MANPATH(5) /etc/man_db.conf MANPATH(5)NAMEmanpath - format of the /etc/man_db.conf file
The manpath configuration file is used by the manual page utilities to
assess users' manpaths at run time, to indicate which manual page hier‐
archies (manpaths) are to be treated as system hierarchies and to
assign them directories to be used for storing cat files.
If the environment variable $MANPATH is already set, the information
contained within /etc/man_db.conf will not override it.
The following field types are currently recognised:
Blank lines or those beginning with a # will be treated as com‐
ments and ignored.
Lines of this form indicate manpaths that every automatically
generated $MANPATH should contain. This will typically include
MANPATH_MAP path_element manpath_element
Lines of this form set up $PATH to $MANPATH mappings. For each
path_element found in the user's $PATH, manpath_element will be
added to the $MANPATH.
MANDB_MAP manpath_element [ catpath_element ]
Lines of this form indicate which manpaths are to be treated as
system manpaths, and optionally where their cat files should be
stored. This field type is particularly important if man is a
setuid program, as (when in the system configuration file
/etc/man_db.conf rather than the per-user configuration file
.manpath) it indicates which manual page hierarchies to access
as the setuid user and which as the invoking user.
The system manual page hierarchies are usually those stored
under /usr such as /usr/man, /usr/local/man and /usr/X11R6/man.
If cat pages from a particular manpath_element are not to be
stored or are to be stored in the traditional location, cat‐
path_element may be omitted.
Traditional cat placement would be impossible for read only
mounted manual page hierarchies and because of this it is possi‐
ble to specify any valid directory hierarchy for their storage.
To observe the Linux FSSTND the keyword `FSSTND can be used in
place of an actual directory.
Unfortunately, it is necessary to specify all system man tree
paths, including alternate operating system paths such as
/usr/man/sun and any NLS locale paths such as
As the information is parsed line by line in the order written,
it is necessary for any manpath that is a sub-hierarchy of
another hierarchy to be listed first, otherwise an incorrect
match will be made. An example is that /usr/man/de_DE.88591
must come before /usr/man.
DEFINE key value
Lines of this form define miscellaneous configuration variables;
see the default configuration file for those variables used by
the manual pager utilities. They include default paths to vari‐
ous programs (such as grep and tbl), and default sets of argu‐
ments to those programs.
SECTION section ...
Lines of this form define the order in which manual sections
should be searched. If there are no SECTION directives in the
configuration file, the default is:
SECTION 1 n l 8 3 0 2 5 4 9 6 7
If multiple SECTION directives are given, their section lists
will be concatenated.
If a particular extension is not in this list (say, 1mh) it will
be displayed with the rest of the section it belongs to. The
effect of this is that you only need to explicitly list exten‐
sions if you want to force a particular order. Sections with
extensions should usually be adjacent to their main section
(e.g. "1 1mh 8 ...").
SECTIONS is accepted as an alternative name for this directive.
If the terminal width is less than width, cat pages will not be
created (if missing) or displayed. The default is 80.
If the terminal width is greater than width, cat pages will not
be created (if missing) or displayed. The default is 80.
If width is non-zero, cat pages will always be formatted for a
terminal of the given width, regardless of the width of the ter‐
minal actually being used. This should generally be within the
range set by MINCATWIDTH and MAXCATWIDTH.
This flag prevents man(1) from creating cat pages automatically.
Unless the rules above are followed and observed precisely, the manual
pager utilities will not function as desired. The rules are overly
126.96.36.199 2014-04-10 MANPATH(5)