[Techtalk] anyone know of a simple text viewer?

Miriam English mim at miriam-english.org
Sat Jul 20 06:58:39 UTC 2019

Thanks Akkana.
     less *.txt
is a much simpler solution, even though still not quite what I want....

Optimal would be something that works in a similar way to image viewers 
which let me see one file after another by pressing the spacebar (or 
backspace to view the previous file), though the actual key(s) used 
don't need to be those. The next and previous commands ":n" and ":p" are 
a bit cumbersome compared with being able to quickly and repeatedly hit 
the spacebar to jump through files. I have many thousands of small text 
files that I collect in many subdirectories under my "ideas" directory. 
When I'm writing I often go through them looking for useful material. It 
is a slow, repetitive, and clumsy process. I just wanted something to 
make it easier.

There are many other situations that would be helped by this too. I try 
to keep text descriptions of all videos, photos, diagrams, talks, ebooks 
on my computer.

Linux would be greatly improved with a simple method of attaching text 
descriptions to all those things. I know jpeg and png images, and mp3 
audio, and some video formats, and epub ebooks can have descriptive text 
embedded in the files themselves, but reading those descriptions is a 
major pain, and editing them is even more so. Searching them is very 

My description text files are also useful because they let me easily 
search for information. I keep many terabytes of data on my computer and 
this helps me tame the information monster and stop it getting out of 

Best wishes,

     - Miriam

Akkana Peck wrote:
>> Miriam English wrote:
>>> I often need to quickly look through the text files in a directory
>>> without the need to edit them.
>> for f in *.txt ; do leafpad "$f" ; done
>> This will loop through all the text files in a directory, one by one. Each
>> time I press CTRL-Q to close the current window the next file opens another
>> window. It's not exactly what I was looking for, but it is close.
>> Anybody know a simpler solution? Preferably one that opens files in the same
>> window, one after another, and which when closed quits viewing any further
>> files.
> Well, I'm a commandline girl so I usually just do something like
> less *.txt
> which shows each file in the current terminal window.
> Admittedly, less has an annoying habit of exiting if you type q
> to get out of the current file, so you have to use :n to jump to
> the next file. It's a little friendlier to use the same shell loop
> you quoted above:
> for f in *.txt ; do less "$f" ; done
> Less is so much faster than opening a GUI window for each file
> (is part of why I like commandline tools).
> If you want it in a separate window, so (as you mention) you can
> close the window to quit viewing any more files, you could open it
> in another terminal:
> xterm -e 'for f in .??* ; do less "$f" ; done'
> (or use your favorite terminal if not xterm).
> But I guess I'm not entirely clear what your goals are. What
> improvements were you looking for over the leafpad solution?
> Faster? Better UI for scrolling through the file?
>          ...Akkana
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