Video:How to Use the Man Pages on Linuxwith Zoya Popova
Man pages are simply a manual to your Linux system and the commands that you can use in it. In this how-to video from About.com, get a description of and step-by-step instructions for using the man pages in Linux.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Use the Man Pages on Linux
Hi, I'm Zoya Popova for About.com, and today I'm going to show you how to use the man pages in Linux.
What are Man Pages in Linux?
Man pages are quite simply a manual to your Linux system and the commands that you can use in it. If you need help or need to learn about pretty much any command, just type "man", followed by the name of that command. For example, the manual of the find command would be "man find". The manual of the ls command would be "man ls",
How to Use the Man Pages in Linux
To scroll up and down the man pages, you can either use your mouse wheel or the up and down arrows on your keyboard. To go through the manual screen by screen, hit the space bar to go forward, or the "b" key to go back.
Pretty much all the man pages have same structure: First, the name of the command. Next, the synopsis, which tells you how to use this command. If brackets are used in the synopsis, that tells you these parts of the syntax are optional. In this case, it tells you the ls command can be used on its own, without any options or file names following it. Next, the man pages will offer a brief description of the command--what it does. And then it will go into all the options and arguments that you can use with it and what they do. When you're done with the manual, you can hit "q" to quit.
The man command itself has a man page. You can access it by entering "man man".
This, too, will give you a wide variety of options that can be used. The option "-k" allows you to search through the man pages to find the entries where a keyword is featured in the short description. This command-- man -k compress-- will look at the brief descriptions of all the manual pages and bring up the ones that have the word "compress" in them.
Another useful option is -f. When you use it with a command name, it will only bring up a brief description of that command. "Man -f unzip" will result in the output:
- unzip (1) - list, test and extract compressed files in a ZIP archive
The command "man -f top: will result in the output:
- top (1) - display Linux tasks
So -f basically answers the question "What does this command do?" without actually taking you to the man page.
And this is it for us for today. Thank you for watching, and for more information please visit us at About.com.