How to Get Colored Man Pages in Linux

A man page is one of the most valuable tools available on a Linux dedicated server. Although the name might seem to imply something masculine, the word “man” is actually short for “manual”, and on a Linux server, you have probably not come close to unlocking its full potential until you have read some of them.

By default, typing “man [insert command here]” gives you black and white data. For some this may be of no consequence, but if you like a little color in your life, this short tutorial will walk you through the steps to getting a colored man page.

  1. Install “most”. Rather than using the default, bland “more” to display man pages, you can use “most”, which has color-coding by default. On Red Hat-based distributions, use this command:

    # yum install most

  2. For Debian-based distributions, use:

    # apt-get install most

  3. You will also need to configure your PAGER environment variable. This will change the default pager to “most”. Run this command:

    export PAGER=”most”

That is all it takes, just two steps. You should now have color when you type man followed by any command. This, however, will not be permanent unless you modify the PAGER variable in your local ~/.bashrc file. For more information about “most”, simply type “man most” from the command line.