Thursday, August 2, 2007

Keyboard Shortcuts for Bash

The default shell on most Linux operating systems is called Bash. There are a couple of important hotkeys that you should get familiar with if you plan to spend a lot of time at the command line. These shortcuts will save you a ton of time if you learn them.

Ctrl + A Go to the beginning of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + E Go to the end of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + L Clears the Screen, similar to the clear command
Ctrl + U Clears the line before the cursor position. If you are at the end of the line, clears the entire line.
Ctrl + H Same as backspace
Ctrl + R Let's you search through previously used commands
Ctrl + C Kill whatever you are running
Ctrl + D Exit the current shell
Ctrl + Z Puts whatever you are running into a suspended background process. fg restores it.
Ctrl + W Delete the word before the cursor
Ctrl + K Clear the line after the cursor
Ctrl + T Swap the last two characters before the cursor
Esc + T Swap the last two words before the cursor
Alt + F Move cursor forward one word on the current line
Alt + B Move cursor backward one word on the current line
Tab Auto-complete files and folder names

Note that some of these commands may not work if you are accessing bash through a telnet/ssh session, or depending on how you have your keys mapped.

Update: Some readers from digg have pointed out that you can also switch bash to use vi style editing keys. This article covers the default bash keys, but I'll write another one to cover vi style keys as well… great suggestions! Subscribe to the feed for updates.

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