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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Getting Help on the Command Line

This section will provide you with some tips on 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 will produce a short usage description of the command and its options, then exit back to the command prompt. Try man -h or man -help to see this in action.

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

Some helpful tips for using the man command include:

  • arrow keys: Move up and down the man file using the arrow keys.
  • q: Quit back to the command prompt by typing q.
  • man man: man man will bring 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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