man pages in plain text - how to?

David Kelly dkelly at
Fri Jun 9 20:34:13 UTC 2006

On Fri, Jun 09, 2006 at 03:01:14PM -0400, Wayne wrote:
> Hi,
> Was wondering how to get "man" to output pages in plain text?  I want 
> the basic formating (indentation & whatnot) but NOT the bold and other 
> special effects.  Just ascii text I can grep through.  I tried setting 
> the terminal type to "dumb" and the stupid thing still tries to do 
> back-space overstrike bolding (jeesh - even LA-120s had fancier print 
> capabilities than that, IIRC.)

% man man | more

the / command in more/less is a grep-like search.

But if you really really want plainest of plain text then "man -t" will
generate postscript, pipe it into ps2ascii (in the Ghostscript port) and
the result will be long lines but very plain text.

With proper print filters installed "man -t man | lpr" produces beautiful
printed man pages.

David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly at
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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