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Moar is a pager. It's designed to just do the right thing without any configuration.
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Moar is a pager. It's designed to just do the right thing without any configuration:

Moar displaying its own test suite

The intention is that Moar should work as a drop-in replacement for Less. If you find that Moar doesn't work that way, please report it!

Doing the right thing includes:

  • Syntax highlight source code by default if GNU Source-highlight is installed.
  • Search is incremental / find-as-you-type just like in Chrome or Emacs
  • Search becomes case sensitive if you add any UPPER CASE characters to your search terms, just like in Emacs
  • Regexp search if your search string is a valid regexp
  • Supports displaying ANSI color coded texts (like the output from "git diff" for example)
  • Supports UTF-8 input and output
  • The position in the file is always shown

Getting the Latest Version

The latest version can be found at, or downloaded by doing

  git clone


Install it (in /usr/local/bin) by doing "rake install", or run Moar directly from src/moar.rb. Do "rake help" to learn more about how Rake can help you with installation.

Setting Moar as Your Default Pager

Set it as your default pager by adding...

  export PAGER=/usr/local/bin/moar

... to your .bashrc.


Issues are tracked here, or you can send questions to

Test Suite

The test suite can be run by doing ./src/test.rb. If you have Rubocop installed it will be run as part of the test suite.

Making a new Release

First, to check version number of the most recent release:

  • git tag

Then, to release the next one:

  • git tag --annotate <new version>
  • git push --tags

That's all there's to it!


  • Handle search hits to the right of the right screen edge. Searching forwards should move first right, then to the left edge and down. Searching backwards should move first left, then up and to the right edge (if needed for showing search hits).

  • Make search work cross color boundaries. Currently, if you have a syntax highlighted line and search for something across a color change you won't get any match.

  • Redefine 'g' without any prefix to prompt for which line to go to. This definition makes more sense to me than having to prefix 'g' to jump.

  • Start at a certain line if run as "moar.rb file.txt:42"

  • Enable home / end using home / end keys.

  • Always print the name of the file being shown in the status field.

  • Support viewing multiple files by pushing them in reverse order on the view stack.

  • Auto generate the in-program help text to correctly correspond to the actual key bindings.

  • Lazy load big / slow streams

  • Add search line editing

  • Try to find a newer Ruby version if needed for color support and exec() with that instead if available.

  • Write "/ to search" somewhere in the status field

  • Incremental search using ^s and ^r like in Emacs

  • Gunzip input files with .gz extension before displaying them

  • Warn but don't hang if we get an incomplete UTF-8 sequence from getch() in wide_getch(). Hanging won't be that much of a problem assuming users will press more keys if nothing happens, thus resolving the hang.

  • Enable up / down using the mouse wheel.


  • Enable exiting using q (restores screen)

  • Handle the terminal window getting resized.

  • Print info line in inverse video

  • Enable up / down using arrow keys.

  • Prevent pressing down past the last line of the file.

  • Enable out-of-file visualization with ~ like less.

  • Enable up / down using page-up and page-down keys.

  • Enable home / end using < and >.

  • Enable file input.

  • Enable continuous position display with everything we know (lines visible, percentages, like less).

  • Enable stdin input.

  • Truncate lines that are longer than the screen width

  • Make sure we can print all the way into the rightmost column of the screen when truncating too long lines. We should strip() lines before we print them and manually move the cursor to the next line after each.

  • Handle all kinds of line endings.

  • Handle files missing an ending newline.

  • Handle hitting BACKSPACE in the search field

  • Incremental search using /

  • Typing backspace in the line editor when it's empty should make the line editor say "done".

  • Change out-of-file visualization to writing --- after the end of the file and leaving the rest of the screen blank.

  • Scroll down if we have no search hits on the current screen

  • Wrap search if we have search hits above but not below

  • Find next using n

  • Highlight search hits using reverse video

  • Make sure we can properly render all lines of /etc/php.ini.default without the bottom-of-the-screen prompt moving around.

  • Find previous using N

  • Indicate when we're wrapping the search while pressing n.

  • Indicate when we're wrapping the search while pressing N.

  • Highlight all matches while searching

  • Scroll down one line on RETURN

  • Print warnings to stderr after the run, for example if we aren't using color support because of a too-old version of Ruby.

  • Make stdin input work even on newer (than 1.8) versions of Ruby. Apparently this patch is the reason it doesn't work. Reported to the Ruby issue tracker, let's see how that goes.

  • Enable displaying colorized output from "git diff"

    • Arrow down through the whole file, then arrow up again
    • Page down through the whole file, then page up again
    • Search highlighting
  • Use the same algorithm for highlighting as for determining which lines match.

  • Make the search case sensitive only if it contains any capital letters.

  • Do a regexp search if the search term is a valid regexp, otherwise just use it as a substring.

  • Make the search case sensitive only if it contains any capital letters, for both regexps and non-regexps.

  • If we print warnings at the end, also print an URL where they can be reported.

  • If we crash with a stacktrace, print an URL where it can be reported

  • Enable sideways scrolling using arrow keys.

  • Warn about any unhandled keypresses during search.

  • Enable displaying a man page

    • Arrow down through the whole file, then arrow up again
    • Page down through the whole file, then page up again
    • Search highlighting
  • Make sure we get the line length right even with unicode characters present in the lines. Verify by looking at where the truncation markers end up.

  • Make sure we can search for unicode characters

  • Warn but don't crash if we get an invalid UTF-8 sequence from getch() in wide_getch().

  • Make sure the LANG environment variable is printed if there are warnings.

  • Make sure some kind of platform information is printed if there are warnings.

  • Make sure the Ruby version is printed if there are warnings.

  • Startup exceptions should be caught through the same reporting thingy as everything else.

  • We must not crash on getting binary data. Testcase: "moar.rb /bin/ls"

  • Fix handling of TAB characters in the input

  • Run rubocop as part of test.rb if installed and have the exit code reflect any issues.

  • Make sure version information is printed if there are warnings.

  • Make it possible to install system-wide using "rake install". Don't forget to fix the version number when doing this.

  • Enable --help for help

  • Enable --version for version information.

  • Report command line errors, think about different command line requirements depending on whether we're piping input into moar.rb or listing input files on the command line.

    Command line formats we want to support:

    • moar.rb file.txt
    • moar.rb < file.txt

    Command line formats we don't want to support:

    • moar.rb file1.txt file2.txt
    • moar.rb file1.txt < file2.txt
  • Enable 'h', '?' or F1 for help

  • Print something nice on file-not-found.

  • Test on Ubuntu

  • Test on Ruby 1.8.something. We did, and due to missing UTF-8 support in Ruby 1.8 we just dropped support for it. Now we print an error message if Ruby < 1.9 is detected.

  • Add info to the end of the --help output on how to set Moar to be your default pager.

  • Add licensing information (BSD)

  • Enable source code highlighting by pre-filtering using GNU Source-highlight.

  • Retain the search string when pressing / to search a second time.

  • Exit search mode and cancel the search on ESC. Because that's what I feel like pressing.

  • Exit search mode and cancel the search on ^G. For compatibility with Emacs.

  • Make sure searching for an upper case unicode character turns on case sensitive search.

  • Doing moar.rb on an arbitrary binary (like /bin/ls) should put all line-continuation markers at the rightmost column. This really means our truncation code must work even with things like tabs and various control characters.

  • Enable exiting using ^c (without restoring the screen).

  • Enable pass-through operation unless $stdout.isatty()

  • Accept numeric prefixes just like less. Implement for 'g', 'G' and SPACE to begin with.

  • Exit search on pressing up / down / pageup / pagedown keys and scroll. I attempted to do that spontaneously, so it's probably a good idea.

  • Searching for something above us should wrap the search.

  • When pressing '/' to edit the search terms, find a hit and re-highlight.

  • Make sure "git grep" output gets highlighted properly.

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