How Do I Return Less in Linux?


In the world of Linux, mastering the command line is essential. One command that can be a real lifesaver when dealing with large files is “less.” Whether you’re a seasoned Linux user or just getting started, this guide will show you how to return less in Linux, making your file navigation and reading experience more efficient. Let’s dive in!

How do I return less in Linux?

The “less” command is a powerful tool that allows you to view and navigate through text files with ease. It’s like an enhanced version of the classic “more” command, providing more functionality and flexibility. In this section, we’ll explore the basics of using “less” in Linux.

Getting Started with “less”

To begin, open your Linux terminal and simply type:

less filename.txt

Replace “filename.txt” with the name of the file you want to view. Press Enter, and you’ll enter the “less” viewer. Now you can scroll through the file using the arrow keys, Page Up, Page Down, or Spacebar.

Searching within a File

Searching for specific content within a file is a breeze with “less.” To search, press the forward slash (/) followed by your search term and hit Enter. To find the next occurrence, press “n,” and to search backward, press “N.”

“less” allows you to move efficiently through a file. Here are some essential navigation commands:

  • G: Go to the end of the file.
  • 1G or gg: Go to the beginning of the file.
  • Ctrl+F: Move forward one screen.
  • Ctrl+B: Move backward one screen.

Exiting “less”

When you’re done viewing the file, simply press “q” to exit “less” and return to the terminal.

Tips for Efficient File Reading

Now that you’ve learned the basics of using “less,” let’s explore some advanced tips and tricks to enhance your file reading experience.

Syntax Highlighting

By default, “less” doesn’t provide syntax highlighting. However, you can enable it by using the “source-highlight” package. Install it on your Linux system and add the following line to your shell configuration file:

export LESSOPEN="| /usr/share/source-highlight/ %s"

This will enable syntax highlighting when viewing source code files, making them easier to read.

Customizing “less”

You can customize the behavior of “less” by creating a configuration file. Simply create a file named “.lesskey” in your home directory and add your preferred keybindings and settings.

Using “less” with Piped Output

“less” can also be used with piped output from other commands. For example, you can pipe the output of a command to “less” to make it more readable:

ls -l | less


How do I search for a specific word within “less”?

To search for a word, press the forward slash (/) and type your search term. Press Enter to find the next occurrence.

Can I customize the keybindings in “less”?

Yes, you can create a configuration file named “.lesskey” in your home directory to customize keybindings.

Is syntax highlighting available in “less” by default?

No, you need to install the “source-highlight” package and configure it to enable syntax highlighting.

How do I exit “less” without viewing the entire file?

Simply press “q” to exit “less” at any time.

Can I use “less” with piped output from other commands?

Yes, you can pipe the output of commands into “less” to make it more readable.

What is the difference between “less” and “more” in Linux?

“less” is an enhanced version of “more” that provides more features and better navigation options.

How do I return less in Linux?

To exit the “less” command in Linux, press the “q” key.

What is the syntax of less command?

The syntax of the “less” command in Linux is: “` less [options] [filename] “`


Mastering the “less” command in Linux can significantly improve your efficiency when working with large files or viewing text documents. You’ve learned how to get started, search within files, navigate effectively, and even customize your “less” experience. Now, go ahead and explore the world of Linux with confidence, knowing that you can return “less” and accomplish more.

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