I know when you are in a man page it will display the file name at the bottom inside the man.

How can I do the same thing manually?

  • I still can't figure it out. I mean, when you scroll down to the end of a man page, where the (END) prompt appears, is there a way to display the number of lines in the man?
    – Chen A.
    Aug 8, 2011 at 10:57
  • 1
    Yes, I verified that behavior before I posted my answer. With the environment variables set as I've said, then pressing "G" to get to the bottom of the man page, you get the line count. Try $ MANPAGER=less LESS=-M man ls I just tried that here, and verified that it gives the line count. Aug 8, 2011 at 12:10

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure it is possible to do everything you ask, because man(1) sends the formatted man page data to your pager program via a pipe. This would prevent showing a file name, for one thing.

You can get a line count at least like so:

  1. Set your MANPAGER or PAGER environment variable to less.
  2. Add -M to your LESS environment variable, to get the "long prompt", which includes the line count.

Instead of -M, you can build your own less prompt with the -P option to get even more details. Again, though, there are some things in what you ask that less simply won't have access to when acting as man's pager program.

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