Colourful man pages in Ubuntu

Linux man pages are the most important resource for a Linux freak. By default man pages are formatted using the ‘less’ utility. ‘less’ shows the man pages in black & white, something like this :

grayscale man pages

If you use ‘most’ utility to format man pages, you will get a properly colour-formatted man pages. Take a look at man pages configured on my system :

color man pages

Do you like this one ?? Read on how to configure ‘most’ as your man pages viewer.

Step 1: Install the package ‘most’

$ sudo aptitude install most

Step 2: Configure ‘most’ as your man page viewer using update-alternatives :

$ sudo update-alternatives --config pager


Enter the number corresponding to /usr/bin/most , here in this screenshot its 5.

Yeah, its done. Nothing more to do !!

Have fun.

Let me know if you find any difficulty doing this.

P.S: This can be done in Fedora as well as other linux also. In Fedora I guess you will have to use the command  /usr/sbin/alternatives instead of update-alternatives as root. Somebody try out in Fedora and let me know.

13 thoughts on “Colourful man pages in Ubuntu”

  1. Nice tip! But you need two dashes before config in the line:
    $ sudo update-alternatives –config pager

    i.e. –config

  2. I’d like “most” better if it had the same controls as “less”. I was definitely thrown off when I tried to use ‘Page Up’ and ‘Page Down’ to scroll around! I can still work with “most” in the same way as “less,” but I like how I can use the ‘Page’, ‘Home’, and ‘End’ buttons, which are all grouped together on my keyboard, to scroll in “less”.

  3. galternatives provides a nice GUI for updating the system’s alternatives setup. Its package and command name are both “galternatives”.

  4. “most” is slightly more cumbersome to use. I find “less” simpler and faster at accomplishing things related to reading man pages. (Many shortcuts in “less” match those of vim what is great advantage to me.)

    Also I am lazy to investigate how to change the default frustrating color palette used by “most.”

Leave a Reply