I have installed python-pygments and using it for syntax highlighting with less as described by mankoff here I put a function in my .bashrc

cless () {
    pygmentize -f terminal "$1" | less -R

it is enabling syntax highlighting with less. But when I am going to open a file like /etc/fstab or /etc/apt/apt.conf a error saying

Error: no lexer for filename '/etc/apt/apt.conf' found

I found option to show pygmentize the lexer with -l at this manpage. But what will be the appropriate lexer for such files? and how to use it?


2 Answers 2


Buried in pygmentize --help:

If -g is passed, attempt to guess the lexer from the file contents, or pass through as plain text if this fails (this can work for stdin).

Simply change your code to:

cless () {
    pygmentize -gf terminal "$1" | less -R

To have syntax highlight on Ubuntu/Debian first install

apt install source-highlight

Then you may want to add this two environment variables to ~/.bashrc

export LESSOPEN="| /usr/bin/src-hilite-lesspipe.sh %s"
export LESS=' -R '

Tip: Also notice v on less open the file on default editor (defined by select-editor command) that maybe have syntax highlight. Here it is how to add compatibility to a lot of file types in nano.


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