MAN(1) BSD General Commands Manual MAN(1)NAMEman — format and display the on-line manual pages
SYNOPSISman [-adfhkotw] [-m arch[:machine]] [-p string] [-M path] [-P pager]
[-S list] [section] name ...
The man utility formats and displays the on-line manual pages. This ver‐
sion 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 vari‐
-P pager Specify which pager to use. By default, man uses “more -s”.
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.
-a 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.
-d Do not actually display the man pages, but do print gobs of
-f Equivalent to whatis.
-h Print a help message and exit.
-k Equivalent to apropos.
As some manual pages are intended only for specific architec‐
tures and machine types, man searches any subdirectories, with
the same name as the current machine type and architecture, in
every directory which it searches. Machine specific areas are
checked before architecture specific areas, and architecture
specific areas are checked before general areas. For example,
for “i386:pc98”, the following subdirectories will be searched
for section 8 manpages, in order: man8/pc98, man8/i386, and
The current machine type may be overridden using this option or
by setting the environment variable MACHINE to the name of a
specific machine. The current architecture may be overridden
using this option or by setting the environment variable
MACHINE_ARCH to the name of a specific architecture. This
option overrides the MACHINE and MACHINE_ARCH environment vari‐
ables. A machine component, if omitted, defaults to arch.
-o Look for original, non-localized manpages only.
By default, man searches for a localized manpage in a set of
locale subdirectories of each manpath(1) component.
Locale name is taken from the first of three environment vari‐
ables with a nonempty value: LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, or LANG, in the
If the value could not be determined, or is not a valid locale
name, then only non-localized manpage will be looked up.
Otherwise, man will search in the following subdirectories, in
the order of precedence:
For example, for the “de_DE.ISO8859-1” locale, man will search
in the following subdirectories of the /usr/share/man manpath
Finally, if the search of localized manpage fails, it will be
looked up in the default /usr/share/man directory.
Specify the sequence of preprocessors to run before nroff(1) or
troff(1). 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‐
-t Use “/usr/bin/groff -S -man” to format the manual page, passing
the output to stdout. The default output format of groff(1) is
Postscript, but see the manual page of groff(1) for ways to
pick an alternate format.
Depending on the selected format and the availability of print‐
ing devices, the output may need to be passed through some fil‐
ter or another before being printed.
-w Do not actually display the man pages, but do print the loca‐
tion(s) of the files that would be formatted or displayed.
LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, LANG
These variables specify the preferred language for manual
pages. (See the -o option above.)
MACHINE If MACHINE is set, its value is used to override the cur‐
rent machine type when searching machine specific subdirec‐
MACHINE_ARCH If MACHINE_ARCH is set, its value is used to override the
current architecture when searching architecture specific
MANPATH 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(1) or
troff(1). By default, pages are passed through the table
preprocessor (tbl(1)) before nroff(1).
MANSECT If MANSECT is set, its value is used to determine which
manual sections to search.
PAGER If PAGER is set, its value is used as the name of the pro‐
gram to use to display the man page. By default, “more -s”
Normally, to look at the relevant manpage information for “getopt”, one
However, when referring to a specific section of the manual, such as
getopt(3), one would use:
man 3 getopt
SEE ALSOapropos(1), groff(1), manpath(1), more(1), whatis(1), man(7), mdoc(7)BUGS
The -t option only works if the troff(1)-like program is installed.
BSD December 3, 2005 BSD