Is there a command line option that will allow less to return to the command line if there are not sufficient lines in the file to warrant paging.

Sure I have seen it in the past but can't find the option in help.

  • To summarize the below answer's and comments: less -FX works. It produces a behavior similar to that of more for short files.
    – loxaxs
    May 29, 2017 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


See manpage:

-F or --quit-if-one-screen

Causes less to automatically exit if the entire file can be displayed on the first screen.

  • 2
    +1 - Goes off and aliases less to less -F
    – Nifle
    Aug 12, 2010 at 8:55
  • 4
    Not sure I see the point of -F by itself as (at least on my Linux) doesnt display any of the file. But combined with -X it does what I want. Thanks.
    – justintime
    Aug 12, 2010 at 15:47
  • The different behaviors are explained in this SU question and answer and even more in the blog linked from there. superuser.com/questions/134598/… fixlog.blogspot.com/2006/09/…
    – user31752
    Aug 13, 2010 at 19:29

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