The problem

When opening man in a terminal emulator, man tries to use as much width as possible. However, when opening man inside emacs, man doesn't use all the width (even after Man-update-manpage has been executed.)

In the gif shown below, I open the emacs manual page in a terminal emulator and we can see that the manual page uses all the available width. However, this doesn't happen when this manual page is opened inside emacs. The instance of emacs shown in the GIF was opened by executing emacs -Q.

enter image description here

The question

How can I make M-x man display manual pages so that they use all the available width?

1 Answer 1


Try (setq Man-width-max 160), or (setq Man-width-max nil).

The documentation of Man-width-max says:

This variable was introduced, or its default value was changed, in
version 27.1 of Emacs.

Maximum number of columns allowed for the width of manual pages.
It defines the maximum width for the case when ‘Man-width’ is customized
to a dynamically calculated value depending on the frame/window width.
If the width calculated for ‘Man-width’ is larger than the maximum width,
it will be automatically reduced to the width defined by this variable.
When nil, there is no limit on maximum width.

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