manpath — determine search path for manual pages


manpath [-qgdc?V] [-m system[,...]] [-C file]


If $MANPATH is set, manpath will simply display its contents and issue a warning. If not, manpath will determine a suitable manual page hierarchy search path and display the results.

The colon-delimited path is determined using information gained from the man-db configuration file - (/etc/man_db.conf) and the user's environment.


-q, --quiet

Do not issue warnings.

-d, --debug

Print debugging information.

-c, --catpath

Produce a catpath as opposed to a manpath.  Once the manpath is determined, each path element is converted to its relative catpath.

-g, --global

Produce a manpath consisting of all paths named as `global' within the man-db configuration file.

-m system[,...], --systems=system[,...]

If this system has access to other operating system's manual hierarchies,  this option can be used to include them in the output of manpath. To include NewOS's manual page hierarchies use the option -m NewOS.

The system specified can be a combination of comma delimited operating system names. To include the native operating system's manual page hierarchies,  the system name man must be included in the argument string. This option will override the $SYSTEM environment variable.

-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 $MANPATH is set, manpath displays its value rather than determining it on the fly. If $MANPATH is prefixed by a colon, then the value of the variable is appended to the list determined from the content of the configuration files. If the colon comes at the end of the value in the variable, then the determined list is appended to the content of the variable. If the value of the variable contains a double colon (::), then the determined list is inserted in the middle of the value, between the two colons.


If $SYSTEM is set, it will have the same effect as if it had been specified as the argument to the -m option.



man-db configuration file.

See Also

apropos(1), man(1), whatis(1)


Wilf. (
Fabrizio Polacco (
Colin Watson (

Referenced By

groffer(1), man(1).

2019-08-26 2.8.7 Manual pager utils