What is Less Command in Linux vs More? Exploring the Differences


When it comes to navigating and reading files in a Linux terminal, the “less” and “more” commands are invaluable tools. These commands offer efficient ways to view content without cluttering your screen with excessive information. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of both the “less” and “more” commands, highlighting their features, use cases, and differences. Whether you’re a seasoned Linux user or just getting started, this guide will enhance your command-line proficiency.

What is Less Command in Linux vs More?

The Less and More commands are both used to view the content of files within a Linux terminal. However, they offer distinct features and functionalities that cater to different scenarios.

Less Command in Linux

Less is a powerful command-line pager that allows users to navigate through files in a user-friendly manner. Unlike traditional text editors, less doesn’t load the entire file into memory, making it highly efficient for viewing large files. It provides features like backward and forward navigation, text searching, and the ability to jump to specific line numbers. The command is executed by simply typing “less” followed by the filename.

More Command in Linux

More, on the other hand, is a basic pager that serves the purpose of displaying file content one screen at a time. While it offers limited navigation capabilities compared to less, it’s suitable for quickly scanning through smaller files. Typing “more” followed by the filename will display the file content one screen at a time, allowing users to press the spacebar to progress through the content.

Features Comparison

FeatureLess CommandMore Command
NavigationBoth forward and backward navigationOnly forward navigation
File LoadingEfficient for large filesSuitable for smaller files
Text SearchingYesNo
Jump to Line NumberYesNo
Content ScrollingLine by line or page by pagePage by page

Use Cases

Less Command Use Cases

  1. Viewing Log Files: When examining extensive log files, less helps navigate through the content efficiently. You can search for specific events or errors and analyze the log’s content.
  2. Reading Documentation: Less is commonly used to read lengthy documentation files. It allows you to jump to relevant sections, making the reading process more organized.

More Command Use Cases

  1. Quick Scanning: If you have a small text file and want to quickly scan its content, more is a handy choice. It displays the content one screen at a time without overwhelming you.
  2. Navigating through Man Pages: When reading Linux manual pages (man pages), more provides a straightforward way to progress through the content and understand the command’s usage.


Can I edit files using the less or more command?

No, both commands are used solely for viewing files. If you want to edit files, consider using text editors like Vim or Nano.

Are less and more the only pagers available in Linux?

No, there are other pagers like most and pg. However, less and more are among the most commonly used ones.

How do I exit the less or more interface?

To exit less, press “q”. To exit more, press “q” as well.

Can I search for text within a file using the more command?

No, the more command lacks text searching capabilities. If you need to search within a file, consider using less.

Is there a way to load the entire file content into memory with more?

No, more is designed to display content one screen at a time and doesn’t load the entire file into memory.

Which pager is more suitable for viewing code files?

Less is often preferred for viewing code files, especially when navigating through lengthy codebases.

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

The “less” command allows backward scrolling, while “more” only allows forward scrolling.

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

VI is a text editor, whereas “less” is a pager for viewing text files.

Why is “less” considered better than “more” in Linux?

“less” provides more features like backward navigation and search, making it more versatile than “more.”

Which is better, “more” or “less,” in Linux?

“less” is generally preferred due to its additional capabilities for text navigation and searching compared to “more.”


In the realm of Linux command-line utilities, the less and more commands play distinct roles in helping users read and navigate through file content. While less offers advanced features for efficient navigation and searching, more excels in quickly displaying smaller files. By understanding the differences between these commands, you can enhance your Linux command-line experience and work more effectively with various types of files.

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