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Get Help in UNIX

NOTE: This document refers to software or hardware that is not currently supported by the University of Wyoming Information Technology Client Support Services. Although the information is believed to be correct, be aware that since no support is available, this information may be out-of-date or possibly no longer valid.


There are many online manual pages in UNIX for providing help on all commands. These manual pages are often referred to as 'man pages.' This how to is a guide to help you understand the online documentation, the man pages. A man page contains the instructions for a particular command in UNIX. Most commands have a man page. These instructions were written, for the most part, by programmers so there is usually more detail than the average person can use. But, if you want to know about a particular command in depth, use the man pages.

Good reference books on UNIX are available locally at most bookstores and computer stores for people who prefer off-line help.


To view a man page for a particular command, type man command. The instructions for the command will be displayed on your screen one page at a time. Here is an example of how to read the man page for the chmod command:

frontier:˜> man chmod

Instructions are displayed for using that particular command. Press the spacebar to read the next page, and q to quit reading the man page.

If you forget exactly what the name of the command is, but remember something about it, you can find information by doing a keyword search of the man pages using the -k keyword option. A list of man pages will be displayed with the keyword in the first line of the description. Here is an example of the command for searching the man pages for the keyword permission:

frontier:˜> man -k permission

Pick the man page you want from the list on the screen and read the man page for that command.

For more information read the on-line man pages for the commands. To explore on-line help, type

frontier:~> man man


Reviewed: 0706 By: CD

Additional help with the installation and configuration of
UW-supported software is available:
Contact the IT Help Desk at 766-HELP (4357), option 1
Contact the IT Help Desk at 766-HELP (4357), option 1
Come to the student computer lab in the lobby of the
Information Technology Center.

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