The bash Manual - Shell Scripting

Most Linux distributions include an online manual for looking up information on shell commands, as well as lots of other GNU utilities included in the distribution. It is a good idea to become familiar with the manual, as it’s invaluable for working with utilities, especially when trying to figure out various command line parameters.

The man command provides access to the manual pages stored on the Linux system. Entering the man command followed by a specific utility name provides the manual entry for that utility. Figure below shows an example of looking up the manual pages for the date command.

Figure: Displaying the manual pages for the Linux date command
Displaying the manual pages for the Linux date command
The manual page divides information about the command into separate sections, shown in
The linux man page format

You can step through the man pages by pressing the spacebar or using the arrow keys to scroll forward and backward through the man page text (assuming that your terminal emulation package supports the arrow key functions).

To see information about the bash shell, look at the man pages for it using the command:

$ man bash

This allows you to step through the entire man pages for the bash shell. This is extremely handy when building scripts, as you don’t have to refer back to books or Internet sites to look up specific formats for commands. The manual is always there for you in your session.


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