.8 File Extension

Unix Section 8 Manual Page

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What is an 8 file?

An 8 file contains a Unix manual page (man page) that describes an admin-level command. Each 8 file is named for the command it documents. 8 files are meant to be opened and viewed using the Unix man utility.

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Screenshot of a .8 file in Microsoft Visual Studio Code
8 file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Unix-like OSes typically contain a user manual divided into eight sections. The final section of this manual describes system-administration commands, daemons, and hardware-related commands. Each page of the manual is saved as a separate 8 file, named for the command it describes.

For example, the file shutdown.8 contains documentation related to the shutdown command. It includes a quick overview of how to use the command, a detailed description of the command, a list of command-level options, and other related information.

NOTE: Other sections' Unix man pages use the .1, .2, .3, .4, .5, .6, and .7 extensions. Man pages are also commonly compressed into .GZ files (which may use the .gz.# extension).

How to open an 8 file

In Unix-like OSes, you can open an 8 file by calling the man utility using the name of the file. For example, to open shutdown.8, enter man shutdown(8).

Since 8 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 8 files

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Updated February 24, 2022

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