For exmaple, I open man page of tar and I want to locate -z quickly.

But when I type /-z, things like -i, --ignore-zeros also get matched. So I have to press n several times to reach -z.

However, I tried /-z$ or /^-z$ but neither works.


^ and $ in this context refer to the start and end of a complete line - what you need is a word boundary:


   -z, --gzip, --gunzip, --ungzip
          Filter the archive through gzip(1).

   -Z, --compress, --uncompress
          Filter the archive through compress(1).

If you also want to exclude the upper case match as well, then see Can I force man to do lower case sensitive matching?

  • Did I misunderstand ^ and $ or they are just different here in man page? – Rick Jul 5 at 2:11
  • @Rick they mean the same in any line-based context - for example compare echo 'foo bar' | sed -n '/^bar/p' versus echo 'foo bar' | sed -n '/\bbar/p' – steeldriver Jul 5 at 2:16

A GUI alternative is to use this:

man tar.png

Click on the first link and then type Ctrl+F followed by -z, and you are greeted with:

man tar -z.png

Of course using CLI is faster for quick and dirty but for extensive reading I prefer the internet.

  • 1
    Ah I know this one. But sometimes it would be cubersome to open in brower. Thanks anyway. – Rick Jul 5 at 2:55

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