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APROPOS(1) NetBSD General Commands Manual APROPOS(1)
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Maintained for NetBSD
by Kimmo Suominen.
Based on man-cgi by Panagiotis Christias.
apropos -- search the complete content of all man pages
apropos [-123456789hilMmPpr] [-C path] [-n results] [-S machine]
[-s section] query
The apropos utility performs a full text search over the complete content
of all man pages. It uses the FTS engine of Sqlite to perform the
search. The database is created with the help of the makemandb(8) util-
This implementation of the apropos utility is more sophisticated than the
classical version. Like modern search applications, it uses advanced
techniques like stemming and term weighting to rank the matching results
in decreasing order of relevance.
Quotes are optional for specifying multiword queries.
It supports the following options:
-[1-9] Search only within the specified section of manual pages.
Use different man(1) configuration file than the default,
-h Turn on html formatting.
-i Turn on terminal escape code formatting.
-l Legacy mode: Only searches name and name description. Does not
print context and turns off formatting.
-M Do not show the context of the match.
-m Show the context of the match (default).
Output up to the specified number of search results. The default
limit is infinity.
-P Turn on pager formatting.
-p Turn on pager formatting, and pipe the results through a pager
(defaulting to more(1)).
-r Turn off formatting.
Limit the search to the pages for the specified machine architec-
ture. By default pages for all architectures are shown in the
Restrict the search to the specified section of the manual. By
default, pages from all sections are shown. This option is for
backwards compatibility with the classic version of apropos,
using it is equivalent to using the  options directly.
/etc/man.conf The location of the Sqlite FTS database can be configured
using the _mandb tag.
The APROPOS environment variable is white-space tokenized as an argument
vector and the options in it are parsed and set. Command line options
override the environment options.
man(1), whatis(1), man.conf(5), makemandb(8)
The apropos command appeared in 3.0BSD. It was rewritten in NetBSD 6.0
to support full text search using Sqlite.
NetBSD 9.99 June 16, 2016 NetBSD 9.99