tldr - A fully-functional bash client for tldr, simplified and community-driven man pages

tldr - A fully-functional bash client for tldr, simplified and community-driven man pages


A fully-functional POSIX shell client for tldr-pages. This version aims to be the easiest, smallest, and most universal client to set up on a new account, without sacrificing any features. It uses only /bin/sh features and curl, and tested on Linux, OSX, FreeBSD, with bash, sh, dash, ksh, zsh, csh.

tldr screenshot


mkdir -p ~/bin
curl -o ~/bin/tldr
chmod +x ~/bin/tldr

Then try using the command! If you get an error such as -bash: tldr: command not found, you may need to add ~/bin to your $PATH. On OSX edit ~/.bash_profile (~/.bashrc on Linux), and add the following line to the bottom of the file:

export PATH=$PATH:~/bin

If you'd like to enable shell completion (eg. tldr w<tab><tab> to get a list of all commands which start with w) then add the following to the same startup script:

complete -W "$(tldr 2>/dev/null --list)" tldr

Or for ~/.zshrc, add:

[ -f ~/bin/tldr ] && compctl -k "($( tldr 2>/dev/null --list))" tldr


curl and unzip need to be available somewhere in your $PATH. The script is otherwise self-contained.


tldr [options] <command>

  -l, --list             show all available pages
  -L, --language [code]  override language detection, set preferred language
  -p, --platform [name]  show page from specific platform
  -u, --update           update cached copies of tldr page files
  -h, --help             this help overview
  -v, --version          show version information
  -n, --no-cache         display pages directly from GitHub (watch ratelimits)

  Show the tldr page for command.

The client caches a copy of the tldr pages under $(cache_dir)
By default, cached copies will be refreshed after $(cache_days) days.

	Show an overivew of unzip:
		tldr unzip
	Show commands for all platforms:
		tldr -l -p all
	If you have fzf installed, try:
		tldr -l -p all | fzf --preview 'tldr {}' 
	Show the Russian page for tar:
		tldr -L ru tar
	List pages in the Android section:
		tldr -p android -l


You can change the styling of the output from tldr by defining some environment variables. For example, try adding the following lines to your ~/.bash_profile file (OSX) or ~/.bashrc file (Linux).

export TLDR_HEADER='magenta bold underline'
export TLDR_QUOTE='italic'
export TLDR_DESCRIPTION='green'
export TLDR_CODE='red'
export TLDR_PARAM='blue'

Possible settings are: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, onblue, ongrey, reset, bold, underline, italic, eitalic, default (some variables may not work in some shells).

NB: You will need to log into a new session to see the effect. Just run the commands in the terminal directly to see the change immediately and temporarily.


This is the result of a Sunday afternoon project. It's been lightly tested under Mac OS X 10.9 and Ubuntu Linux 15.10. I've tried to make the project as portable as possible, but if there's something I missed I'd love your help.

  • Want a new feature? Feel free to file an issue for a feature request.
  • Find a bug? Open an issue please, or even better send me a pull request.

Contributions are always welcome at any time!

Download Source Code

Download ZIP
Mar 8, 2022