M-x man prepares pages in the background using the external
man program, which is good for a big man page, or when the system is very slow. On the other hand, the man page will pop up seconds later, and some find that disturbing, too. (See the
Man-notify-method variable for how aggressively it displays.)
What you enter for
M-x man basically goes straight to the man command line, so “
-l /some/file.1” can format a particular file. See ManPreview for similar on a buffer.
You can search for pages with “
-k pattern” and press Ret to go to one that’s found. (A feature which has existed for quite a while, but been kept secret in the manual and docstrings!) See SystemApropos for similar as a separate command.
The man program uses the
COLUMNS environment variables for how wide man pages are. Emacs sets
COLUMNS to the window width by default, or per the
Man-width variable. You can also force a setting with
(setenv "MANWIDTH" "72")
You can also try the following to press the completion from WoMan into service (getting filenames instead of page names as such, so possibly with subtle differences in pages found)
(defadvice man (before my-woman-prompt activate) (interactive (progn (require 'woman) (list (woman-file-name nil)))))
aproposcommand to search for man pages