catman(8) — Linux manual page


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

       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 ~/.manpath.

       -?, --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 3type 5 4 9 6 7", unless overridden by the SECTION
              directive in /usr/local/etc/man_db.conf.

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

              See the SEARCH PATH section of manpath(5) for the default
              behaviour and details of how this environment variable is

FILES         top

              man-db configuration file.

              A traditional global index database cache.

              An alternate or FSSTND compliant global index database

SEE ALSO         top

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

AUTHOR         top

       Wilf. (
       Fabrizio Polacco (
       Colin Watson (

BUGS         top

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 2023-12-22.  (At that
       time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in the
       repository was 2023-12-18.)  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

2.12.0                         2023-09-23                      CATMAN(8)

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