I just found out I can use less with multiple files. less status line tells me (END) - Next: file2.txt

But how do I navigate previous/next from less?


We read in the manpage:

       :n     Examine  the next file (from the list of files given in the com‐
              mand line).  If a number N is specified, the N-th next  file  is
       :p     Examine the previous file in the command line list.  If a number
              N is specified, the N-th previous file is examined.
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    :e [file] Examine a new file. -- i.e. open a new file while less is open – JellicleCat Jun 30 '14 at 15:30
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    +1 stack exchange is faster than manual grep through man to find the right part when you're not sure how it's described. – Nathan Aug 5 '14 at 18:31
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    If a number N is specified - how to specify this number (can't find answer in the manpage)? – Piotr Dobrogost Nov 25 '14 at 16:53
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    @PiotrDobrogost: Good question. I had to fiddle a bit with it myself. Turns out the number precedes both the colon and the n or p. E.g., 3:n moves one to the third-next file. – Stephan202 Nov 25 '14 at 17:35
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    @ardnew You are very unlikely to get any upvotes on that comment - anyone who agrees with you is unlikely to come across this question! – T.C. Proctor Sep 21 '17 at 15:29

Type :n and :p.


Found out from :h (help window) that I can use :p (for previous) and :n (for next)

  • 12
    Teach a man to fish. I didn't know you could :anything, but now I know how to look using :h... – Mitch Kent Oct 15 '14 at 9:51
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    Just to clarify, you only type h for help, without the colon (the colon is already there). However, you have to type :n or :p with an explicit colon to go to next/prev file. – wisbucky Sep 27 '17 at 21:24

Note: you actually have to type the : for these commands (even though there is a colon visible already).

:n jump to next file
:p jump to previous file
:x jump to first file

3:n jump 3 files ahead
3:p jump 3 files back
3:x jump to 3rd file

:f print current file name/info (helpful if you forget where you are)

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    Piggy-backing off of this answer, because it took me closest to what I was looking for: If you want to "easily" jump to the LAST file in your list, first use :f to see how many files are in your list (for instance '(file 1 of 99)'), then just type 99,:x as described by @wisebucky and you'll immediately jump to it. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a shortcut for jumping to the last file, like you can so easily jump to the first with :x alone. – J.M. Janzen Apr 27 '19 at 20:24

Not strictly an answer for that question but maybe someone can find this useful nevertheless.

If the number of files is reasonably small, one could use vim for that:

vim -O files*

In this way all the files are displayed at once by splitting the screen automatically.

(Use -o to split horizontally.)

Some basic vim survival commands for this use case:

  • Ctrl-W + arrow selects an adjacent split;
  • / search the buffer;
  • :qa exits vim (!!!).

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