less is a pager. A pager is a program that displays text files.
less has an enormous number of options (perhaps too many) which let you change the way it behaves.
This is free and open source software.
- Backwards movement.
- Searching and highlighting – search for text in the file you’re viewing. You can search forwards and backwards. less highlights the text that matches your search, to make it easy to see where the match is.
- Multiple files – switch between any number of different files, remembering your position in each file. You can also do a single search which spans all the files you are working with.
- Bold and underline – some text files, notably Unix-style “man pages”, use overstriking (backspaces) to simulate underlined and bold text. Less interprets this overstriking and displays the text in real underlined or bold mode.
- Advanced features:
- Highly customizable – change key bindings, set different tab stops, set up filters to view compressed data or other file types, customize the prompt, display line numbers, use “tag” files, and more.
- Portability – available on many different machines, different system architectures, and different terminals. Pretty much wherever you go, you’ll find less.
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