How can I search for newlines (or end of lines) as part of a search using less?

For example, I'd like to search for length=9\n, but don't want to merely search for length=9 because that'd get matches for length=90\n.

I'm using GNU bash, version 4.0.33(1)-release (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

I tried reading the friendly manual, but it said


Search forward in the file for the N-th line containing the pattern. N defaults to 1. The pattern is a regular expression, as recognized by the regular expression library supplied by your system. The search starts at the second line displayed (but see the -a and -j options, which change this).

and I don't know how to RTFM beyond that.

  • 2
    You might also find searches anchored to word boundaries to be useful. /\<length=9\> will find "length=9" that's anywhere on a line without matching "length=90" or "stringlength=9". See man 7 regex and man grep for more. Dec 20, 2010 at 0:46
  • 3
    For those looking for an answer to the question's title: I don't believe you can include newlines in a search in less. This means that multiline searches in less do not appear to be possible.
    – drevicko
    Aug 28, 2012 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


You can do:


The pattern replacing pattern, but the $ must stay, it tells the search to look for the pattern, and then the end of the line.

So you'd do:


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