Keep ls Output from Scrolling

Q: When ls Output Scrolls Off the Screen

Whenever I type ls I can barely see the output of the directory because it scrolls by too quickly. How can I actually read the output?

A: Piping the Output of ls

To prevent the output of ls from scrolling by too quickly, pipe the output to a pager, such as less or more. The results will be similar to the DOS command dir somedirectory /p, because you'll see the output one screen, or "page" at at time.

To read the contents of /etc with less, type the following command at the shell prompt:

ls -al /etc | less

To move forward a screen, press [Space]; to move back a screen, press the [b] key; to quit, press [q].

You can achieve the same results with more, another pager.

Printing ls Output

You can also print the directory by piping the output to a printer in the same way that you piped the output to your screen. If you've configured a printer, type the following to pipe the output of a command to the printer:

ls -al /etc | lpr