# Export Man Pages

To get a plain text version of a man page, without backspaces and underscores, try:

man foo | col -bx > foo.txt


man foo | col -bx | pbcopy


For a clipboard in Linux you might need to add:

# with xsel
alias pbcopy='xsel --clipboard --input'
alias pbpaste='xsel --clipboard --output'

# or with xclip:
alias pbcopy='xclip -selection clipboard'
alias pbpaste='xclip -selection clipboard -o'


## Ability to escape HTML Characters

Put this function in your .zshrc/.bashrc/etc.

escape_html () {
sed 's/&/\&amp;/g; s/</\&lt;/g; s/>/\&gt;/g; s/"/\&quot;/g; s/'"'"'/\&#39;/g'
}


Then you can use it within the pipe.

man foo | col -bx | escape_html | pbcopy


This enables you to wrap the output into <pre> tags.

man(1)                                                                  man(1)

NAME
man - format and display the on-line manual pages

SYNOPSIS
man  [-acdfFhkKtwW]  [--path]  [-m system] [-p string] [-C config_file]
[-M pathlist] [-P pager] [-B browser] [-H htmlpager] [-S  section_list]
[section] name ...

DESCRIPTION
man formats and displays the on-line manual pages.  If you specify sec-
tion, man only looks in that section of the manual.  name  is  normally
the  name of the manual page, which is typically the name of a command,
function, or file.  However, if name contains  a  slash  (/)  then  man
interprets  it  as a file specification, so that you can do man ./foo.5
or even man /cd/foo/bar.1.gz.

See below for a description of where man  looks  for  the  manual  page
files.

OPTIONS
-C  config_file
Specify  the  configuration  file  to  use; the default is /pri-
vate/etc/man.conf.  (See man.conf(5).)

-M  path
Specify the list of directories to search for man pages.   Sepa-
rate  the directories with colons.  An empty list is the same as
not specifying -M at all.  See SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES.

-P  pager
Specify which pager to use.  This option overrides the  MANPAGER
environment  variable,  which  in turn overrides the PAGER vari-
able.  By default, man uses /usr/bin/less -is.

-B     Specify which browser to use on HTML files.  This  option  over-
rides  the  BROWSER  environment  variable. By default, man uses
/usr/bin/less-is,

-H     Specify a command that renders HTML files as text.  This  option
overrides  the  HTMLPAGER  environment variable. By default, man
uses /bin/cat,

-S  section_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  man-
ual pages that match name, not just the first.

-c     Reformat  the  source man page, even when an up-to-date cat page
exists.  This can be meaningful if the cat  page  was  formatted
for  a screen with a different number of columns, or if the pre-
formatted page is corrupted.

-d     Don't actually display the man  pages,  but  do  print  gobs  of
debugging information.

-D     Both display and print debugging info.

-f     Equivalent to whatis.

-F or --preformat
Format only - do not display.

-h     Print a help message and exit.

-k     Equivalent to apropos.

-K     Search  for  the  specified  string in *all* man pages. Warning:
this is probably very slow!  It  helps  to  specify  a  section.
(Just  to  give  a  rough idea, on my machine this takes about a
minute per 500 man pages.)

-m  system
Specify an alternate set of man pages to  search  based  on  the
system name given.

-p  string
Specify  the  sequence  of  preprocessors to run before nroff or
troff.  Not all installations will have a full set of preproces-
sors.   Some of the preprocessors and the letters used to desig-
nate them are: eqn (e), grap (g), pic (p), tbl (t), vgrind  (v),
refer  (r).   This  option  overrides the MANROFFSEQ environment
variable.

-t     Use /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc -c to format  the  manual  page,
passing  the  output  to  stdout.   The default output format of
/usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc -c is Postscript, refer to the  man-
ual  page  of /usr/bin/groff -Tps -mandoc -c for ways to pick an
alternate format.

Depending on the selected  format  and  the  availability  of  printing
devices,  the  output  may  need  to  be  passed through some filter or
another before being printed.

-w or --path
Don't actually display the man pages, but  do  print  the  loca-
tion(s) of the files that would be formatted or displayed. If no
argument is given: display (on stdout) the list  of  directories
that  is  searched by man for man pages. If manpath is a link to
man, then "manpath" is equivalent to "man --path".

-W     Like -w, but print file names one per line,  without  additional
information.   This is useful in shell commands like man -aW man
| xargs ls -l

CAT PAGES
Man will try to save the formatted man pages, in order to save  format-
ting time the next time these pages are needed.  Traditionally, format-
ted versions of pages in DIR/manX are saved in DIR/catX, but other map-
pings   from   man   dir   to   cat  dir  can  be  specified  in  /pri-
vate/etc/man.conf.  No cat pages are saved when the required cat direc-
tory  does  not  exist.  No cat pages are saved when they are formatted
for a line length different from 80.   No  cat  pages  are  saved  when
man.conf contains the line NOCACHE.

It is possible to make man suid to a user man. Then, if a cat directory
has owner man and mode 0755 (only writable by man), and the  cat  files
have  owner  man  and  mode  0644 or 0444 (only writable by man, or not
writable at all), no ordinary user can change  the  cat  pages  or  put
other  files  in the cat directory. If man is not made suid, then a cat
directory should have mode 0777 if all users should be  able  to  leave
cat pages there.

The  option  -c  forces  reformatting a page, even if a recent cat page
exists.

HTML PAGES
Man will find HTML pages if they live in directories named as  expected
to  be  ".html", thus a valid name for an HTML version of the ls(1) man
page would be /usr/share/man/htmlman1/ls.1.html.

SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES
man uses a sophisticated method of finding manual page files, based  on
the   invocation   options   and   environment   variables,  the  /pri-
vate/etc/man.conf configuration file, and some built in conventions and
heuristics.

First  of  all, when the name argument to man contains a slash (/), man
assumes it is a file specification itself, and there  is  no  searching
involved.

But in the normal case where name doesn't contain a slash, man searches
a variety of directories for a file that could be a manual page for the
topic named.

If  you  specify  the -M pathlist option, pathlist is a colon-separated
list of the directories that man searches.

If you don't specify -M but set the MANPATH environment  variable,  the
value  of  that  variable  is  the  list  of  the  directories that man
searches.

If you don't specify an explicit path list  with  -M  or  MANPATH,  man
develops  its  own path list based on the contents of the configuration
file /private/etc/man.conf.  The MANPATH statements in  the  configura-
tion  file  identify  particular  directories  to include in the search
path.

Furthermore, the MANPATH_MAP statements add to the search path  depend-
For each directory that may be in  the  command  search  path,  a  MAN-
PATH_MAP  statement  specifies  a directory that should be added to the
search path for manual page files.  man looks at the PATH variable  and
adds the corresponding directories to the manual page file search path.
Thus, with the proper use of MANPATH_MAP, when you  issue  the  command
man  xyz,  you  get a manual page for the program that would run if you
issued the command xyz.

In addition, for each directory in the command search path (we'll  call
it  a  "command  directory")  for  which  you do not have a MANPATH_MAP
statement, man automatically looks for a manual page directory "nearby"
namely as a subdirectory in the command directory itself or in the par-
ent directory of the command directory.

You can disable the automatic "nearby" searches by  including  a  NOAU-
TOPATH statement in /private/etc/man.conf.

In  each  directory in the search path as described above, man searches
for a file named topic.section, with an optional suffix on the  section
number  and  possibly  a compression suffix.  If it doesn't find such a
file, it then looks in any subdirectories named manN or catN where N is
the  manual section number.  If the file is in a catN subdirectory, man
assumes it is a formatted manual page file (cat page).  Otherwise,  man
assumes it is unformatted.  In either case, if the filename has a known
compression suffix (like .gz), man assumes it is gzipped.

If you want to see where (or if) man would find the manual page  for  a
particular topic, use the --path (-w) option.

ENVIRONMENT
MANPATH
If  MANPATH is set, man uses it as the path to search for manual
page files.  It overrides the configuration file and  the  auto-
matic  search  path,  but  is  overridden  by  the -M invocation
option.  See SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES.

MANPL  If MANPL is set, its value is used as the display  page  length.
Otherwise, the entire man page will occupy one (long) page.

MANROFFSEQ
If  MANROFFSEQ is set, its value is used to determine the set of
preprocessors run before running nroff or  troff.   By  default,
pages are passed through the tbl preprocessor before nroff.

MANSECT
If  MANSECT  is set, its value is used to determine which manual
sections to search.

MANWIDTH
If MANWIDTH is set, its value is  used  as  the  width  manpages
should  be displayed.  Otherwise the pages may be displayed over
the whole width of your screen.

MANPAGER
If MANPAGER is set, its value is used as the name of the program
to  use to display the man page.  If not, then PAGER is used. If
that has no value either, /usr/bin/less -is is used.

BROWSER
The name of a browser to use for displaying HTML  manual  pages.
If it is not set, /usr/bin/less -is is used.

HTMLPAGER
The  command to use for rendering HTML manual pages as text.  If
it is not set, /bin/cat is used.

LANG   If LANG is set, its value defines the name of  the  subdirectory
where  man first looks for man pages. Thus, the command LANG=dk
man 1 foo' will cause man to  look  for  the  foo  man  page  in
.../dk/man1/foo.1,  and  if  it cannot find such a file, then in
.../man1/foo.1, where ... is a directory on the search path.

NLSPATH, LC_MESSAGES, LANG
The environment variables NLSPATH and LC_MESSAGES (or LANG  when
the  latter  does not exist) play a role in locating the message
catalog.  (But the English messages are  compiled  in,  and  for
English no catalog is required.)  Note that programs like col(1)
called by man also use e.g. LC_CTYPE.

PATH   PATH helps determine the search path for manual page files.  See
SEARCH PATH FOR MANUAL PAGES.

SYSTEM SYSTEM is used to get the default alternate system name (for use
with the -m option).

BUGS
The -t option only works if a troff-like program is installed.
If you see blinking  \255  or  <AD>  instead  of  hyphens,  put  LESS-

TIPS

(global-set-key  [(f1)]  (lambda () (interactive) (manual-entry (cur-
rent-word))))

to your .emacs file, then hitting F1 will give you the man page for the
library call at the current cursor position.

To  get  a  plain  text  version  of a man page, without backspaces and
underscores, try

# man foo | col -b > foo.mantxt

AUTHOR
John W. Eaton was the  original  author  of  man.   Zeyd  M.  Ben-Halim
released  man  1.2,  and  Andries Brouwer followed up with versions 1.3
thru 1.5p.  Federico  Lucifredi  <flucifredi@acm.org>  is  the  current
maintainer.