Browse or page through a text file.

      most [-1bCckMstvwz] [+lineno] [+c] [+d] [+s] [+/string] [filename...] 

   -1  VT100 mode. This is meaningful only on VMS systems.
       This option should be used if the terminal is strictly a VT100.
       This implies that the terminal does not have the ability to delete and
       insert multiple lines. VT102s and above have this ability.

   -b  Binary mode. Use this switch when you want to view files containing
       8 bit characters. most will display the file 16 bytes per line in
       hexidecimal notation. A typical line looks like:
         01000000 40001575 9C23A020 4000168D ....@..u.#. @... 
       When used with the -v option, the same line looks like:

         ^A^@^@^@  @^@^U u 9C #A0    @^@^V8D     ....@..u.#. @...

   -k  'Kanji' option. Ordinarily, most will go into binary mode if the file
       consists of non-ascii characters. Sometimes this feature is not
       desirable since some terminals have a special interpretation for
       eight bit characters. The -k option turns off the automatic sensing.

   -C  Disable color support.

   -M  Disable the use of mmap.

   -s  Squeeze. Replace multiple blank lines with a single blank line.

   -z  option turns off gunzip-on-the-fly.

   -v  Display control characters as in '^A' for control A.
       Normally most does not interpret control characters.

   -t  Display tabs as '^I'. This option is meaningful only when used
       with the -v option. +lineno Start up at lineno.

   +c  Make search case sensitive. By default, they are not.

   +d  This switch should only be used if you want the option to delete
       a file while viewing it. This makes it easier to clean unwanted
       files out of a directory. The file is deleted with the interactive
       key sequence ':D' and then confirming with 'y'.

       Start up at the line containing the first occurrence of string. 

most is a paging program that displays, one windowful at a time, the contents of a file on a terminal. It pauses after each windowful and prints on the window status line the screen the file name, current line number, and the percentage of the file so far displayed. Unlike other paging programs, most is capable of displaying an arbitrary number of windows as long as each window occupies at least two screen lines. Each window can contain the same file or a different file. In addition, each window has its own mode.

For example, one window can display a file with its lines wrapped while another can be truncating the lines. Windows can be 'locked' together in the sense that if one of the locked windows scrolls, all locked windows will scroll. most is also capable of ignoring lines that are indented beyond a user specified value. This is useful when viewing computer programs to pick out gross features of the code. See the ':o' command for a description of this feature.

In addition to displaying ordinary text files, most can also display binary files as well as files with arbitrary ascii characters. When a file is read into a buffer, most examines the first 32 bytes of the file to determine if the file is a binary file and then switches to the appropriate mode. However, this feature can be disabled with the -k option. See the description of the -b, -k, -v, and -t options for further details.

Text files can contain combinations of underscore and backspace characters causing a printer to underline or overstrike. When most recognizes this, it inserts the appropriate escape sequences to achieve the desired effect. In addition, some files cause the printer to overstrike some characters by embedding carriage return characters in the middle of a line. When this occurs, most displays the overstruck character with a bold attribute. This feature facilitates the reading of UNIX man pages or a document produced by runoff. In particular, viewing this document with most should illustrate this behavior provided that the underline characters have not been stripped. This can be turned off with the -v option.

By default, lines with more characters than the terminal width are not wrapped but are instead truncated. When truncation occurs, this is indicated by a '$' in the far right column of the terminal screen. The RIGHT and LEFT arrow keys can be used to view lines which extend past the margins of the screen. The -w option can be used to override this feature. When a window is wrapped, the character '\' will appear at the right edge of the window.

CTRL-G cancels the commands requiring the user to type something in at a prompt. The backquote key has a special meaning here. It is used to quote certain characters. This is useful when search for the occurrence of a string with a control character or a string at the beginning of a line. In the latter case, to find the occurrence of 'The' at the beginning of a line, enter '^JThe where ' quotes the CTRL-J.

Environment variables

MOST_SWITCHES This variable sets commonly used switches. For example, some people prefer to use most with the -s option so that excess blank lines are not displayed. On VMS this is normally done done in the through the line: $ define MOST_SWITCHES "-s"

MOST_EDITOR, SLANG_EDITOR Either of these environment variables specify an editor for most to invoke to edit a file. The value can contain %s and %d formatting descriptors that represent the file name and line number, respectively. For example, if JED is your editor, then set
MOST_EDITOR to 'jed %s -g %d'.

MOST_HELP This variable can be used to specify an alternate help file.

MOST_INITFILE Set this variable to specify the initialization file to load during startup. The default action is to load the system configuration file and then a personal configuration file called .mostrc on Unix, and most.rc on other systems.

Configuration File Syntax

When most starts up, it tries to read a system confiuration file and then a personal configuration file. These files can be used to specify keybindings and colors.

To bind a key to a particular function use the syntax:
setkey function-name key-sequence

The setkey command requires two arguments. The function-name argument specifies the function that is to be executed as a response to the keys specified by the key-sequence argument are pressed. For example, setkey "up" "^P" indicates that when Ctrl-P is pressed then the function up is to be executed.

Sometimes, it is necessary to first unbind a key-sequence before rebinding it in order via the unsetkey function:
unsetkey "^F"

Colors can be defined through the use of the color keyword in the the configuration file using the syntax:

Here, OBJECT-NAME can be any one of the following:
status -- the status line
underline -- underlined text
overstrike -- overstriked text
normal -- anything else
See the sample configuration files for more.


In the following commands, i is a numerical argument (1 by default).

SPACE, CTRL-D, NEXT_SCREEN Display another windowful, or jump i windowfuls if i is specified.

RETURN, DOWN_ARROW, V, CTRL-N Display another line, or i more lines, if specified.

UP_ARROW, ^, CTRL-P Display previous line, or i previous lines, if specified.

T, ESCAPE< Move to top of buffer.

B, ESCAPE> Move to bottom of buffer.

RIGHT_ARROW, TAB, > Scroll window left 60i columns to view lines that are beyond the right margin of the window.

LEFT_ARROW, CTRL-B, < Scroll window right 60i columns to view lines that are beyond the left margin of the window.

U, CTRL-U, DELETE, PREV_SCREEN Skip back i windowfuls and then print a windowful.

R, CTRL-R Redraw the window.

J, G If i is not specified, then prompt for a line number then jump to that line otherwise just jump to line i.

% If i is not specified, then prompt for a percent number then jump to that percent of the file otherwise just jump to i percent of the file.

W, w If the current screen width is 80, make it 132 and vice-versa. For other values, this command is ignored.

Q, CTRL-X CTRL-C, CTRL-K E Exit from most. On VMS, ^Z also exits.

h, CTRL-H, HELP, PF2 Help. Give a description of all the most commands. The most environment variable MOST_HELP must be set for this to be meaningful.

f, /, CTRL-F, FIND, GOLD PF3 Prompt for a string and search forward from the current line for ith distinct line containing the string. CTRL-G cancels this.

? Prompt for a string and search backward for the ith distinct line containing the string. CTRL-G cancels this.

n Search for the next i lines containing an occurrence of the last search string in the direction of the previous search.

m, SELECT, CTRL-@, CTRL-K M, PERIOD Set a mark on the current line for later reference.

INSERT_HERE, CTRL-X CTRL-X, COMMA, CTRL-K RETURN, GOLD PERIOD Set a mark on the current line but return to previous mark. This allows the user to toggle back and forth between two positions in the file.

l, L Toggle locking for this window. The window is locked if there is a '*' at the left edge of the status line. Windows locked together, scroll together.

CTRL-X 2, CTRL-W 2, GOLD X Split this window in half.

CTRL-X o, CTRL-W o, o, GOLDUP, GOLDDOWN Move to other window.

CTRL-X 0, CTRL-W 0, GOLD V Delete this window.

CTRL-X 1, CTRL-W 1, GOLD O Delete all other windows, leaving only one window.

E, e Edit this file.

$, ESC $ This is system dependent. On VMS, this causes most to spawn a subprocess.
When the user exits the process, most is resumed. On UNIX systems, most suspends itself.

:n Skip to the next filename given in the command line. Use the arrow keys to scroll forward or backward through the file list.

'Q' quits most and any other key selects the given file.

:c Toggle case sensitive search.

:D Delete current file. This command is only meaningful with the +d switch.

:o, :O Toggle various options. With this key sequence, most displays a prompt asking the user to hit one of: bdtvw. The 'b', 't', 'v', and 'w' options have the same meaning as the command line switches. For example, the 'w' option will toggle wrapping on and off for the current window.

The 'd' option must be used with a prefix integer i. All lines indented beyond i columns will not be displayed.

The key sequence '1:od' will cause most to display the file ignoring all lines indented beyond the first column. So for the example above, most would display:
int main(int argc, char **argv)... } where the '...' indicates lines follow are not displayed.

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor” ~ President José Mujica

Related linux commands

Jedsoft - most home page.
more - Display output one screen at a time.

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