Linux more Command - Display Long Text File Per page at a Time

February 10, 2014 | By in LINUX COMMANDS, LINUX HOWTO
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If you are used to working with Linux, you will find a lot of file text in Linux world. Configuration files and log files are usually kept in text format. But those file are usually have long content. You can not view them all in one page. So we need to to pagination to those file. And to do that, we can use more command.

What is more command

More command is a command for displaying a long text file per page at a time. More command is a built-in command in Linux.

How to use more

To use more command, we just need to type :

$ more file_name

For example we want to see the content of syslog file located in /var/log directory. We can type :

$ more /var/log/syslog

More command

We see that an indicator on the bottom left. It show us number 0%. It means that the file is long enough, so the first page is 0% of the total page. To scroll down, use space button. Then we see that the indicator number is increased.

Scroll page

Limit lines per page

When you run more command, it will fill your screen with the content of the file you are seeing using more. You can limit it into some lines for each page. To do this you can use -num option.

For example, you want to limit the lines only 12 lines for each page. Then you can type :

$ more -12 /var/log/syslog

Limit 12 lines only

Now it will limit 12 lines per page. When you press spacebar to scroll down, it will show you more 12 lines.

Display user message

As we knew, more will display an indicator at the bottom left to show our position in percentage. For those who run more at the first time, he/she may guess how to scroll the page down. To avoid this, we can use -d option that will make more command display a user message like this “[Press space to continue, ‘q’ to quit.]” .

More with -d option

If user press a button other than button ‘space’ and ‘q’ , then more will display a warning message “[Press ‘h’ for instructions.]” .

More displaying help message

If you press h button, it will display a help message :

Display help

One of the interesting command is the b button. b button allow you to go back to previous page. In other word, b button allow you to scroll up.

You can know that you are in the previous page from the line ...backup 1 page at the top left area.

Scroll up on More

Suppress scroll

With -c option, more will not scroll the page. It will clear the previous page and put the next page or lines there.

$ more -10 -c lynis.log

Suppress scroll

If you press space button, the next page or lines is still at the same size.

Suppress scroll

Squeeze multiple blank lines

To squeeze it, we can use -s option. Here’s a sample :

File with blank lines

When we add -s option :

$ more -s doc_30.txt

Squeeze blank lines

Search string

If your log file is long enough, it’s not easy to find a string that you want. Search string can help you. Using +/string can search a string for you and put the keyword on the beginning of the line. Let say we want to search “dhclient” in /var/logs/syslog file. Then the syntax is :

$ more +/dhclient /var/log/syslog

Search string

Then to continue the search on the next line, you can press / button following by dhclient word.

Display content start with specific line

You can also display a content of file start with specific line using +num option. For example we have a file with 15 lines inside it.

Multiple lines file

Then we want to display a file named doc_30.txt starting from the line number 5. The command will be like this :

$ more +5 doc_30.txt

Start with specific lines

Can we use it to display binary file?

The answer is No. More will give you a message about this. Here’s a sample.

Displaying binary file


More is one of the basic tool to display a content of text file. More can not be used to display binary file. As usual, we can always type man more or more --help to explore more detail about the usage of more command.


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