Manual page display program for the X Window System
Start xman in three-button window
Open the manual page output stored in a given file
Show both manual page and directory
xman [ -options ... ]
Xman is a manual page browser. The default size of the initial xman window is small so that you can leave it running throughout your entire login session. In the initial window there are three options: Help will pop up a window with on-line help, Quit will exit, and Manual Page will pop up a window with a manual page browser in it. Typing Control- S will pop up a window prompting for a specific manual page to display. You may display more than one manual page browser window at a time from a single execution of xman. For further information on using xman, please read the on-line help in‐ formation. Most of this manual will discuss customization of xman.
Xman allows customization of both the directories to be searched for manual pages, and the name that each directory will map to in the Sec‐ tions menu. Xman determines which directories it will search by read‐ ing the MANPATH environment variable. If no MANPATH is found then the directory is /usr/man is searched on POSIX systems. This environment is expected to be a colon-separated list of directories for xman to search. setenv MANPATH /mit/kit/man:/usr/man By default, xman will search each of the following directories (in each of the directories specified in the users MANPATH) for manual pages. If manual pages exist in that directory then they are added to list of manual pages for the corresponding menu item. A menu item is only dis‐ played for those sections that actually contain manual pages. Directory Section Name - - man1 (1) User Commands man2 (2) System Calls man3 (3) Subroutines man4 (4) Devices man5 (5) File Formats man6 (6) Games man7 (7) Miscellaneous man8 (8) Sys. Administration manl (l) Local mann (n) New mano (o) Old For instance, a user has three directories in her manual path and each contain a directory called man3. All these manual pages will appear alphabetically sorted when the user selects the menu item called (3) Subroutines. If there is no directory called mano in any of the direc‐ tories in her MANPATH, or there are no manual pages in any of the di‐ rectories called mano then no menu item will be displayed for the sec‐ tion called (o) Old.
In newer BSD and Linux systems, Xman will search for a file named /etc/man.conf which will contain the list of directories containing manual pages. See man.conf(5) for a complete description of the file format.
Xman supports all standard Toolkit command line arguments (see X(7)). The following additional arguments are supported. -helpfile filename Specifies a helpfile to use other than the default. -bothshown Allows both the manual page and manual directory to be on the screen at the same time. -notopbox Starts without the Top Menu with the three buttons in it. -geometry WxH+X+Y Sets the size and location of the Top Menu with the three but‐ tons in it. -pagesize WxH+X+Y Sets the size and location of all the Manual Pages.
By using the mandesc file a user or system manager is able to more
closely control which manual pages will appear in each of the sections
represented by menu items in the Sections menu. This functionality is
only available on a section by section basis, and individual manual
pages may not be handled in this manner. (Although generous use of
symbolic links — see ln(1) — will allow almost any configuration you
The format of the mandesc file is a character followed by a label. The
character determines which of the sections will be added under this la‐
bel. For instance suppose that you would like to create an extra menu
item that contains all programmer subroutines. This label should con‐
tain all manual pages in both sections two and three. The mandesc file
would look like this:
This will add a menu item to the Sections menu that would bring up a
listing of all manual pages in sections two and three of the Program‐
mers Manual. Since the label names are exactly the same they will be
added to the same section. Note, however, that the original sections
If you want to completely ignore the default sections in a manual di‐
rectory then add the line:
no default sections
anywhere in your mandesc file. This keeps xman from searching the de‐
fault manual sections In that directory only. As an example, suppose
you want to do the same thing as above, but you don't think that it is
useful to have the System Calls or Subroutines sections any longer.
You would need to duplicate the default entries, as well as adding your
no default sections
1(1) User Commands
5(5) File Formats
8(8) Sys. Administration
Xman will read any section that is of the from man
In order to specify resources, it is useful to know the hierarchy of
the widgets which compose xman. In the notation below, indentation in‐
dicates hierarchical structure. The widget class name is given first,
followed by the widget instance name.
Xman xman (This widget is never used)
. (one for each section,
. created on the fly)
xman has the following application-specific resources which allow cus‐ tomizations unique to xman. manualFontNormal (Class Font) The font to use for normal text in the manual pages. manualFontBold (Class Font) The font to use for bold text in the manual pages. manualFontItalic (Class Font) The font to use for italic text in the manual pages. directoryFontNormal (Class Font) The font to use for the directory text. bothShown (Class Boolean) Either `true' or `false,' specifies whether or not you want both the directory and the manual page shown at start up. directoryHeight (Class DirectoryHeight) The height in pixels of the directory, when the di‐ rectory and the manual page are shown simultaneously. topCursor (Class Cursor) The cursor to use in the top box. helpCursor (Class Cursor) The cursor to use in the help window. manpageCursor (Class Cursor) The cursor to use in the manual page window. searchEntryCursor (Class Cursor) The cursor to use in the search entry text widget. pointerColor (Class Foreground) This is the color of all the cursors (pointers) spec‐ ified above. The name was chosen to be compatible with xterm. helpFile (Class File) Use this rather than the system default helpfile. topBox (Class Boolean) Either `true' or `false,' determines whether the top box (containing the help, quit and manual page but‐ tons) or a manual page is put on the screen at start- up. The default is true. verticalList (Class Boolean) Either `true' or `false,' determines whether the di‐ rectory listing is vertically or horizontally orga‐ nized. The default is horizontal (false).
Xman defines all user interaction through global actions. This allows the user to modify the translation table of any widget, and bind any event to the new user action. The list of actions supported by xman are: GotoPage(page) When used in a manual page display window this will al‐ low the user to move between a directory and manual page display. The page argument can be either Directory or ManualPage. Quit() This action may be used anywhere, and will exit xman. Search(type, action) Only useful when used in a search popup, this action will cause the search widget to perform the named search type on the string in the search popup's value widget. This action will also pop down the search widget. The type argument can be either Apropos, Manpage or Cancel. If an action of Open is specified then xman will open a new manual page to display the results of the search, otherwise xman will attempt to display the results in the parent of the search popup. PopupHelp() This action may be used anywhere, and will popup the help widget. PopupSearch() This action may be used anywhere except in a help win‐ dow. It will cause the search popup to become active and visible on the screen, allowing the user search for a manual page. CreateNewManpage() This action may be used anywhere, and will create a new manual page display window. RemoveThisManpage() This action may be used in any manual page or help dis‐ play window. When called it will remove the window, and clean up all resources associated with it. SaveFormattedPage(action) This action can only be used in the likeToSave popup widget, and tells xman whether to Save or Cancel a save of the manual page that has just been formatted. ShowVersion() This action may be called from any manual page or help display window, and will cause the informational display line to show the current version of xman.
DISPLAY the default host and display to use. MANPATH the search path for manual pages. Directories are sepa‐ rated by colons (e.g. /usr/man:/mit/kit/man:/foo/bar/man). XENVIRONMENT to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER prop‐ erty. XAPPLRESDIR A string that will have ``Xman'' appended to it. This string will be the full path name of a user app-defaults file to be merged into the resource database after the system app-defaults file, and before the resources that are attached to the display. See X(7) for a full statement of rights and permissions.
Chris Peterson, MIT X Consortium from the V10 version written by Barry Shein formerly of Boston University. Bug fixes and Linux support by Carlos A M dos Santos, for The XFree86 Project.