C M4 Other
Clone or download


pspg - Postgres Pager

Everybody who uses psql uses less pager. It is working well, but there is not any special support for tabular data. I found few projects, but no one was completed for this purpose. I decided to write some small specialized pager for usage as psql pager.

This pager can be used from mysql and pgcli clients too.

Main target

  • possibility to freeze first few rows, first few columns
  • possibility to use fancy colors - like mcview or FoxPro





  • -b black/white theme
  • -X doesn't clean screen on the end
  • -s N use theme (default theme is mc theme)
  • -c N freeze first N columns
  • -f file open file (default stdin)
  • --force-uniborder replace ascii border by unicode borders
  • -g --hilite-search don't highlight lines for searches
  • -G --HILITE-SEARCH don't highlight lines for searches ever
  • --help show this help
  • -i --ignore-case ignore case in searches that do not contain uppercase
  • -I --IGNORE-CASE ignore case in all searches
  • --less-status-bar status bar like less pager
  • --no-mouse without own mouse handling (cannot be changed in app)
  • --no-sound without sound effect
  • -F, --quit-if-one-screen quit if content is one screen
  • -V, --version show version


  1. black & white
  2. Midnight Commander like
  3. FoxPro like
  4. Pdmenu like
  5. White theme
  6. Mutt like
  7. PCFand like
  8. Green theme
  9. Blue theme
  10. Word Perfect like
  11. Low contrast blue theme
  12. Dark cyan/black mode
  13. Paradox like
  14. dBase IV retro style
  15. dBase IV retro style (Magenta labels)
  16. Red white theme
  17. Simple theme

see http://okbob.blogspot.cz/2017/07/i-hope-so-every-who-uses-psql-uses-less.html

Keyboard commands

  • 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 - freeze first N columns
  • KEY_UP, k - navigate backward by one line
  • KEY_DOWN, j - navigate forward by one line
  • KEY_LEFT, h - scroll to left
  • KEY_RIGHT, l - scroll to right
  • Ctrl+Home, g - go to the start of file
  • Ctrl+End, G - go to the end of file
  • H - go to first line of current window
  • M - go to half of current window
  • L - go to end of current window
  • PPAGE, Ctrl+b - backward one window
  • NPAGE, Ctrl+f, space - forward one window
  • HOME, ^ - go to begin of line, first column
  • END, $ - go to end of line, last column
  • Ctrl+e - scroll a window down
  • Ctrl+y - scroll a window up
  • Ctrl+d - forward a half window
  • Ctrl+u - backward a half window
  • s - save content to file
  • / - search for a pattern which will take you to the next occurrence
  • ? - search for a pattern which will take you to the previous occurrence
  • n - for next match
  • N - for next match in reverse direction
  • Alt+m - switch (on, off) own mouse handler
  • Mouse button wheel - scroll vertical
  • Alt+ Mouse button wheel - scroll horizontal
  • F9 - show menu
  • q, F10, Esc Esc, Esc 0 - quit
  • Alt+k - switch bookmark
  • Alt+j - go to next bookmark
  • Alt+i - go to previous bookmark

Recommended psql configuration

\pset linestyle unicode
\pset border 2

some possible configuration:

-- Switch pagers with :x and :xx commands
\set x '\\setenv PAGER less'
\set xx '\\setenv PAGER \'pspg -bX --no-mouse\''

MySQL usage

MariaDB [sakila]> pager pspg -s 14 -X --force-uniborder --quit-if-one-screen
PAGER set to 'pspg -s 14 -X --force-uniborder --quit-if-one-screen'
MariaDB [sakila]> select now();
MariaDB [sakila]> select * from nicer_but_slower_film_list limit 100;

LC_CTYPE should be correct.

Note - compilation issue

Some linker issues can be fixed by:

I changed 
gcc -lncursesw pager.c -o pspg -ggdb
gcc pager.c -o pspg -ggdb -lncursesw

On some old systems a compilation fails with error

/home/user/Src/pspg-0.6/src/pspg.c:2403: undefined reference to `set_escdelay'

In this case comment line with function set_escdelay

Note - Installation

When you compile code from source, run ./configure first. Sometimes ./autogen.sh first

RPM (CentOS/Fedora/openSUSE/…)

The pspg is available from community repository https://yum.postgresql.org/packages.php

Alpine Linux

# apk add pspg


# emerge -av dev-db/pspg

Arch Linux

The Arch User Repository contains two versions:

  • pspg is a fixed release.
  • pspg-git tracks the master branch.

Use the AUR helper of your choice or git and makepkg to install pspg.


# pkg install pspg


Using Homebrew

# brew install pspg

Using MacPorts

# port install pspg

Possible ToDo

  • Store data in some column format (now data are stored like array of rows). With this change can be possible to operate over columns - hide columns, change width, cyclic iteration over columns, change order of columns, mark columns and export only selected columns (selected rows).


This project uses st_menu library - implementation of CUA menubar and pulldown menu for ncurses https://github.com/okbob/ncurses-st-menu


If you like it, send a postcard from your home country to my address, please:

Pavel Stehule
Skalice 12
256 01 Benesov u Prahy
Czech Republic

I invite any questions, comments, bug reports, patches on mail address pavel.stehule@gmail.com