Man Command (Manual Pages)

The man command displays reference manual pages. To see a manual page, type:

man <command>

Example: man ls

Using Keywords or apropos

If you are not sure what the name of a command is, type:

man -k <keyword>

For example, if you wanted to print out a document, but you didn’t know that the command to print was lpr, you could type:

man -k print

This example would display a list of all the commands related to printing with a short description of each command.

Another way of using keywords to find a command is by using the apropos command. apropos is the same as

using man with the -k option.

To use apropos, type:

apropos command

Example: apropos finger

This will display all of the commands for which the man page contains finger in the NAME
line.

Specifying Man Pages

The man pages are generally divided up into approximately nine sections:

1    Commands and application programs.

1m   Commands for system maintenance.

2    System calls and error numbers.

3    Functions and libraries.

3m   Mathematical library functions and constants.

3f   FORTRAN library functions and subroutines.

4    File formats.

5    Descriptions of publicly available files and miscellaneous information pages.

6    Computer games and demonstrations.

7    Special files that refer to specific hardware peripherals and device drivers.

9    Device driver interfaces.

Sometimes commands with the same name fall into several different categories resulting in several different man pages
with the same title name. For example, there are three different time commands located in three different sections:

time (1) – time a command

time (2)– get time

time (3)– return system time

To see all the sections where a command exists, type:

man <command>

Example: man -a ispell

By default, the first man page found in the search path will be displayed, with the others following in the order in
which they are found. To view a man page other than the first one found, you can specify the section by typing:

man <section> <command>

Example: man -s 2 time

Sometimes, several commands with the same name fall into the same category, resulting in several different man pages
with the same name.

For example, two different help command exists in the same section, but they perform very different functions:

help (1) -M /usr/usc/man

help (1) -M /usr/man

By default, the first man page found in the search path will be displayed. To view a man page other that the first one
found, you can specify the path by typing:

man <path> <command>

Example: man -M /usr/man help

Printing Man Pages

To print out the man pages of a UNIX command, you can do the following:

man <command> | lpr <printer>

Example: man rm | lpr -Pps_ucc101