.2 File Extension

Unix Section 2 Manual Page

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What is a 2 file?

A 2 file contains a Unix manual page (man page) that describes a system call. Each 2 file is named for the system call it describes. 2 files are meant to be opened and viewed using the Unix man utility.

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Screenshot of a .2 file in Microsoft Visual Studio Code
2 file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Most Unix-based operating systems include a system manual divided into eight numbered sections. The second section of this manual includes documentation related to Unix system calls. Each call's documentation is stored in a separate 2 file.

For example, the file link.2 contains documentation related to the link and linkat system calls. It includes a quick synopsis of how to use the call, a detailed description of the call, sections describing the call's return values, possible errors, versions, and bugs, and a list of related manual pages.

NOTE: Other sections' Unix man pages use the .1, .3, .4, .5, .6, .7, and .8 extensions. Man pages are also commonly compressed into .GZ files (which may use the .gz.# extension).

How to open a 2 file

In Unix-like OSes, you can open a 2 file by calling the man utility using the name of the file. For example, to open link.2, enter man link(2).

Since 2 files are plain text files, you can also open them in any text editor, such as Vim (Linux, Mac), Microsoft Notepad (Windows), and Apple TextEdit (Mac).

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Programs that open 2 files

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Updated February 24, 2022

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