BASH Command Shortcuts

Command Editing Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + a – go to the start of the command line
  • Ctrl + e – go to the end of the command line
  • Ctrl + k – delete from cursor to the end of the command line
  • Ctrl + u – delete from cursor to the start of the command line
  • Ctrl + w – delete from cursor to start of word (i.e. delete backwards one word)
  • Ctrl + y – paste word or text that was cut using one of the deletion shortcuts (such as the one above) after the cursor
  • Ctrl + xx – move between start of command line and current cursor position (and back again)
  • Alt + b – move backward one word (or go to start of word the cursor is currently on)
  • Alt + f – move forward one word (or go to end of word the cursor is currently on)
  • Alt + d – delete to end of word starting at cursor (whole word if cursor is at the beginning of word)
  • Alt + c – capitalize to end of word starting at cursor (whole word if cursor is at the beginning of word)
  • Alt + u – make uppercase from cursor to end of word
  • Alt + l – make lowercase from cursor to end of word
  • Alt + t – swap current word with previous
  • Ctrl + f – move forward one character
  • Ctrl + b – move backward one character
  • Ctrl + d – delete character under the cursor
  • Ctrl + h – delete character before the cursor
  • Ctrl + t – swap character under cursor with the previous one

Command Recall Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + r – search the history backwards
  • Ctrl + g – escape from history searching mode
  • Ctrl + p – previous command in history (i.e. walk back through the command history)
  • Ctrl + n – next command in history (i.e. walk forward through the command history)
  • Alt + . – use the last word of the previous command

Command Control Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + l – clear the screen
  • Ctrl + s – stops the output to the screen (for long running verbose command)
  • Ctrl + q – allow output to the screen (if previously stopped using command above)
  • Ctrl + c – terminate the command
  • Ctrl + z – suspend/stop the command

Bash Bang (!) Commands

Bash also has some handy features that use the ! (bang) to allow you to do some funky stuff with bash commands.

  • !! – run last command
  • !blah – run the most recent command that starts with ‘blah’ (e.g. !ls)
  • !blah:p – print out the command that !blah would run (also adds it as the latest command in the command history)
  • !$ – the last word of the previous command (same as Alt + .)
  • !$:p – print out the word that !$ would substitute
  • !* – the previous command except for the last word (e.g. if you type ‘find some_file.txt /‘, then !* would give you ‘find some_file.txt‘)
  • !*:p – print out what !* would substitute

There is one more handy thing you can do. This involves using the ^^ ‘command’. If you type a command and run it, you can re-run the same command but substitute a piece of text for another piece of text using ^^ e.g.:

$ ls -al
total 12
drwxrwxrwx+ 3 Administrator None    0 Jul 21 23:38 .
drwxrwxrwx+ 3 Administrator None    0 Jul 21 23:34 ..
-rwxr-xr-x  1 Administrator None 1150 Jul 21 23:34 .bash_profile
-rwxr-xr-x  1 Administrator None 3116 Jul 21 23:34 .bashrc
drwxr-xr-x+ 4 Administrator None    0 Jul 21 23:39 .gem
-rwxr-xr-x  1 Administrator None 1461 Jul 21 23:34 .inputrc
$ ^-al^-lash
ls -lash
total 12K
   0 drwxrwxrwx+ 3 Administrator None    0 Jul 21 23:38 .
   0 drwxrwxrwx+ 3 Administrator None    0 Jul 21 23:34 ..
4.0K -rwxr-xr-x  1 Administrator None 1.2K Jul 21 23:34 .bash_profile
4.0K -rwxr-xr-x  1 Administrator None 3.1K Jul 21 23:34 .bashrc
   0 drwxr-xr-x+ 4 Administrator None    0 Jul 21 23:39 .gem
4.0K -rwxr-xr-x  1 Administrator None 1.5K Jul 21 23:34 .inputrc

Here, the command was the ^-al^-lash which replaced the –al with –lash in our previous ls command and re-ran the command again.

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