Different systems render man pages differently. Some paginated the pages by default, some don't. How can I control the pagination behaviour?

And how can I configure the page height (in lines) when pagination is enabled?

For example, on Solaris 10, when I view man pages in the terminal (e.g. man man) they are paginated like this:

User Commands                                              man(1)
SunOS 5.10          Last change: 29 Apr 2010                    1

User Commands                                              man(1)
SunOS 5.10          Last change: 29 Apr 2010                    2

On Fedora Linux the same call just renders one big page:

MAN(1)                        Manual pager utils                        MAN(1)
...                           2016-12-12                            MAN(1)
  • 1
    On which system do you want to control this behaviour?
    – Kusalananda
    Sep 2, 2017 at 12:05
  • @Kusalananda, on Linux and Solaris. Sep 2, 2017 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


The groff documentation describes several options that can be used to control pagination, including -rCR=0 to disable the default single-page behaviour in nroff mode. This can be set using the MANROFFOPT environment variable.

I haven't found a way to control the page length, short of injecting a .pl request into the nroff input stream, and in the absence of that it seems to be effectively a fixed value. It might be worthwhile for man to gain an option to enable pagination and set the page length based on the terminal size ...

  • I found, for tmac.an.old and classic AT&T nroff, one can inject .ch }H and .ch }F after the initial .TH (perhaps with .if \ng==1 so it can be triggered with -rg1 from the command line) to the same effect; it will lose the last trailing footer as well, unlike what mdoc (which already defaults to cR) does.
    – mirabilos
    Oct 2, 2020 at 2:30

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