Shell tab-completion and other helpful command-line tricks

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at
Fri Jan 30 06:30:06 UTC 2009

Jonas Norlander wrote:
> 2009/1/23 Paul Rumelhart <godshatter at>:
>> I hope you find this helpful, and if you know of any cute tab-completion
>> tricks please let us know.  If you use the command-line a lot, you'll
>> find that pressing the tab key becomes instinctive and you'll really
>> miss it when you are in a program that doesn't use it.
>> Paul
> One thing i use all the time with bash is the command history and the
> readline shortcuts. So here is some of my most used shortcuts.
> Arrow up or CTRL+P will fetch the previous command from the history.
> Arrow down or CTRL+N will fetch the next command from the history.
> CTRL+R will reverse search history for what ever you enter. Greate for
> fetching that complicated command you wrote some days ago but dont
> remember.
> CTRL+A move to beginning of line.
> CTRL+E move to end of line.
> ALT+F move forward a word.
> ALT+B move back a word.
> CTRL+L clear screen.
> CTRL+k remove the text from the cursor to the end of the line.
> CTRL+X BACKSPACE remove text from the cursor to the beginning of the line.
> ALT+D delete a word forward.
> ALT+BACKSPACE delete a word backwards.
> And there is more shortcuts in the readline library like copy and
> paste that could help a lot when working in the shell.
> / Jonas

I didn't know about most of those.  I'd used arrow up and down before, 
but not the others.  Thank you.


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