Man page format is a text format for help files. It is widely used on Unix and related computer systems. It is based on troff format.
How to display
Man pages can be displayed by a standard utility named man. They are usually first installed in a central location.
The man utility can display files directly, without needing them to be installed, but the way to do that depends on the implementation. To display a file named, say, xyzformat.5, at least one of the following commands is likely to work:
$ man xyzformat.5 $ man ./xyzformat.5 $ man -l xyzformat.5 $ nroff -man xyzformat.5 $ groff -man -Tutf8 xyzformat.5
If all else fails, read the manual:
$ man man
$ man 7 man
Writing a man page
Normally specific software is used to create a man page, however, one can do that via a regular text editor.
|.TH||First command (see below)|
|.HP||Paragraph with heading indent|
|.RS||Start nested indentation|
|.RE||End nested indentation|
The first command (non-comment block) is often (but not necessarily) .TH, it's format consists of the following:
|name||Name of the command that is being documented||command|
|section||Manual section (depending on what the command is, if it is software, then 1)||1|
|centre-footer||Usually a date of editing of the manual page||"2015 April 23"|
|left-footer||Text that goes in the bottom left|
|centre-header||Text that goes in the top centre|
- Todo: There seems to be .IX block that often duplicates what other blocks do. What is it?