CATMAN(8)                    Manual pager utils                    CATMAN(8)

NAME         top

       catman - create or update the pre-formatted manual pages

SYNOPSIS         top

       catman [-d?V] [-M path] [-C file] [section] ...

DESCRIPTION         top

       catman is used to create an up to date set of pre-formatted manual
       pages known as cat pages.  Cat pages are generally much faster to
       display than the original manual pages, but require extra storage
       space.  The decision to support cat pages is that of the local
       administrator, who must provide suitable directories to contain them.

       The options available to catman are the manual page hierarchies and
       sections to pre-format.  The default hierarchies are those specified
       as system hierarchies in the man-db configuration file, and the
       default sections are either the colon-delimited contents of the
       environment variable $MANSECT or the standard set compiled into man
       if $MANSECT is undefined.  Supplying catman with a set of whitespace-
       delimited section names will override both of the above.

       catman makes use of the index database cache associated with each
       hierarchy to determine which files need to be formatted.

OPTIONS         top

       -d, --debug
              Print debugging information.

       -M path, --manpath=path
              Specify an alternate colon-delimited manual page hierarchy
              search path.  By default, this is all paths indicated as
              system hierarchies in the man-db configuration file.

       -C file, --config-file=file
              Use this user configuration file rather than the default of

       -?, --help
              Print a help message and exit.

              Print a short usage message and exit.

       -V, --version
              Display version information.

ENVIRONMENT         top

              If $MANSECT is set, its value is a colon-delimited list of
              sections and it is used to determine which manual sections to
              search and in what order.  The default is "1 n l 8 3 0 2 5 4 9
              6 7", unless overridden by the SECTION directive in

              If $MANPATH is set, its value is interpreted as the colon-
              delimited manual page hierarchy search path to use.

FILES         top

              man-db configuration file.

              A traditional global index database cache.

              An alternate or FSSTND compliant global index database cache.

SEE ALSO         top

       man(1), manpath(5), mandb(8)

AUTHOR         top

       Wilf. (
       Fabrizio Polacco (
       Colin Watson (

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the man-db (manual pager suite) project.
       Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this
       manual page, send it to  This page was
       obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on 2019-05-09.  (At that
       time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the repos‐
       itory was 2019-05-02.)  If you discover any rendering problems in
       this HTML version of the page, or you believe there is a better or
       more up-to-date source for the page, or you have corrections or
       improvements to the information in this COLOPHON (which is not part
       of the original manual page), send a mail to

2.8.4                            2018-07-27                        CATMAN(8)

Pages that refer to this page: man(1)mandb(8)