You could run the output of
man into the
col command and then pipe this to
less. Once in
less you can drop to a shell while still maintaining your location in
$ man col | col -b | less
less you can use
!bash to get to a prompt to do what you want. When you're done you type
exit to return back to your location in
Here's a demo showing the whole operation.
Tell man to use a different pager
You can also tell
man to use different pagers via the
-P switch. So we could streamline the above method like so:
$ man -P less col
This is invoking
man and then outputting the contents of the page to
less, where again we can use
!bash to get to a shell. To return we use the same steps as above,
What's wrong with the default pager?
$ man col
It too can take the command
!bash to escape to a shell, where again we can type
exit to get back to the location where we were previously within the man page.
If you're feeling really crazy you can use
vim as an alternative pager too. Setting this up is a bit of a task but it's doable, directions for doing so are here in the vim wikia topic titled: Using vim as a man-page viewer under Unix.
Don't let the above page fool you, it doesn't just cover
vim methods. That topic covers dozens of ways you can change your man page pager in addition to using