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Author Topic: Master the command line: how to use man pages  (Read 143 times)
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« on: July 23, 2013, 03:01:39 pm »

Master the command line: how to use man pages

If you’ve read Macworld for any length of time—particularly our OS X Hints blog or any other story that asks you to use Terminal—you may have wondered to yourself: How do you learn about all those mysterious commands, such as ls or cd? Is it some kind of arcane knowledge, handed down only to initiates after grueling initiations? Well, no. Actually, anyone can learn about Terminal commands, if they know where to look. Today, I’ll tell you where.
Man up
The key to Terminal wisdom is the man command. It summons manual (or man) pages for almost any command; they’re the equivalent of a help system for the command line. In fact, man itself is a command, whose role is to format and display this documentation.

If you type man pwd, for example, Terminal will display the man page for the pwd command.
The beginning of the man page for the pwd command.
All man pages have a common format. They begin with name (the name of the command) and a brief description of what it does. The pwd command I looked at above shows the following:
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