Less Tricks

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To edit a file based on the VISUAL or EDITOR variables, or Vi by default:

v

Run a shell command, a % is substituted by the name of the file being viewed:

!command

To mark a position in a text file demoted by any single character:

m<any single character>

To go back to a mark type a single apostrphe followed by the same single character:

'<any single character>
Go to to top of file:
g
Go to bottom of file:
G
Go 50% into the file:
50p

Disable word wrap: useful for big-column DB queries, -S is also a parameter

-S

Show/hide line numbers:

-N
Show new lines, 'forever' mode, similar to 'tail -f':
F

Contents

Using multiple files

Less can open mutliple files at once, where additional features can be utilised:

less file1 file2 file3

Go to next file: :n
Go to previous file::p

Search across multiple files:
/*pattern

Searching tricks

To search for text that matches the pattern:

/pattern

To search for lines that does NOT match the pattern:

/!pattern

To only highlight text that matches the pattern and not move the location of the first match (^K means Ctrl-K) :

/^Kpattern

To search BACKWARDS in a file for the pattern:

?pattern
Repeat last search:
/

Repeat last search in the previous direction:

N

Add a useful prompt

Add the following to your .bashrc for a more useful prompt with additional information:

alias less='less -P "?f%f .?m(file %i of %m) .?ltlines %lt-%lb?L/%L. . byte %bB?s/%s. ?e(END) :?pB%pB\%..%t"'

See Also

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