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Since: Version 20240127-113634-bbcac864

The functionality described in this section requires version 20240127-113634-bbcac864 of wezterm, or a more recent version.

Returns the textual representation (including color and other attributes) of the physical lines of text in the viewport as a string with embedded ANSI escape sequences to preserve the color and style of the text.

A physical line is a possibly-wrapped line that composes a row in the terminal display matrix.

If the optional nlines argument is specified then it is used to determine how many lines of text should be retrieved. The default (if nlines is not specified) is to retrieve the number of lines in the viewport (the height of the pane).

To obtain the entire scrollback, you can do something like this:


Example: opening scrollback in a pager

local wezterm = require 'wezterm'
local io = require 'io'
local os = require 'os'
local act = wezterm.action

wezterm.on('trigger-less-with-scrollback', function(window, pane)
  -- Retrieve the current pane's text
  local text =

  -- Create a temporary file to pass to the pager
  local name = os.tmpname()
  local f =, 'w+')

  -- Open a new window running less and tell it to open the file
    act.SpawnCommandInNewWindow {
      args = { 'less', '-fr', name },

  -- Wait "enough" time for less to read the file before we remove it.
  -- The window creation and process spawn are asynchronous wrt. running
  -- this script and are not awaitable, so we just pick a number.
  -- Note: We don't strictly need to remove this file, but it is nice
  -- to avoid cluttering up the temporary directory.

return {
  keys = {
      key = 'E',
      mods = 'CTRL',
      action = act.EmitEvent 'trigger-less-with-scrollback',

See also: pane:get_lines_as_text().