroff
              groff  will run troff and then use an appropriate post-processor
              to produce output suitable for  the  chosen  device.   If  groff
              -mandoc  is  groff, this option is passed to groff and will sup-
              press the use of a post-processor.  It implies -t.

   Getting help
       -?, --help
              Print a help message and exit.

              Print a short usage message and exit.

       -V, --version
              Display version information.

       0      Successful program execution.

       1      Usage, syntax or configuration file error.

       2      Operational error.

       3      A child process returned a non-zero exit status.

       16     At least one of the pages/files/keywords didn't exist or  wasn't

              If  $MANPATH is set, its value is used as the path to search for
              manual pages.

              Every time man invokes the formatter (nroff, troff,  or  groff),
              it  adds  the contents of $MANROFFOPT to the formatter's command

              If $MANROFFSEQ is set, its value is used to determine the set of
              preprocessors  to  pass  each  manual page through.  The default
              preprocessor list is system dependent.

              If $MANSECT is set, its value is a colon-delimited list of  sec-
              tions  and  it  is  used  to  determine which manual sections to
              search and in what order.  The default is "1 n l 8  3  2  3posix
              3pm  3perl  3am 5 4 9 6 7", unless overridden by the SECTION di-
              rective in /etc/manpath.config.

              If $MANPAGER or $PAGER is set ($MANPAGER is used in preference),
              its value is used as the name of the program used to display the
              manual page.  By default, pager is used, falling back to cat  if
              pager is not found or is not executable.

              The  value  may be a simple command name or a command with argu-
              ments, and may use shell quoting (backslashes, single quotes, or
              double  quotes).   It may not use pipes to connect multiple com-
              mands; if you need that, use a wrapper script,  which  may  take
              the file to display either as an argument or on standard input.

              If $MANLESS is set, its value will be used as the default prompt
              string for the less pager, as if it had been passed using the -r
              option  (so any occurrences of the text $MAN_PN will be expanded
              in the same way).  For example, if you want to  set  the  prompt
              string  unconditionally  to  "my prompt string", set $MANLESS to
              '-Psmy prompt string'.  Using the -r option overrides this envi-
              ronment variable.

              If  $BROWSER is set, its value is a colon-delimited list of com-
              mands, each of which in turn is used  to  try  to  start  a  web
              browser  for  man  --html.  In each command, %s is replaced by a
              filename containing the HTML output from groff, %%  is  replaced
              by a single percent sign (%), and %c is replaced by a colon (:).

       SYSTEM If  $SYSTEM  is  set,  it will have the same effect as if it had
              been specified as the argument to the -m option.

       MANOPT If $MANOPT is set, it will be parsed prior to man's command line
              and  is expected to be in a similar format.  As all of the other
              man specific environment variables can be expressed  as  command
              line  options,  and  are  thus  candidates for being included in
              $MANOPT it is expected that they  will  become  obsolete.   N.B.
              All spaces that should be interpreted as part of an option's ar-
              gument must be escaped.

              If $MANWIDTH is set, its value is used as the  line  length  for
              which  manual pages should be formatted.  If it is not set, man-
              ual pages will be formatted with a line  length  appropriate  to
              the  current terminal (using the value of $COLUMNS, and ioctl(2)
              if available, or falling back to 80  characters  if  neither  is
              available).   Cat pages will only be saved when the default for-
              matting can be used, that is when the terminal  line  length  is
              between 66 and 80 characters.

              Normally,  when output is not being directed to a terminal (such
              as to a file or a pipe), formatting characters are discarded  to
              make  it  easier to read the result without special tools.  How-
              ever, if $MAN_KEEP_FORMATTING is set  to  any  non-empty  value,
              these  formatting  characters  are retained.  This may be useful
              for wrappers around man that can  interpret  formatting  charac-

              Normally,  when  output is being directed to a terminal (usually
              to a pager), any error output from the command used  to  produce
              formatted  versions of manual pages is discarded to avoid inter-
              fering with the pager's display.  Programs such as  groff  often
              produce  relatively  minor  error  messages  about typographical
              problems such as poor alignment, which are unsightly and  gener-
              ally  confusing when displayed along with the manual page.  How-
              ever,  some  users   want   to   see   them   anyway,   so,   if
              $MAN_KEEP_STDERR  is  set  to  any non-empty value, error output
              will be displayed as usual.

              Depending on system and implementation, either or both of  $LANG
              and  $LC_MESSAGES  will  be interrogated for the current message
              locale.  man will display its messages in that locale (if avail-
              able).  See setlocale(3) for precise details.

              man-db configuration file.

              A global manual page hierarchy.

       apropos(1),   groff(1),   less(1),   manpath(1),   nroff(1),  troff(1),
       whatis(1), zsoelim(1), manpath(5), man(7), catman(8), mandb(8)

       Documentation for some packages may be available in other formats, such
       as info(1) or HTML.

       1990, 1991 - Originally written by John W. Eaton (

       Dec 23 1992: Rik Faith ( applied bug fixes supplied by
       Willem Kasdorp (

       30th April 1994 - 23rd February 2000: Wilf. (
       has been developing and maintaining this package with the help of a few
       dedicated people.

       30th October 1996 - 30th March  2001:  Fabrizio  Polacco  <fpolacco@de->  maintained and enhanced this package for the Debian project,
       with the help of all the community.

       31st March 2001 - present day: Colin  Watson  <>  is
       now developing and maintaining man-db.

2.9.1                             2020-02-25                            MAN(1)
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