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Can I get less not to monochrome its output?

E.g., the output from git diff is colored, but git diff | less is not.

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possibly the same on superuser: superuser.com/questions/117841/… –  Ciro Santilli Sep 19 at 8:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 67 down vote accepted

Use:

git diff --color=always | less -r

--color=always is there to tell git to output color codes even if the output is a pipe (not a tty). And -r is there to tell less to interpret those color codes and other escape sequences. Use -R for ANSI color codes only.

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Excellent! Can I translate this to a "git config --global" command? –  ripper234 Aug 24 '11 at 12:23
1  
@ripper234. With recent gits, git config color.ui true should be enough to obtain colored output, and to automatically run a pager for long outputs. –  Stéphane Gimenez Aug 24 '11 at 12:48
    
True enough, I was actually using something similar but not quite like it. Thanks anyway for the great answer. –  ripper234 Aug 24 '11 at 13:20
    
@ripper234 you can set an alias for this: unix.stackexchange.com/a/50007/24272 –  AvL Oct 5 '12 at 8:23
1  
In parallel to this Q/A, watch --color 'git diff --cached --color=always' and its friends can bring you some additional awesomeness. –  Alois Mahdal Jul 26 '13 at 9:19

Another option would be to enable colors and use 'less -r' as your pager.

git config --global color.ui true
git config --global core.pager 'less -r'

This results in

[color]
    ui = true
[core]
    pager = less -r

in your ~/.gitconfig

For more information see the Pro Git book.

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Use -r (--raw-control-chars) option to less, or also -R (only ANSI escape sequences).

I have an alias for this in ~/.bashrc

alias rless='less -r'
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5  
Actually I just did alias less='less -r'. Any reason not to? –  ripper234 Aug 24 '11 at 12:25
2  
@ripper234: I vaguely remember there could be cases when using -r when not needed can lead to visualization problem. –  enzotib Aug 24 '11 at 12:29
    
For instance, when you pipe ack with less -r you lose a carriage return –  New Alexandria Jan 14 '13 at 15:58
3  
You can just use \less if visualization messes up. –  Bepetersn Oct 26 '13 at 0:41

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