Less Cheat Sheet

Posted : admin On 1/2/2022
  1. Less Style Cheat Sheet
  2. Less Command Cheat Sheet

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Designed byAlexis Sellier
DeveloperAlexis Sellier, Dmitry Fadeyev
First appeared2009; 12 years ago
Stable release
Typing disciplineDynamic
Implementation languageJavaScript
LicenseApache License 2.0
Filename extensions.less
Influenced by
CSS, Sass
Sass, Less Framework, Bootstrap (v3)

Less (Leaner Style Sheets; sometimes stylized as LESS) is a dynamic preprocessorstyle sheet language that can be compiled into Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and run on the client side or server side.[2]Designed by Alexis Sellier, Less is influenced by Sass and has influenced the newer 'SCSS' syntax of Sass, which adapted its CSS-like block formatting syntax.[3] Less is an open source. Its first version was written in Ruby; however, in the later versions, use of Ruby has been deprecated and replaced by JavaScript. The indented syntax of Less is a nested metalanguage, as valid CSS is valid Less code with the same semantics. Less provides the following mechanisms: variables, nesting, mixins, operators and functions; the main difference between Less and other CSS precompilers is that Less allows real-time compilation via less.js by the browser.[2][4]



Less allows variables to be defined. Variables in Less are defined with an at sign (@). Variable assignment is done with a colon (:).

During translation, the values of the variables are inserted into the output CSS document.[2]

The code above in Less would compile to the following CSS code.


Mixins allows embedding all the properties of a class into another class by including the class name as one of its property, thus behaving as a sort of constant or variable. They can also behave like functions, and take arguments. CSS does not support Mixins: Any repeated code must be repeated in each location. Mixins allows for more efficient and clean code repetitions, as well as easier alteration of code.[2]

The above code in Less would compile to the following CSS code:

Less has a special type of ruleset called parametric mixins which can be mixed in like classes, but accepts parameters.

The above code in Less would compile to the following CSS code:

Functions and operations[edit]

Less allows operations and functions. Operations allow addition, subtraction, division and multiplication of property values and colors, which can be used to create complex relationships between properties. Functions map one-to-one with JavaScript code, allowing manipulation of values.

The above code in Less would compile to the following CSS code:



Both Sass and Less are CSS preprocessors, which allow writing clean CSS in a programming construct instead of static rules.[5]

Less is inspired by Sass.[6][3] Sass was designed to both simplify and extend CSS, so things like curly braces were removed from the syntax. Less was designed to be as close to CSS as possible, and as a result existing CSS can be used as valid Less code.[7]

The newer versions of Sass also introduced a CSS-like syntax called SCSS (Sassy CSS).

Use on sites[edit]

Less can be applied to sites in a number of ways. One option is to include the less.js JavaScript file to convert the code on-the-fly. The browser then renders the output CSS.Another option is to render the Less code into pure CSS and upload the CSS to a site. With this option no .less files are uploaded and the site does not need the less.js JavaScript converter.

Less software[edit]

NameDescriptionSoftware LicensePlatformFunctionality
WinLess - Windows GUI for less.js at the Wayback Machine (archived 2 June 2015)GUI Less CompilerApache 2.0[8]WindowsCompiler
CrunchLess editor and compiler (requires Adobe AIR)GPL[9]Windows, Mac OS XCompiler
less.js-windowsSimple command-line utility for Windows that will compile *.less files to CSS using less.js.MIT License[10]WindowsCompiler
less.appLess CompilerProprietaryMac OS XCompiler
CodeKitLess CompilerProprietaryMac OS XCompiler
LessEngineLess CompilerFreeOpenCart PluginCompiler
SimpLESSLess Compilerfree but no explicit license[11]Windows
Mac OS X
ChirpyLess CompilerMs-PL[12]Visual Studio PluginCompiler
Mindscape Web WorkbenchSyntax highlighting and IntelliSense for Less and SassProprietaryVisual Studio PluginCompiler
Syntax Highlighting
Eclipse Plugin for LessEclipse PluginEPL 1.0[13]Eclipse PluginSyntax highlighting
Content assist
mod_lessApache2 module to compile Less on the flyOpen SourceLinuxCompiler
grunt-contrib-lessNode.js Grunt task to convert Less to CSSMIT[14]Node.jsCompiler
Web EssentialsVisual Studio extension with support for Less and SassApache 2.0 [15]WindowsSyntax highlighting, Content assist, Compiler
clesscPure C++ compilerMIT[16]at least Windows, Linux, MacOSCompiler
Less WebCompilerWeb-based compilerMIT[17]at least Windows, Linux, MacOSCompiler, Syntax highlighting, Minifier

See also[edit]

Less Style Cheat Sheet


  1. ^The Core Less Team. 'less.js/CHANGELOG.md at master · less/less.js'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  2. ^ abcdThe Core Less Team. 'Getting started Less.js'. Less.js. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  3. ^ abWeizenbaum, Nathan (2009-06-17). 'Sass and Less : Nex3'. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  4. ^Meng, Jiew (2010-12-14). Mortensen, Peter (ed.). 'css - Is there a SASS.js? Something like LESS.js?'. Stack Overflow. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  5. ^Atwood, Jeff (2010-04-30). 'What's Wrong With CSS'. Coding Horror. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  6. ^The Core Less Team. 'About Less.js'. Less.js. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  7. ^Eppstein, Chris (2010-11-10). 'sass_and_less_compared.markdown'. GitHub Gist. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  8. ^Lagendijk, Mark (2013-01-29). 'License Information · Issue #55 · marklagendijk/WinLess'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  9. ^Dean, Matthew (2011-12-02). 'Crunch/LICENSE.txt at master · matthew-dean/Crunch'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  10. ^Smart, Duncan (2013-07-25). 'less.js-windows/LICENSE at master · duncansmart/less.js-windows'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  11. ^Engel, Christian (2012-07-29). 'SimpLESS/LICENSE.txt at master · Paratron/SimpLESS'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  12. ^Evan Nagle. 'Chirpy - VS Add In For Handling Js, Css, DotLess, and T4 Files - CodePlex Archive'. CodePlex. Archived from the original on 2021-02-20. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  13. ^Vincent Simonet. 'Eclipse plugin for LESS'. normalesup.org. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  14. ^Kellen, Tyler (2012-09-04). 'grunt-contrib-less/LICENSE-MIT at master · gruntjs/grunt-contrib-less'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  15. ^Kristensen, Mads (2014-06-18). 'WebEssentials2013/LICENSE.txt at master · madskristensen/WebEssentials2013'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  16. ^Bram van der Kroef (2017-07-11). 'clessc/LICENSE at master · BramvdKroef/clessc'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  17. ^SamBrishes (2018-12-15). 'snout.less/LICENSE.md at master · pytesNET/snout.less'. GitHub. Retrieved 2021-03-19.

External links[edit]

Less Command Cheat Sheet

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