Linux Tutorial Series

Linux Tutorial Series – 44 – The less command

Here is the video version, if you prefer it:

The less command is used to paginate through contents of a text file. (Ward, 2014)⁠ You navigate it by using the following keys (these are the most important):

  • Space for page down
  • B for page up (no need to keep Caps Lock on; just press B on your keyboard)
  • Q for quitting less

As you can probably suppose, less is better to use when reading text files than cat, because it outputs them more conveniently; it doesn’t just dump the contents of the file to your screen like cat does.

Fun fact: man uses less (“Does man command invoke less command to display manual contents?,” n.d.)⁠

Hope you learned something new!


Does man command invoke less command to display manual contents? (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2020, from

Ward, B. (2014). How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know (2nd ed.). No Starch Press. Page 19