man and info are the main programs to get information about Linux/UNIX software without leaving your Terminal. Learn how to use them.

The content of these programs depends on the documentation files you have on your device. These docs are usually installed with every package, but in some Linux systems (like Alpine) you may need to download them manually by searching for <package name>-doc (e.g.: coreutils-doc).

man

If it’s not already installed, you can install man-db package, which includes man. You can search a manpage by typing this simple command:

man <page>
# an example:
man ls

A manpage may have several sections. These sections are referred with a number inside a parenthesis (like crontab(5)). You can go to a section by adding section number before manpage title:

man <section> <page>

Inside a manpage, you can use arrow keys to scroll, and q to exit. Press h to get more info about available commands.

You can show all the man page at once by specifying cat as the pager:

man -P cat <page>

info

info works like man but it usually includes more information about each program. In Debian/Ubuntu you can install it by typing apt install info. In other distros, may be included in texinfo package.

info <manual>
# an example:
info ls
  • If coreutils is install, you can type info coreutils and it will show a great guide for coreutils commands.
  • Inside an info page, you can use arrow keys to scroll, u to go up one level, q to exit. Press Shift + h to get more info about available commands.
Test with this online terminal: