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The question is: how do you print only part of a man page?

Currently I do zcat manpage.1.gz | vim - and just remove everything I don't want to print. Then I pass that through groff and lpr. Are there better methods?

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3 Answers 3

I know that you can print a whole man page at once, in plain monospaced text, by doing something like

man mc | col -b | lpr -P printername

Or to print it "pretty" (Serif font, bold, italics etc.) by doing

zcat /usr/share/man/man1/mc.1.gz | groff -man -Tps | lpr -P printername

As this basically sends a postscript file to the printer, you can also save it to a PostScript file by doing

zcat /usr/share/man/man1/mc.1.gz | groff -man -Tps >

But I have no idea if you can easily extract a certain page, pages, or sections.

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Some versions of the man command have a -t option as a shortcut for outputting postscript so you don't have to find the .1.gz file and type that long command, you can just man -t foo | lpr. On selecting sections, I doubt it can be done cleanly. – Alan Curry Aug 12 '12 at 19:00

How about:

man ls | sed -n "5, 8p;8q" > print_this.txt # get lines 5 to 8

Then print with

lp -d <printer> print_this.txt

(Hint: The option (-o) switches of lp are very useful!)

But better yet: open in your editor, then mark the region. In Emacs:

M-x man RET ls


M-x print-region

For this to work, the variable printer-name must be set. Or, use switches to lpr. (I see that you do not use Emacs, but this is of course possible in your editor as well.)

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If you want to easily print a man doc I usually do it the graphical way:

man -Hfirefox command

Then you can print certain pages in your web browser. This isn't as powerful as doing it through the command line but it's a lot easier to get right since you can actually see what you're printing ahead of time. This may be important if you want to print a landscape document or something of that sort.

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This is the best answer. – Mustafa Serdar Şanlı Jan 23 at 11:59

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