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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Need To Read The Friendly Manual (RTFM) In OS X? Try Xmanview
May 21st, 2001

Xmanview 1.0 (Freeware)
CodeFab, Inc

With OS X, Mac users finally have access to a terminal window. It will, among other things, let you run UNIX programs from a command-line interface. While the graphic interface of the Mac OS is more or less intuitive, one may have a bit of a problem remembering the myriad of options for each command. As many wise souls have already stated, one way to solve this problem is to RTFM, or Read the Friendly Manual. Xmanview to the rescue!

Sure, you can access manual pages from the terminal window by typing 'man' and the name of the command you are interested in, but Xmanview offers a much richer experience. Just enter a command in the search field, hit return, and you'll see what we mean. Rather than having all text displayed in the same boring font, Xmanview uses font size, style and color to make the text easier to read.

Much Nicer Look Than the Terminal Window Version
(click for a larger image)

But wait, there's more! In addition to an improved look, Xmanview also enables hyperlinks for manual pages that make reference to other UNIX commands. Just click on a command that looks like a hyperlink (blue text with an underline) and you'll be brought to a new manual page. Want to go back to the original command? Just click on the back button. To see a history of the commands you've already viewed, you can click on the down arrow next to the search field.

Finally, you can keep a list of favorite manual pages by adding them to your favorites list, just like a browser. Though we can bet that a favorite man page probably doesn't contain one of your favorite commands, if you need to bookmark it.

So take advantage of the wealth of information available for the commands in your new OS, and try Xmanview.

Have any other Mac Gadgets that you think make the transition to Mac OS X easier? Let John know via e-mail, so he can check it out.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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