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W3M(1) General Commands Manual W3M(1)


w3m - a text based web browser and pager


w3m [OPTION]... [ file | URL ]...


w3m is a text based browser which can display local or remote web pages as well as other documents. It is able to process HTML tables and frames but it ignores JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets. w3m can also serve as a pager for text files named as arguments or passed on standard input, and as a general purpose directory browser.

w3m organizes its content in buffers or tabs, allowing easy navigation between them. With the w3m-img extension installed, w3m can display inline graphics in web pages. And whenever w3m's HTML rendering capabilities do not meet your needs, the target URL can be handed over to a graphical browser with a single command.

For help with runtime options, press “H” while running w3m.


When given one or more command line arguments, w3m will handle targets according to content type. For web, w3m gets this information from HTTP headers; for relative or absolute file system paths, it relies on filenames.

With no argument, w3m expects data from standard input and assumes “text/plain” unless another MIME type is given by the user.

If provided with no target and no fallback target (see for instance option -v below), w3m will exit with usage information.


Command line options are introduced with a single “-” character and may take an argument.

General options

with no other target defined, use the bookmark page for startup
monochrome display
deactivate mouse support
display each line's number
distribute multiple command line arguments to tabs. By default, a stack of buffers is used
width of num pixels per character. Range of 4.0 to 32.0, default 8.0. Larger values will make tables narrower. (Implementation not verified)
height of num pixels per line. Range of 4.0 to 64.0. (Implementation not verified)
use the buffer name as terminal title string. With specified TERM, this sets the title configuration style accordingly
with no other target defined, welcome users with a built-in page
toggle wrapping mode in searches
do not initialize/deinitialize the terminal
go to line num; only effective for num larger than the number of lines in the terminal

Browser options

with stdout as destination; HTML is rendered to lines of num characters
use stored cookies and accept new ones, or do neither
render frames
use or do not use graphic characters for drawing HTML table and frame borders
append string to the HTTP(S) request. Expected to match the header syntax Variable: Value
Render the body of Usenet messages according to the header “Content-type”
do not use proxy
use POST method to upload data defined in file. The syntax to be used is var1=value1[&var2=value2]...
IPv4 only. Corresponds to dns_order=4 in configuration files
IPv6 only. Corresponds to dns_order=6 in configuration files

Text pager options

number of lines preserved internally when receiving plain text from stdin (default 10,000)
use caret notation to display special escape characters (such as ANSI escapes or nroff-style backspaces for bold and underlined characters) instead of processing them
squeeze multiple blank lines into one
set tab width to num columns. No effect on stdout

Data type/encoding options

user defined character encoding of input data
user defined character encoding of output data
explicit characterization of input data by MIME type

Options for data output, followed by immediate exit

dump rendered page into stdout. Set implicitly when output is directed to a file or pipe
dump the page's source code into stdout
dump response of a HEAD request for a URL into stdout
dump HEAD, and source code for a URL into stdout
dump HEAD, source code, and extra information for a URL into stdout
show a summary of compiled-in features and command line options
show all available configuration options
show the version of w3m

Options for overriding default settings and resources

use file instead of the default bookmark.html file
use file instead of the default configuration file
modify one configuration item with an explicitly given value; without option=value, equivalent to -show-option
log headers of HTTP communication in file ~/.w3m/request.log


Pager-like usage

$ cat header.html footer.html | w3m -T text/html
$ w3m -N config.old config

Browser-like usage

$ w3m -M
$ w3m -o auto_image=TRUE
$ w3m -m nntp://
$ w3m -post - <<<'a=0&b=1'

Filter-like usage

$ w3m -cols 40 foo.html > foo.txt
$ w3m -B -o display_link_number=1 > out.txt
$ w3m -T text/html -I EUC-JP -O UTF-8 < foo.html > foo.txt

Start with no input

$ w3m -v


w3m recognises the environment variable WWW_HOME as defining a fallback target for use if it is invoked without one.


default bookmark file
user defined configuration file; overrides /etc/w3m/config
cookie jar; written on exit, read on launch
browser history - visited files and URLs
user defined key bindings; overrides default key bindings
external viewer configuration file
user defined menu; overrides default menu
MIME types file
user defined mouse settings
password and username file
contains predefined values to fill recurrent HTML forms


README and example files are to be found in the doc directory of your w3m installation. Recent information about w3m may be found on the project's web pages at


w3m has incorporated code from several sources. Users have contributed patches and suggestions over time.


Akinori ITO

2016-08-06 w3m 0.5.3