ARCHIVED: What is Lynx, and how do I use it?

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Lynx is one of the most popular web browsers for command-line interfaces. Unix is the primary operating system that uses it, but versions are also available for VMS, DOS, Windows 95 and later, Mac OS, Mac OS X, and Amiga OS. Lynx was designed to display plain ASCII text on simple terminals, without including any multimedia content. This lets you view hypertext documents and navigate through lists of links with just your keyboard. You can't use a mouse, display graphical images, or play sound files.

At Indiana University, you can use Lynx on Quarry.

Lynx is convenient for modem users because it requires less information transfer than graphical browsers that load large multimedia files. People with network connections (such as Ethernet cards), for whom transmission time is less of a concern, may prefer to use graphical browsers such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Note: Although you can't view graphical images in Lynx, you can transfer them (and any other binary files) for later use by other applications. You can make Lynx indicate where images are present in a web page by pressing * (the asterisk). If you already know an image's URL, you won't have to do this.

To start Lynx, at the command line prompt, enter:


If you have a specific URL in mind, you can append it, as in the following example:


When you view a web page with Lynx, it consists of plain text, usually embedded with highlighted links to various other web pages.

Using Lynx, you can navigate the web with just your arrow keys. The up and down arrow keys will move you from link to link on the page. The right arrow key will select a link and call up the page to which it points. The left arrow key will take you back to the page you were previously viewing.

Note: Even if you see several links side by side on the same line, you still need to use the up and down arrow keys to move between them.

Following is a list of some common Lynx commands:

  • For help and other Lynx information, press ? (the question mark).
  • To scan through a long web page one screen at a time, use the Spacebar.
  • Lynx has a bookmarks file; you can consider this a personal address book for sites on the web. To save the location of the page you're viewing, press a, and then d. To view your bookmarks file, press v.
  • To see the document at a specific URL at any time, press g, and then enter the full URL. For example, to connect to the Yahoo web index, you would press g and then enter:
  • To see the URL of the page you're viewing, press = (the equal sign). Then press = (the equal sign) again or the left arrow key to go back to the page.
  • To abort your connection to a slow or unresponsive link, press:
  • To see the HTML source of the page you're looking at, press \ (the backslash). Then press \ (the backslash) again to re-display the plain text version.

For more information about Lynx, visit the Lynx Developers page.

To download Lynx for most operating systems, visit the current release page.

To download a Lynx ported to the Mac OS X Installer system, visit the GNU Mac OS X Public Archive.

Note: Lynx is also a short name of LynxOS, a Unix-like operating system produced by LynuxWorks. For more, consult comp.os.lynx newsgroup or visit the LynuxWorks corporate web page.

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see Get help for Linux or Unix at IU.

This is document afik in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 10:01:43.