"man" command returning duplicated results in mac terminal

When I

man -k "^printf"

in terminal, it returns duplicated results below:

printf(1)                - formatted output
printf(1)                - formatted output
printf(3), fprintf(3), sprintf(3), snprintf(3), asprintf(3), dprintf(3), vprintf(3), vfprintf(3), vsprintf(3), vsnprintf(3), vasprintf(3), vdprintf(3) - formatted output conversion

And, When I

man -k 1

It also returns a bunch of duplicated results.

It's a new M1 MAX Mac, I didn't even do any setting changes yet, but the problem above is actually happening. What's wrong with my new Mac?

1 answer

  • answered 2022-02-21 14:20 j23

    You could do man -w and see where the man looks for manpages. This issue (duplication of results while using man -k printf) arises, if your system has copies of manpages in multiple path.

    In my system there are multiple man paths. See below the output of my man -w.


    Out of this, below two has some of the manpages replicated. For example printf can be found in both path.


    If you do ls -l in the MANPATH, you will see that both has copies of some of the same manpages.

     > ls /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX.sdk/usr/share/man/
    man1 man2 man3 man4 man5 man6 man7 man8 man9 mann
    > ls /usr/share/man/
    man1 man4 man5 man6 man7 man8 man9 mann

    In short, when you do man -k somecommand, it displays results from all the paths contained in man -w. If you want to avoid that you need to change the $MANPATH environment variable. Set it to the path you want your man command to look.

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