I open a big file with this command: less +G /var/log/blah/file.log

Now when I find the desired info I'd like to know its exact offset in this file, so later I can open that file again and return to that exact place.

So there is the "%X" command which will take me to % inside the file, in offset terms (and not lines!). It's fine, but I'd really love to be able to move to exact, numeric, offset in the file.

What is the command to get the current offset?
And what is the command to move to a specific offset?

And if I'm at that already, how do I get the current offset in percent? (to be used with the "%" command).

Note that I know of marks. They aren't what I'm looking for.


Got part of my question from here:

100g to go to the 100th line
50p to go to 50% into the file
100P to go to the line containing 100th byte

To determine the current line number or byte offset, use Ctrl+g.

  • 3
    Found it: Ctrl+g ! – Poni Jan 16 '12 at 14:15
  • For very large files, you may also want to invoke less with -n to avoid calculating line numbers. – Miles Jan 9 '19 at 1:47
  • The question was about offset (column inside a line) but you gave an answer how go to specific line without actually telling how to go an offset inside the line. So now we have 2 questions at superuser about the same with equal answers :/ – Stalinko Apr 1 '20 at 5:40

With my version the lines currently on screen are displayed at the bottom.

To go to a specific line you can type <number>G.

  • Since the file is very big (more than GB) I'm not even using lines. I need to deal with offset within the file only. Thanks Rob – Poni Dec 28 '11 at 11:14

Assuming that by 'offset' you mean byte-offset (as opposed to characters), you can use the vi editor and search for the pattern with


hit Enter. Repeated fwd searching for the same pattern can be repeated with


hit Enter.

Cursor position's line and column numbers are displayed at bottom right, so to go to a particular line, say 201, and column, say 17, you type


That's 201, capital G, 17, lowercase l

If your file consists of only 1 line with your pattern at offset 10125, then open it with vi

$ vi my_massive_file

and type

:goto 10125
  • i noticed after posting that your file is > 1GB and that is probably why you are using less. vi should be able to handle it if you have enough memory – venzen Dec 28 '11 at 12:15
  • Yea, it opens way too slow with vi/m. Not good for me. And yes also to your assumption; I mean "offset" as in bytes within the file. – Poni Dec 28 '11 at 12:52

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