sips, or “scriptable image processing system” is a command-line tool shipping by default with macOS which allows basic image manipulation (think ImageMagick but not as powerful).

I found something odd on it’s man page:

       Generate man pages

It’s not clear at all why this tool would benefit from a way to generate man pages, nor how the feature works. What does it do and how does one use it?

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure why Apple is distributing the manual inside the application. The syntax --man is familiar to users of the Korn shell. It will produce static manuals for certain korn shell builtin commands. To use --man with sips you could uses the following:

sips --man | /usr/bin/groff -Tutf8 -mandoc -c 

that will produce a static manpage.


Try it!

As the man page says: it generates a man page. man pages have a specific format with various text codes to style the data.

It generates a copy of the sips man page.

  • I did try it before asking and saw the sips man page. But that just seems useless. What’s the point of a flag for generating the codes to your own man page? If it can make other manages, fine, but it’s still not clear how to use it.
    – user137369
    Jun 7, 2022 at 2:15
  • 2
    It contains its own documentation. Why is this a problem? Jun 7, 2022 at 5:15
  • It’s not a problem, it’s just odd. Someone went through the trouble of adding the feature and a flag for it, so I expect it to have a purpose. That purpose isn’t clear, so I want to understand it. Maybe it’s something I can use. One becomes a better developer by enquiring and understanding past decisions, not by ignoring what eludes us until it breaks.
    – user137369
    Jun 7, 2022 at 15:26
  • 1
    Its purpose is to be documentation. Jun 19, 2022 at 1:15

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