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Return scrolls forward. How do I scroll backward one line at a time?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There's only one operating system where what Shadok says in comments to another answer is actually the case. It isn't even a Unix. Guess which operating system is the one whose more command(s) only give(s) you the Unix user experience of 1988.

On Solaris:

You have two choices of more command: /usr/bin/more and /usr/xpg4/bin/more. The former doesn't have a back one line command. But the latter does. It is k, optionally prefixed by a number to indicate a different number of lines. The xpg4 in the directory name references the X/Open Portability Guide Issue 4, a 1992 standard for Unices that preceded the Single Unix Specification.

Further reading

On FreeBSD and MacOS 10:

/usr/bin/more and /usr/bin/less are links to the same file, which is GNU less. Invoked via more it tries to follow the POSIX/SUS specification for more. The Single Unix Specification specifies that the command for scrolling back one (or more) lines is k, optionally prefixed by a number to indicate a different number of lines, just like Solaris.

Further reading

  • more(1). FreeBSD man pages. 2009.
  • more. The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6. 2004.
  • more(1). MacOS 10 manual pages. 2008.

On Linux:

The more command is the BSD more version 5.19, from 1988. It doesn't have a key sequence for going backwards by a line, only one for going backwards by a screenful.

Further reading

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Use less instead.

Less is a program similar to more (1), but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement.

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From the manpage of 'more' => "More is a filter for paging through text one screenful at a time. This version is especially primitive. Users should realize that less(1) provides more(1) emulation and extensive enhancements." –  Shadok Feb 9 '12 at 16:11
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In some Unixes, more and less are links to the same program! –  RedGrittyBrick Feb 9 '12 at 16:20
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so "less is more" is what you are saying? –  horatio Feb 9 '12 at 19:48
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I came in to find an answer quickly but couldnt find one hence went back to the good old man more

you can use k to scroll a line backwards or [n]k to scroll back n lines

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