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w3m - Man Page

a text based web browser and pager

Examples (TL;DR)


w3m [OPTION]... [ file | URL ]...


w3m is a text based browser which can display local or remote web pages as well as other documents. It is able to process HTML tables and frames but it ignores JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets. w3m can also serve as a pager for text files named as arguments or passed on standard input, and as a general purpose directory browser.

w3m organizes its content in buffers or tabs, allowing easy navigation between them. With the w3m-img extension installed, w3m can display inline graphics in web pages. And whenever w3m's HTML rendering capabilities do not meet your needs, the target URL can be handed over to a graphical browser with a single command.

For help with runtime options, press “H” while running w3m.


When given one or more command line arguments, w3m will handle targets according to content type. For web, w3m gets this information from HTTP headers; for relative or absolute file system paths, it relies on filenames.

With no argument, w3m expects data from standard input and assumes “text/plain” unless another MIME type is given by the user.

If provided with no target and no fallback target (see for instance option -v below), w3m will exit with usage information.


Command line options are introduced with a single “-” character and may take an argument.

General options


with no other target defined, use the bookmark page for startup


use high-intensity colors


monochrome display


deactivate mouse support


display each line's number


distribute multiple command line arguments to tabs. By default, a stack of buffers is used

-ppc num

width of num pixels per character. Range of 4.0 to 32.0, default 8.0. Larger values will make tables narrower. (Implementation not verified)

-ppl num

height of num pixels per line. Range of 4.0 to 64.0. (Implementation not verified)

-title, -title=TERM

use the buffer name as terminal title string. With specified TERM, this sets the title configuration style accordingly


with no other target defined, welcome users with a built-in page


toggle wrapping mode in searches


do not initialize/deinitialize the terminal


go to line num; only effective for num larger than the number of lines in the terminal

Browser options

-cols num

with stdout as destination; HTML is rendered to lines of num characters

-cookie,  -no-cookie

use stored cookies and accept new ones, or do neither


render frames

-graph,  -no-graph

use or do not use graphic characters for drawing HTML table and frame borders

-header string

append string to the HTTP(S) request. Expected to match the header syntax Variable: Value


Render the body of Usenet messages according to the header “Content-type”


do not use proxy

-post file

use POST method to upload data defined in file. The syntax to be used is var1=value1[&var2=value2]...


IPv4 only. Corresponds to dns_order=4 in configuration files


IPv6 only. Corresponds to dns_order=6 in configuration files


use insecure SSL config options, alias for -o ssl_cipher=ALL:eNULL:@SECLEVEL=0 -o ssl_min_version=all -o ssl_forbid_method= -o ssl_verify_server=0

Text pager options

-l num

number of lines preserved internally when receiving plain text from stdin (default 10,000)


use caret notation to display special escape characters (such as ANSI escapes or nroff-style backspaces for bold and underlined characters) instead of processing them


squeeze multiple blank lines into one

-t num

set tab width to num columns. No effect on stdout

Data type/encoding options

-I charset

user defined character encoding of input data

-O charset

user defined character encoding of output data

-T type

explicit characterization of input data by MIME type

Options for data output, followed by immediate exit


dump rendered page into stdout. Set implicitly when output is directed to a file or pipe


dump the page's source code into stdout


dump response of a HEAD request for a URL into stdout


dump HEAD, and source code for a URL into stdout


dump HEAD, source code, and extra information for a URL into stdout


show a summary of compiled-in features and command line options


show all available configuration options


show the version of w3m

Options for overriding default settings and resources

-bookmark file

use file instead of the default bookmark.html file

-config file

use file instead of the default configuration file

-o option=value

modify one configuration item with an explicitly given value; without option=value, equivalent to -show-option


use debug mode (only for debugging)


log headers of HTTP communication in file ~/.w3m/request.log


Pager-like usage

Combine snippets of HTML code and preview the page
$ cat header.html footer.html | w3m -T text/html
Compare two files using tabs
$ w3m -N config.old config

Browser-like usage

Display web content in monochrome terminal
$ w3m -M http://w3m.sourceforge.net
Display embedded graphics
$ w3m -o auto_image=TRUE http://w3m.sourceforge.net
Display content from Usenet
$ w3m -m nntp://news.aioe.org/comp.os.linux.networking
Upload data for a URL using the POST method
$ w3m -post - http://example.com/form.php <<<'a=0&b=1'

Filter-like usage

Convert an HTML file to plain text with a defined line length
$ w3m -cols 40 foo.html > foo.txt
Output the bookmarks page as text with an appended list of links
$ w3m -B -o display_link_number=1 > out.txt
Conversion of file format and character encoding
$ w3m -T text/html -I EUC-JP -O UTF-8 < foo.html > foo.txt

Start with no input

Welcome users with a built-in page
$ w3m -v


w3m recognises the environment variable WWW_HOME as defining a fallback target for use if it is invoked without one.

If the W3M_DIR environment variable is set to a directory name, w3m will store its user files there instead of under the ~/.w3m directory.


The default locations of some files are listed below. These locations can be altered via the W3M_DIR environment variable.


default bookmark file


user defined configuration file; overrides /etc/w3m/config


cookie jar; written on exit, read on launch


browser history - visited files and URLs


user defined key bindings; overrides default key bindings


external viewer configuration file


user defined menu; overrides default menu


MIME types file


user defined mouse settings


password and username file


contains predefined values to fill recurrent HTML forms

See Also

README and example files are to be found in the doc directory of your w3m installation. Recent information about w3m may be found on the project's web pages at


w3m has incorporated code from several sources. Users have contributed patches and suggestions over time.


Akinori ITO

Referenced By

a2x(1), elinks(1), links2(1), w3mman(1).

2016-08-06 w3m 0.5.3