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catman - Man Page

create or update the pre-formatted manual pages


catman [-d?V] [-M path] [-C file] [section] ...


catman is used to create an up to date set of pre-formatted manual pages known as cat pages. Cat pages are generally much faster to display than the original manual pages, but require extra storage space. The decision to support cat pages is that of the local administrator, who must provide suitable directories to contain them.

The options available to catman are the manual page hierarchies and sections to pre-format. The default hierarchies are those specified as system hierarchies in the man-db configuration file, and the default sections are either the colon-delimited contents of the environment variable $MANSECT or the standard set compiled into man if $MANSECT is undefined. Supplying catman with a set of whitespace-delimited section names will override both of the above.

catman makes use of the index database cache associated with each hierarchy to determine which files need to be formatted.


-d,  --debug

Print debugging information.

-M path--manpath=path

Specify an alternate colon-delimited manual page hierarchy search path. By default, this is all paths indicated as system hierarchies in the man-db configuration file.

-C file--config-file=file

Use this user configuration file rather than the default of ~/.manpath.

-?,  --help

Print a help message and exit.


Print a short usage message and exit.

-V,  --version

Display version information.



If $MANSECT is set, its value is a colon-delimited list of sections and it is used to determine which manual sections to search and in what order. The default is "1 1p 8 2 3 3p 3pm 4 5 6 7 9 0p n l p o 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 7x 8x", unless overridden by the SECTION directive in /etc/man_db.conf.


If $MANPATH is set, its value is interpreted as the colon-delimited manual page hierarchy search path to use.

See the SEARCH PATH section of manpath(5) for the default behaviour and details of how this environment variable is handled.



man-db configuration file.


A traditional global index database cache.


An alternate or FSSTND compliant global index database cache.

See Also

man(1), manpath(5), mandb(8)


Wilf. (G.Wilford@ee.surrey.ac.uk).
Fabrizio Polacco (fpolacco@debian.org).
Colin Watson (cjwatson@debian.org).



Referenced By

mandb(8), man.man-db(1), perlpodstyle(1).

2024-04-05 2.12.1 Manual pager utils