less, similarly to more, can display a page-by-page view of a text document, on the command line. Compared to more, less has more features, the most significant of which is backwards scrolling. In a sense, less is like a version of Vi, but with a restricted feature set.


You can navigate in a document with less:

  • Downwards, one line at a time with Enter or Down arrow.
  • Upwards, one line at a time with Up arrow.
  • Downwards, one page at a time with Spacebar, or Ctrl+V, or PageDown.
  • Upwards, on page at a time with Esc+V or PageUp.


You can search forwards in a document in less with the / key, which will take you to the first instance of the search term used, after the current line. You can also search backwards in the document, by prefixing you search term with ? instead of /.

In both cases, you can jump to the next instance of the search term with n, and to the previous one with N.


You can exit less with the q key, or with Ctrl+C.

See Also