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Man Pages


Manual Reference Pages  -  CLESS (1)

NAME

cless - opposite of more

CONTENTS

Synopsis
Description
Commands
Options
Warnings
Copyright

SYNOPSIS

cless -?
cless -V
cless [-[+]aBcCdeEfgGiImMnNqQrsSuUVwX]
[-b bufs] [-h lines] [-j line] [-k keyfile]
[-{oO} logfile] [-p pattern] [-P prompt] [-t tag]
[-T tagsfile] [-x tab] [-y lines] [-[z] lines]
[+[+]cmd] [filename]...

DESCRIPTION

Less is a program similar to more (1), but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement. Also, cless does not have to read the entire input file before starting, so with large input files it starts up faster than text editors like vi (1). Less uses termcap (or terminfo on some systems), so it can run on a variety of terminals. There is even limited support for hardcopy terminals. (On a hardcopy terminal, lines which should be printed at the top of the screen are prefixed with a caret.)

Commands are based on both more and vi. Commands may be preceded by a decimal number, called N in the descriptions below. The number is used by some commands, as indicated.

COMMANDS

In the following descriptions, ^X means control-X. ESC stands for the ESCAPE key; for example ESC-v means the two character sequence "ESCAPE", then "v".
h or H Help: display a summary of these commands. If you forget all the other commands, remember this one.
SPACE or ^V or f or ^F Scroll forward N lines, default one window (see option -z below). If N is more than the screen size, only the final screenful is displayed. Warning: some systems use ^V as a special literalization character.
z Like SPACE, but if N is specified, it becomes the new window size.
RETURN or ^N or e or ^E or j or ^J Scroll forward N lines, default 1. The entire N lines are displayed, even if N is more than the screen size.
d or ^D Scroll forward N lines, default one half of the screen size. If N is specified, it becomes the new default for subsequent d and u commands.
b or ^B or ESC-v Scroll backward N lines, default one window (see option -z below). If N is more than the screen size, only the final screenful is displayed.
w Like ESC-v, but if N is specified, it becomes the new window size.
y or ^Y or ^P or k or ^K Scroll backward N lines, default 1. The entire N lines are displayed, even if N is more than the screen size. Warning: some systems use ^Y as a special job control character.
u or ^U Scroll backward N lines, default one half of the screen size. If N is specified, it becomes the new default for subsequent d and u commands.
r or ^R or ^L Repaint the screen.
R Repaint the screen, discarding any buffered input. Useful if the file is changing while it is being viewed.
F Scroll forward, and keep trying to read when the end of file is reached. Normally this command would be used when already at the end of the file. It is a way to monitor the tail of a file which is growing while it is being viewed. (The behavior is similar to the "tail -f" command.)
g or < or ESC-< Go to line N in the file, default 1 (beginning of file). (Warning: this may be slow if N is large.)
G or > or ESC-> Go to line N in the file, default the end of the file. (Warning: this may be slow if N is large, or if N is not specified and standard input, rather than a file, is being read.)
p or % Go to a position N percent into the file. N should be between 0 and 100. (This works if standard input is being read, but only if cless has already read to the end of the file. It is always fast, but not always useful.)
{ If a left curly bracket appears in the top line displayed on the screen, the { command will go to the matching right curly bracket. The matching right curly bracket is positioned on the bottom line of the screen. If there is more than one left curly bracket on the top line, a number N may be used to specify the N-th bracket on the line.
} If a right curly bracket appears in the bottom line displayed on the screen, the } command will go to the matching left curly bracket. The matching left curly bracket is positioned on the top line of the screen. If there is more than one right curly bracket on the top line, a number N may be used to specify the N-th bracket on the line.
( Like {, but applies to parentheses rather than curly brackets.
) Like }, but applies to parentheses rather than curly brackets.
[ Like {, but applies to square brackets rather than curly brackets.
] Like }, but applies to square brackets rather than curly brackets.
ESC-^F Followed by two characters, acts like {, but uses the two characters as open and close brackets, respectively. For example, "ESC ^F < >" could be used to go forward to the > which matches the < in the top displayed line.
ESC-^B Followed by two characters, acts like }, but uses the two characters as open and close brackets, respectively. For example, "ESC ^B < >" could be used to go backward to the < which matches the > in the bottom displayed line.
m Followed by any lowercase letter, marks the current position with that letter.
(Single quote.) Followed by any lowercase letter, returns to the position which was previously marked with that letter. Followed by another single quote, returns to the position at which the last "large" movement command was executed. Followed by a ^ or $, jumps to the beginning or end of the file respectively. Marks are preserved when a new file is examined, so the ’ command can be used to switch between input files.
^X^X Same as single quote.
/pattern Search forward in the file for the N-th line containing the pattern. N defaults to 1. The pattern is a regular expression, as recognized by ed. The search starts at the second line displayed (but see the -a and -j options, which change this).

Certain characters are special if entered at the beginning of the pattern; they modify the type of search rather than become part of the pattern:
! Search for lines which do NOT match the pattern.
* Search multiple files. That is, if the search reaches the end of the current file without finding a match, the search continues in the next file in the command line list.
@ Begin the search at the first line of the first file in the command line list, regardless of what is currently displayed on the screen or the settings of the -a or -j options.

?pattern Search backward in the file for the N-th line containing the pattern. The search starts at the line immediately before the top line displayed.

Certain characters are special as in the / command:
! Search for lines which do NOT match the pattern.
* Search multiple files. That is, if the search reaches the beginning of the current file without finding a match, the search continues in the previous file in the command line list.
@ Begin the search at the last line of the last file in the command line list, regardless of what is currently displayed on the screen or the settings of the -a or -j options.

ESC-/pattern Same as "/*".
ESC-?pattern Same as "?*".
n Repeat previous search, for N-th line containing the last pattern. If the previous search was modified by !, the search is made for the N-th line NOT containing the pattern. If the previous search was modified by *, the search continues in the next (or previous) file if not satisfied in the current file. There is no effect if the previous search was modified by @.
N Repeat previous search, but in the reverse direction.
ESC-n Repeat previous search, but crossing file boundaries. The effect is as if the previous search were modified by *.
ESC-N Repeat previous search, but in the reverse direction and crossing file boundaries.
ESC-u Undo search highlighting. Turn off highlighting of strings matching the current search pattern. If highlighting is already off because of a previous ESC-u command, turn highlighting back on. Any search command will also turn highlighting back on. (Highlighting can also be disabled by toggling the -G flag; in that case search commands do not turn highlighting back on.)
:e [filename] Examine a new file. If the filename is missing, the "current" file (see the :n and :p commands below) from the list of files in the command line is re-examined. A percent sign (%) in the filename is replaced by the name of the current file. A pound sign (#) is replaced by the name of the previously examined file. The filename is inserted into the command line list of files so that it can be seen by subsequent :n and :p commands. If the filename consists of several files, they are all inserted into the list of files and the first one is examined.
^X^V or E Same as :e. Warning: some systems use ^V as a special literalization character.
:n Examine the next file (from the list of files given in the command line). If a number N is specified, the N-th next file is examined.
:p Examine the previous file in the command line list. If a number N is specified, the N-th previous file is examined.
:x Examine the first file in the command line list. If a number N is specified, the N-th file in the list is examined.
= or ^G or :f Prints some information about the file being viewed, including its name and the line number and byte offset of the bottom line being displayed. If possible, it also prints the length of the file, the number of lines in the file and the percent of the file above the last displayed line.
- Followed by one of the command line option letters (see below), this will change the setting of that option and print a message describing the new setting. If the option letter has a numeric value (such as -b or -h), or a string value (such as -P or -t), a new value may be entered after the option letter. If no new value is entered, a message describing the current setting is printed and nothing is changed.
-+ Followed by one of the command line option letters (see below), this will reset the option to its default setting and print a message describing the new setting. (The "-+X" command does the same thing as "-+X" on the command line.) This does not work for string-valued options.
-- Followed by one of the command line option letters (see below), this will reset the option to the "opposite" of its default setting and print a message describing the new setting. (The "--X" command does the same thing as "-X" on the command line.) This does not work for numeric or string-valued options.
_ (Underscore.) Followed by one of the command line option letters (see below), this will print a message describing the current setting of that option. The setting of the option is not changed.
+cmd Causes the specified cmd to be executed each time a new file is examined. For example, +G causes cless to initially display each file starting at the end rather than the beginning.
V Prints the version number of cless being run.
q or :q or :Q or ZZ Exits cless.
The following three commands may or may not be valid, depending on your particular installation.
v Invokes an editor to edit the current file being viewed. The editor is taken from the environment variable VISUAL if defined, or EDITOR if VISUAL is not defined, or defaults to "vi" if neither VISUAL nor EDITOR is defined. See also the discussion of LESSEDIT under the section on PROMPTS below.
! shell-command Invokes a shell to run the shell-command given. A percent sign (%) in the command is replaced by the name of the current file. A pound sign (#) is replaced by the name of the previously examined file. "!!" repeats the last shell command. "!" with no shell command simply invokes a shell. In all cases, the shell is taken from the environment variable SHELL, or defaults to "sh".
| <m> shell-command <m> represents any mark letter. Pipes a section of the input file to the given shell command. The section of the file to be piped is between the first line on the current screen and the position marked by the letter. <m> may also be ^ or $ to indicate beginning or end of file respectively. If <m> is . or newline, the current screen is piped.

OPTIONS

Command line options are described below. Most options may be changed while cless is running, via the "-" command.

Options are also taken from the environment variable "LESS". For example, to avoid typing "cless -options ..." each time cless is invoked, you might tell csh:

setenv LESS "-options"

or if you use sh:

LESS="-options"; export LESS

The environment variable is parsed before the command line, so command line options override the LESS environment variable. If an option appears in the LESS variable, it can be reset to its default on the command line by beginning the command line option with "-+".

A dollar sign ($) may be used to signal the end of an option string. This is important only for options like -P which take a following string.
-? This option displays a summary of the commands accepted by cless (the same as the h command). If this option is given, all other options are ignored, and cless exits after the help screen is viewed. (Depending on how your shell interprets the question mark, it may be necessary to quote the question mark, thus: "-\?".)
-a Causes searches to start after the last line displayed on the screen, thus skipping all lines displayed on the screen. By default, searches start at the second line on the screen (or after the last found line; see the -j option).
-bn Specifies the number of buffers cless will use for each file. Buffers are 1K, and by default 10 buffers are used for each file (except if the file is a pipe; see the -B option). The number n specifies a different number of buffers to use.
-B By default, when data is read from a pipe, buffers are allocated automatically as needed. If a large amount of data is read from the pipe, this can cause a large amount of memory to be allocated. The -B option disables this automatic allocation of buffers for pipes, so that only the number of buffers specified by the -b option are used. Warning: use of -B can result in erroneous display, since only the most recently viewed part of the file is kept in memory; any earlier data is lost.
-c Causes full screen repaints to be painted from the top line down. By default, full screen repaints are done by scrolling from the bottom of the screen.
-C The -C option is like -c, but the screen is cleared before it is repainted.
-d The -d option suppresses the error message normally displayed if the terminal is dumb; that is, lacks some important capability, such as the ability to clear the screen or scroll backward. The -d option does not otherwise change the behavior of cless on a dumb terminal).
-Dxcolor [MS-DOS only] Sets the color of the text displayed. x is a single character which selects the type of text whose color is being set: n=normal, s=standout, d=bold, u=underlined, k=blink. color is a pair of numbers separated by a period. The first number selects the foreground color and the second selects the background color of the text. A single number N is the same as N.0.
-e Causes cless to automatically exit the second time it reaches end-of-file. By default, the only way to exit cless is via the "q" command.
-E Causes cless to automatically exit the first time it reaches end-of-file.
-f Forces non-regular files to be opened. (A non-regular file is a directory or a device special file.) Also suppresses the warning message when a binary file is opened. By default, cless will refuse to open non-regular files.
-g Normally, cless will highlight ALL strings which match the last search command. The -g flag changes this behavior to highlight only the particular string which was found by the last search command. This can cause cless to run somewhat faster than the default.
-G The -G flag suppresses all highlighting of strings found by search commands.
-hn Specifies a maximum number of lines to scroll backward. If it is necessary to scroll backward more than n lines, the screen is repainted in a forward direction instead. (If the terminal does not have the ability to scroll backward, -h0 is implied.)
-i Causes searches to ignore case; that is, uppercase and lowercase are considered identical. This option is ignored if any uppercase letters appear in the search pattern; in other words, if a pattern contains uppercase letters, then that search does not ignore case.
-I Like -i, but searches ignore case even if the pattern contains uppercase letters.
-jn Specifies a line on the screen where the "target" line is to be positioned. A target line is the object of a text search, tag search, jump to a line number, jump to a file percentage, or jump to a marked position. The screen line is specified by a number: the top line on the screen is 1, the next is 2, and so on. The number may be negative to specify a line relative to the bottom of the screen: the bottom line on the screen is -1, the second to the bottom is -2, and so on. If the -j option is used, searches begin at the line immediately after the target line. For example, if "-j4" is used, the target line is the fourth line on the screen, so searches begin at the fifth line on the screen.
-kfilename Causes cless to open and interpret the named file as a clesskey (1) file. Multiple -k options may be specified. If a file called .cless exists in the user’s home directory, this file is also used as a clesskey file.
-m Causes cless to prompt verbosely (like more), with the percent into the file. By default, cless prompts with a colon.
-M Causes cless to prompt even more verbosely than more.
-n Suppresses line numbers. The default (to use line numbers) may cause cless to run more slowly in some cases, especially with a very large input file. Suppressing line numbers with the -n flag will avoid this problem. Using line numbers means: the line number will be displayed in the verbose prompt and in the = command, and the v command will pass the current line number to the editor (see also the discussion of LESSEDIT in PROMPTS below).
-N Causes a line number to be displayed at the beginning of each line in the display.
-ofilename Causes cless to copy its input to the named file as it is being viewed. This applies only when the input file is a pipe, not an ordinary file. If the file already exists, cless will ask for confirmation before overwriting it.
-Ofilename The -O option is like -o, but it will overwrite an existing file without asking for confirmation.

If no log file has been specified, the -o and -O options can be used from within cless to specify a log file. Without a file name, they will simply report the name of the log file. The "s" command is equivalent to specifying -o from within cless.

-ppattern The -p option on the command line is equivalent to specifying +/pattern; that is, it tells cless to start at the first occurrence of pattern in the file.
-Pprompt Provides a way to tailor the three prompt styles to your own preference. This option would normally be put in the LESS environment variable, rather than being typed in with each cless command. Such an option must either be the last option in the LESS variable, or be terminated by a dollar sign. -P followed by a string changes the default (short) prompt to that string. -Pm changes the medium (-m) prompt to the string, and -PM changes the long (-M) prompt. Also, -P= changes the message printed by the = command to the given string. All prompt strings consist of a sequence of letters and special escape sequences. See the section on PROMPTS for more details.
-q Causes moderately "quiet" operation: the terminal bell is not rung if an attempt is made to scroll past the end of the file or before the beginning of the file. If the terminal has a "visual bell", it is used instead. The bell will be rung on certain other errors, such as typing an invalid character. The default is to ring the terminal bell in all such cases.
-Q Causes totally "quiet" operation: the terminal bell is never rung.
-r Causes "raw" control characters to be displayed. The default is to display control characters using the caret notation; for example, a control-A (octal 001) is displayed as "^A". Warning: when the -r flag is used, cless cannot keep track of the actual appearance of the screen (since this depends on how the screen responds to each type of control character). Thus, various display problems may result, such as long lines being split in the wrong place.
-s Causes consecutive blank lines to be squeezed into a single blank line. This is useful when viewing nroff output.
-S Causes lines longer than the screen width to be chopped rather than folded. That is, the remainder of a long line is simply discarded. The default is to fold long lines; that is, display the remainder on the next line.
-ttag The -t option, followed immediately by a TAG, will edit the file containing that tag. For this to work, there must be a file called "tags" in the current directory, which was previously built by the ctags (1) command. This option may also be specified from within cless (using the - command) as a way of examining a new file. The command ":t" is equivalent to specifying -t from within cless.
-Ttagsfile Specifies a tags file to be used instead of "tags".
-u Causes backspaces and carriage returns to be treated as printable characters; that is, they are sent to the terminal when they appear in the input.
-U Causes backspaces and carriage returns to be treated as control characters; that is, they are handled as specified by the -r option.

By default, if neither -u nor -U is given, backspaces which appear adjacent to an underscore character are treated specially: the underlined text is displayed using the terminal’s hardware underlining capability. Also, backspaces which appear between two identical characters are treated specially: the overstruck text is printed using the terminal’s hardware boldface capability. Other backspaces are deleted, along with the preceding character. Carriage returns immediately followed by a newline are deleted. Other carriage returns are handled as specified by the -r option. Text which is overstruck or underlined can be searched for if neither -u nor -U is in effect.

-V Displays the version number of cless.
-w Causes blank lines to be used to represent lines past the end of the file. By default, a tilde character (~) is used.
-xn Sets tab stops every n positions. The default for n is 8.
-X Disables sending the termcap initialization and deinitialization strings to the terminal. This is sometimes desirable if the deinitialization string does something unnecessary, like clearing the screen.
-yn Specifies a maximum number of lines to scroll forward. If it is necessary to scroll forward more than n lines, the screen is repainted instead. The -c or -C option may be used to repaint from the top of the screen if desired. By default, any forward movement causes scrolling.
-[z]n Changes the default scrolling window size to n lines. The default is one screenful. The z and w commands can also be used to change the window size. The "z" may be omitted for compatibility with more. If the number n is negative, it indicates n lines less than the current screen size. For example, if the screen is 24 lines, -z-4 sets the scrolling window to 20 lines. If the screen is resized to 40 lines, the scrolling window automatically changes to 36 lines.
+ If a command line option begins with +, the remainder of that option is taken to be an initial command to cless. For example, +G tells cless to start at the end of the file rather than the beginning, and +/xyz tells it to start at the first occurrence of "xyz" in the file. As a special case, +<number> acts like +<number>g; that is, it starts the display at the specified line number (however, see the caveat under the "g" command above). If the option starts with ++, the initial command applies to every file being viewed, not just the first one. The + command described previously may also be used to set (or change) an initial command for every file.

LINE EDITING

When entering command line at the bottom of the screen (for example, a filename for the :e command, or the pattern for a search command), certain keys can be used to manipulate the command line. Most commands have an alternate form in [ brackets ] which can be used if a key does not exist on a particular keyboard. (The bracketed forms do not work in the MS-DOS version.) Any of these special keys may be entered literally by preceding it with the "literal" character, either ^V or ^A. A backslash itself may also be entered literally by entering two backslashes.
LEFTARROW [ ESC-h ] Move the cursor one space to the left.
RIGHTARROW [ ESC-l ] Move the cursor one space to the right.
^LEFTARROW [ ESC-b or ESC-LEFTARROW ] (That is, CONTROL and LEFTARROW simultaneously.) Move the cursor one word to the left.
^RIGHTARROW [ ESC-w or ESC-RIGHTARROW ] (That is, CONTROL and RIGHTARROW simultaneously.) Move the cursor one word to the right.
HOME [ ESC-0 ] Move the cursor to the beginning of the line.
END [ ESC-$ ] Move the cursor to the end of the line.
BACKSPACE Delete the character to the left of the cursor, or cancel the command if the command line is empty.
DELETE or [ ESC-x ] Delete the character under the cursor.
^BACKSPACE [ ESC-BACKSPACE ] (That is, CONTROL and BACKSPACE simultaneously.) Delete the word to the left of the cursor.
^DELETE [ ESC-X or ESC-DELETE ] (That is, CONTROL and DELETE simultaneously.) Delete the word under the cursor.
UPARROW [ ESC-k ] Retrieve the previous command line.
DOWNARROW [ ESC-j ] Retrieve the next command line.
TAB Complete the partial filename to the left of the cursor. If it matches more than one filename, the first match is entered into the command line. Repeated TABs will cycle thru the other matching filenames.
BACKTAB [ ESC-TAB ] Like, TAB, but cycles in the reverse direction thru the matching filenames.
^L Complete the partial filename to the left of the cursor. If it matches more than one filename, all matches are entered into the command line (if they fit).
^U (Unix) or ESC (MS-DOS) Delete the entire command line, or cancel the command if the command line is empty. If you have changed your line-kill character in Unix to something other than ^U, that character is used instead of ^U.

KEY BINDINGS

You may define your own cless commands by using the program clesskey (1) to create a file called ".cless" in your home directory. This file specifies a set of command keys and an action associated with each key. You may also use clesskey to change the line-editing keys (see LINE EDITING). See the clesskey manual page for more details.

INPUT PREPROCESSOR

You may define an "input preprocessor" for cless. Before cless opens a file, it first gives your input preprocessor a chance to modify the way the contents of the file are displayed. An input preprocessor is simply an executable program (or shell script), which writes the contents of the file to a different file, called the replacement file. The contents of the replacement file are then displayed in place of the contents of the original file. However, it will appear to the user as if the original file is opened; that is, cless will display the original filename as the name of the current file.

An input preprocessor receives one command line argument, the original filename, as entered by the user. It should create the replacement file, and when finished, print the name of the replacement file to its standard output. If the input preprocessor does not output a replacement filename, cless uses the original file, as normal. The input preprocessor is not called when viewing standard input. To set up an input preprocessor, set the LESSOPEN environment variable to a command line which will invoke your input preprocessor. This command line should include one occurrence of the string "%s", which will be replaced by the filename when the input preprocessor command is invoked.

When cless closes a file opened in such a way, it will call another program, called the input postprocessor, which may perform any desired clean-up action (such as deleting the replacement file created by LESSOPEN). This program receives two command line arguments, the original filename as entered by the user, and the name of the replacement file. To set up an input postprocessor, set the LESSCLOSE environment variable to a command line which will invoke your input postprocessor. It may include two occurrences of the string "%s"; the first is replaced with the original name of the file and the second with the name of the replacement file, which was output by LESSOPEN.

For example, on many Unix systems, these two scripts will allow you to keep files in compressed format, but still let cless view them directly:

clessopen.sh:
        #! /bin/sh
        case "$1" in
        *.Z)    uncompress -c $1 >/tmp/cless.$$ 2>/dev/null
                if [ -s /tmp/cless.$$ ]; then
                        echo /tmp/cless.$$
                else
                        rm -f /tmp/cless.$$
                fi
                ;;
        esac

lessclose.sh:
        #! /bin/sh
        rm $2

To use these scripts, put them both where they can be executed and set LESSOPEN="lessopen.sh %s", and LESSCLOSE="lessclose.sh %s %s". More complex LESSOPEN and LESSCLOSE scripts may be written to accept other types of compressed files, and so on.

It is also possible to set up an input preprocessor to pipe the file data directly to cless, rather than putting the data into a replacement file. This avoids the need to decompress the entire file before starting to view it. An input preprocessor that works this way is called an input pipe. An input pipe, instead of writing the name of a replacement file on its standard output, writes the entire contents of the replacement file on its standard output. If the input pipe does not write any characters on its standard output, then there is no replacement file and cless uses the original file, as normal. To use an input pipe, make the first character in the LESSOPEN environment variable a vertical bar (|) to signify that the input preprocessor is an input pipe.

For example, on many Unix systems, this script will work like the previous example scripts:

lesspipe.sh:
        !# /bin/sh
        case "$1" in
        *.Z)    uncompress -c $1 2>/dev/null
                ;;
        esac

To use this script, put it where it can be executed and set LESSOPEN="|lesspipe.sh %s". When an input pipe is used, a LESSCLOSE postprocessor can be used, but it is usually not necessary since there is no replacement file to clean up. In this case, the replacement file name passed to the LESSCLOSE postprocessor is "-".

NATIONAL CHARACTER SETS

There are three types of characters in the input file:
normal characters can be displayed directly to the screen.
control characters should not be displayed directly, but are expected to be found in ordinary text files (such as backspace and tab).
binary characters should not be displayed directly and are not expected to be found in text files.
A "character set" is simply a description of which characters are to be considered normal, control, and binary. The LESSCHARSET environment variable may be used to select a character set. Possible values for LESSCHARSET are:
ascii The default character set. BS, TAB, NL, CR, and formfeed are control characters, all chars with values between 127 and 255 are binary, and all others are normal.
latin1 Selects the ISO 8859/1 character set. latin-1 is the same as ASCII, except characters between 161 and 255 are treated as normal characters.
dos Selects a character set appropriate for MS-DOS.
koi8-r Selects a Russian character set.
next Selects a character set appropriate for NeXT computers.
In special cases, it may be desired to tailor cless to use a character set other than the ones definable by LESSCHARSET. In this case, the environment variable LESSCHARDEF can be used to define a character set. It should be set to a string where each character in the string represents one character in the character set. The character "." is used for a normal character, "c" for control, and "b" for binary. A decimal number may be used for repetition. For example, "bccc4b." would mean character 0 is binary, 1, 2 and 3 are control, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are binary, and 8 is normal. All characters after the last are taken to be the same as the last, so characters 9 through 255 would be normal. (This is an example, and does not necessarily represent any real character set.)

This table shows the value of LESSCHARDEF which is equivalent to each of the possible values for LESSCHARSET:

        ascii   8bcccbcc18b95.b
        latin1  8bcccbcc18b95.33b.
        dos   8bcccbcc12bc5b95.b.
        koi8-r  8bcccbcc18b95.b128.
        next   8bcccbcc18b95.bb125.bb

If neither LESSCHARSET nor LESSCHARDEF is set, but your system supports the setlocale interface, cless will use setlocale to determine the character set. setlocale is controlled by setting the LANG or LC_CTYPE environment variables.

Control and binary characters are displayed in standout (reverse video). Each such character is displayed in caret notation if possible (e.g. ^A for control-A). Caret notation is used only if inverting the 0100 bit results in a normal printable character. Otherwise, the character is displayed as a hex number in angle brackets. This format can be changed by setting the LESSBINFMT environment variable. LESSBINFMT may begin with a "*" and one character to select the display attribute: "*k" is blinking, "*d" is bold, "*u" is underlined, "*s" is standout. If LESSBINFMT does not begin with a "*", normal attribute is assumed. The remainder of LESSBINFMT is a string which may include one printf-style escape sequence (a % followed by x, X, o, d, etc.). For example, if LESSBINFMT is "*u[%x]", binary characters are displayed in underlined hexadecimal surrounded by brackets. The default if no LESSBINFMT is specified is "*d<%X>".

PROMPTS

The -P option allows you to tailor the prompt to your preference. The string given to the -P option replaces the specified prompt string. Certain characters in the string are interpreted specially. The prompt mechanism is rather complicated to provide flexibility, but the ordinary user need not understand the details of constructing personalized prompt strings.

A percent sign followed by a single character is expanded according to what the following character is:
%bX Replaced by the byte offset into the current input file. The b is followed by a single character (shown as X above) which specifies the line whose byte offset is to be used. If the character is a "t", the byte offset of the top line in the display is used, an "m" means use the middle line, a "b" means use the bottom line, a "B" means use the line just after the bottom line, and a "j" means use the "target" line, as specified by the -j option.
%B Replaced by the size of the current input file.
%E Replaced by the name of the editor (from the VISUAL environment variable, or the EDITOR environment variable if VISUAL is not defined). See the discussion of the LESSEDIT feature below.
%f Replaced by the name of the current input file.
%i Replaced by the index of the current file in the list of input files.
%lX Replaced by the line number of a line in the input file. The line to be used is determined by the X, as with the %b option.
%L Replaced by the line number of the last line in the input file.
%m Replaced by the total number of input files.
%pX Replaced by the percent into the current input file. The line used is determined by the X as with the %b option.
%s Same as %B.
%t Causes any trailing spaces to be removed. Usually used at the end of the string, but may appear anywhere.
%x Replaced by the name of the next input file in the list.
If any item is unknown (for example, the file size if input is a pipe), a question mark is printed instead.
The format of the prompt string can be changed depending on certain conditions. A question mark followed by a single character acts like an "IF": depending on the following character, a condition is evaluated. If the condition is true, any characters following the question mark and condition character, up to a period, are included in the prompt. If the condition is false, such characters are not included. A colon appearing between the question mark and the period can be used to establish an "ELSE": any characters between the colon and the period are included in the string if and only if the IF condition is false. Condition characters (which follow a question mark) may be:
?a True if any characters have been included in the prompt so far.
?bX True if the byte offset of the specified line is known.
?B True if the size of current input file is known.
?e True if at end-of-file.
?f True if there is an input filename (that is, if input is not a pipe).
?lX True if the line number of the specified line is known.
?L True if the line number of the last line in the file is known.
?m True if there is more than one input file.
?n True if this is the first prompt in a new input file.
?pX True if the percent into the current input file of the specified line is known.
?s Same as "?B".
?x True if there is a next input file (that is, if the current input file is not the last one).
Any characters other than the special ones (question mark, colon, period, percent, and backslash) become literally part of the prompt. Any of the special characters may be included in the prompt literally by preceding it with a backslash.

Some examples:

?f%f:Standard input.

This prompt prints the filename, if known; otherwise the string "Standard input".

?f%f .?ltLine %lt:?pt%pt\%:?btByte %bt:-...

This prompt would print the filename, if known. The filename is followed by the line number, if known, otherwise the percent if known, otherwise the byte offset if known. Otherwise, a dash is printed. Notice how each question mark has a matching period, and how the % after the %pt is included literally by escaping it with a backslash.

?n?f%f .?m(file %i of %m) ..?e(END) ?x- Next\: %x..%t

This prints the filename if this is the first prompt in a file, followed by the "file N of N" message if there is more than one input file. Then, if we are at end-of-file, the string "(END)" is printed followed by the name of the next file, if there is one. Finally, any trailing spaces are truncated. This is the default prompt. For reference, here are the defaults for the other two prompts (-m and -M respectively). Each is broken into two lines here for readability only.


?n?f%f .?m(file %i of %m) ..?e(END) ?x- Next\: %x.:         ?pB%pB\%:byte %bB?s/%s...%t

?f%f .?n?m(file %i of %m) ..?ltline %lt?L/%L. :byte %bB?s/%s. .         ?e(END) ?x- Next\: %x.:?pB%pB\%..%t

And here is the default message produced by the = command:

?f%f .?m(file %i of %m) .?ltline %lt?L/%L. .         byte %bB?s/%s. ?e(END) :?pB%pB\%..%t

The prompt expansion features are also used for another purpose: if an environment variable LESSEDIT is defined, it is used as the command to be executed when the v command is invoked. The LESSEDIT string is expanded in the same way as the prompt strings. The default value for LESSEDIT is:


        %E ?lm+%lm. %f

Note that this expands to the editor name, followed by a + and the line number, followed by the file name. If your editor does not accept the "+linenumber" syntax, or has other differences in invocation syntax, the LESSEDIT variable can be changed to modify this default.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES

COLUMNS Sets the number of columns on the screen. Takes precedence over the number of columns specified by the TERM variable. (But if you have a windowing system which supports TIOCGWINSZ or WIOCGETD, the window system’s idea of the screen size takes precedence over the LINES and COLUMNS environment variables.)
EDITOR The name of the editor (used for the v command).
HOME Name of the user’s home directory (used to find a .cless file).
LANG Language for determining the character set.
LC_CTYPE Language for determining the character set.
LESS Flags which are passed to cless automatically.
LESSBINFMT Format for displaying non-printable, non-control characters.
LESSCHARDEF Defines a character set.
LESSCHARSET Selects a predefined character set.
LESSCLOSE Command line to invoke the (optional) input-postprocessor.
LESSEDIT Editor prototype string (used for the v command). See discussion under PROMPTS.
LESSHELP Name of the help file.
LESSOPEN Command line to invoke the (optional) input-preprocessor.
LINES Sets the number of lines on the screen. Takes precedence over the number of lines specified by the TERM variable.
SHELL The shell used to execute the ! command, as well as to expand filenames.
TERM The type of terminal on which cless is being run.
VISUAL The name of the editor (used for the v command).

SEE ALSO

clesskey(1) less(1)

WARNINGS

The = command and prompts (unless changed by -P) report the line number of the line at the top of the screen, but the byte and percent of the line at the bottom of the screen.

If the :e command is used to name more than one file, and one of the named files has been viewed previously, the new files may be entered into the list in an unexpected order.

On certain older terminals (the so-called "magic cookie" terminals), search highlighting will cause an erroneous display. On such terminals, search highlighting is disabled by default to avoid possible problems.

In certain cases, when search highlighting is enabled and a search pattern begins with a ^, more text than the matching string may be highlighted.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright (c) 1984,1985,1989,1994,1995 Mark Nudelman
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