HELP2MAN(1) User Commands HELP2MAN(1)

help2man - generate a simple manual page


`help2man' generates a man page out of `--help' and `--version' output.

description for the NAME paragraph
section number for manual page (1, 6, 8)
name of manual (User Commands, ...)
source of program (FSF, Debian, ...)
select locale (default "C")
include material from `FILE'
include material from `FILE' if it exists
send output to `FILE'
name of Texinfo manual
suppress pointer to Texinfo manual
exclude the `lt-' from the program name
print this help, then exit
print version number, then exit

EXECUTABLE should accept `--help' and `--version' options and produce output on stdout although alternatives may be specified using:

help option string
version option string
version string
include stderr when parsing option output

Additional material may be included in the generated output with the --include and --opt-include options. The format is simple:



Blocks of verbatim *roff text are inserted into the output either at the start of the given [section] (case insensitive), or after a paragraph matching /pattern/.

Patterns use the Perl regular expression syntax and may be followed by the i, s or m modifiers (see perlre(1)).

Lines before the first section or pattern which begin with `-' are processed as options. Anything else is silently ignored and may be used for comments, RCS keywords and the like.

The section output order (for those included) is:


Any [NAME] or [SYNOPSIS] sections appearing in the include file will replace what would have automatically been produced (although you can still override the former with --name if required).

Other sections are prepended to the automatically produced output for the standard sections given above, or included at other (above) in the order they were encountered in the include file.

Placement of the text within the section may be explicitly requested by using the syntax [<section], [=section] or [>section] to place the additional text before, in place of, or after the default output respectively.

The latest version of this distribution is available on-line from:

Written by Brendan O'Dea <>

Report bugs to <>.

Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020, 2021, 2022 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

The full documentation for help2man is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and help2man programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info help2man

should give you access to the complete manual.

December 2022 GNU help2man 1.49.3