Bash History and Command Re-execution Cheat Sheet

Maximize your efficiency in the terminal with these handy Bash history commands and shortcuts. Quickly access, search, and rerun commands like a pro.

Basic History Commands

  • View Command History: history
    • Displays your recent command history with line numbers.
  • Clear Command History: history -c
    • Clears your current session’s command history.

Re-executing Commands

  • Execute Last Command: !!
    • Immediately rerun the most recent command.
  • Execute Command by Number: !number
    • Rerun a command by its history number (e.g., !42).
  • Execute Last Command Starting with…: !string
    • Rerun the most recent command starting with string (e.g., !ls).

Advanced History Navigation

  • Reverse Search: ctrl+r
    • Dynamically search through command history as you type. Press ctrl+r again to search further back.
  • Navigate Using Arrow Keys:
    • Use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through previously executed commands.

Editing Before Re-executing

  • Edit Last Command Before Running: fc
    • Opens the last command in your default editor for modifications before executing.
  • Edit Specific Command by Number: fc number
    • Edit a command by its history number in your default editor (e.g., fc 42).

Tips for Efficient History Use

  • Increase History Size: If you find yourself needing more history, you can increase the size by adding the following lines to your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile:
  • Secure Your History: Be cautious with sensitive information in commands, especially when using sudo. History commands can be inadvertently rerun.
  • Customize and Extend: Bash history is highly customizable. Explore HISTCONTROL, HISTIGNORE, and other environment variables for a tailored experience.

Final Thoughts

Leveraging the power of Bash history enhances your command line efficiency and saves time. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, these commands and shortcuts are invaluable tools in your arsenal.