Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bash Shortcuts and Tips

Repeating an argument
You can repeat the last argument of the previous command in multiple ways. Have a look at this example:

$ mkdir /path/to/dir
$ cd !$

The second command might look a little strange, but it will just cd to /path/to/dir.

Some keyboard shortcuts for editing

There are some pretty useful keyboard shortcuts for editing in bash. They might appear familiar to Emacs users:

• Ctrl + a => Return to the start of the command you're typing
• Ctrl + e => Go to the end of the command you're typing
• Ctrl + u => Cut everything before the cursor to a special clipboard
• Ctrl + k => Cut everything after the cursor to a special clipboard
• Ctrl + y => Paste from the special clipboard that Ctrl + u and Ctrl + k save their data to
• Ctrl + t => Swap the two characters before the cursor (you can actually use this to transport a character from the left to the right, try it!)
• Ctrl + w => Delete the word / argument left of the cursor
• Ctrl + l => Clear the screen

Redirecting both Standard Output and Standard Error:

# ls -ltR 2>&1 > /tmp/temp.txt

Specify this in .bashrc

Make Bash append rather than overwrite the history on disk:

# shopt -s histappend

Whenever displaying the prompt, write the previous line to disk:

# export PROMPT_COMMAND=’history -a’

To erase duplicate entries in History.

# export HISTCONTROL=erasedups
# export HISTCONTROL=ignoreboth

To see the history with timestamps

# export HISTTIMEFORMAT="%d/%m/%Y-%H:%M:%S "

To set the Size of the historyHISTSIZE: The number of commands to remember in the command history. The default value is 500.

# export HISTSIZE=500

Searching the Past
  • Ctrl+R searches previous lines
This will put bash in history mode, allowing you to type a part of the command you're looking for. In the meanwhile, it will show the most recent occasion where the string you're typing was used. If it is showing you a too recent command, you can go further back in history by pressing Ctrl + r again and again. Once you found the command you were looking for, press enter to run it.

  • !tcp will execute the previous command which starts with "tcp"

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