In this article, you will learn about an amazing tool called TLDR and how to install and use it on Linux distributions.

Linux has a built-in man utility tool. It is an interface to the reference manuals (Documentation). That means if you do not understand something like how a command or a function works then you can query for its man reference page to learn about it.

However, these pages can be long and confusing (especially for beginners) which eventually discourse you to read them.

Introducing TLDR, a tool that makes it easier to understand man pages in UNIX-Like systems such as Linux. It’s the same as man pages but very concise and has examples for different use cases.

To give a little context here, let me compare with an example.

A man page for ‘ls’ command.

LS(1)                                        User Commands                                        LS(1)

       ls - list directory contents

       ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

       List  information  about  the FILEs (the current directory by default).  Sort entries alphabeti‐
       cally if none of -cftuvSUX nor --sort is specified.

       Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

       -a, --all
              do not ignore entries starting with .

       -A, --almost-all
              do not list implied . and ..

              with -l, print the author of each file

       -b, --escape
              print C-style escapes for nongraphic characters

              with -l, scale sizes by SIZE when printing them; e.g., '--block-size=M'; see SIZE  format

       -B, --ignore-backups
              do not list implied entries ending with ~

       -c     with  -lt:  sort  by,  and show, ctime (time of last modification of file status informa‐
              tion); with -l: show ctime and sort by name; otherwise: sort by ctime, newest first

       -C     list entries by columns

              colorize the output; WHEN can be 'always' (default if omitted), 'auto', or 'never';  more
              info below

       -d, --directory
              list directories themselves, not their contents

       -D, --dired
              generate output designed for Emacs' dired mode

       -f     do not sort, enable -aU, disable -ls --color

       -F, --classify
              append indicator (one of */=>@|) to entries

              likewise, except do not append '*'

              across -x, commas -m, horizontal -x, long -l, single-column -1, verbose -l, vertical -C

              like -l --time-style=full-iso

       -g     like -l, but do not list owner

              group directories before files;

              can be augmented with a --sort option, but any use of --sort=none (-U) disables grouping

       -G, --no-group
              in a long listing, don't print group names

       -h, --human-readable
              with -l and -s, print sizes like 1K 234M 2G etc.

       --si   likewise, but use powers of 1000 not 1024

       -H, --dereference-command-line
              follow symbolic links listed on the command line

              follow each command line symbolic link

              that points to a directory

              do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN (overridden by -a or -A)

              hyperlink file names; WHEN can be 'always' (default if omitted), 'auto', or 'never'

              append  indicator  with  style WORD to entry names: none (default), slash (-p), file-type
              (--file-type), classify (-F)

       -i, --inode
              print the index number of each file

       -I, --ignore=PATTERN
              do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN

       -k, --kibibytes
              default to 1024-byte blocks for disk usage; used only with -s and per directory totals

       -l     use a long listing format

       -L, --dereference
              when showing file information for a symbolic link, show information for the file the link
              references rather than for the link itself

       -m     fill width with a comma separated list of entries

       -n, --numeric-uid-gid
              like -l, but list numeric user and group IDs

       -N, --literal
              print entry names without quoting

       -o     like -l, but do not list group information

       -p, --indicator-style=slash
              append / indicator to directories

       -q, --hide-control-chars
              print ? instead of nongraphic characters

              show  nongraphic  characters  as-is  (the default, unless program is 'ls' and output is a

       -Q, --quote-name
              enclose entry names in double quotes

              use quoting style WORD for entry names: literal, locale, shell,  shell-always,  shell-es‐
              cape, shell-escape-always, c, escape (overrides QUOTING_STYLE environment variable)

       -r, --reverse
              reverse order while sorting

       -R, --recursive
              list subdirectories recursively

       -s, --size
              print the allocated size of each file, in blocks

       -S     sort by file size, largest first

              sort  by  WORD  instead of name: none (-U), size (-S), time (-t), version (-v), extension

              with -l, show time as WORD instead of default modification time: atime or access  or  use
              (-u);  ctime  or  status (-c); also use specified time as sort key if --sort=time (newest

              time/date format with -l; see TIME_STYLE below

       -t     sort by modification time, newest first

       -T, --tabsize=COLS
              assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8

       -u     with -lt: sort by, and show, access time; with -l: show access time  and  sort  by  name;
              otherwise: sort by access time, newest first

       -U     do not sort; list entries in directory order

       -v     natural sort of (version) numbers within text

       -w, --width=COLS
              set output width to COLS.  0 means no limit

       -x     list entries by lines instead of by columns

       -X     sort alphabetically by entry extension

       -Z, --context
              print any security context of each file

       -1     list one file per line.  Avoid '\n' with -q or -b

       --help display this help and exit

              output version information and exit

       The  SIZE  argument  is  an  integer  and  optional  unit  (example: 10K is 10*1024).  Units are
       K,M,G,T,P,E,Z,Y (powers of 1024) or KB,MB,... (powers of 1000).

       The TIME_STYLE argument can be full-iso, long-iso, iso, locale, or +FORMAT.   FORMAT  is  inter‐
       preted  like  in date(1).  If FORMAT is FORMAT1<newline>FORMAT2, then FORMAT1 applies to non-re‐
       cent files and FORMAT2 to recent files.  TIME_STYLE prefixed with  'posix-'  takes  effect  only
       outside  the  POSIX  locale.  Also the TIME_STYLE environment variable sets the default style to

       Using color to distinguish file types is disabled both by default and with --color=never.   With
       --color=auto,  ls  emits  color codes only when standard output is connected to a terminal.  The
       LS_COLORS environment variable can change the settings.  Use the dircolors command to set it.

   Exit status:
       0      if OK,

       1      if minor problems (e.g., cannot access subdirectory),

       2      if serious trouble (e.g., cannot access command-line argument).

       Written by Richard M. Stallman and David MacKenzie.

       GNU coreutils online help: <>
       Report ls translation bugs to <>

       Copyright © 2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc.  License GPLv3+: GNU  GPL  version  3  or  later
       This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.  There is NO WARRANTY, to the
       extent permitted by law.

       Full documentation at: <>
       or available locally via: info '(coreutils) ls invocation'

GNU coreutils 8.30                           September 2019                                       LS(1)

And here is the same TLDR page for ‘ls’.

List directory contents.

 - List files one per line:
   ls -1

 - List all files, including hidden files:
   ls -a

 - List all files, with trailing / added to directory names:
   ls -F

 - Long format list (permissions, ownership, size and modification date) of all files:
   ls -la

 - Long format list with size displayed using human readable units (KB, MB, GB):
   ls -lh

 - Long format list sorted by size (descending):
   ls -lS

 - Long format list of all files, sorted by modification date (oldest first):
   ls -ltr

Getting TLDR tool in your Linux distribution

TLDR can be installed in various ways. Here are a few of them that you can use to get it in your Linux distribution.

Installing using the ‘npm’

The ‘npm’ is the Node package manager. In order to use it, you have to have it in your system. It can be easily installed using the installation command.

For Debian/Ubuntu or any of their derivatives.

sudo apt install nodejs npm -y

For RedHat, Fedora or CentOS

sudo dnf install nodejs npm

Learn more about apt: Complete apt package manager guide for Linux

Similarly, you can use the installation command for your distribution if you are using any other one like Manjaro, OpenSUSE, etc.

Verify the installation using the version command.

npm -v

Result should be a number something like this.


After having ‘npm’ installed, you can use its installation command to get the latest version of the ‘TLDF’ tool. For this use this command.

sudo npm install -g tldr

Now run the version command for ‘TLDR’ as well.

tldr --version

You should see a number in the output. If you are getting a ‘not found or not located error’ then you have to create a symbolic link. Use this command to do that.

sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/tldr /usr/bin/tldr

Finally, you should be able to use the ‘TLDR’ in your Linux distribution.

Watch Video guide on YouTube

Additionally, You can also watch a step-by-step video guide on YouTube to get a better understanding of it.


So that is how you install and use ‘TLDR’ on Linux. Let me know what you think about it in the comments and subscribe to the LinuxH2O Youtube channel. Till then, keep enjoying Linux.