You cannot search ! directly because it puts process behind. For instance, you cannot search ! in sed man.

How can you search ! in man?

  • 2
    If you are using less as man pager then /\!. – jimmij Jun 26 '15 at 18:17
  • You can escape it by \ = \! – Costas Jun 26 '15 at 18:17
  • @jimmij Good! I use normally less but now I used man and got confused. – Léo Léopold Hertz 준영 Jun 26 '15 at 18:19

man itself is a tool to format manual pages, not to browse them. The tool you use to browse the man pages is a pager. The default pager on most systems is less.

In less, when you press / or ? to search, a few characters have a special meaning if you type them at the beginning of the search expression. The exclamation mark is one of them. To avoid ! having a special meaning, put a backslash before it. It is very common for backslash to mean “interpret the next character literally”.

So to search for an exclamation mark, press /\! Enter.

man -k \!

Not sure that is what you are really asking?


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