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Every time I search for a term in less, it stores my search in the file .lesshst. How can I stop this behavior?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Open a terminal and create a file .lesskey, in your home folder and append the following to it:


If you already have the file .lesshst in your home folder, then delete it and type the command


You should get any errors here. This will not store any history of less from now on, until you change the .lesskey file.

From the man page of less:


   Environment variables may be specified either in the system environment
   as usual, or in a lesskey  (1)  file.   If  environment  variables  are
   defined  in  more  than one place, variables defined in a local lesskey
   file take precedence over variables defined in the system  environment,
   which take precedence over variables defined in the system-wide lesskey


          The maximum number of commands to save in the history file.  The
          default is 100.


From the comments, I found a better way to prevent having a history file for less.

In the .lesskey file in the home folder, append this:




If you put this in your ~/.bashrc file, this will work, but will have a lower precedence if you have other values in your .lesskey file for the same variables.

You may want to have a look at this:

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@InkBlend Did you use export? I neuter less in my .bashrc with: "export LESSHISTFILE=/dev/null" – David Poole Dec 6 '13 at 19:46
Perhaps @Jobin could add the .bashrc + export to his answer. I think he deserves the credit for a good answer. – David Poole Dec 11 '13 at 18:47

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