Is there a way to search, while I'm typing in less? Just like the vim option, set incsearch.

As I didn't find a proper way to do it, is there any similar tool that can do it?

  • Why Don't you use vim as your pager!? – user1146332 Sep 18 '12 at 15:36
  • @user1146332 hmm, I don't know if VIM could handle a stream directly, but seems ire_and_curses has given the right way to use vim – daisy Sep 18 '12 at 15:48
  • With '--' as command line argument vim reads from stdin (posted from mobile phone) – user1146332 Sep 18 '12 at 16:07

You can do a search from the command line:

less -ppattern filename

Or, once inside less, use / followed by your pattern to do interactive searching (forwards). n and N repeat the search in the forward and reverse direction, respectively. That's the bare minimum you need to know; there are many more commands for more complex or specific searches.

Edit: To respond to your updated question, there's currently no way to do immediate incremental searching with less. Have you considered using view instead (opens Vim in read-only mode, so will use your incsearch setting)? Vim can be made even more pager-like with the vimpager script.

Some additional information: There is an open bug on the Ubuntu bug-tracker for incremental search support, but it doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon. Somebody has implemented incremental support on a github fork, but obviously you're going to have to compile a custom less to use that.

(And apart from the Ubuntu enhancement request there is currently (as of 2016-05-17) no such enhancement request on the official less bugtracker.)

  • Sorry, but the initial question i posted wasn't clear, can you check my updated question? – daisy Sep 18 '12 at 15:13
  • +1 for recommending view (read-only vi) - i hate it when people use vi instead of less or view, and lock the file unnecessarily. – cas Sep 18 '12 at 23:09
  • When I hit n, it adds n to the search pattern. Hitting enter terminates the search, after which hitting n has no effect. What to do? – temporary_user_name Jun 3 '19 at 2:02

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