index UNIX manuals
utf8] dir ...
dir [file ...]
dir [file ...]
makewhatis utility extracts keywords from
UNIX manuals and indexes them in a database for fast
retrieval by apropos(1),
makewhatis creates a database
in each dir using the files
in that directory. Existing databases are replaced. If a directory contains
no manual pages, no database is created in that directory. If
dir is not provided,
makewhatis uses the default paths stipulated by
The arguments are as follows:
- Use all directories and files found below dir
- Specify an alternative configuration file in
- Display all files added or removed to the index. With a second
-D, also show all keywords added for each
- Merge (remove and re-add) file ... to the database
- Do not create or modify any database; scan and parse only, and print
manual page names and descriptions to standard output.
- Print warnings about potential problems with manual pages to the standard
- Quickly build reduced-size databases by reading only the NAME sections of
manuals. The resulting databases will usually contain names and
- Use UTF-8 encoding instead of ASCII for strings stored in the
- Check the given files for potential problems.
-p. All diagnostic messages are printed to the
standard output; the standard error output is not used.
- Remove file ... from the database in
dir. If that causes the database to become empty,
also delete the database file.
If fatal parse errors are encountered while parsing, the offending
file is printed to stderr, omitted from the index, and the parse continues
with the next input file.
- A colon-separated list of directories to create databases in. Ignored if a
dir argument or the
option is specified.
- A database of manpages relative to the directory of the file. This file is
portable across architectures and systems, so long as the manpage
hierarchy it indexes does not change.
- The default man(1) configuration
makewhatis utility exits with one of the following
- No errors occurred.
- Invalid command line arguments were specified. No input files have been
- An operating system error occurred, for example memory exhaustion or an
error accessing input files. Such errors cause
makewhatis to exit at once, possibly in the middle
of parsing or formatting a file. The output databases are corrupt and
should be removed.
makewhatis utility first appeared in
2BSD. It was rewritten in
perl(1) for OpenBSD
2.7 and in C for OpenBSD 5.6.
The dir argument first appeared in
NetBSD 1.0; the options
Bill Joy wrote the original BSD
in OpenBSD 2.7; the option
-u in OpenBSD 3.4; and the
-aCDnQT in OpenBSD
makewhatis in February 1979, Marc
Espie started the Perl version in 2000, and the current version of
makewhatis was written by Kristaps