Linux / Unix: Colored Man Pages With less Command

How do I see colored man pages with standard Unix or Linux less command without installing most paging program for Unix / Linux like operating system?

You can use the less command, which is a program similar to more), but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement. Edit ~/.bashrc file using a text editor such as vim / vi, enter:

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How to view colored man pages in Linux

Edit the ~/.bashrc, run:
$ vi ~/.bashrc
Append the following code to get coloured manual pages with less command:

man() {
    LESS_TERMCAP_md=$'\e[01;31m' \
    LESS_TERMCAP_me=$'\e[0m' \
    LESS_TERMCAP_se=$'\e[0m' \
    LESS_TERMCAP_so=$'\e[01;44;33m' \
    LESS_TERMCAP_ue=$'\e[0m' \
    LESS_TERMCAP_us=$'\e[01;32m' \
    command man "$@"
}

(Source: Man page from the Arch Linux wiki)

Save and close the file. Just load your updated ~/.bashrc with the source command:
$ source ~/.bashrc
Test it:
$ man ls
$ man date
$ man 3 printf

A Note About Colored Man Pages On xterm or rxvt-unicode

If you are using xterm/uxterm or rxvt-unicode edit the ~/.Xresources or ~/.Xdefaults file, enter:
$ vi ~/.Xresources
OR
$ vi ~/.Xdefaults
Xterm user add:

*VT100.colorBDMode:     true
*VT100.colorBD:         red
*VT100.colorULMode:     true
*VT100.colorUL:         cyan

rxvt-unicode user add:

URxvt.colorIT:      #87af5f
URxvt.colorBD:      #d7d7d7
URxvt.colorUL:      #87afd7

Save and close the file. Type the following command:
$ xrdb -load ~/.Xresources
OR
$ xrdb -load ~/.Xdefaults
To view the man page of grep command, enter:
$ man grep
Sample outputs:

Configure Less To Display Colored Man Page under Linux / Unix / Apple OS X

Fig.01: Colored man page

This entry is 2 of 2 in the Linux / UNIX Colorful Man Pages Tutorial series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. Display Colored Man Pages in Linux and Unix
  2. Colored Man Pages With less Command
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5 comments… add one
  • tangram Apr 17, 2012 @ 11:01

    Thanks for the article.

    Just tried it on my home CentOS system through SSH using Putty. It works like a charm under this conditions.
    When I get home I’ll try the suggestions under X.

    Any chances of having this working under other shells such as tcsh and zsh?

    Regards.

  • user23 May 19, 2013 @ 11:56

    Thanks,
    i was searching for that. Using most as a pagerviewer is also possible, but i was missing the ‘J’ and ‘K’ key to navigate through the page.

  • Ideophage Jul 10, 2013 @ 12:50

    /etc/conf.conf > /etc/most.conf

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