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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  LOOKAT (1)


lookat - Un*x file viewer


Configuration Directives
Thanks To ...
Last Words ...


lookat [ --help ] [ filename ] [ dir_name ]


"lookat" (or "bekijk" in the Dutch version) is a program to view Un*x text files and manual pages.

Under DOS I used to view text files. I didn’t find such a program under my favorite OS, GNU/Linux. The standard Un*x utilities ( more, less, view ...) weren’t userfriendly enough. For this reason I created "lookat".


--help This option displays a help text.
file_name view file_name
dir_name change the current directory to dir_name


None known yet, when you find one you let me know :-)


There are four ways to start lookat :

* by just typing ’lookat’, after the program is started you can select the file you want to view.

if there is already data on stdin, lookat will read the from stdin, and display the contents of stdin

ls | lookat
* type ’lookat dir_name’, change the current directory to dir_name. When the program is started you can select the file you want to view.
* by typing ’lookat <filename>’, the file with <filename> will automatically be loaded.
* in combination with "man"
examples :
man -Plookat ls
export PAGER=lookat; man ls
If you like "lookat" as your manual page viewer you can put the next lines in your /etc/profile
alias man="man -Plookat"
After you have loaded a file, the following keys can be used:

<-, C-b : move left / back
->, C-f : move right / forward
arrow up, C-p : move up / previous line
arrow down, C-n : move down / next line
PgUp, u : move up a screen
PgDwn, d : move down a screen
HOME : go to the beginning of a line
END : go to the end of a line
o : open a new file
t,< : go to top (start of file)
b,e,> : go to the last line (end of file)
g : go to a line number
/,z,s,f : search for a string
F3, n, c, v, : continue search
F9 : menu
ALT+f : file menu
ALT+g : go menu
ALT+s : search menu
ALT+h : help menu
F10,ESC,q : quit program
F1,h,? : view this help file
r : rebuild screen

When you press F9 you get access to the pull-down menus, most of the functions are also available through the keyboard (see above).
File|Open or ’o’:
When you select this function you get a window, at the left side of the window you get the files of the current directory. By selecting a file it will be loaded. At the right size of the window you see the directories, by pressing the TAB key you are able to switch between the file and the directory selection. By selecting a directory with ENTER you change the current directory. With the ESC key you cancel the file open operation.
File|Quit or ’F10,ESC,q’:
Quit program.
Go|to begin or ’b’:
Move to the first line of the file.
Go|to end or ’e’:
Move to the last line of the file.
Go|to line or ’g’:
With this function you are able to move to a certain line number. After you have selected this function you get a window which asks you to give a line number. With ESC you cancel the operation, by pressing the TAB key you can use the [ OK ] and [ Cancel ] buttons.
Go|to end of a line or ’END’:
Move to the end of a line.
Go|to the beginning of a line or ’HOME’:
Move to the beginning of a line.
Search|for a string or ’/,z,s,f’
With this function you can search for a string in the file. The searching will start from the current line (the first line on the screen) to the last line in the file. After you select this function you will see a window which asks you to give a string. The searching can been done on two ways, with or without case sensitivity. By pressing the TAB key you can select -with SPACE or ENTER- how to search at
[ ] Case sensitive
With the TAB key you are also able to use the [ OK ] and [ Cancel ] buttons.
Search|from beginning of the file
See above, the searching will start from the first line.
Search|Again or ’F3’
Search for the last string again.
Turn the cursor on/off
Options|give notice
Notice on exit on/off
Add, delete, modify types
Modify the colors
Options|Save options
Save the options to your cfg file ($HOME/.lookat)
Help|See help file or ’F1,h,?’
View this help file.
Help|Keys ...
Shows a list with the keys you can use in "lookat".
Shows information about the program (version ,etc.).


The format of the configuration file has changed, please remove the "=" sign. The old configuration files will still work, but may not be supported in the future.
lookat uses two configuration files a global configuration file ( /usr/local/etc/lookat.conf ) and a user configuration file ( $HOME/.lookat ) if the user’s configuration file exists the global is ignored.

If the configuration files aren’t available the defaults are used.


cursor  on|off      

turn the cursor on / off
give_notice  on|of

give notice on exit on / off
.[extension] "external cmd"

create a new type
If a filename matches a type the external command will be used to open the file. A typical usage are gzipped files:
.gz "gzip -cd"
The type order is important lookat will compare the filename with the types starting with the first type and continues until a type matches a filename.
So if you want to define a type for ".gz" and ".tar.gz" files you have to put the .tar.gz type first.
color object foreground background [ attribute ]

If your terminal supports colors, this directive can be use to modify the color of certain objects. Valid objects are: view, view_bold, view_italic, main_menu, main_menusel, main_menuhot, main_menuhotsel, status_bar, win1, win1_edit, win1_menu, win1_menusel, win1_menuhot, win1_menuhotsel, win2, win2_edit, win2_menu, win2_menusel, win2_menuhot, win2_menuhotsel, view_found.
Valid colors are: white, black, green, magenta, blue, cyan, yellow, red.
Valid attributes are: normal, bold, underline, reverse, and standout.
mono object foreground_attribute [ background_attribute ]

If your terminal doesn’t support color, you can still assign foreground and background attributes to certain objects.


Free Software Foundation inc.
The GNU C Library Reference Manual by Sandra Loosemore And of course for gcc, make, bash, grep, man, ls, cp, tar, gzip, emacs, less, ..., and more :-)
Sven Golt, Sven van der Meer, Scott Burkett, Matt Welsh
From the Linux Documentation Project for their Linux Programmer’s Guide.
Linus, and others ...
for Linux of course ;-)
Jan Wagemakers
For his debugging & to place "see" on his Webpage. You can find more information about Linux and Assembly on his Webpage :
Roel Diederen
To create the man page for see 1.1
Aubin Paul
Aubin created the Mac OSX patch, this made it a lot easier to port "lookat" to other platform than GNU/Linux.
Jim W. Jaszewski
Corrected some typos in the manpage.
Kevin Keegan
For reporting his installation problem on SCO OpenServer box, and to provide pre-compiled binaries for SCO Unix.
All Free software programmers (on any computer system)

And everyone I had forgot to mention :-{


When you find "lookat" useful (or useless), have suggestions, find a bug :-( you may let me know.


V1.4.0 Staf Wagemakers

homepage :
email :


Copying and distribution of this file, with or without modification, are permitted in any medium without royalty provided the copyright notice and this notice are preserved.

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lookat 1.4.0 LOOKAT (1) April 2004

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