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perldoc - Look up Perl documentation in pod format.


perldoc [-h] [-v] [-t] [-u] [-m] [-l] [-F] [-X] PageName|ModuleName|ProgramName

perldoc -f BuiltinFunction

perldoc -q FAQ Keyword


perldoc looks up a piece of documentation in .pod format that is embedded in the perl installation tree or in a perl script, and displays it via pod2man | nroff -man | $PAGER. (In addition, if running under HP-UX, col -x will be used.) This is primarily used for the documentation for the perl library modules.

Your system may also have man pages installed for those modules, in which case you can probably just use the man(1) command.


-h help

Prints out a brief help message.

-v verbose

Describes search for the item in detail.

-t text output

Display docs using plain text converter, instead of nroff. This may be faster, but it won't look as nice.

-u unformatted

Find docs only; skip reformatting by pod2*

-m module

Display the entire module: both code and unformatted pod documentation. This may be useful if the docs don't explain a function in the detail you need, and you'd like to inspect the code directly; perldoc will find the file for you and simply hand it off for display.

-l file name only

Display the file name of the module found.

-F file names

Consider arguments as file names, no search in directories will be performed.

-f perlfunc

The -f option followed by the name of a perl built in function will extract the documentation of this function from perlfunc.

-q perlfaq

The -q option takes a regular expression as an argument. It will search the question headings in perlfaq[1-9] and print the entries matching the regular expression.

-X use an index if present

The -X option looks for a entry whose basename matches the name given on the command line in the file $Config{archlib}/pod.idx. The pod.idx file should contain fully qualified filenames, one per line.


The item you want to look up. Nested modules (such as File::Basename) are specified either as File::Basename or File/Basename. You may also give a descriptive name of a page, such as perlfunc. You make also give a partial or wrong-case name, such as "basename" for "File::Basename", but this will be slower, if there is more then one page with the same partial name, you will only get the first one.


Any switches in the PERLDOC environment variable will be used before the command line arguments. perldoc also searches directories specified by the PERL5LIB (or PERLLIB if PERL5LIB is not defined) and PATH environment variables. (The latter is so that embedded pods for executables, such as perldoc itself, are available.) perldoc will use, in order of preference, the pager defined in PERLDOC_PAGER, MANPAGER, or PAGER before trying to find a pager on its own. (MANPAGER is not used if perldoc was told to display plain text or unformatted pod.)


Kenneth Albanowski <>

Minor updates by Andy Dougherty <>