NNAAMMEE lesskey - specify key bindings for less

SSYYNNOOPPSSIISS lleesssskkeeyy [[--oo oouuttppuutt]] [[----]] [[iinnppuutt]] lleesssskkeeyy [[----oouuttppuutt==oouuttppuutt]] [[----]] [[iinnppuutt]] lleesssskkeeyy --VV lleesssskkeeyy ----vveerrssiioonn

DDEESSCCRRIIPPTTIIOONN _L_e_s_s_k_e_y is used to specify a set of key bindings to be used by _l_e_s_s_. The input file is a text file which describes the key bindings, If the input file is "-", standard input is read. If no input file is specified, a standard filename is used as the name of the input file, which depends on the system being used: On Unix systems, $HOME/.lesskey is used; on MS-DOS systems, $HOME/_lesskey is used; and on OS/2 systems $HOME/lesskey.ini is used, or $INIT/lesskey.ini if $HOME is undefined. The output file is a binary file which is used by _l_e_s_s_. If no output file is specified, and the environment variable LESSKEY is set, the value of LESSKEY is used as the name of the output file. Otherwise, a standard filename is used as the name of the output file, which depends on the system being used: On Unix and OS-9 systems, $HOME/.less is used; on MS-DOS systems, $HOME/_less is used; and on OS/2 systems, $HOME/less.ini is used, or $INIT/less.ini if $HOME is undefined. If the output file already exists, _l_e_s_s_k_e_y will overwrite it.

The -V or --version option causes _l_e_s_s_k_e_y to print its version number and immediately exit. If -V or --version is present, other options and arguments are ignored.

The input file consists of one or more _s_e_c_t_i_o_n_s_. Each section starts with a line that identifies the type of section. Possible sections are:

#command Defines new command keys.

#line-edit Defines new line-editing keys.

#env Defines environment variables.

Blank lines and lines which start with a pound sign (#) are ignored, except for the special section header lines.

CCOOMMMMAANNDD SSEECCTTIIOONN The command section begins with the line


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If the command section is the first section in the file, this line may be omitted. The command section consists of lines of the form:

_s_t_r_i_n_g <whitespace> _a_c_t_i_o_n [extra-string] <newline>

Whitespace is any sequence of one or more spaces and/or tabs. The _s_t_r_i_n_g is the command key(s) which invoke the action. The _s_t_r_i_n_g may be a single command key, or a sequence of up to 15 keys. The _a_c_t_i_o_n is the name of the less action, from the list below. The characters in the _s_t_r_i_n_g may appear literally, or be prefixed by a caret to indicate a control key. A backslash followed by one to three octal digits may be used to specify a character by its octal value. A backslash followed by certain charac­ ters specifies input characters as follows:















A backslash followed by any other character indicates that character is to be taken literally. Characters which must be preceded by backslash include caret, space, tab and the backslash itself.

An action may be followed by an "extra" string. When such a command is entered while running _l_e_s_s_, the action is performed, and then the extra string is parsed, just as if it were typed in to _l_e_s_s_. This feature can be used in

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certain cases to extend the functionality of a command. For example, see the "{" and ":t" commands in the example below. The extra string has a special meaning for the "quit" action: when _l_e_s_s quits, first character of the extra string is used as its exit status.

EEXXAAMMPPLLEE The following input file describes the set of default com­ mand keys used by less:

#command \r forw-line forw-line e forw-line j forw-line d forw-line ^E forw-line ^N forw-line k back-line y back-line ^Y back-line ^K back-line ^P back-line J forw-line-force K back-line-force Y back-line-force d forw-scroll ^D forw-scroll u back-scroll ^U back-scroll 40 forw-screen f forw-screen ^F forw-screen ^V forw-screen D forw-screen b back-screen ^B back-screen \v back-screen U back-screen z forw-window w back-window \40 forw-screen-force F forw-forever R repaint-flush r repaint ^R repaint ^L repaint \u undo-hilite g goto-line h goto-line < goto-line \< goto-line p percent

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% percent \[ left-scroll \] right-scroll \( left-scroll \) right-scroll { forw-bracket {} } back-bracket {} ( forw-bracket () ) back-bracket () [ forw-bracket [] ] back-bracket [] \^F forw-bracket \^B back-bracket G goto-end \> goto-end > goto-end e goto-end = status ^G status :f status / forw-search ? back-search \/ forw-search * \? back-search * n repeat-search \n repeat-search-all N reverse-search \N reverse-search-all m set-mark ' goto-mark ^X^X goto-mark E examine :e examine ^X^V examine :n next-file :p prev-file t next-tag T prev-tag :x index-file :d remove-file - toggle-option :t toggle-option t s toggle-option o _ display-option | pipe v visual ! shell + firstcmd H help h help V version 0 digit 1 digit 2 digit

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3 digit 4 digit 5 digit 6 digit 7 digit 8 digit 9 digit q quit Q quit :q quit :Q quit ZZ quit

PPRREECCEEDDEENNCCEE Commands specified by _l_e_s_s_k_e_y take precedence over the default commands. A default command key may be disabled by including it in the input file with the action "invalid". Alternatively, a key may be defined to do nothing by using the action "noaction". "noaction" is similar to "invalid", but _l_e_s_s will give an error beep for an "invalid" command, but not for a "noaction" command. In addition, ALL default commands may be disabled by adding this control line to the input file:


This will cause all default commands to be ignored. The #stop line should be the last line in that section of the file.

Be aware that #stop can be dangerous. Since all default commands are disabled, you must provide sufficient com­ mands before the #stop line to enable all necessary actions. For example, failure to provide a "quit" command can lead to frustration.

LLIINNEE EEDDIITTIINNGG SSEECCTTIIOONN The line-editing section begins with the line:


This section specifies new key bindings for the line edit­ ing commands, in a manner similar to the way key bindings for ordinary commands are specified in the #command sec­ tion. The line-editing section consists of a list of keys and actions, one per line as in the example below.

EEXXAAMMPPLLEE The following input file describes the set of default line-editing keys used by less:

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#line-edit forw-complete 17 back-complete \ back-complete ^L expand ^V literal ^A literal \l right r right \h left l left \b word-left \l word-left \w word-right \r word-right \i insert \x delete x delete \X word-delete \kx word-delete \\b word-backspace \0 home h home \$ end e end \k up u up \j down

LLEESSSS EENNVVIIRROONNMMEENNTT VVAARRIIAABBLLEESS The environment variable section begins with the line


Following this line is a list of environment variable assignments. Each line consists of an environment vari­ able name, an equals sign (=) and the value to be assigned to the environment variable. White space before and after the equals sign is ignored. Variables assigned in this way are visible only to _l_e_s_s_. If a variable is specified in the system environment and also in a lesskey file, the value in the lesskey file takes precedence. Although the lesskey file can be used to override variables set in the environment, the main purpose of assigning variables in the lesskey file is simply to have all _l_e_s_s configuration information stored in one file.

EEXXAAMMPPLLEE The following input file sets the -i option whenever _l_e_s_s is run, and specifies the character set to be "latin1":

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#env LESS = -i LESSCHARSET = latin1


WWAARRNNIINNGGSS It is not possible to specify special keys, such as upar­ row, in a keyboard-independent manner. The only way to specify such keys is to specify the escape sequence which a particular keyboard sends when such a key is pressed.

On MS-DOS and OS/2 systems, certain keys send a sequence of characters which start with a NUL character (0). This NUL character should be represented as 340 in a lesskey file.

CCOOPPYYRRIIGGHHTT Copyright (C) 2000 Mark Nudelman

lesskey is part of the GNU project and is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

lesskey is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied war­ ranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PUR­ POSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with lesskey; see the file COPYING. If not, write to the Free Software Foundation, 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

AAUUTTHHOORR Mark Nudelman <markn@greenwoodsoftware.com> Send bug reports or comments to the above address or to bug-less@gnu.org.

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  Copyright © 2003   by The Free Software Foundation     Updated Jun 2003