man page

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A man page (short for manual page) is software documentation. It contains documentation about programs, libraries, system calls and configuration files.


sys-apps/man-db is part of the system set and should be installed by default on Gentoo systems.

sys-apps/man-pages, which provides many basic man pages, is also part of the system set. If localized man pages are desired, set the LINGUAS variable in /etc/portage/make.conf, e.g. for German:

FILE /etc/portage/make.confLocale example

Most packages install additional man pages. To negate man page installation, add the following feature to /etc/portage/make.conf:

FILE /etc/portage/make.confNo man page example



Man pages can be viewed using the man command:

  • man 5 ebuild - Shows the ebuild man page of section 5.
  • man ebuild - Shows the ebuild man page of section 1. When there is more than on man page with same name, the first found will be shown.

man uses the default pager (typically sys-apps/less) to display man pages. The default pager can be modified using the eselect pager command.

Navigation of a man page can be performed using the and arrow keys (or the j and k keys if Vim navigation is preferred). Scroll page wise with the Page Up and Page Down keys. Search using the / key followed by the search term.

A more thorough explanation can be found in the Navigate sub article.


KDE Konqueror can render man pages. Enter in the address bar man:/ followed by the man page name, e.g.: man:/ebuild. To view a specific section, add the section in parentheses, e.g.: man:/ebuild(5).


apropos (part of sys-apps/man) can search the whatis database for strings, e.g.:

user $apropos portage [color]    (5)  - custom color settings for Portage
ebuild               (1)  - a low level interface to the Portage system

See also