Copy less-Paged Text to Clipboard

When viewing text in the pager less, it’s often handy to copy it to your clipboard. You can do this by typing (at the less prompt):

|$ [clipboard-copy-program]

You must do this from the first line of the output you want to copy, and this will copy all output to the end ($ is the automatic less mark for the end-of-file)

For instance, on macOS you’d type:

|$ pbcopy

On Linux you’d use xclip or xsel:

|$ xclip -selection clipboard


|$ xsel --input --clipboard

Or if you switch frequently between macOS and Linux, use a script to choose between pbcopy and xclip/xsel:

#! /bin/bash

if [[ $OSTYPE == linux-gnu ]]; then
    exec xsel --input --clipboard
    exec pbcopy

Needing to copy something from less is common. For instance, you may be running or EXPLAINing a query in psql, and want to copy the output for use elsewhere.