Dr Drang and Nathan have both written recently about bringing up a man page for reference while typing a command in the terminal. I’ve two approaches to share, but unlike Nathan I can’t claim that they’re superior — just alternatives.

I prefer them over the right-click method because I don’t like to take my hands off the keyboard unless absolutely necessary, and moving to Zsh is a bit much for me right now.

First is LaunchBar’s built-in man page search (found under UTF-8 search templates in the index), which uses the x-man-page:// URL scheme to bring up a new Terminal window. Here’s what you type:

⌘-Space man Space `command` ↩

The second approach layers the wonderful Dash on top of LaunchBar, bringing up the man page in Dash’s interface instead of the Terminal.

⌘-Space dash Space `command` ↩

This gives you all the usual Dash goodies, including a section list and inline links to other man pages (if you decide, after all, to take your hands off the keyboard).

You can prepend man: to the command name to restrict the search to man pages only, or even add a search template of the form dash://man:* to LaunchBar’s index — in place of the first man page search if you like.