I have just installed Cygwin, and I have displayed a file's contents using the less command. Now I am unable to exit that in order to type other commands:

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I want to exit this mode to type some other commands. How can I do that?

  • 1
    I also use cygwin cat but it does not require to press anything when it has finished to print file. Add cat --version just in case to your question and perhaps a copy of your screen.
    – user17530
    Dec 10, 2013 at 8:06
  • 1
    Sorry its less command I have updated my question accordingly
    – Elvin
    Dec 10, 2013 at 8:12

3 Answers 3


To quit less, type q.

Also, check out man less, or type h from within less for some more, useful bits of information.

In general, assuming man has been properly installed, man xyz will tell you how to use the xyz tool. On GNU systems like Cygwin or what you call Linux at least, man will usually display through less as well, so to exit from man, again you would type q (which also works in more or most which are other pagers used by man or other commands that need paging on other systems).

  • Typing q does not work if I am using less under tmux, is it normal case? Please see: superuser.com/questions/1646175/…
    – alper
    May 2, 2021 at 20:02
  • Ironically, at least in my Terminal (iTerm2), running man xyz will actually run less and leave you in the same predicament – I found this question precisely because I’d run a man command and couldn’t get back to the regular prompt. Feb 2, 2023 at 11:48
  • This is not intuitive IMO... every other command can be exited with ctrl-C
    – SBF
    Mar 16, 2023 at 17:11

I think you can exit by pressing Ctrl+C.

  • 6
    Ctrl+C does not exit from less on my system, at least.
    – user
    Dec 10, 2013 at 8:28
  • 2
    The user said cat in his original question that we answered.
    – robbat2
    Dec 10, 2013 at 9:28
  • 1
    less can be run with flag -K or --quit-on-intr and then it will terminate on Ctrl+C. Jan 12, 2022 at 11:21

Just press Q (lowercase). No need to press anything else. Some times, you need a capital letter.

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