Unix - Shell Manpage Help


All the Unix commands come with a number of optional and mandatory options. It is very common to forget complete syntax of these commands.

Because no one can possibly remember every Unix command and all its options, there has been online help available since Unix's earliest days.

Unix's version of help files are called man pages. If you know any command name but you do not know how to use it, then Man Pages are here to help you at every step.


Here is the simple command to get the detail of any Unix command while working with the system −

$man command


Now you imagine any command for which you want to get help. Assuming you want to know about pwd then you simply need to use the following command −

$man pwd

The above command would open a help for you which would give you complete information about pwd command. Try it yourself at your command prompt to get more detail on

You can get complete detail on man command itself using the following command −

$man man

Man Page Sections

Man pages are generally divided into sections, which generally vary by the man page author's preference. Here are some of the more common sections −

Section Description
NAME Name of the command
SYNOPSIS General usage parameters of the command.
DESCRIPTION Generally describes of the command and what it does
OPTIONS Describes all the arguments or options to the command
SEE ALSO Lists other commands that are directly related to the command in the man page or closely resembling its functionality.
BUGS Explains any known issues or bugs that exist with the command or its output
EXAMPLES Common usage examples that give the reader an idea of how the command can be used.
AUTHORS The author of the man page/command.

So finally, I would say that man pages are a vital resource and the first avenue of research when you need information about commands or files in a Unix system.

Useful Shell Commands

Now you know how to proceed, following link would give you a list of most important and very frequently used Unix Shell commands.

If you do not know how to use any command then use man page to get complete detail about the command.

Here is the list of Unix Shell - Useful Commands