I'm running Raspbian and everything seems to be running smoothly. When I run a man page, I can scroll up and down to read it. When I run a command, such as 'command --help | less' or 'command -h | less', it prints everything and then reaches the end. If I hit 'q', I can quit, but otherwise, I can't scroll back up to see what I missed. Page Up/Down don't work, nothing, I've never had this kind of problem with more/less before. When I try to hit another key, it just prints out a single column of tildes on the left side, kind of like I'm in vim suddenly. Maybe that'll help?

Any ideas? It's just an annoyance, and I know I can look these things up on the internet, but if I take my Pi out into the field and don't have that luxury then I'm stuck. Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this; I didn't think that a linux place was correct since I've never had this happen before on any other version of linux. A google search on this is impossible given the words "less" and "more"...

  • Can you scroll using vi-keys (j/k for up and down)? If so, I guess you have a problem with your terminal settings. Which terminal emulator are you using, what content does the TERM variable on the Pi have?
    – Arne
    Jan 7, 2014 at 15:16
  • PgUp/PgDown work for me. Are you accessing the pi remotely, and if so, what are you using?
    – goldilocks
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:02
  • I have the Pi hooked up directly to everything. Page Up/Down produce the same thing as Up/Down. Most key strokes reproduce this problem but some do nothing (g,k will reproduce this, but j will do nothing). Trying now, if I press 'h', it brings me to the "summary of less commands" page... from command --help | less. TERM is set to 'linux'. I'm running bash.
    – Michael
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


The only less commands I really use are:

  • g — go to top of file
  • G — go to bottom of file
  • b — page up
  • Space — page down
  • / — find (regex)
  • . — find next

Some Linux installations have PgUp and PgDn defined, but these always work. I have never learnt vi keys, despite using Unix since the late 1980s.

  • 1
    ? - searches backwards and F - scroll forward and try to read more when at end of file (behaves like 'tail -f') Apr 7, 2014 at 17:34
  • All of these commands produce a column of ~ as the OP experienced. May 4, 2014 at 22:06

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