Convert a Unix manual page into a simple text file

In Unix, the manual page sources are meant for conversion to a format compatible with various types of terminals, typesetters, or PostScript printers. Formatted manual pages contain control characters that produce underlining and boldface text (which is compatible with most terminals and printers).

If you wish to convert a man page to a normal text file, or if you need to output the manual to a device that doesn't support these codes (for example, a simple line printer), try the following. From the Unix prompt, enter:

 man unix_command | col -bx > man_page_file.txt

Replace unix_command with the relevant command. The col command strips out the backspace-underline and backspace-letter sequences, so you should be able to print or otherwise manipulate man_page_file.txt like any other ASCII text file.

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see Get help for Linux or Unix at IU.

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Last modified on 2023-06-28 12:08:22.