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1 Introduction

WoMan was developed primarily on various versions of Microsoft Windows, but has also been tested on MS-DOS, and various versions of UNIX and GNU/Linux.

WoMan is distributed with GNU Emacs.

WoMan implements a subset of the formatting performed by the Emacs man (or manual-entry) command to format a Unix-style manual page (usually abbreviated to man page) for display, but without calling any external programs. It is intended to emulate the whole of the roff -man macro package, plus those roff requests (see Background) that are most commonly used in man pages. However, the emulation is modified to include the reformatting done by the Emacs man command. No hyphenation is performed.


Much more direct, does not require any external programs. Supports completion on man page names.


Not a complete emulation. Currently no support for eqn or tbl. Slightly slower for large man pages (but usually faster for small- and medium-size pages).

This browser works quite well on simple well-written man files. It works less well on idiosyncratic files that “break the rules” or use the more obscure roff requests directly. Current test results are available in the file woman.status.

WoMan supports the use of compressed man files via auto-compression-mode by turning it on if necessary. But you may need to adjust the user option woman-file-compression-regexp. See Interface Options.

Brief help on the WoMan interactive commands and user options, all of which begin with the prefix woman- (or occasionally WoMan-), is available most easily by loading WoMan and then either running the command woman-mini-help or selecting the WoMan menu option ‘Mini Help’.

Guidance on reporting bugs is given below. See Reporting Bugs.

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