most - Linux


The most command is a powerful file viewer for Unix and Unix-like systems, designed to browse the contents of text files. It is similar to other paging programs such as less and more, but most offers enhanced capabilities such as split-screen support, allowing users to view multiple files simultaneously, and extensive customization options. It is particularly useful for viewing large log files, multipage text output from other commands, and multiple files.


The basic syntax for the most command is:

most [options] [file ...]
  • file ...: One or more files to view. If no file is specified, most will read from standard input.


Here are some of the commonly used options in most:

  • -s: Enables smooth scrolling. Each line of the text moves smoothly up the screen.
  • -l: Suppresses the interpretation of form feed characters as special.
  • +n: Starts displaying each file at line n.
  • -u: Suppress underlining.
  • -c: Forces ANSI color handling in documents irrespective of file content (assumes color coding exists).

Each option modifies the default behavior of most, enhancing its usability based on user requirements. For instance, -s can make reading continuous logs easier on the eyes.


Viewing a Single File

most filename.txt

Viewing Multiple Files

Opens two files for viewing. Users can toggle between them.

most file1.txt file2.txt

Enable Color Support

Useful for logs or outputs that include ANSI color:

most -c log.txt

View From Specific Line

Start viewing from line 101:

most +101 longfile.log

Common Issues

  • Encoding Support: most might not display certain character encodings correctly. Ensure your terminal and locale settings support the file encoding.
  • Responsive Key Bindings: Users occasionally find key bindings unresponsive. Checking the .mostrc configuration for key conflicts or terminal emulator settings can resolve this.


Combine most with grep to search within files and view the output:

grep 'error' /var/log/syslog | most

This command chain is particularly useful for quickly browsing through error logs.

  • less: Similar to most but with a different set of options.
  • more: An older pager mostly superseded by less and most for feature richness.

For further reading and more detailed information, refer to the official most documentation available in the man pages (man most) or visit the official repository if applicable.