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lessfile, lesspipe - "input preprocessor" for less.


lessfile, lesspipe


This manual page documents briefly the lessfile, and lesspipe commands. This manual page
was written for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution because the input preprocessor scripts
are provided by Debian GNU/Linux and are not part of the original program.

lessfile and lesspipe are programs that can be used to modify the way the contents of a
file are displayed in less. What this means is that less can automatically open up tar
files, uncompress gzipped files, and even display something reasonable for graphics files.

lesspipe will toss the contents/info on STDOUT and less will read them as they come
across. This means that you do not have to wait for the decoding to finish before less
shows you the file. This also means that you will get a 'byte N' instead of an N% as your
file position. You can seek to the end and back to get the N% but that means you have to
wait for the pipe to finish.

lessfile will toss the contents/info on a file which less will then read. After you are
done, lessfile will then delete the file. This means that the process has to finish
before you see it, but you get nice percentages (N%) up front.


Just put one of the following two commands in your login script (e.g. ~/.bash_profile):

eval "$(lessfile)"


eval "$(lesspipe)"


File types are recognized by their extensions. This is a list of currently supported
extensions (grouped by the programs that handle them):

*.deb, *.udeb, *.ddeb
*.gif, *.jpeg, *.jpg, *.pcd, *.png, *.tga, *.tiff, *.tif
*.iso, *.raw, *.bin
*.lha, *.lzh
*.tar.lz, *.tlz
*.rar, *.r[0-9][0-9]
*.tar.gz, *.tgz, *.tar.z, *.tar.dz
*.gz, *.z, *.dz
*.tar.xz, *.xz
*.jar, *.war, *.xpi, *.zip


It is possible to extend and overwrite the default lesspipe and lessfile input processor
if you have specialized requirements. Create an executable program with the name
.lessfilter and put it into your home directory. This can be a shell script or a binary

It is important that this program returns the correct exit code: return 0 if your filter
handles the input, return 1 if the standard lesspipe/lessfile filter should handle the

Here is an example script:


case "$1" in
extension-handler "$1"
# We don't handle this format.
exit 1

# No further processing by lesspipe necessary
exit 0

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