configuration file for man
This is the configuration file for the
presence, and all directives, are optional.
This file is an ASCII text file. Leading whitespace on lines, lines starting
with ‘#’, and blank lines are ignored. Words are separated by
whitespace. The first word on each line is the name of a configuration
The following directives are supported:
- Override the default search
makewhatis(8). It can be
used multiple times to specify multiple paths, with the order determining
the manual page search order.
Each path is a tree containing subdirectories whose names consist of the
strings ‘man’ and/or ‘cat’ followed by the
names of sections, usually single digits. The former are supposed to
contain unformatted manual pages in
man(7) format; file names
should end with the name of the section preceded by a dot. The latter
should contain preformatted manual pages; file names should end with
Creating a mandoc.db(5)
makewhatis(8) in each
directory configured with manpath is
recommended and necessary for
apropos(1) to work, and
also for man(1) on operating
systems like OpenBSD that install each manual page
with only one file name in the file system, even if it documents multiple
utilities or functions.
- Configure the default value of an output option. These
directives are overridden by the -O command
line options of the same names. For details, see the
- This directive provides the same functionality as
manpath, but using a historic and misleading
syntax. It is kept for backward compatibility for now, but will eventually
The following configuration file reproduces the defaults: installing it is
equivalent to not having a man.conf
file at all.
A relatively complicated man.conf
file format first
appeared in 4.3BSD-Reno
. For OpenBSD
, it was redesigned from scratch, aiming for simplicity.