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less


SYNOPSIS

       less -?
       less --help
       less -V
       less --version
       less [-[+]aABcCdeEfFgGiIJKLmMnNqQrRsSuUVwWX~]
            [-b space] [-h lines] [-j line] [-k keyfile]
            [-{oO} logfile] [-p pattern] [-P prompt] [-t tag]
            [-T tagsfile] [-x tab,...] [-y lines] [-[z] lines]
            [-# shift] [+[+]cmd] [--] [filename]...
       (See  the  OPTIONS section for alternate option syntax with long option
       names.)


DESCRIPTION

       Less is a program similar to more (1), but which allows backward  move-
       ment in the file as well as forward movement.  Also, less does not have
       to read the entire input file before  starting,  so  with  large  input
       files  it  starts  up  faster than text editors like vi (1).  Less uses
       termcap (or terminfo on some systems), so it can run on  a  variety  of
       terminals.   There is even limited support for hardcopy terminals.  (On
       a hardcopy terminal, lines which should be printed at the  top  of  the
       screen are prefixed with a caret.)

       Commands  are based on both more and vi.  Commands may be preceded by a
       decimal number, called N in the descriptions below.  The number is used
       by some commands, as indicated.


COMMANDS

       In  the following descriptions, ^X means control-X.  ESC stands for the
       ESCAPE  key;  for  example  ESC-v  means  the  two  character  sequence
       "ESCAPE", then "v".

       h or H Help:  display  a  summary of these commands.  If you forget all
              the other commands, remember this one.

       SPACE or ^V or f or ^F
              Scroll forward N  lines,  default  one  window  (see  option  -z
              below).   If  N  is  more  than  the screen size, only the final
              screenful is displayed.  Warning: some systems use ^V as a  spe-
              cial literalization character.

       z      Like  SPACE,  but  if  N is specified, it becomes the new window
              size.

       ESC-SPACE
              Like SPACE, but scrolls a full screenful,  even  if  it  reaches
              end-of-file in the process.

       ENTER or RETURN or ^N or e or ^E or j or ^J
              Scroll  forward N lines, default 1.  The entire N lines are dis-

       y or ^Y or ^P or k or ^K
              Scroll backward N lines, default 1.  The entire N lines are dis-
              played, even if N is more than the screen size.   Warning:  some
              systems use ^Y as a special job control character.

       u or ^U
              Scroll  backward  N  lines, default one half of the screen size.
              If N is specified, it becomes the new default for  subsequent  d
              and u commands.

       ESC-) or RIGHTARROW
              Scroll  horizontally right N characters, default half the screen
              width (see the -# option).  If  a  number  N  is  specified,  it
              becomes  the  default  for  future RIGHTARROW and LEFTARROW com-
              mands.  While the text is scrolled, it acts  as  though  the  -S
              option (chop lines) were in effect.

       ESC-( or LEFTARROW
              Scroll  horizontally  left N characters, default half the screen
              width (see the -# option).  If  a  number  N  is  specified,  it
              becomes  the  default  for  future RIGHTARROW and LEFTARROW com-
              mands.

       r or ^R or ^L
              Repaint the screen.

       R      Repaint the screen, discarding any buffered  input.   Useful  if
              the file is changing while it is being viewed.

       F      Scroll  forward, and keep trying to read when the end of file is
              reached.  Normally this command would be used  when  already  at
              the  end of the file.  It is a way to monitor the tail of a file
              which is growing while it is being  viewed.   (The  behavior  is
              similar to the "tail -f" command.)

       ESC-F  Like  F,  but  as soon as a line is found which matches the last
              search pattern, the terminal bell is rung and forward  scrolling
              stops.

       g or < or ESC-<
              Go to line N in the file, default 1 (beginning of file).  (Warn-
              ing: this may be slow if N is large.)

       G or > or ESC->
              Go to line N in the file, default the end of the  file.   (Warn-
              ing:  this  may  be slow if N is large, or if N is not specified
              and standard input, rather than a file, is being read.)

       p or % Go to a position N percent into the file.  N should be between 0
              and 100, and may contain a decimal point.

              N-th bracket on the line.

       (      Like {, but applies to parentheses rather than curly brackets.

       )      Like }, but applies to parentheses rather than curly brackets.

       [      Like  {, but applies to square brackets rather than curly brack-
              ets.

       ]      Like }, but applies to square brackets rather than curly  brack-
              ets.

       ESC-^F Followed  by two characters, acts like {, but uses the two char-
              acters as open and close brackets, respectively.   For  example,
              "ESC  ^F < >" could be used to go forward to the > which matches
              the < in the top displayed line.

       ESC-^B Followed by two characters, acts like }, but uses the two  char-
              acters  as  open and close brackets, respectively.  For example,
              "ESC ^B < >" could be used to go backward to the < which matches
              the > in the bottom displayed line.

       m      Followed  by  any  lowercase  letter, marks the current position
              with that letter.

       '      (Single quote.)  Followed by any lowercase  letter,  returns  to
              the position which was previously marked with that letter.  Fol-
              lowed by another single quote, returns to the position at  which
              the last "large" movement command was executed.  Followed by a ^
              or $, jumps to the beginning or end of  the  file  respectively.
              Marks  are  preserved when a new file is examined, so the ' com-
              mand can be used to switch between input files.

       ^X^X   Same as single quote.

       /pattern
              Search forward in the file for the N-th line containing the pat-
              tern.  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 first line displayed (but see
              the -a and -j options, which change this).

              Certain characters are special if entered at  the  beginning  of
              the  pattern;  they modify the type of search rather than become
              part of the pattern:

              ^N or !
                     Search for lines which do NOT match the pattern.

              ^E or *
                     Search multiple files.  That is, if  the  search  reaches
                     the  END of the current file without finding a match, the
                     is, do a simple textual comparison.

       ?pattern
              Search  backward  in  the  file for the N-th line containing the
              pattern.  The search starts at the line immediately  before  the
              top line displayed.

              Certain characters are special as in the / command:

              ^N or !
                     Search for lines which do NOT match the pattern.

              ^E or *
                     Search  multiple  files.   That is, if the search reaches
                     the beginning of  the  current  file  without  finding  a
                     match,  the  search continues in the previous file in the
                     command line list.

              ^F or @
                     Begin the search at the last line of the last file in the
                     command  line  list, regardless of what is currently dis-
                     played on the screen or the settings  of  the  -a  or  -j
                     options.

              ^K     As in forward searches.

              ^R     As in forward searches.

       ESC-/pattern
              Same as "/*".

       ESC-?pattern
              Same as "?*".

       n      Repeat  previous  search, for N-th line containing the last pat-
              tern.  If the previous search was modified by ^N, the search  is
              made  for the N-th line NOT containing the pattern.  If the pre-
              vious search was modified by ^E, the  search  continues  in  the
              next  (or  previous)  file if not satisfied in the current file.
              If the previous search was modified by ^R, the  search  is  done
              without  using  regular  expressions.  There is no effect if the
              previous search was modified by ^F or ^K.

       N      Repeat previous search, but in the reverse direction.

       ESC-n  Repeat previous  search,  but  crossing  file  boundaries.   The
              effect is as if the previous search were modified by *.

       ESC-N  Repeat  previous search, but in the reverse direction and cross-
              ing file boundaries.

       ESC-u  Undo search highlighting.   Turn  off  highlighting  of  strings
              Certain characters are special as in the / command:

              ^N or !
                     Display only lines which do NOT match the pattern.

              ^R     Don't interpret regular expression  metacharacters;  that
                     is, do a simple textual comparison.

       :e [filename]
              Examine  a  new file.  If the filename is missing, the "current"
              file (see the :n and :p commands below) from the list  of  files
              in  the  command line is re-examined.  A percent sign (%) in the
              filename is replaced by the name of the current file.   A  pound
              sign  (#)  is  replaced  by  the name of the previously examined
              file.   However,  two  consecutive  percent  signs  are   simply
              replaced with a single percent sign.  This allows you to enter a
              filename that contains a percent sign in the  name.   Similarly,
              two  consecutive  pound  signs  are replaced with a single pound
              sign.  The filename is inserted into the command  line  list  of
              files  so  that it can be seen by subsequent :n and :p commands.
              If the filename consists of several files, they are all inserted
              into  the  list  of files and the first one is examined.  If the
              filename contains one or more spaces, the entire filename should
              be enclosed in double quotes (also see the -" option).

       ^X^V or E
              Same  as :e.  Warning: some systems use ^V as a special literal-
              ization character.  On such systems, you may not be able to  use
              ^V.

       :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
              examined.

       :p     Examine the previous file in the command line list.  If a number
              N is specified, the N-th previous file is examined.

       :x     Examine the first file in the command line list.  If a number  N
              is specified, the N-th file in the list is examined.

       :d     Remove the current file from the list of files.

       t      Go  to the next tag, if there were more than one matches for the
              current tag.  See the -t option for more details about tags.

       T      Go to the previous tag, if there were more than one matches  for
              the current tag.

       = or ^G or :f
              Prints  some  information about the file being viewed, including
              its name and the line number and byte offset of the bottom  line
              being  displayed.  If possible, it also prints the length of the
              below) rather than a single option letter.  You must press ENTER
              or  RETURN after typing the option name.  A ^P immediately after
              the second dash suppresses printing of a message describing  the
              new setting, as in the - command.

       -+     Followed  by  one  of  the command line option letters this will
              reset the option to its default  setting  and  print  a  message
              describing  the  new  setting.  (The "-+X" command does the same
              thing as "-+X" on the command line.)  This  does  not  work  for
              string-valued options.

       --+    Like  the -+ command, but takes a long option name rather than a
              single option letter.

       -!     Followed by one of the command line option  letters,  this  will
              reset  the  option  to the "opposite" of its default setting and
              print a message describing the new setting.  This does not  work
              for numeric or string-valued options.

       --!    Like  the -! command, but takes a long option name rather than a
              single option letter.

       _      (Underscore.)  Followed by one of the command line  option  let-
              ters,  this  will print a message describing the current setting
              of that option.  The setting of the option is not changed.

       __     (Double underscore.)  Like the _ (underscore) command, but takes
              a long option name rather than a single option letter.  You must
              press ENTER or RETURN after typing the option name.

       +cmd   Causes the specified cmd to be executed each time a new file  is
              examined.  For example, +G causes less to initially display each
              file starting at the end rather than the beginning.

       V      Prints the version number of less being run.

       q or Q or :q or :Q or ZZ
              Exits less.

       The following four commands may or may not be valid, depending on  your
       particular installation.

       v      Invokes  an  editor  to edit the current file being viewed.  The
              editor is taken from the environment variable VISUAL if defined,
              or  EDITOR if VISUAL is not defined, or defaults to "vi" if nei-
              ther VISUAL nor EDITOR is defined.  See also the  discussion  of
              LESSEDIT under the section on PROMPTS below.

       ! shell-command
              Invokes  a shell to run the shell-command given.  A percent sign
              (%) in the command is replaced by the name of the current  file.
              A pound sign (#) is replaced by the name of the previously exam-

       s filename
              Save  the  input  to  a file.  This only works if the input is a
              pipe, not an ordinary file.


OPTIONS

       Command line options are described below.  Most options may be  changed
       while less is running, via the "-" command.

       Most  options  may be given in one of two forms: either a dash followed
       by a single letter, or two dashes followed by a long  option  name.   A
       long  option  name  may  be  abbreviated as long as the abbreviation is
       unambiguous.  For example, --quit-at-eof may be abbreviated --quit, but
       not --qui, since both --quit-at-eof and --quiet begin with --qui.  Some
       long option names are in uppercase, such as --QUIT-AT-EOF, as  distinct
       from  --quit-at-eof.  Such option names need only have their first let-
       ter capitalized; the remainder of the name may be in either case.   For
       example, --Quit-at-eof is equivalent to --QUIT-AT-EOF.

       Options are also taken from the environment variable "LESS".  For exam-
       ple, to avoid typing "less -options ..." each time less is invoked, you
       might tell csh:

       setenv LESS "-options"

       or if you use sh:

       LESS="-options"; export LESS

       On  MS-DOS,  you don't need the quotes, but you should replace any per-
       cent signs in the options string by double percent signs.

       The environment variable is parsed before the command line, so  command
       line  options  override  the  LESS  environment variable.  If an option
       appears in the LESS variable, it can be reset to its default  value  on
       the command line by beginning the command line option with "-+".

       Some  options  like -k or -D require a string to follow the option let-
       ter.  The string for that option is considered to  end  when  a  dollar
       sign  ($)  is found.  For example, you can set two -D options on MS-DOS
       like this:

       LESS="Dn9.1$Ds4.1"

       If the --use-backslash option appears earlier in the  options,  then  a
       dollar  sign or backslash may be included literally in an option string
       by preceding it with a backslash.  If the --use-backslash option is not
       in  effect, then backslashes are not treated specially, and there is no
       way to include a dollar sign in the option string.

       -? or --help
              This option displays a summary of the commands accepted by  less
              (the  same  as  the  h  command).   (Depending on how your shell
              Causes all forward searches (not just non-repeated searches)  to
              start  just  after the target line, and all backward searches to
              start just before the target line.  Thus, forward searches  will
              skip part of the displayed screen (from the first line up to and
              including the target line).  Similarly backwards  searches  will
              skip the displayed screen from the last line up to and including
              the target line.  This was the default behavior in less versions
              prior to 441.

       -bn or --buffers=n
              Specifies  the  amount  of  buffer  space less will use for each
              file, in units of kilobytes (1024 bytes).   By  default  64K  of
              buffer  space  is used for each file (unless the file is a pipe;
              see the -B option).  The -b  option  specifies  instead  that  n
              kilobytes of buffer space should be used for each file.  If n is
              -1, buffer space is unlimited; that is, the entire file  can  be
              read into memory.

       -B or --auto-buffers
              By default, when data is read from a pipe, buffers are allocated
              automatically as needed.  If a large amount of data is read from
              the  pipe,  this  can cause a large amount of memory to be allo-
              cated.  The -B option disables this automatic allocation of buf-
              fers  for pipes, so that only 64K (or the amount of space speci-
              fied by the -b option) is used for the pipe.  Warning: use of -B
              can  result  in  erroneous display, since only the most recently
              viewed part of the piped data is kept  in  memory;  any  earlier
              data is lost.

       -c or --clear-screen
              Causes  full  screen  repaints  to  be painted from the top line
              down.  By default, full screen repaints are  done  by  scrolling
              from the bottom of the screen.

       -C or --CLEAR-SCREEN
              Same as -c, for compatibility with older versions of less.

       -d or --dumb
              The -d option suppresses the error message normally displayed if
              the terminal is dumb; that is, lacks some important  capability,
              such as the ability to clear the screen or scroll backward.  The
              -d option does not otherwise change the behavior of  less  on  a
              dumb terminal.

       -Dxcolor or --color=xcolor
              [MS-DOS only] Sets the color of the text displayed.  x is a sin-
              gle character which selects the type  of  text  whose  color  is
              being  set: n=normal, s=standout, d=bold, u=underlined, k=blink.
              color is a pair of numbers separated by  a  period.   The  first
              number  selects  the foreground color and the second selects the
              background color of the text.  A single number N is the same  as
              N.M, where M is the normal background color.
              ing message when a binary file is opened.  By default, less will
              refuse to open non-regular files.  Note that some operating sys-
              tems will not allow directories to be read, even if -f is set.

       -F or --quit-if-one-screen
              Causes less to automatically exit if the entire file can be dis-
              played on the first screen.

       -g or --hilite-search
              Normally,  less  will highlight ALL strings which match the last
              search command.  The -g option changes this  behavior  to  high-
              light  only  the  particular  string which was found by the last
              search command.  This can cause less to run somewhat faster than
              the default.

       -G or --HILITE-SEARCH
              The  -G  option  suppresses all highlighting of strings found by
              search commands.

       --old-bot
              Reverts to the old bottom of screen behavior.  This can be some-
              times  desirable  if  the  long lines are not wrapped  correctly
              when  reaching  the  bottom  of  the  terminal,  while scrolling
              forward.

       -hn or --max-back-scroll=n
              Specifies  a  maximum number of lines to scroll backward.  If it
              is necessary to scroll backward more than n lines, the screen is
              repainted in a forward direction instead.  (If the terminal does
              not have the ability to scroll backward, -h0 is implied.)

       -i or --ignore-case
              Causes searches to ignore case; that is, uppercase and lowercase
              are  considered identical.  This option is ignored if any upper-
              case letters appear in the search pattern; in other words, if  a
              pattern  contains  uppercase  letters, then that search does not
              ignore case.

       -I or --IGNORE-CASE
              Like -i, but searches ignore case even if the  pattern  contains
              uppercase letters.

       -jn or --jump-target=n
              Specifies  a line on the screen where the "target" line is to be
              positioned.  The target line is the line specified by  any  com-
              mand  to  search for a pattern, jump to a line number, jump to a
              file percentage or jump to a tag.  The screen line may be speci-
              fied  by  a number: the top line on the screen is 1, the next is
              2, and so on.  The number may be negative to specify a line rel-
              ative to the bottom of the screen: the bottom line on the screen
              is -1, the second to the bottom is -2, and so on.   Alternately,
              the  screen line may be specified as a fraction of the height of
              status  column  shows the lines that matched the current search.
              The status column is also used if the -w  or  -W  option  is  in
              effect.

       -kfilename or --lesskey-file=filename
              Causes  less  to  open and interpret the named file as a lesskey
              (1) file.  Multiple -k options may be specified.  If the LESSKEY
              or  LESSKEY_SYSTEM  environment variable is set, or if a lesskey
              file is found in a standard place (see KEY BINDINGS), it is also
              used as a lesskey file.

       -K or --quit-on-intr
              Causes  less  to exit immediately (with status 2) when an inter-
              rupt character (usually ^C) is typed.   Normally,  an  interrupt
              character causes less to stop whatever it is doing and return to
              its command prompt.  Note that  use  of  this  option  makes  it
              impossible to return to the command prompt from the "F" command.

       -L or --no-lessopen
              Ignore  the  LESSOPEN  environment  variable (see the INPUT PRE-
              PROCESSOR section below).  This option can be  set  from  within
              less,  but  it will apply only to files opened subsequently, not
              to the file which is currently open.

       -m or --long-prompt
              Causes less to prompt verbosely (like more),  with  the  percent
              into the file.  By default, less prompts with a colon.

       -M or --LONG-PROMPT
              Causes less to prompt even more verbosely than more.

       -n or --line-numbers
              Suppresses  line numbers.  The default (to use line numbers) may
              cause less to run more slowly in some cases, especially  with  a
              very  large  input  file.   Suppressing line numbers with the -n
              option will avoid this problem.  Using line numbers  means:  the
              line number will be displayed in the verbose prompt and in the =
              command, and the v command will pass the current line number  to
              the  editor  (see  also  the  discussion  of LESSEDIT in PROMPTS
              below).

       -N or --LINE-NUMBERS
              Causes a line number to be displayed at the  beginning  of  each
              line in the display.

       -ofilename or --log-file=filename
              Causes  less  to copy its input to the named file as it is being
              viewed.  This applies only when the input file is a pipe, not an
              ordinary  file.   If  the file already exists, less will ask for
              confirmation before overwriting it.

       -Ofilename or --LOG-FILE=filename
              Provides a way to tailor the three prompt  styles  to  your  own
              preference.  This option would normally be put in the LESS envi-
              ronment variable, rather than being typed in with each less com-
              mand.  Such an option must either be the last option in the LESS
              variable, or be terminated by a dollar sign.  -Ps followed by  a
              string  changes  the default (short) prompt to that string.  -Pm
              changes the medium (-m)  prompt.   -PM  changes  the  long  (-M)
              prompt.   -Ph  changes  the  prompt  for  the  help screen.  -P=
              changes the message printed by the = command.  -Pw  changes  the
              message  printed while waiting for data (in the F command).  All
              prompt strings consist of a  sequence  of  letters  and  special
              escape sequences.  See the section on PROMPTS for more details.

       -q or --quiet or --silent
              Causes  moderately  "quiet"  operation: the terminal bell is not
              rung if an attempt is made to scroll past the end of the file or
              before the beginning of the file.  If the terminal has a "visual
              bell", it is used instead.  The bell will  be  rung  on  certain
              other  errors, such as typing an invalid character.  The default
              is to ring the terminal bell in all such cases.

       -Q or --QUIET or --SILENT
              Causes totally "quiet" operation: the  terminal  bell  is  never
              rung.

       -r or --raw-control-chars
              Causes "raw" control characters to be displayed.  The default is
              to display control characters  using  the  caret  notation;  for
              example, a control-A (octal 001) is displayed as "^A".  Warning:
              when the -r option is used, less cannot keep track of the actual
              appearance  of  the screen (since this depends on how the screen
              responds to each type of control character).  Thus, various dis-
              play  problems may result, such as long lines being split in the
              wrong place.

       -R or --RAW-CONTROL-CHARS
              Like -r, but only ANSI "color" escape sequences  are  output  in
              "raw" form.  Unlike -r, the screen appearance is maintained cor-
              rectly  in  most  cases.   ANSI  "color"  escape  sequences  are
              sequences of the form:

                   ESC [ ... m

              where  the  "..." is zero or more color specification characters
              For the purpose of keeping  track  of  screen  appearance,  ANSI
              color  escape sequences are assumed to not move the cursor.  You
              can make less think that characters other than "m" can end  ANSI
              color  escape  sequences  by  setting  the  environment variable
              LESSANSIENDCHARS to the list of characters which can end a color
              escape  sequence.   And  you can make less think that characters
              other than the standard ones may appear between the ESC and  the
              m  by  setting  the environment variable LESSANSIMIDCHARS to the
              The -t option, followed immediately by a TAG, will edit the file
              containing that tag.  For this to work, tag information must  be
              available;  for  example,  there  may  be  a file in the current
              directory called "tags", which was previously built by ctags (1)
              or an equivalent command.  If the environment variable LESSGLOB-
              ALTAGS is set, it is taken to be the name of a command  compati-
              ble  with  global  (1), and that command is executed to find the
              tag.  (See http://www.gnu.org/software/global/global.html).  The
              -t  option  may  also be specified from within less (using the -
              command) as a way of examining a new file.  The command ":t"  is
              equivalent to specifying -t from within less.

       -Ttagsfile or --tag-file=tagsfile
              Specifies a tags file to be used instead of "tags".

       -u or --underline-special
              Causes  backspaces  and carriage returns to be treated as print-
              able characters; that is, they are sent  to  the  terminal  when
              they appear in the input.

       -U or --UNDERLINE-SPECIAL
              Causes  backspaces,  tabs  and carriage returns to be treated as
              control characters; that is, they are handled  as  specified  by
              the -r option.

              By  default,  if  neither  -u  nor -U is given, backspaces which
              appear adjacent to an  underscore  character  are  treated  spe-
              cially:  the  underlined  text is displayed using the terminal's
              hardware underlining capability.  Also, backspaces which  appear
              between  two  identical  characters  are  treated specially: the
              overstruck text is printed using the terminal's  hardware  bold-
              face  capability.   Other backspaces are deleted, along with the
              preceding character.  Carriage returns immediately followed by a
              newline  are  deleted.   Other  carriage  returns are handled as
              specified by the -r option.  Text which is overstruck or  under-
              lined can be searched for if neither -u nor -U is in effect.

       -V or --version
              Displays the version number of less.

       -w or --hilite-unread
              Temporarily  highlights  the  first  "new"  line after a forward
              movement of a full page.  The first "new" line is the line imme-
              diately  following  the  line  previously  at  the bottom of the
              screen.  Also highlights the target line after a g or p command.
              The  highlight is removed at the next command which causes move-
              ment.  The entire line is highlighted, unless the -J  option  is
              in effect, in which case only the status column is highlighted.

       -W or --HILITE-UNREAD
              Like -w, but temporarily highlights the first new line after any
              forward movement command larger than one line.

       -yn or --max-forw-scroll=n
              Specifies a maximum number of lines to scroll forward.  If it is
              necessary  to  scroll  forward  more than n lines, the screen is
              repainted instead.  The -c or -C option may be used  to  repaint
              from  the top of the screen if desired.  By default, any forward
              movement causes scrolling.

       -[z]n or --window=n
              Changes the default scrolling  window  size  to  n  lines.   The
              default is one screenful.  The z and w commands can also be used
              to change the window size.  The "z" may be omitted for  compati-
              bility with some versions of more.  If the number n is negative,
              it indicates n lines less than the  current  screen  size.   For
              example, if the screen is 24 lines, -z-4 sets the scrolling win-
              dow to 20 lines.  If the screen is  resized  to  40  lines,  the
              scrolling window automatically changes to 36 lines.

       -"cc or --quotes=cc
              Changes  the  filename quoting character.  This may be necessary
              if you are trying to name a file which contains both spaces  and
              quote  characters.  Followed by a single character, this changes
              the quote character to that character.  Filenames  containing  a
              space should then be surrounded by that character rather than by
              double quotes.  Followed by two  characters,  changes  the  open
              quote  to the first character, and the close quote to the second
              character.  Filenames containing a space should then be preceded
              by  the  open  quote  character  and followed by the close quote
              character.  Note  that  even  after  the  quote  characters  are
              changed,  this  option  remains  -" (a dash followed by a double
              quote).

       -~ or --tilde
              Normally lines after end of file are displayed as a single tilde
              (~).  This option causes lines after end of file to be displayed
              as blank lines.

       -# or --shift
              Specifies the default number of positions to scroll horizontally
              in  the RIGHTARROW and LEFTARROW commands.  If the number speci-
              fied is zero, it sets the default number  of  positions  to  one
              half of the screen width.  Alternately, the number may be speci-
              fied as a fraction of the width of the screen, starting  with  a
              decimal  point:  .5  is  half  of  the screen width, .3 is three
              tenths of the screen width, and so on.  If the number is  speci-
              fied  as  a  fraction,  the actual number of scroll positions is
              recalculated if the terminal window  is  resized,  so  that  the
              actual  scroll  remains  at the specified fraction of the screen
              width.

       --follow-name
              Normally, if the input file is renamed while  an  F  command  is
              This  option changes the interpretations of options which follow
              this one.  After the --use-backslash option, any backslash in an
              option  string  is  removed and the following character is taken
              literally.  This allows a dollar sign to be included  in  option
              strings.

       --     A  command  line  argument of "--" marks the end of option argu-
              ments.  Any arguments following this are  interpreted  as  file-
              names.  This can be useful when viewing a file whose name begins
              with a "-" or "+".

       +      If a command line option begins with +, the  remainder  of  that
              option  is taken to be an initial command to less.  For example,
              +G tells less to start at the end of the file  rather  than  the
              beginning,  and  +/xyz tells it to start at the first occurrence
              of "xyz" in the file.  As a special case,  +<number>  acts  like
              +<number>g; that is, it starts the display at the specified line
              number (however, see the caveat under the  "g"  command  above).
              If  the  option  starts  with ++, the initial command applies to
              every file being viewed, not just the first one.  The +  command
              described previously may also be used to set (or change) an ini-
              tial command for every file.


LINE EDITING

       When entering command line at the bottom of the screen (for example,  a
       filename for the :e command, or the pattern for a search command), cer-
       tain keys can be used to manipulate the command  line.   Most  commands
       have  an alternate form in [ brackets ] which can be used if a key does
       not exist on a particular keyboard.  (Note  that  the  forms  beginning
       with  ESC do not work in some MS-DOS and Windows systems because ESC is
       the line erase character.)  Any of these special keys  may  be  entered
       literally  by  preceding  it with the "literal" character, either ^V or
       ^A.  A backslash itself may also be entered literally by  entering  two
       backslashes.

       LEFTARROW [ ESC-h ]
              Move the cursor one space to the left.

       RIGHTARROW [ ESC-l ]
              Move the cursor one space to the right.

       ^LEFTARROW [ ESC-b or ESC-LEFTARROW ]
              (That  is, CONTROL and LEFTARROW simultaneously.)  Move the cur-
              sor one word to the left.

       ^RIGHTARROW [ ESC-w or ESC-RIGHTARROW ]
              (That is, CONTROL and RIGHTARROW simultaneously.)  Move the cur-
              sor one word to the right.

       HOME [ ESC-0 ]
              Move the cursor to the beginning of the line.

       ^DELETE [ ESC-X or ESC-DELETE ]
              (That  is,  CONTROL and DELETE simultaneously.)  Delete the word
              under the cursor.

       UPARROW [ ESC-k ]
              Retrieve the previous command line.  If  you  first  enter  some
              text  and then press UPARROW, it will retrieve the previous com-
              mand which begins with that text.

       DOWNARROW [ ESC-j ]
              Retrieve the next command line.  If you first  enter  some  text
              and  then  press  DOWNARROW,  it  will retrieve the next command
              which begins with that text.

       TAB    Complete the partial filename to the left of the cursor.  If  it
              matches  more than one filename, the first match is entered into
              the command line.  Repeated  TABs  will  cycle  thru  the  other
              matching filenames.  If the completed filename is a directory, a
              "/" is appended to the filename.  (On MS-DOS systems, a  "\"  is
              appended.)   The  environment variable LESSSEPARATOR can be used
              to specify a different character to append to a directory name.

       BACKTAB [ ESC-TAB ]
              Like, TAB, but cycles in the reverse direction thru the matching
              filenames.

       ^L     Complete  the partial filename to the left of the cursor.  If it
              matches more than one filename, all matches are entered into the
              command line (if they fit).

       ^U (Unix and OS/2) or ESC (MS-DOS)
              Delete  the  entire  command  line, or cancel the command if the
              command line is empty.  If you have changed your line-kill char-
              acter in Unix to something other than ^U, that character is used
              instead of ^U.

       ^G     Delete the entire command line and return to the main prompt.


KEY BINDINGS

       You may define your own less commands by using the program lesskey  (1)
       to  create  a  lesskey file.  This file specifies a set of command keys
       and an action associated with each key.  You may also  use  lesskey  to
       change the line-editing keys (see LINE EDITING), and to set environment
       variables.  If the environment variable LESSKEY is set, less uses  that
       as  the  name of the lesskey file.  Otherwise, less looks in a standard
       place for the lesskey file: On Unix systems, less looks for  a  lesskey
       file  called  "$HOME/.less".  On MS-DOS and Windows systems, less looks
       for a lesskey file called "$HOME/_less", and if it is not found  there,
       then looks for a lesskey file called "_less" in any directory specified
       in the PATH environment variable.  On OS/2 systems, less  looks  for  a
       (However,  if  less  was  built with a different sysconf directory than
       /usr/local/etc, that directory is where the sysless file is found.)  On
       MS-DOS  and  Windows  systems, the system-wide lesskey file is c:\_sys-
       less.  On OS/2 systems, the system-wide lesskey file is c:\sysless.ini.


INPUT PREPROCESSOR

       You may define an "input preprocessor" for less.  Before less  opens  a
       file, it first gives your input preprocessor a chance to modify the way
       the contents of the file are displayed.  An input preprocessor is  sim-
       ply  an executable program (or shell script), which writes the contents
       of the file to a different file, called the replacement file.  The con-
       tents  of  the replacement file are then displayed in place of the con-
       tents of the original file.  However, it will appear to the user as  if
       the  original  file  is opened; that is, less will display the original
       filename as the name of the current file.

       An input preprocessor receives one command line argument, the  original
       filename,  as  entered  by  the user.  It should create the replacement
       file, and when finished, print the name of the replacement file to  its
       standard  output.  If the input preprocessor does not output a replace-
       ment filename, less uses the original file, as normal.  The input  pre-
       processor  is  not  called  when  viewing standard input.  To set up an
       input preprocessor, set the LESSOPEN environment variable to a  command
       line  which  will  invoke  your  input preprocessor.  This command line
       should include one  occurrence  of  the  string  "%s",  which  will  be
       replaced  by  the  filename  when  the  input  preprocessor  command is
       invoked.

       When less closes a file opened in such a way, it will call another pro-
       gram,  called  the  input  postprocessor, which may perform any desired
       clean-up action (such as  deleting  the  replacement  file  created  by
       LESSOPEN).  This program receives two command line arguments, the orig-
       inal filename as entered by the user, and the name of  the  replacement
       file.   To set up an input postprocessor, set the LESSCLOSE environment
       variable to a command line which will invoke your input  postprocessor.
       It  may  include  two  occurrences  of  the  string  "%s"; the first is
       replaced with the original name of the file and  the  second  with  the
       name of the replacement file, which was output by LESSOPEN.

       For  example, on many Unix systems, these two scripts will allow you to
       keep files in compressed format, but still let less view them directly:

       lessopen.sh:
            #! /bin/sh
            case "$1" in
            *.Z) uncompress -
                 if [ -s /tmp/less.$$ ]; then
                      echo /tmp/less.$$
                 else
                      rm -f /tmp/less.$$
                 fi

       file.  This avoids the need to decompress the entire file before start-
       ing to view it.  An input preprocessor that works this way is called an
       input  pipe.   An input pipe, instead of writing the name of a replace-
       ment file on its standard output, writes the  entire  contents  of  the
       replacement  file  on  its standard output.  If the input pipe does not
       write any characters on its standard output, then there is no  replace-
       ment  file and less uses the original file, as normal.  To use an input
       pipe, make the first character in the LESSOPEN environment  variable  a
       vertical  bar  (|)  to  signify that the input preprocessor is an input
       pipe.

       For example, on many Unix systems, this script will work like the  pre-
       vious example scripts:

       lesspipe.sh:
            #! /bin/sh
            case "$1" in
            *.Z) uncompress -c $1  2>/dev/null
            *)   exit 1
                 ;;
            esac
            exit $?

       To  use  this  script,  put  it  where  it  can  be  executed  and  set
       LESSOPEN="|lesspipe.sh %s".

       Note that a preprocessor cannot output an empty  file,  since  that  is
       interpreted  as  meaning there is no replacement, and the original file
       is used.  To avoid this, if LESSOPEN starts with two vertical bars, the
       exit  status  of  the script becomes meaningful.  If the exit status is
       zero, the output is considered to  be  replacement  text,  even  if  it
       empty.   If  the  exit status is nonzero, any output is ignored and the
       original file is used.  For compatibility  with  previous  versions  of
       less, if LESSOPEN starts with only one vertical bar, the exit status of
       the preprocessor is ignored.

       When an input pipe is used, a LESSCLOSE postprocessor can be used,  but
       it is usually not necessary since there is no replacement file to clean
       up.  In this case, the replacement file name passed  to  the  LESSCLOSE
       postprocessor is "-".

       For  compatibility with previous versions of less, the input preproces-
       sor or pipe is not used if less is viewing standard input.  However, if
       the  first  character of LESSOPEN is a dash (-), the input preprocessor
       is used on standard input as well as other files.  In  this  case,  the
       dash  is  not  considered  to  be part of the preprocessor command.  If
       standard input is being viewed, the input preprocessor is passed a file
       name  consisting of a single dash.  Similarly, if the first two charac-
       ters of LESSOPEN are vertical bar and dash (|-) or  two  vertical  bars
       and  a  dash (||-), the input pipe is used on standard input as well as
       other files.  Again, in this case the dash is not considered to be part
       of the input pipe command.
       normal characters
              can be displayed directly to the screen.

       control characters
              should  not  be displayed directly, but are expected to be found
              in ordinary text files (such as backspace and tab).

       binary characters
              should not be displayed directly and  are  not  expected  to  be
              found in text files.

       A "character set" is simply a description of which characters are to be
       considered normal, control, and binary.   The  LESSCHARSET  environment
       variable  may  be  used to select a character set.  Possible values for
       LESSCHARSET are:

       ascii  BS, TAB, NL, CR, and formfeed are control characters, all  chars
              with  values  between  32 and 126 are normal, and all others are
              binary.

       iso8859
              Selects an ISO 8859 character set.  This is the same  as  ASCII,
              except  characters  between  160  and  255 are treated as normal
              characters.

       latin1 Same as iso8859.

       latin9 Same as iso8859.

       dos    Selects a character set appropriate for MS-DOS.

       ebcdic Selects an EBCDIC character set.

       IBM-1047
              Selects an EBCDIC character set used by  OS/390  Unix  Services.
              This  is the EBCDIC analogue of latin1.  You get similar results
              by setting either LESSCHARSET=IBM-1047 or LC_CTYPE=en_US in your
              environment.

       koi8-r Selects a Russian character set.

       next   Selects a character set appropriate for NeXT computers.

       utf-8  Selects  the  UTF-8  encoding  of  the  ISO 10646 character set.
              UTF-8 is special in that it supports  multi-byte  characters  in
              the  input  file.   It  is  the only character set that supports
              multi-byte characters.

       windows
              Selects a character set appropriate for  Microsoft  Windows  (cp
              1251).

       of the possible values for LESSCHARSET:

            ascii     8bcccbcc18b95.b
            dos       8bcccbcc12bc5b95.b.
            ebcdic    5bc6bcc7bcc41b.9b7.9b5.b..8b6.10b6.b9.7b
                      9.8b8.17b3.3b9.7b9.8b8.6b10.b.b.b.
            IBM-1047  4cbcbc3b9cbccbccbb4c6bcc5b3cbbc4bc4bccbc
                      191.b
            iso8859   8bcccbcc18b95.33b.
            koi8-r    8bcccbcc18b95.b128.
            latin1    8bcccbcc18b95.33b.
            next      8bcccbcc18b95.bb125.bb

       If  neither  LESSCHARSET nor LESSCHARDEF is set, but any of the strings
       "UTF-8", "UTF8", "utf-8" or "utf8" is found in the LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE  or
       LANG environment variables, then the default character set is utf-8.

       If  that  string  is  not found, but your system supports the setlocale
       interface, less will use setlocale  to  determine  the  character  set.
       setlocale  is  controlled  by  setting the LANG or LC_CTYPE environment
       variables.

       Finally, if the setlocale interface is also not available, the  default
       character set is latin1.

       Control  and  binary  characters  are  displayed  in  standout (reverse
       video).  Each such character is displayed in caret notation if possible
       (e.g.  ^A for control-A).  Caret notation is used only if inverting the
       0100 bit results in a normal printable character.  Otherwise, the char-
       acter  is displayed as a hex number in angle brackets.  This format can
       be changed by setting the LESSBINFMT environment variable.   LESSBINFMT
       may begin with a "*" and one character to select the display attribute:
       "*k" is blinking, "*d" is bold, "*u" is underlined, "*s"  is  standout,
       and  "*n"  is  normal.  If LESSBINFMT does not begin with a "*", normal
       attribute is assumed.  The remainder of LESSBINFMT is  a  string  which
       may  include one printf-style escape sequence (a % followed by x, X, o,
       d, etc.).  For example, if LESSBINFMT is  "*u[%x]",  binary  characters
       are  displayed  in  underlined hexadecimal surrounded by brackets.  The
       default if no LESSBINFMT is  specified  is  "*s<%02X>".   Warning:  the
       result  of  expanding the character via LESSBINFMT must be less than 31
       characters.

       When the character set is utf-8, the LESSUTFBINFMT environment variable
       acts similarly to LESSBINFMT but it applies to Unicode code points that
       were successfully decoded but are unsuitable for display  (e.g.,  unas-
       signed  code  points).   Its  default  value is "<U+%04lX>".  Note that
       LESSUTFBINFMT and LESSBINFMT  share  their  display  attribute  setting
       ("*x")  so specifying one will affect both; LESSUTFBINFMT is read after
       LESSBINFMT so its setting, if any,  will  have  priority.   Problematic
       octets  in  a  UTF-8  file (octets of a truncated sequence, octets of a
       complete but non-shortest form  sequence,  illegal  octets,  and  stray
       trailing  octets)  are displayed individually using LESSBINFMT so as to
       %bX    Replaced by the byte offset into the current input file.  The  b
              is followed by a single character (shown as X above) which spec-
              ifies the line whose byte offset is to be used.  If the  charac-
              ter  is a "t", the byte offset of the top line in the display is
              used, an "m" means use the middle line, a "b" means use the bot-
              tom  line,  a "B" means use the line just after the bottom line,
              and a "j" means use the "target" line, as specified  by  the  -j
              option.

       %B     Replaced by the size of the current input file.

       %c     Replaced by the column number of the text appearing in the first
              column of the screen.

       %dX    Replaced by the page number of a line in the  input  file.   The
              line to be used is determined by the X, as with the %b option.

       %D     Replaced  by  the  number of pages in the input file, or equiva-
              lently, the page number of the last line in the input file.

       %E     Replaced by the name of the editor (from the VISUAL  environment
              variable,  or  the  EDITOR environment variable if VISUAL is not
              defined).  See the discussion of the LESSEDIT feature below.

       %f     Replaced by the name of the current input file.

       %F     Replaced by the last component of the name of the current  input
              file.

       %i     Replaced  by  the index of the current file in the list of input
              files.

       %lX    Replaced by the line number of a line in the  input  file.   The
              line to be used is determined by the X, as with the %b option.

       %L     Replaced by the line number of the last line in the input file.

       %m     Replaced by the total number of input files.

       %pX    Replaced  by  the  percent into the current input file, based on
              byte offsets.  The line used is determined by the X as with  the
              %b option.

       %PX    Replaced  by  the  percent into the current input file, based on
              line numbers.  The line used is determined by the X as with  the
              %b option.

       %s     Same as %B.

       %t     Causes  any  trailing spaces to be removed.  Usually used at the
              end of the string, but may appear anywhere.

       Condition characters (which follow a question mark) may be:

       ?a     True if any characters have been included in the prompt so far.

       ?bX    True if the byte offset of the specified line is known.

       ?B     True if the size of current input file is known.

       ?c     True if the text is horizontally shifted (%c is not zero).

       ?dX    True if the page number of the specified line is known.

       ?e     True if at end-of-file.

       ?f     True if there is an input filename (that is, if input is  not  a
              pipe).

       ?lX    True if the line number of the specified line is known.

       ?L     True if the line number of the last line in the file is known.

       ?m     True if there is more than one input file.

       ?n     True if this is the first prompt in a new input file.

       ?pX    True  if  the percent into the current input file, based on byte
              offsets, of the specified line is known.

       ?PX    True if the percent into the current input file, based  on  line
              numbers, of the specified line is known.

       ?s     Same as "?B".

       ?x     True  if  there  is  a  next input file (that is, if the current
              input file is not the last one).

       Any characters other than  the  special  ones  (question  mark,  colon,
       period,  percent,  and  backslash) become literally part of the prompt.
       Any of the special characters may be included in the  prompt  literally
       by preceding it with a backslash.

       Some examples:

       ?f%f:Standard input.

       This  prompt prints the filename, if known; otherwise the string "Stan-
       dard input".

       ?f%f .?ltLine %lt:?pt%pt\%:?btByte %bt:-...

       This prompt would print the filename, if known.  The filename  is  fol-
       lowed  by  the  line  number, if known, otherwise the percent if known,

       ?n?f%f .?m(file %i of %m) ..?e(END) ?x- Next\: %x.:
            ?pB%pB\%:byte %bB?s/%s...%t

       ?f%f .?n?m(file %i of %m) ..?ltlines %lt-%lb?L/%L. :
            byte %bB?s/%s. .?e(END) ?x- Next\: %x.:?pB%pB\%..%t

       And here is the default message produced by the = command:

       ?f%f .?m(file %i of %m) .?ltlines %lt-%lb?L/%L. .
            byte %bB?s/%s. ?e(END) :?pB%pB\%..%t

       The  prompt expansion features are also used for another purpose: if an
       environment variable LESSEDIT is defined, it is used as the command  to
       be  executed  when  the  v  command is invoked.  The LESSEDIT string is
       expanded in the same way as the prompt strings.  The default value  for
       LESSEDIT is:

            %E ?lm+%lm. %f

       Note that this expands to the editor name, followed by a + and the line
       number, followed by the file name.  If your editor does not accept  the
       "+linenumber"  syntax,  or  has other differences in invocation syntax,
       the LESSEDIT variable can be changed to modify this default.


SECURITY

       When the environment variable LESSSECURE is set to 1, less  runs  in  a
       "secure" mode.  This means these features are disabled:

              !      the shell command

              |      the pipe command

              :e     the examine command.

              v      the editing command

              s  -o  log files

              -k     use of lesskey files

              -t     use of tags files

                     metacharacters in filenames, such as *

                     filename completion (TAB, ^L)

       Less can also be compiled to be permanently in "secure" mode.


COMPATIBILITY WITH MORE

       option is unavailable in this mode.

       The  parameter  to  the  -p option is taken to be a less command rather
       than a search pattern.

       The LESS environment variable is  ignored,  and  the  MORE  environment
       variable is used in its place.


ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES

       Environment variables may be specified either in the system environment
       as usual, or in a lesskey  (1)  file.   If  environment  variables  are
       defined  in  more  than one place, variables defined in a local lesskey
       file take precedence over variables defined in the system  environment,
       which take precedence over variables defined in the system-wide lesskey
       file.

       COLUMNS
              Sets the number of columns on the screen.  Takes precedence over
              the  number  of columns specified by the TERM variable.  (But if
              you  have  a  windowing  system  which  supports  TIOCGWINSZ  or
              WIOCGETD,  the  window  system's  idea  of the screen size takes
              precedence over the LINES and COLUMNS environment variables.)

       EDITOR The name of the editor (used for the v command).

       HOME   Name of the user's home directory (used to find a  lesskey  file
              on Unix and OS/2 systems).

       HOMEDRIVE, HOMEPATH
              Concatenation  of  the  HOMEDRIVE and HOMEPATH environment vari-
              ables is the name of the user's home directory if the HOME vari-
              able is not set (only in the Windows version).

       INIT   Name  of  the user's init directory (used to find a lesskey file
              on OS/2 systems).

       LANG   Language for determining the character set.

       LC_CTYPE
              Language for determining the character set.

       LESS   Options which are passed to less automatically.

       LESSANSIENDCHARS
              Characters which may end an ANSI color escape sequence  (default
              "m").

       LESSANSIMIDCHARS
              Characters  which  may  appear between the ESC character and the
              end  character  in  an  ANSI  color  escape  sequence   (default
              "0123456789;[?!"'#%()*+ ".
              Name of the lessecho program (default "lessecho").  The lessecho
              program is needed to expand metacharacters, such as * and ?,  in
              filenames on Unix systems.

       LESSEDIT
              Editor  prototype  string (used for the v command).  See discus-
              sion under PROMPTS.

       LESSGLOBALTAGS
              Name of the command used by the -t option to find  global  tags.
              Normally should be set to "global" if your system has the global
              (1) command.  If not set, global tags are not used.

       LESSHISTFILE
              Name of the history file used to remember  search  commands  and
              shell  commands  between  invocations of less.  If set to "-" or
              "/dev/null", a  history  file  is  not  used.   The  default  is
              "$HOME/.lesshst"  on  Unix  systems, "$HOME/_lesshst" on DOS and
              Windows systems, or "$HOME/lesshst.ini"  or  "$INIT/lesshst.ini"
              on OS/2 systems.

       LESSHISTSIZE
              The maximum number of commands to save in the history file.  The
              default is 100.

       LESSKEY
              Name of the default lesskey(1) file.

       LESSKEY_SYSTEM
              Name of the default system-wide lesskey(1) file.

       LESSMETACHARS
              List of characters which are considered "metacharacters" by  the
              shell.

       LESSMETAESCAPE
              Prefix  which  less will add before each metacharacter in a com-
              mand sent to the shell.  If LESSMETAESCAPE is an  empty  string,
              commands  containing  metacharacters  will  not be passed to the
              shell.

       LESSOPEN
              Command line to invoke the (optional) input-preprocessor.

       LESSSECURE
              Runs less in "secure" mode.  See discussion under SECURITY.

       LESSSEPARATOR
              String to be appended to a directory name  in  filename  comple-
              tion.

       LESSUTFBINFMT
       PATH   User's search path (used to find a lesskey file  on  MS-DOS  and
              OS/2 systems).

       SHELL  The  shell  used  to execute the ! command, as well as to expand
              filenames.

       TERM   The type of terminal on which less is being run.

       VISUAL The name of the editor (used for the v command).


SEE ALSO

       lesskey(1)


COPYRIGHT

       Copyright (C) 1984-2012  Mark Nudelman

       less is part of the GNU project and is free software.  You  can  redis-
       tribute  it and/or modify it under the terms of either (1) the GNU Gen-
       eral Public License as published by the Free  Software  Foundation;  or
       (2) the Less License.  See the file README in the less distribution for
       more details regarding redistribution.  You should have received a copy
       of  the  GNU General Public License along with the source for less; see
       the file COPYING.  If not, write to the Free  Software  Foundation,  59
       Temple  Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307, USA.  You should also
       have received a copy of the Less License; see the file LICENSE.

       less is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY
       WARRANTY;  without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FIT-
       NESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the GNU General Public License  for
       more details.


AUTHOR

       Mark Nudelman
       Send bug reports or comments to <bug-less@gnu.org>
       See http://www.greenwoodsoftware.com/less/bugs.html for the latest list
       of known bugs in less.
       For more information, see the less homepage at
       http://www.greenwoodsoftware.com/less.

                           Version 458: 04 Apr 2013                    LESS(1)
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