By Thomas Rutter

Accessing the PHP Manual, Quickly

By Thomas Rutter

This is Thomas Rutter, currently filling in for our regular PHP blogger Harry Fuecks. While Harry

  • Craig Beck

    For OS X users you missed PHPfi from – a great little shareware app (free if you are a student or hobbyist). I use it all the time.

  • Dr Livingston

    what i would like to see is that using php5 and you have an error using a library function, the function is displayed with the error if im understood?

    well does anyone know of a way so i can click on the link (part of error message) and find the function locally, ie off my own server… since the link in question is relative and not absolute.

    if the link was absolute then no problem as i am online in the background anyways but the link is relative so its all pointless really ;)

  • Mike P.

    Or use a bookmarklet:
    javascript:var p;var q;if(!q){void(q=prompt(‘PHP Search…’,”));}window.location=’’+escape(q);

  • I use these quick things all the time in Opera. They have an Opera panel available that I use most of the time, but I’ve also built a search bar into Opera for the manual.

    It does really help.

  • Thanks for the tip on searching the PHP manual in Safari. I find no matter how much PHP I write – I will be staring at the screen trying to remember syntax (as I can only fit so much into my dunce cap!). I of course have some seriously dog-eared PHP books but will add this quick search in.

  • I use a keyword address bar search in firefox. So helpful :)

  • Rebort

    If you want to do a quickie-lookup of a particular function, just type its name after the URL, like so:

    This works for any function in the manual. If you muck up the name, you’ll be taken to a results page with near matches.

  • … if you’re on efnet, you can:
    /msg PEARClops ~f functiontolookup
    like so:

    10:12 -!- Irssi: Starting query in EFNet with PEARClops
    10:12 ~f in_array
    10:12 bool in_array(mixed needle, array haystack [, bool strict]) : Checks if the given value exists in the array

    On freenode, you can do the same for phpdocbot.

    PEARClops also has a limited PEAR vocabulary:
    10:14 ~f Mail_Mime::get
    10:14 mail_mime::get(&$build_params) :

    These will improve over time.


  • Based on this article:
    I wrote a small GUI in php (with winbinder).
    A screenshot is here:
    The code:
    -> Minimize to system-tray
    -> 2MB and it`s working without php installed on the user computer
    -> no dos Window
    -> suport for Win XP Themes
    -> It works only on Windows (higher than 2000)

  • noel

    what about a local mirror?
    it’s about 50 megs.
    instructions on the php web site, i think.
    great for when you are away from the internet for large periods of time.

    if needed will go though details when have proper internet connection

  • saurab

    if you dont remember the exact name of a function that you want to search the details for, then just type in Google : incorrect_function_name

    google’s spell check thing will correct the incorrect function name and ask you very politely : did you mean this ?

  • If you want a local copy, a full mirror is overkill.

    Go with the CHM (, or at the very least/most: livedocs (


  • Peter Dunham

    If you use the chm version and editplus you can:

    From within editplus, highlight a function name, language construct, etc in your code, press your pre-defined user key and bingo – up pops the manual with the appropriate page showing.

  • gmilner

    Here’s a copy for you Palm system. Don’t know how old it really is even though it says 06/07/2004, that could be when it was posted to memoware:^!PHP~!description^!PHP~!author^!PHP~!

  • J

    If you are using VIM as your editor, you can include the PHP manual into its integrated help:

  • topsmith

    nice work, fastwork :)

  • Skip Chris

    Not really anything that’s not already been said, but FF search keywords are a boon:
    I have ‘phpf’ mapped to this link:

    and it’s all beautiful.

  • patrikG

    What I’d be very interested to read is a benchmark comparison of the various pre-compilers for PHP: turck MMCache, ZendOptimiser, AGP.

  • I also use firefox’s quick search. Typing:
    php function_name
    in the adrress bar takes me where I want.

    As I use Macromedia Dreamweaver for coding, I use this extension:
    which opens the .chm help in the disered function.

  • Richard@Home

    I simply press F1 in my editor of choice: HTML-Kit (, while editing PHP to bring up the required annotated PHP manual page.


    I simply press F1 in my editor of choice while editing Javascript to bring up the required Netscape Devedge Javascript documentation page.


    I simply press F1 in my editor of choice while editing (X)HTML to bring up the required W3C HTML documentation page.


    I simply press F1 in my editor of choice while editing CSS to bring up the required W3C CSS documentation page.

    …You get the idea ;-)

  • frankiehots

    I have an ultra-simple and quick way of looking up functions in the PHP manual. I use
    Opera 7.5 for Windows. I have set up Opera’s customizable search queries to
    include the letter “p” as a keyword for the PHP manual. I just type something in my
    address bar like:

    p array_search

    and it takes me right to the appropriate manual page:

    Opera comes with built in keywords (or key-letters) like “g” for Google and “y” for Yahoo. You can be modify or add to these by editing the Opera search.ini file. For PHP I just added:

  • Raevel

    I use Zend Studio, with it the function along with the arguments pop up as you’re writing it. It even works for the functions you wrote yourself! The only time i have to use is when i completely forget what a function is called.

  • Anonymous

  • Moiz Husain

    Zend Studio is a good option. Dreamweaver is also good at providing help.

  • dofa

    hello you dont know hot to download php manuall. then pls close this sites. ok bye ediuu

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