Displaying more with less:
lesspipe.sh is an input filter for the pager less as described in its man page. The script runs under a ksh compliant shell (ksh, bash, zsh) and allows to view files with binary content, compressed files, archives and files contained in archives. A large and growing number of formats are supported both as plain and compressed files using compress, gzip, bzip2, lzma, lzip or zip.
— quoting the homepage of lesspipe
If lesspipe.sh is present on your system and available in $PATH just use:
export LESSOPEN="|lesspipe.sh %s"
to enable it. Then you can use lesspipe through “the normal less command” like that:
% mkdir demo % echo foo > demo/foo % tar zcf demo.tgz demo/ % less demo.tgz ==> use tar_file:contained_file to view a file in the archive drwxrwxr-x mika/mika 0 2008-12-11 23:49 demo/ -rw-rw-r-- mika/mika 4 2008-12-11 23:49 demo/foo % less demo.tgz:demo/foo foo
And of course lesspipe is available out-of-the-box at grml.