Questions tagged [less]

less is a terminal pager program used to view (but not change) the contents of a text file one screen at a time.

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347
votes
7answers
113k views

Can less retain colored output?

Can I get less not to monochrome its output? E.g., the output from git diff is colored, but git diff | less is not.
219
votes
4answers
173k views

What are the differences between most, more and less?

I'm now using Arch Linux, and find a command most works like more and less. To understand the differences between them is a confusing problem. The question Isn't less just more? mentions the ...
144
votes
10answers
129k views

Is there a way to dynamically refresh the less command?

I like the watch command, but it has its limitations. I'm curious to know whether I could mimic the functionality of watch with less. I'm mainly looking for the ability to scroll through my directory ...
108
votes
3answers
138k views

Open `less` scrolled to the end

Is there a way to open less and have it scroll to the end of the file? I'm always doing less app.log and then pressing G to go to the bottom. I'm hoping there's something like less --end or less -...
79
votes
3answers
23k views

How do I write all lines from less to a file?

I've piped a command to less, and now I want to save the command's output to a file. How do I do that? In this case, I don't want to use tee, I want a solution directly from less, so that I don't ...
73
votes
3answers
11k views

Is there any way to exit “less” without clearing the screen?

Relatively often, I find myself wanting to quit less but leave what I was viewing on the screen, to refer back to. Is there any way to do this? Workarounds? (My current workaround is to quit, then ...
65
votes
7answers
28k views

Colors in Man Pages

When I look at a man page in my 'console' (not an xterm) I see some coloration, but I don't get this in my xterm's (e.g. konsole) is there any way I can enable this? hopefully a fairly simple solution?...
63
votes
3answers
54k views

grep inside less?

I'm currently sifting through a lot of unfamiliar logs looking for some issues. The first file I look at is Events.log, and I get at least three pages in less which appear to display the same event ...
62
votes
18answers
48k views

Is there ever a reason to use `cat` when you've got `less`?

I used to use cat to view files. Then I learned that less is usually better, and is a must if the file is longer than a few dozen rows. My question: Is there ever a reason to use cat instead of less? ...
62
votes
2answers
10k views

Unhighlight last search in 'less'

When you use a / forward search or a ? backward search in less, all instances of the file get highlighted. After I've found the instance of the word I'm looking for, what is the most correct way to ...
56
votes
2answers
32k views

The 'less' command-line equivalent of 'tail -f'

I would like to open up a file using less, and have it automatically scroll the file similar to tail -f. I know that I can do less file, and then hit Shift-F to forward forever; like tail -f. I need ...
47
votes
2answers
3k views

How does `less` take data from stdin while still be able to read commands from user?

As most of you have done many times, it's convenient to view long text using less: some_command | less Now its stdin is connected to a pipe (FIFO). How can it still read commands like up/down/quit?
46
votes
4answers
31k views

less command and syntax highlighting

I need to use the less command with the syntax highlighting of the vim command for python, C, bash and other languages. How do I apply syntax highlighting colors according to vim colors for less ...
46
votes
8answers
24k views

Isn't less just more?

When I do more filename and less filename, it would seem that the resulting terminals are quite similar. I can navigate and search through my files identically (j, Space, /pattern, etc.). I find it ...
42
votes
3answers
18k views

Does less have a feature like tail --follow=name (-F)

The command less can be used to replace tail in tail -f file to provide features like handling binary output and navigating the scrollback: less +F file The + prefix means "pretend I type that ...
39
votes
2answers
12k views

Documentation on LESS_TERMCAP_* variables?

I see these pretty colors in manpages viewed with less when setting a bunch of these variables. What do they mean, where is the documentation? Is this interpreted by less or termcap? screenshot
37
votes
3answers
12k views

How do I pipe colored diff output to less?

I've been using git diff, which produces colored output. However, I now find I need to use ordinary diff for something, and it's producing a lot of output that is hard to read because of the lack of ...
35
votes
3answers
38k views

How can I view gzipped files in less without having to type zless?

I am using Ubuntu, and I would like to be able to type less compressed_text_file.gz and page the contents of the text file in uncompressed form. Is there a way to do this?
35
votes
1answer
8k views

Is `tail -f` more efficient than `less +F`?

This article pointed out some reasons to use less +F over tail -f. Most of the reasons are about the features, not technical reasons: less +F can highlight, search, navigate through file. How about ...
34
votes
3answers
7k views

set tab width for less output

Is it possible for less output to set the tab width to a number X as it is for cat?
33
votes
4answers
3k views

less --quit-if-one-screen without --no-init

I'm on a terminal that supports the alternate screen which is used by less, vim, etc. to restore the previous display after exiting. That's a nice feature, but it really breaks the --quit-if-one-...
30
votes
8answers
52k views

Command to output file content to stdout?

I know cat can do this, but its main purpose is to concatenate rather than just displaying the content. I also know about less and more, but I'm looking for something simple (not a pager) that just ...
26
votes
4answers
8k views

Horizontal scrolling in smaller increments with less -S

I'm using less to parse HTTP access logs. I want to view everything neatly on single lines, so I'm using -S. The problem I have is that the first third of my terminal window is taken up with metadata ...
26
votes
3answers
17k views

Follow a pipe using less?

Can less follow (by pressing F) a piped input (similarly to a file)? For a file that is being written to, the command less <file> will follow the file when pressing F. But if I have a command ...
25
votes
2answers
7k views

How do you make less show the filename?

I often have multiple terminal windows opened with less (eg comparing various log files). I forget which file is which. Is there a similar command to ^G in vi which displays the name of the file ...
23
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there a way to make tail -F beep?

Is there a way to make tail -F or less beep (ring the bell in a terminal) when new data comes in (a new line is added to the file). Or is there any other unix utility to do this on a linux or mac.
23
votes
4answers
12k views

Make Less highlight search patterns instead of italicizing them

To my understanding man uses less as a pager, and when searching for keywords using less it "highlights" keywords with italics. I find that really inconvenient, so I'd like to change this to something ...
23
votes
1answer
8k views

Hide lines based on multiple patterns

I'm using less to view log files quite a lot and every so often I'd like to filter the output by hiding lines which contains some keywords. In less it's possible to filter-out lines with &!<...
22
votes
3answers
107k views

How to exit file reading mode (in `less`) in Linux terminal?

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: I want to exit this mode to type some other ...
22
votes
11answers
264k views

List of useful `less` functions

Rather than ask for your favorite, lets just list them off. What are the more useful commands inside less? Personally, I use: / (search forward) ? (search backwards) F (enable tail -f like ...
22
votes
3answers
23k views

less is always case-insensitive

Trying to find out how to use case-insensitive searches in less I found this on serverfault. That seems to perfectly answer my question. The problem is: It doesn't work like that here (openSUSE 13.1; ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

No colored output in less for the ls command

If I run ls I get colored output which I find pretty handy for quickly getting a glance of the kind of file. When I try to pipe it to less even with the -r and -R flags the coloring always get lost. I ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

How can I use man without less?

By default, man uses less to output text. How can I tell it to just output to stdout? My terminal emulator has a scroll bar and search function and I want to use those instead of the arrow keys.
21
votes
2answers
1k views

less file1 file2 | cat — why does it work?

When I uss less file1 file2 I get both files shown in the "less buffer viewer", but less file1 file2 | cat prints the content of both files appended to stdout. How does less know if it should show the ...
21
votes
3answers
9k views

Can less invoke vim instead of the default vi when I hit the 'v' key?

I want to launch vim instead of the default vi editor when I hit v in less. Are there any settings I can modify to allow me to do this?
20
votes
4answers
14k views

Why can't ed be exited with C-c?

The program ed, a minimal text editor, cannot be exited by sending it an interrupt through using Ctrl-C, instead printing the error message "?" to the console. Why doesn't ed just exit when it ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

How to scroll large datafile while keeping header

Suppose I have some large datafile, which overflow the screen in both vertical and horizontal direction. How can I browse this file, while the header-lines stay on the screen? For the moment, I am ...
19
votes
3answers
61k views

Characters encodings supported by more, cat and less

I have a text file encoded as following according to file: ISO-8859 text, with CRLF line terminators This file contains French's text with accents. My shell is able to display accent and emacs in ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

Case insensitive search in man pages

Is there a way to search man pages case-insensitively? Using the '/' search feature matches exact case.
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Write lines to a file from less

While in vim I can write a range of lines from the file I'm viewing to another file. For example, :1,10 w outfile.txt will write lines 1 through 10 to outfile.txt. Can I do the same while I'm ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

How to “less” a file named “-”?

I accidentally created a file with the name - (eg, seq 10 > -). Then I tried to use less to view it, but it just hangs. I understand that this is happening because less - expects input from stdin, ...
17
votes
1answer
24k views

Instant search in less command? (Similar to incsearch in VIM)

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?
17
votes
1answer
6k views

When to use grep, less, awk, sed [closed]

I'm entering the world of Linux and at work I'm using grep more and more. By doing that I'm figuring out that sometimes it's not adequate for what I want. I was struggling with grep a few days ago ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I pipe colored tree result to less or more?

I get colored tree using tree -C but when I pipe it to less I get results like this: tree public/ -C | less How can I have colors in less in this case?
15
votes
2answers
20k views

Force less to display a file as text

Sometimes less wrongly recognize file as binary and tries to show hexdump on LHS (usually ones with non-alphanumeric characters but still containing printable ASCII characters). How to force it to ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

pager program like less, able to repeat top N lines

Is there any way to make less program repeat first line (or first 2 lines) on every displayed page? Is there any other pager program which can do this? This would be a killer-app for database table ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Negative lookbehind/ahead assertions in Linux less pager (or vim)

I want to find all instances of "index" not followed by .php in a log using less. /index(?!\.php) does not work. Is this possible? What is the regex for less and vim (do they differ?). Is this not ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Open a .raw file as text in less

The output of my program has a .raw file extension. If I try to open this with less I get: No isoinfo available Install mkisofs to view ISO images The file isn't an image file, it's just text. Is ...
13
votes
2answers
8k views

Where is less search pattern reference?

Where can I find reference for less regex search patterns? I want to search file with less using \d to find digits, but it does not seem to understand this wildcard. I tried to find a reference for ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Making less print to stdout if an entire file can be displayed on one screen

When more is passed a file whose contents can be displayed on one screen, it just writes the file's contents to stdout without pagination. If the file cannot fit on one screen, more paginates it. ...

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