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GPHELP(1) General Commands Manual GPHELP(1)


gphelp - GP-PARI online help script


gphelp [-to_pod file] [-raw] [-detex] [-noskip] [-utf8] [-k] [-ch c1] [-cb c2] [-cu c3] [keyword [ @{1,2,3,4,5} ]] [tutorial] [refcard]...


Invokes the PARI-GP online help script. By default, keyword is understood as a section heading (a GP function name), and gphelp looks for it in Chapter 3 of PARI User's Manual. If it is found, the corresponding section is copied to a temporary file in /tmp (or $GPTMPDIR), TeX is run then the corresponding section is displayed in a separate window, using xdvi (or $GPXDVI).

If more than one keyword is given on a single command line, the outputs are concatenated. If keyword is omitted, open the whole manual users.dvi. The keywords tutorial and refcard open the GP tutorial and reference card respectively.

GP defaults, help sections (1 to 11) as well as some keywords (readline, bnf, ell, all operators...) are recognized and treated in a special way to make sure they match a section heading. For instance && is translated to Comparison and boolean operators which isn't that obvious to guess. Make sure to enclose keyword between quotes if it contains dangerous characters (e.g spaces). For instance, you need to type

gphelp -k "elliptic curves"

and not

gphelp -k elliptic curves

which would look for "elliptic" then for "curves" and output e.g. ploth among the relevant sections.


The pattern @x (where x is a chapter number between 1 and 5) at the end of keyword conducts the search in the corresponding chapter instead of the default Chapter 3. If the number is omitted, search the whole manual. For instance

gphelp -k gerepile@4
will look for gerepile in Chapter 4 of users manual.
gphelp -k gerepile@
will search the whole manual. All chapters of the manual (usersch[1-5].tex) are assumed to be in $GPDOCDIR (defaultvaluesetby Configure). You are allowed to gzip (or compress) them, this won't affect the search.


The following command line options are available:

color used for bold. See -color_help.

color (between 1 and 16) used for general printing. Only significant in detex mode.

color used for underline. See -color_help.

Use detex mode. The TeX file is converted to readable screen output that is directly written to the terminal; don't use tex or xdvi.

By default, the help text is continued when a new section is tagged with a %GPHELPskip marker (on the same line). If this option is set, do not honor markers: end the help text as soon as a new section is started.

In detex mode, use UTF-8 encoding for characters, .e.g. use é (é) instead of 'e.

Switch to apropos mode. Only write to standard output the list of section headings in manual which contain keyword.

You can then choose an element in the list and use it as argument for gphelp (surround it by quotes if it includes spaces), possibly followed by a trailing @ marker (see above).

use internal format for output (using @x markers). For debugging only.

try to convert file from TeX to POD format. Will only work on some subset of PARI User's Manual (Chapter 3, reference card). This should be the only arguments on the command line.


number of columns available on screen (for detex mode)

where to launch the dvi previewer. If unset, detex mode is assumed automatically.

directory where PARI help files are located. Default value set at Configure time.

TeX typesetting program to use

directory where temporary files are written

dvi previewer to use. You may use this to specify options for vanilla xdvi, for instance "xdvi -s 7" to select a shrink factor.


the gp calculator

the gphelp script

PARI/GP User's Manual

PARI/GP tutorial

GP reference card

GP reference card, printer ready


The search algorithm is rather crude and the data searched rather unstructured. Hence, searching outside of Chapter 3 may not yield useful results, except in apropos mode (sections may be truncated too soon for instance).

Multiword search patterns have a tendency to fail due to various TeX constructs in the source.


Originally written by Ilya Zakharevitch for the Math::Pari perl package. Rewritten and expanded by Karim Belabas for the main PARI distribution.


gp(1), gzip(1), readline(1), tex(1), xdvi(1).


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

02 February June 2012