FINGER(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual FINGER(1)


fingeruser information lookup program


finger [ -46gklmpsho][ user ...][ user@host ...]


The finger utility displays information about the system users.

Options are:

Forces finger to use IPv4 addresses only.
Forces finger to use IPv6 addresses only.
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.

When used in conjunction with the -s option, the name of the remote host is displayed instead of the office location and office phone.
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.
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.
Disable all use of the user accounting database.
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 home directory.

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.

Prevent the -l option of finger from displaying the contents of the .forward, .plan, .project and .pubkey files.
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.

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 exists:
This variable may be set with favored options to finger.


alias definition data base
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, 1991.


The finger command appeared in 3.0BSD.


The finger utility does not recognize multibyte characters.
January 21, 2010 FreeBSD