Ubuntu command line: see PDF of a man page

So, you use the command line. And, you’d like to look at a command’s manual page.

Wouldn’t it be handy to open the page into another window, nicely formatted, all typeset and neat? That is exactly what this little script will do.

I keep my personal scripts and executables in ~/bin (the bin directory inside my home directory). My ~.profile file in Ubuntu already had that in the path, if ~/bin exists.

If needed, create ~/bin:

mkdir ~/bin

Create a shell script called ~/bin/gman with these lines:

#!/bin/sh -e
man -t $1 | ps2pdf - > "/tmp/$1.man.pdf"
gnome-open "/tmp/$1.man.pdf"

Make the shell script executable with:

chmod +x ~/bin/gman

If needed, exit your shell and open it back up again. This would be to ensure that ~/bin is detected and added to your PATH.

Then, to use it, just type gman and the command you are interested in, ie. grep.

gman grep

This will show you a beautiful, formatted document:

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2 thoughts on “Ubuntu command line: see PDF of a man page

  1. Interesting stuff. I’ve wondered how to do this a few times but always lost interest after looking at the man manual page and all the options therein. Thanks.

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