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Mac OS X / Darwin man pages : man (1)
man (1)

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man - format and display the on-line manual pages


man [-adfhkotw] [-m machine] [-p string] [-M path] [-P pager] [-S list] [section] name ...


Man formats and displays the on-line manual pages. This version knows about the MANPATH and 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 enabled by the system administrator, formatted man pages will also be compressed with the `/usr/bin/gzip -c' command to save space.

The options are as follows:

-M path
Specify an alternate manpath. By default, man uses manpath(1) (which is built into the man binary) to determine the path to search. This option overrides the MANPATH environment variable.

-P pager
Specify which pager to use. By default, man uses less -Rse. This option overrides the PAGER environment variable.

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

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.

Don't actually display the man pages, but do print gobs of debugging information.

Equivalent to whatis.

Print a help message and exit.

Equivalent to apropos.

-m machine
As some manual pages are intended only for specific architectures, man searches any subdirectories, with the same name as the current architecture, in every directory which it searches. Machine specific areas are checked before general areas. The current machine type may be overridden using this option or by setting the environment variable MACHINE to the name of a specific architecture. This option overrides the MACHINE environment variable.

-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 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 -S -mandoc to format the manual page, passing the output to stdout. The output from /usr/bin/groff -S -mandoc 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.


These variables specify the preferred language for manual pages. (See the -o option above.)

If MACHINE is set, its value is used to override the current machine type when searching machine specific subdirectories.

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

MANROFFSEQ 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 nroff.

If MANSECT is set, its value is used to determine which manual sections to search.

If PAGER is set, its value is used as the name of the program to use to display the man page. By default, less -Rse is used. The -R flag to less is critical to the correct display of the output, so the -R flag is appended to the value specified by PAGER if it looks like less is being used.


Normally, to look at the relevant manpage information for getopt, one would use:

man getopt

However, when referring to a specific section of the manual, such as getopt(3) , one would use:

man 3 getopt

See Also

apropos(1) , groff(1) , less(1) , manpath(1) , whatis(1) , man(7) , mdoc(7)


The -t option only works if the troff(1) -like program is installed.

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