less Command: Tutorial & Examples

View the contents of a file one page at a time

The less command is a utility that is used to view text files in a terminal window. It allows you to scroll through the file one page at a time, search for specific text within the file, and navigate to specific lines or locations within the file.

To view a file with less, simply type less followed by the name of the file:

less file.txt

This will open the file in less and display the first page of the file. You can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through the file, or the space bar to move forward one page at a time. You can also use the / key followed by a search term to search for specific text within the file.


To go to a specific line number within the file, you can use the g key followed by the line number:


This will go to line number 100 in the file.

less is often used in conjunction with other commands, such as grep or tail, to filter and process the output of those commands before viewing it in less. For example, you can use less to view the /var/log/messages file by piping the output of cat to less:

cat /var/log/messages | less

less is a powerful and flexible tool for viewing and navigating text files on a Linux system. It is often used as an alternative to the more command, which has fewer features and is less powerful.