FINGER(1) General Commands Manual FINGER(1)
finger – user information lookup program
finger [-46gklmpsho] [user ...] [user@host ...]
The finger utility displays information about the system users.
-4 Forces finger to use IPv4 addresses only.
-6 Forces finger to use IPv6 addresses only.
-g This option restricts the gecos output to only the users' real
name. It also has the side-effect of restricting the output of the
remote host when used in conjunction with the -h option.
-h When used in conjunction with the -s option, the name of the remote
host is displayed instead of the office location and office phone.
-k Disable all use of utmpx(5).
-l Produce a multi-line format displaying all of the information
described for the -s option as well as the user's home directory,
home phone number, login shell, mail status, and the contents of
the files .forward, .plan, .project and .pubkey from the user's
If idle time is at least a minute and less than a day, it is
presented in the form ``hh:mm''. Idle times greater than a day are
presented as ``d day[s]hh:mm''.
Phone numbers specified as eleven digits are printed as ``+N-NNN-
NNN-NNNN''. Numbers specified as ten or seven digits are printed
as the appropriate subset of that string. Numbers specified as
five digits are printed as ``xN-NNNN''. Numbers specified as four
digits are printed as ``xNNNN''.
If write permission is denied to the device, the phrase ``(messages
off)'' is appended to the line containing the device name. One
entry per user is displayed with the -l option; if a user is logged
on multiple times, terminal information is repeated once per login.
Mail status is shown as ``No Mail.'' if there is no mail at all,
``Mail last read DDD MMM ## HH:MM YYYY (TZ)'' if the person has
looked at their mailbox since new mail arriving, or ``New mail
received ...'', ``Unread since ...'' if they have new mail.
-m Prevent matching of user names. User is usually a login name;
however, matching will also be done on the users' real names,
unless the -m option is supplied. All name matching performed by
finger is case insensitive.
-o When used in conjunction with the -s option, the office location
and office phone information is displayed instead of the name of
the remote host.
-p Prevent the -l option of finger from displaying the contents of the
.forward, .plan, .project and .pubkey files.
-s Display the user's login name, real name, terminal name and write
status (as a ``*'' before the terminal name if write permission is
denied), idle time, login time, and either office location and
office phone number, or the remote host. If -o is given, the
office location and office phone number is printed (the default).
If -h is given, the remote host is printed instead.
Idle time is in minutes if it is a single integer, hours and
minutes if a ``:'' is present, or days if a ``d'' is present. If
it is an “*”, the login time indicates the time of last login.
Login time is displayed as the day name if less than 6 days, else
month, day; hours and minutes, unless more than six months ago, in
which case the year is displayed rather than the hours and minutes.
Unknown devices as well as nonexistent idle and login times are
displayed as single asterisks.
If no options are specified, finger defaults to the -l style output if
operands are provided, otherwise to the -s style. Note that some fields
may be missing, in either format, if information is not available for them.
If no arguments are specified, finger will print an entry for each user
currently logged into the system.
The finger utility may be used to look up users on a remote machine. The
format is to specify a user as “user@host”, or “@host”, where the default
output format for the former is the -l style, and the default output format
for the latter is the -s style. The -l option is the only option that may
be passed to a remote machine.
If the file .nofinger exists in the user's home directory, and the program
is not run with superuser privileges, finger behaves as if the user in
question does not exist.
The optional finger.conf(5) configuration file can be used to specify
aliases. Since finger is invoked by fingerd(8), aliases will work for both
local and network queries.
The finger utility utilizes the following environment variable, if it
FINGER This variable may be set with favored options to finger.
/etc/finger.conf alias definition data base
/var/log/lastlog last login data base
chpass(1), w(1), who(1), finger.conf(5), fingerd(8)
D. Zimmerman, The Finger User Information Protocol, RFC 1288, December,
The finger command appeared in 3.0BSD.
The current FINGER protocol RFC requires that the client keep the
connection fully open until the server closes. This prevents the use of
the optimal three-packet T/TCP exchange. (Servers which depend on this
requirement are bogus but have nonetheless been observed in the Internet at
The finger utility does not recognize multibyte characters.
macOS 12.1 July 17, 2004 macOS 12.1