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This chapter is from the book

Getting Help on the Command Line

This section provides you with some tips for getting help on the command line. The commands --help and man are the two most important tools at the command line.

Virtually all commands understand the -h (or --help) option, which produces a short usage description of the command and its options, then exits back to the command prompt. Try man -h or man --help to see this in action.

Every command and nearly every application in Linux has a man (manual) file, so finding such a file is as simple as typing man command to bring up a longer manual entry for the specified command. For example, man mv brings up the mv (move) manual.

Some helpful tips for using the man command include the following.

  • Arrow keys: Move up and down the man file by using the arrow keys.
  • q: Quit back to the command prompt by typing q.
  • man man: man man brings up the manual entry for the man command, which is a good place to start!
  • man intro: man intro is especially useful. It displays the Introduction to User Commands, which is a well-written, fairly brief introduction to the Linux command line.

There are also info pages, which are generally more in-depth than man pages. Try info info for the introduction to info pages.

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