man command in Linux /w examples.

man command in Linux with examples

The man command in Linux is your gateway to comprehensive documentation for almost every command and aspect of the Linux operating system. It’s like having a manual at your fingertips for understanding and mastering Linux. In this article, we’ll explore the essentials of using the man command in Linux, complete with practical examples to help you navigate, interpret, and harness Linux documentation effectively.

This article is a follow-up to the previous 90 Linux Commands frequently used by Linux Sysadmins post. As time allows, I will continue to publish articles on each of these 90 commands geared toward Linux sysadmins and Linux power users.

Understanding the man Command

Before we dive into examples, let’s understand the basic syntax of the man command:

man [options] command_or_topic
  • [options]: These are optional flags that modify the behavior of the man command. We’ll cover some common options in the examples.
  • command_or_topic: This is the name of the command or topic you want to access documentation for.

Accessing Manual Pages

The primary function of the man command is to access manual pages for commands and topics. Here’s how to use it:

man command_name

For example, to access the manual page for the ls command, you can use:

man ls

This command opens the manual page, providing detailed information about the ls command, including its usage, options, and examples.

Navigating Manual Pages

Manual pages are often lengthy and divided into sections. The man command provides navigation tools to help you move through them:

  • Arrow Keys: Use the arrow keys to scroll up and down within the manual page.
  • Page Up/Page Down: The Page Up and Page Down keys also allow you to navigate through the manual page.
  • Search: Press / followed by a search term to find specific information within the page. For example, /options searches for the word “options” in the manual page.

Sections and Topics

Linux manual pages are organized into sections. To access a specific section, you can use:

man section_number command_or_topic

For instance, to access the manual page for system calls related to file input and output, you can use:

man 2 intro

This command opens the manual page in section 2, providing details about file I/O system calls.

Common Options

Here are some common options used with the man command:

  • -k (apropos): Searches for manual pages related to a keyword or topic.
  • -f (whatis): Displays a concise description of the command or topic.
  • -l (localization): Sets the desired language for manual pages.
  • -p (pager): Specifies the pager program for displaying manual pages.


The man command is your trusted companion for Linux documentation.

The man command is an invaluable tool in Linux for accessing and understanding documentation for commands and topics. Whether you’re a beginner seeking information or an experienced user delving into advanced topics, man empowers you with the knowledge needed to navigate and utilize Linux effectively.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of Linux commands and want to explore more frequently used commands by Linux sysadmins, I recommend checking out the parent article at the following link: 90 Linux Commands Frequently Used by Linux Sysadmins.

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