Manual Page


A manual page, often abbreviated as man page, is a form of software documentation typically found in Unix and Unix-like operating systems. It provides detailed information on a specific command, function, or file format, including its usage, syntax, options, and examples. Users can access manual pages by typing “man” followed by the command or topic in the terminal or command line interface.

Key Takeaways

  1. Manual pages, also known as man pages, are a comprehensive documentation system in Unix-like operating systems, providing detailed information on command-line utilities, system calls, and configuration files.
  2. Man pages are organized into sections, numbered 1 to 8, each covering a specific topic such as user commands, system calls, library functions, and configuration files. This allows users to easily find the information they need for a specific topic.
  3. Users can access manual pages through the command line using the ‘man’ command followed by the name of the topic or command they want to learn more about. This displays the relevant man page, allowing the user to read the documentation and learn how to use the tool or command effectively.


The technology term “Manual Page” is important because it serves as a comprehensive documentation source for users, providing essential information on various software tools, utilities, and functions within a system.

Manual pages, often referred to as “man pages,” are the backbone for UNIX and Linux-based operating systems, designed to assist both novice and professional users in understanding how to utilize system commands, libraries, and kernel interfaces properly.

By presenting the information in a standardized format, they offer consistent instructions and access to knowledge, facilitating enhanced usability and adoption of command-line tools.

Thus, manual pages play a crucial role in fostering self-reliance, promoting best practices, and streamlining troubleshooting efforts among users of these operating systems.


Manual pages, often shortened to “man pages,” serve as an essential tool for providing comprehensive documentation and guidance to users within the Unix and Unix-like operating systems. This built-in, on-demand resource aims to facilitate the learning process for both novice and experienced users by offering explanations of various commands, system calls, libraries, and file formats.

By presenting detailed information and helpful examples of usage, users can access valuable insights into the functionality of specific tools or features, better understand the parameters or options associated with them, and ultimately improve their proficiency in interacting with the system itself. Man pages’ purpose extends beyond merely offering basic descriptions; they often include vital troubleshooting tips, descriptions of associated configuration files, and cross-references to other relevant documentation.

These resources provide users with a centralized, easy-to-navigate source of information for effectively managing and optimizing the performance of Unix and Unix-like operating systems. As these systems are constantly evolving with the addition of new tools and functionalities, man pages play a crucial role in ensuring that users are equipped with essential knowledge for their effective utilization, ultimately promoting efficient operation and widespread adoption of these powerful systems.

Examples of Manual Page

A “manual page,” also referred to as a “man page,” is a form of software documentation typically found on Unix-based operating systems like Linux or macOS. These pages explain how to utilize command-line tools or provide an overview and description of an application, library, or system call. Here are three real-world examples:

Manual page for the “ls” command: The ‘ls’ command is a widely used terminal command to list the contents of a directory. The manual page for this command provides information on its usage, options/flags, and examples of its use. You can access the man page for the ‘ls’ command by typing `man ls` in a terminal window.

Manual page for the “grep” command: The ‘grep’ command is a powerful command-line utility to search for text patterns within files. The manual page provides a thorough explanation of the command, its syntax, available flags, and examples of its use. To access the man page for the ‘grep’ command, simply type `man grep` in the terminal.

Manual page for the “chmod” command: The ‘chmod’ command allows users to change the permissions of files and directories within the filesystem. Its manual page describes how to use the command to set permissions using Octal or Symbolic representation, along with the options available. To view the man page for the ‘chmod’ command, type `man chmod` in the terminal.

Manual Page FAQ

1. What is a manual page?

A manual page, often referred to as a “man page,” is a form of documentation provided within Unix-based operating systems. Man pages usually contain information on how to use a program, utility, or function within the system.

2. How do I access a manual page?

To access a manual page, simply type “man” followed by the name of the command or program you need information on in the terminal. For example, “man ls” will display the man page for the “ls” command.

3. What information do manual pages typically contain?

Manual pages typically contain a brief description of the command or program, a synopsis, detailed description, options, files, environment variables, bugs, notes, and more. Man pages are often organized into sections to improve readability.

4. How can I search for a specific keyword within a manual page?

While viewing a man page, press the “/” key followed by the search term and press enter. This will highlight the first occurrence of the search term in the man page. Press “n” to navigate to the next occurrence or “N” to navigate to the previous occurrence.

5. Can I view a manual page in a web browser?

Yes, many online resources allow you to view man pages in a web browser format. These resources typically provide a searchable database of man pages, making it easy to find the information you need.

6. How do I exit a manual page?

To exit a manual page, simply press the “q” key. This will close the man page and return you to the terminal prompt.

Related Technology Terms

  • Command-line Interface
  • UNIX Documentation
  • man Command
  • Technical Reference
  • Manpage Sections

Sources for More Information

  • – Manual pages for reference and browsing
  • – A community website for Linux-related information, including manual pages
  • – Official website for the FreeBSD project, providing resources and documentation
  • – Home of the GNU Operating System, with a wealth of documentation and resources

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