# How to center search results in Less, instead of moving matched line to top of terminal

less

When searching for terms in less, I'd like to see lines above and below a search result. Can less be configured to do this?

Simple less usage is:
– Open file
– Search by typing "/"
– Move to new search matches with "n"
But each match is shown on the first line of the terminal. You can not see the lines that came just before a search result without moving the view back a few lines. It's tedious to do that as you skim through a file.

You can use the -j option. From within less, type - then j then enter a number of lines below the top of the screen for the target line to be displayed (e.g. 12).

You can start less using this option:

less -j12


or set the LESS environment variable to include it:

export LESS=-j12


My \$LESS is:

-iMFXRj4a#1


You can include setting the environment variable in your ~/.bashrc file to make it persistent.