man(1) User Commands man(1)
man - find and display reference manual pages
man [-] [-adFlrt] [-M path] [-T macro-package] [-s section] name...
man [-M path] -k keyword...
man [-M path] -f file...
The man command displays information from the reference manuals. It displays complete manual pages that you select by name, or one-line
summaries selected either by keyword (-k), or by the name of an associated file (-f). If no manual page is located, man prints an error
Reference Manual pages are marked up with either nroff (see nroff(1)) or SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) tags (see sgml(5)).
The man command recognizes the type of markup and processes the file accordingly. The various source files are kept in separate directories
depending on the type of markup.
Location of Manual Pages
The online Reference Manual page directories are conventionally located in /usr/share/man. The nroff sources are located in the
/usr/share/man/man* directories. The SGML sources are located in the /usr/share/man/sman* directories. Each directory corresponds to a sec-
tion of the manual. Since these directories are optionally installed, they might not reside on your host. You might have to mount
/usr/share/man from a host on which they do reside.
If there are preformatted, up-to-date versions in the corresponding cat* or fmt* directories, man simply displays or prints those versions.
If the preformatted version of interest is out of date or missing, man reformats it prior to display and stores the preformatted version if
cat* or fmt* is writable. The windex database is not updated. See catman(1M). If directories for the preformatted versions are not pro-
vided, man reformats a page whenever it is requested. man uses a temporary file to store the formatted text during display.
If the standard output is not a terminal, or if the `-' flag is given, man pipes its output through cat(1). Otherwise, man pipes its output
through more(1) to handle paging and underlining on the screen.
The following options are supported:
-a Shows all manual pages matching name within the MANPATH search path. Manual pages are displayed in the order found.
-d Debugs. Displays what a section-specifier evaluates to, method used for searching, and paths searched by man.
-f file ... man attempts to locate manual pages related to any of the given files. It strips the leading path name components from
each file, and then prints one-line summaries containing the resulting basename or names. This option also uses the
-F Forces man to search all directories specified by MANPATH or the man.cf file, rather than using the windex lookup data-
base. This option is useful if the database is not up to date and it has been made the default behavior of the man com-
mand. The option therefore does not have to be invoked and is documented here for reference only.
-k keyword ... Prints out one-line summaries from the windex database (table of contents) that contain any of the given keywords. The
windex database is created using catman(1M).
-l Lists all manual pages found matching name within the search path.
-M path Specifies an alternate search path for manual pages. path is a colon-separated list of directories that contain manual
page directory subtrees. For example, if path is /usr/share/man:/usr/local/man, man searches for name in the standard
location, and then /usr/local/man. When used with the -k or -f options, the -M option must appear first. Each directory
in the path is assumed to contain subdirectories of the form man* or sman* , one for each section. This option over-
rides the MANPATH environment variable.
-r Reformats the manual page, but does not display it. This replaces the man - -t name combination.
-s section ... Specifies sections of the manual for man to search. The directories searched for name are limited to those specified by
section. section can be a numerical digit, perhaps followed by one or more letters to match the desired section of the
manual, for example, "3libucb". Also, section can be a word, for example, local, new, old, public. section can also be
a letter. To specify multiple sections, separate each section with a comma. This option overrides the MANPATH environ-
ment variable and the man.cf file. See Search Path below for an explanation of how man conducts its search.
-t man arranges for the specified manual pages to be troffed to a suitable raster output device (see troff(1)). If both
the - and -t flags are given, man updates the troffed versions of each named name (if necessary), but does not display
-T macro-package Formats manual pages using macro-package rather than the standard -man macros defined in /usr/share/lib/tmac/an. See
Search Path under USAGE for a complete explanation of the default search path order.
The following operand is supported:
name The name of a standard utility or a keyword.
The usage of man is described below:
Manual Page Sections
Entries in the reference manuals are organized into sections. A section name consists of a major section name, typically a single digit,
optionally followed by a subsection name, typically one or more letters. An unadorned major section name, for example, "9", does not act as
an abbreviation for the subsections of that name, such as "9e", "9f", or "9s". That is, each subsection must be searched separately by man
-s. Each section contains descriptions apropos to a particular reference category, with subsections refining these distinctions. See the
intro manual pages for an explanation of the classification used in this release.
Before searching for a given name, man constructs a list of candidate directories and sections. man searches for name in the directories
specified by the MANPATH environment variable.
In the absence of MANPATH, man constructs its search path based upon the PATH environment variable, primarily by substituting man for the
last component of the PATH element. Special provisions are added to account for unique characteristics of directories such as /sbin,
/usr/ucb, /usr/xpg4/bin, and others. If the file argument contains a / character, the dirname portion of the argument is used in place of
PATH elements to construct the search path.
Within the manual page directories, man confines its search to the sections specified in the following order:
o sections specified on the command line with the -s option
o sections embedded in the MANPATH environment variable
o sections specified in the man.cf file for each directory specified in the MANPATH environment variable
If none of the above exist, man searches each directory in the manual page path, and displays the first matching manual page found.
The man.cf file has the following format:
Lines beginning with `#' and blank lines are considered comments, and are ignored. Each directory specified in MANPATH can contain a manual
page configuration file, specifying the default search order for that directory.
FORMATTING MANUAL PAGES
Manual pages are marked up in nroff(1) or sgml(5). Nroff manual pages are processed by nroff(1) or troff(1) with the -man macro package.
Please refer to man(5) for information on macro usage. SGML--tagged manual pages are processed by an SGML parser and passed to the format-
Preprocessing Nroff Manual Pages
When formatting an nroff manual page, man examines the first line to determine whether it requires special processing. If the first line is
a string of the form:
where X is separated from the `"' by a single SPACE and consists of any combination of characters in the following list, man pipes its
input to troff(1) or nroff(1) through the corresponding preprocessors.
e eqn(1), or neqn for nroff
If eqn or neqn is invoked, it automatically reads the file /usr/pub/eqnchar (see eqnchar(5)). If nroff(1) is invoked, col(1) is automati-
Referring to Other nroff Manual Pages
If the first line of the nroff manual page is a reference to another manual page entry fitting the pattern:
man processes the indicated file in place of the current one. The reference must be expressed as a path name relative to the root of the
manual page directory subtree.
When the second or any subsequent line starts with .so, man ignores it; troff(1) or nroff(1) processes the request in the usual manner.
Processing SGML Manual Pages
Manual pages are identified as being marked up in SGML by the presence of the string <!DOCTYPE. If the file also contains the string
SHADOW_PAGE, the file refers to another manual page for the content. The reference is made with a file entity reference to the manual page
that contains the text. This is similar to the .so mechanism used in the nroff formatted man pages.
See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of man: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, LC_MES-
SAGES, and NLSPATH.
MANPATH A colon-separated list of directories; each directory can be followed by a comma-separated list of sections. If set, its value
overrides /usr/share/man as the default directory search path, and the man.cf file as the default section search path. The -M
and -s flags, in turn, override these values.)
PAGER A program to use for interactively delivering man's output to the screen. If not set, `more -s' is used. See more(1).
TCAT The name of the program to use to display troffed manual pages.
TROFF The name of the formatter to use when the -t flag is given. If not set, troff(1) is used.
Example 1 Creating a PostScript Version of a man page
The following example creates the pipe(2) man page in postscript for csh, tcsh, ksh and sh users:
% env TCAT=/usr/lib/lp/postscript/dpost man -t -s 2 pipe > pipe.ps
This is an alternative to using man -t, which sends the man page to the default printer, if the user wants a postscript file version of the
Example 2 Creating a Text Version of a man page
The following example creates the pipe(2) man page in ascii text:
man pipe.2 | col -x -b > pipe.text
This is an alternative to using man -t, which sends the man page to the default printer, if the user wants a text file version of the man
The following exit values are returned:
0 Successful completion.
>0 An error occurred.
Root of the standard manual page directory subtree
Unformatted nroff manual entries
Unformatted SGML manual entries
nroffed manual entries
troffed manual entries
Table of contents and keyword database
Standard -man macro package
SGML document type definition files
SGML style sheet and entity definitions directories
Standard definitions for eqn and neqn
Default search order by section
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Availability |SUNWdoc |
|CSI |Enabled, see NOTES. |
|Interface Stability |Committed |
|Standard |See standards(5). |
apropos(1), cat(1), col(1), dpost(1), eqn(1), more(1), nroff(1), refer(1), tbl(1), troff(1), vgrind(1), whatis(1), catman(1M),
attributes(5), environ(5), eqnchar(5), man(5), sgml(5), standards(5)
The -f and -k options use the windex database, which is created by catman(1M).
The man command is CSI-capable. However, some utilities invoked by the man command, namely, troff, eqn, neqn, refer, tbl, and vgrind, are
not verified to be CSI-capable. Because of this, the man command with the -t option can not handle non-EUC data. Also, using the man com-
mand to display man pages that require special processing through eqn, neqn, refer, tbl, or vgrind can not be CSI-capable.
The manual is supposed to be reproducible either on a phototypesetter or on an ASCII terminal. However, on a terminal some information
(indicated by font changes, for instance) is lost.
Some dumb terminals cannot process the vertical motions produced by the e (see eqn(1)) preprocessing flag. To prevent garbled output on
these terminals, when you use e, also use t, to invoke col(1) implicitly. This workaround has the disadvantage of eliminating superscripts
and subscripts, even on those terminals that can display them. Control-q clears a terminal that gets confused by eqn(1) output.
SunOS 5.11 8 May 2008 man(1)