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


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.

Best Answer

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:


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