xman - Manual page display program for the X Window System
Xman is a manual page browser. The default size of the initial
xman window is small so that you can leave it running throughout your
entire login session. In the initial window there are three options:
Help will pop up a window with on-line help, Quit will exit, and
Manual Page will pop up a window with a manual page browser in it.
Typing Control-S will pop up a window prompting for a specific manual page to
display. You may display more than one manual page browser window at a time
from a single execution of xman.
For further information on using xman, please read the
on-line help information. Most of this manual will discuss customization of
Xman supports all standard Toolkit command line arguments (see X(7)). The
following additional arguments are supported.
Xman allows customization of both the directories to be searched for
manual pages, and the name that each directory will map to in the
Sections menu. Xman determines which directories it will search by
reading the MANPATH environment variable. If no MANPATH is found
then the directory is /usr/man is searched on POSIX systems. This environment
is expected to be a colon-separated list of directories for xman to search.
- -helpfile filename
- Specifies a helpfile to use other than the default.
- Allows both the manual page and manual directory to be on the screen at
the same time.
- Starts without the Top Menu with the three buttons in it.
- -geometry WxH+X+Y
- Sets the size and location of the Top Menu with the three buttons in
- -pagesize WxH+X+Y
- Sets the size and location of all the Manual Pages.
setenv MANPATH /mit/kit/man:/usr/man
By default, xman will search each of the following
directories (in each of the directories specified in the users MANPATH) for
manual pages. If manual pages exist in that directory then they are added to
list of manual pages for the corresponding menu item. A menu item is only
displayed for those sections that actually contain manual pages.
Directory Section Name
man1 (1) User Commands
man2 (2) System Calls
man3 (3) Subroutines
man4 (4) Devices
man5 (5) File Formats
man6 (6) Games
man7 (7) Miscellaneous
man8 (8) Sys. Administration
manl (l) Local
mann (n) New
mano (o) Old
For instance, a user has three directories in her manual path and each contain a
directory called man3. All these manual pages will appear
alphabetically sorted when the user selects the menu item called (3)
Subroutines. If there is no directory called mano in any of the
directories in her MANPATH, or there are no manual pages in any of the
directories called mano then no menu item will be displayed for the
section called (o) Old.
In newer BSD and Linux systems, Xman will search for a file named
/etc/man.conf which will contain the list of directories containing
manual pages. See man.conf(5) for a complete description of the file
By using the mandesc file a user or system manager is able to more
closely control which manual pages will appear in each of the sections
represented by menu items in the Sections menu. This functionality is
only available on a section by section basis, and individual manual pages may
not be handled in this manner. (Although generous use of symbolic links
— see ln(1) — will allow almost any configuration you can
The format of the mandesc file is a character followed by a label.
The character determines which of the sections will be added under this
label. For instance suppose that you would like to create an extra menu item
that contains all programmer subroutines. This label should contain all
manual pages in both sections two and three. The mandesc file would
look like this:
This will add a menu item to the Sections menu that would bring up a
listing of all manual pages in sections two and three of the Programmers
Manual. Since the label names are exactly the same they will be added
to the same section. Note, however, that the original sections still exist.
If you want to completely ignore the default sections in a manual
directory then add the line:
no default sections
anywhere in your mandesc file. This keeps xman from searching the default manual
sections In that directory only. As an example, suppose you want to do
the same thing as above, but you don't think that it is useful to have the
System Calls or Subroutines sections any longer. You would need
to duplicate the default entries, as well as adding your new one.
no default sections
1(1) User Commands
5(5) File Formats
8(8) Sys. Administration
Xman will read any section that is of the from man<character>,
where <character> is an upper or lower case letter (they are treated
distinctly) or a numeral (0-9). Be warned, however, that man(1) and catman(8)
will not search directories that are non-standard.
In order to specify resources, it is useful to know the hierarchy of the widgets
which compose xman. In the notation below, indentation indicates
hierarchical structure. The widget class name is given first, followed by the
widget instance name.
Xman xman (This widget is never used)
. (one for each section,
. created on the fly)
SmeBSB <name of section>
. (one for each section)
xman has the following application-specific resources which allow
customizations unique to xman.
Xman defines all user interaction through global actions. This allows the
user to modify the translation table of any widget, and bind any event to the
new user action. The list of actions supported by xman are:
- manualFontNormal (Class Font)
- The font to use for normal text in the manual pages.
- manualFontBold (Class Font)
- The font to use for bold text in the manual pages.
- manualFontItalic (Class Font)
- The font to use for italic text in the manual pages.
- directoryFontNormal (Class Font)
- The font to use for the directory text.
- bothShown (Class Boolean)
- Either `true' or `false,' specifies whether or not you want both the
directory and the manual page shown at start up.
- directoryHeight (Class DirectoryHeight)
- The height in pixels of the directory, when the directory and the manual
page are shown simultaneously.
- topCursor (Class Cursor)
- The cursor to use in the top box.
- helpCursor (Class Cursor)
- The cursor to use in the help window.
- manpageCursor (Class Cursor)
- The cursor to use in the manual page window.
- searchEntryCursor (Class Cursor)
- The cursor to use in the search entry text widget.
- pointerColor (Class Foreground)
- This is the color of all the cursors (pointers) specified above. The name
was chosen to be compatible with xterm.
- helpFile (Class File)
- Use this rather than the system default helpfile.
- topBox (Class Boolean)
- Either `true' or `false,' determines whether the top box (containing the
help, quit and manual page buttons) or a manual page is put on the screen
at start-up. The default is true.
- verticalList (Class Boolean)
- Either `true' or `false,' determines whether the directory listing is
vertically or horizontally organized. The default is horizontal
- When used in a manual page display window this will allow the user to move
between a directory and manual page display. The page argument can
be either Directory or ManualPage.
- This action may be used anywhere, and will exit xman.
- Search(type, action)
- Only useful when used in a search popup, this action will cause the search
widget to perform the named search type on the string in the search
popup's value widget. This action will also pop down the search widget.
The type argument can be either Apropos, Manpage or
Cancel. If an action of Open is specified then xman
will open a new manual page to display the results of the search,
otherwise xman will attempt to display the results in the parent of the
- This action may be used anywhere, and will popup the help widget.
- This action may be used anywhere except in a help window. It will cause
the search popup to become active and visible on the screen, allowing the
user search for a manual page.
- This action may be used anywhere, and will create a new manual page
- This action may be used in any manual page or help display window. When
called it will remove the window, and clean up all resources associated
- This action can only be used in the likeToSave popup widget, and
tells xman whether to Save or Cancel a save of the manual
page that has just been formatted.
- This action may be called from any manual page or help display window, and
will cause the informational display line to show the current version of
X(7), man(1), apropos(1), catman(8), Athena
- <manpath directory>/man<character>
- <manpath directory>/cat<character>
- <manpath directory>/mandesc
- specifies required resources.
- Xman creates temporary files in /tmp for all unformatted man pages
and all apropos searches.
Chris Peterson, MIT X Consortium from the V10 version written by Barry Shein
formerly of Boston University. Bug fixes and Linux support by Carlos A M dos
Santos, for The XFree86 Project.
- the default host and display to use.
- the search path for manual pages. Directories are separated by colons
- to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources
stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.
- A string that will have ``Xman'' appended to it. This string will be the
full path name of a user app-defaults file to be merged into the resource
database after the system app-defaults file, and before the resources that
are attached to the display.
See X(7) for a full statement of rights and permissions.