I'm working on Solaris 10, using bash. Want to change default pager from "more" to "less" (because "less is more" :). Tried to do the following:


PS. When I do it in csh via

setenv PAGER less

then it works

  • 1
    Do not use just less since the default is to use more -s. less seems to implement the same option. BTW: if you have an editor that allows you to exit a binary without destroing the binary, edit /usr/bin/man and replace nroff -u0 by nroff -u1 for better readable output. IIRC, there are three such strings in the binary.
    – schily
    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:24
  • @schily; I think you wanted to say edit a binary and not exit a binary, right? Hm, not sure that I have such a thing, what would it be, some hexeditor? I can see the strings with strings.Thank you for the suggestion!
    – stevica
    Nov 8, 2018 at 12:51
  • Ok, it seems that I made 2 typos and fixed only one. Any modern editor schould be able to so this, vi is not usable.
    – schily
    Nov 8, 2018 at 13:03
  • Notice the (small but important) distinction with setenv saying that it sets environment variables.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Nov 8, 2018 at 13:54
  • 1
    @JeffSchaller I do notice. The thing is that with csh I have more experience and still fighting my way through bash. Up to now I was even thinking that Bash doesn't make a distinction between environment and any other variable.
    – stevica
    Nov 8, 2018 at 17:33

1 Answer 1




sets the shell variable PAGER to the value less. For man (or anything other than the current shell) to see this, you will have to additionally make PAGER an environment variable. You do this with export, either through

export PAGER


export PAGER=less

A shell variable is "exported into the environment" with export. This is the same in all sh-like shells. Exporting a variable in this way is the corollary to the csh/tcsh setenv command.

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