Sunday, August 23, 2009

WoMan: An Emacs interface to read man pages

If you've worked with terminals and launched man in it, it's a bit weird to suddenly use vi commands to navigate the man pages.  And it really is a problem to navigate on older *nixes with the way the screen moves or refreshes itself. Well, Emacs has a really good interface to read manpages call WoMan (Without Man).  Nicely formatted, easier navigation and ability to jump from section to section is among the features I like in it.

It can be launched as M-x woman and will prompt for a command you want the manpage on.  Now, if you have cygwin installed, it should work without a hitch, otherwise you might have to customise woman-manpath and woman-path to point to where the manpages lie.  Reading the variable documentation on both using C-h v , which should tell you how to set it.

Note that, it launches a new frame (Window in Microsoft terminology) to display the manpage and would probably be in a different font.  You can close the frame by pressing C-x 5 0.