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Learn more about a command – Terminal

Summary

To learn more about a command in your terminal on macOS, enter the following command:

man command-name

If you’re using Git Bash on Windows, use the following command instead:

command-name --help

Details

As an example, if you wanted to learn more about the ls command, you would enter the following command in your terminal on macOS:

man ls

To learn more about ls in Git Bash, use the following command:

ls --help

This command will open what’s called the man page (short for manual page), which will look something like this:

LS(1)                     BSD General Commands Manual                    LS(1)

NAME
     ls -- list directory contents

SYNOPSIS
     ls [-ABCFGHLOPRSTUW@abcdefghiklmnopqrstuwx1%] [file ...]

DESCRIPTION
     For each operand that names a file of a type other than directory, ls displays its name as well as any
     requested, associated information.  For each operand that names a file of type directory, ls displays the
     names of files contained within that directory, as well as any requested, associated information.

To scroll through the man page, use the Up and Down arrow keys.

To quit the man page, press the Q key on your keyboard.

Please note that not all commands have a man page associated with them.

Exercises

Try the following command in your project folder (it will actually work in any folder):

man ls

References

Command Line Primer on the Apple Developer Archive (see the section called Learning About Other Commands at the bottom of the page)

Back to: Terminal Course > Terminal Tips