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MAN.CONF(5)                 BSD File Formats Manual                MAN.CONF(5)

NAME
     man.conf -- configuration file for man(1)

DESCRIPTION
     The man(1), apropos(1), and whatis(1) commands search for manual pages or
     their database files as specified by the man.conf file.  Manual pages are
     normally expected to be preformatted (see mandoc(1)) and named with a
     trailing '.0'.

     The man.conf file contains two types of lines.

     The first type of line is a ``section'' line, which contains a section
     name followed by one or more directory paths.  The directory paths may
     contain the normal shell globbing characters, including curly braces
     ('{}'); to escape a shell globbing character, precede it with a backslash
     ('\').  Lines in this format specify that manual pages for the section
     may be found in the following directories.

     Directories named with a trailing slash character ('/') are expected to
     contain subdirectories of manual pages, (see the keyword ``_subdir''
     below) instead of manual pages.  These subdirectories are searched
     instead of the directory.

     Before searching any directory for a manual page, the man(1) command
     always searches the subdirectory with the same name as the current
     machine type, if it exists.  No specification of these subdirectories is
     necessary in the man.conf file.

     Section names are unrestricted except for the reserved words specified
     below; in general, you should avoid anything with a leading underscore
     ('_') to avoid future incompatibilities.

     The section named ``_default'' is the list of directories that will be
     searched if no section is specified by the user.

     The second type of line is preceded with a ``keyword''.  The possible
     keywords and their meanings are as follows:

     _build    Man file names, regardless of their format, are expected to end
               in a '.*' pattern, i.e. a '.' followed by some suffix.  The
               first field of a _build line lists a suffix which indicates
               files which need to be reformatted or manipulated in some way
               before being displayed to the user.  The suffix may contain the
               normal shell globbing characters (NOT including curly braces
               ('{}')).  The rest of the line must be a shell command line,
               the standard output of which is the manual page in a format
               which may be directly displayed to the user.  Any occurrences
               of the string '%s' in the shell command line will be replaced
               by the name of the file which is being reformatted.

     _subdir   The list (in search order) of subdirectories which will be
               searched in any directory named with a trailing slash ('/')
               character.  This list is also used when a path is specified to
               the man(1) utility by the user, using the MANPATH environment
               variable or the -M and -m options.

     _suffix   Man file names, regardless of their format, are expected to end
               in a '.*' pattern, i.e. a '.' followed by some suffix.  Each
               field of a _suffix line is a suffix which indicates files which
               do not need to be reformatted or manipulated in any way, but
               which may be directly displayed to the user.  Each suffix may
               contain the normal shell globbing characters (NOT including
               curly braces ('{}')).

     _version  The version of the configuration file.

     _whatdb   The full pathname (not just a directory path) for a database to
               be used by the apropos(1) and whatis(1) commands.

     Multiple specifications for all types of lines are cumulative and the
     entries are used in the order listed in the file; multiple entries may be
     listed per line, as well.

     Empty lines or lines whose first non-whitespace character is a hash mark
     ('#') are ignored.

FILES
     /etc/man.conf  standard manual directory search path

EXAMPLES
     Given the following man.conf file:

           _version        BSD.2
           _subdir         cat1 cat3 cat2
           _suffix         .0
           _build          .[1-9]  /usr/bin/mandoc %s
           _build          .tbl    /usr/bin/mandoc %s
           _default        /usr/share/man/
           sect3           /usr/share/man/{old/,}cat3

     By default, the command ``man mktemp'' will search for
     ``mktemp.<any_digit>'' and ``mktemp.tbl'' in the directories
     /usr/share/man/cat1, /usr/share/man/cat3, and /usr/share/man/cat2, in
     that order.  If on a machine of type ``vax'', the subdirectory ``vax'' in
     each directory would be searched as well, before the rest of the direc-
     tory was searched.

     If ``mktemp.tbl'' was found first, the command ``/usr/bin/mandoc
     mktemp.tbl'' would be run to build a man page for display to the user.

     The command ``man sect3 mktemp'' would search the directories
     /usr/share/man/old/cat3 and /usr/share/man/cat3, in that order, for the
     mktemp manual page.  If a subdirectory with the same name as the current
     machine type existed in any of them, it would be searched as well, before
     each of them were searched.

SEE ALSO
     apropos(1), machine(1), man(1), whatis(1), whereis(1), fnmatch(3),
     glob(3)

BSD                              May 30, 2017                              BSD