• less -S is useful to have horizontal scrolling with arrow keys (like mentioned in Horizontal scrolling in smaller increments with less -S) instead of breaking long lines into multiple lines

  • less +F, or alternatively less and then SHIFT+F, is useful to have less behave like tail -f with files being appended in realtime

However it seems impossible to have both at the same time.

Question: Is it possible to have less (or another tool) display currently-being-appended files in realtime, and also be able to scroll horizontally long lines (instead of breaking lines into multiple lines)?

This question comes from the context of dealing with Putty with a virtual console width of 2000 characters.

  • Hm, what if you have a really long line, so you scroll right; all the shorter lines are now invisible. Now, new lines come in, and less autoscrolls; what is the desired behaviour? Jul 18, 2021 at 20:27
  • @MarcusMüller In the case you describe, the only visible line (the super long line) would move up each time a new line arrives. Then you notice "Oh new lines arrived, I'll scroll left to see them".
    – Basj
    Jul 18, 2021 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


the easiest solution might be to start journalctl --no-pager -f in a scrollable thing like screen.

  • Just to be sure, why journalctl? I'd like to be able to do this for every log file like /var/log/apache2/other_vhosts_access.log or a custom txt file, or even, in real-time, the output of a Python script that takes time to print the output, line after line. See the edit at the end of superuser.com/questions/1663006/…, maybe you will have a super general solution to this problem :)
    – Basj
    Jul 18, 2021 at 20:46
  • ah sorry, I was somewhere with my brain; yeah, then tail -f /some/log/file instead of journalctl --no-pager Jul 18, 2021 at 22:15
  • 1
    Is screen horizontally scrollable, and does it prevent to break long lines into several lines @MarcusMüller?
    – Basj
    Jul 19, 2021 at 7:05

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