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find previously entered commands

Terminal - find previously entered commands
2013-09-08 13:49:19
User: zvyn
find previously entered commands

Searches bash-history in reverse order (last entered commands first). Pressing ctrl+r again shows the next matching entry.


There are 9 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
<Meta-p> (aka <ALT+P>)
2013-09-10 17:13:02
User: hackerb9
Tags: history bash tcsh

[Click the "show sample output" link to see how to use this keystroke.]

Meta-p is one of my all time most used and most loved features of working at the command line. It's also one that surprisingly few people know about. To use it with bash (actually in any readline application), you'll need to add a couple lines to your .inputrc then have bash reread the .inputrc using the bind command:

echo '"\en": history-search-forward' >> ~/.inputrc

echo '"\ep": history-search-backward' >> ~/.inputrc

bind -f ~/.inputrc

  I first learned about this feature in tcsh. When I switched over to bash about fifteen years ago, I had assumed I'd prefer ^R to search in reverse. Intuitively ^R seemed better since you could search for an argument instead of a command. I think that, like using a microkernel for the Hurd, it sounded so obviously right fifteen years ago, but that was only because the older way had benefits we hadn't known about.

  I think many of you who use the command line as much as I do know that we can just be thinking about what results we want and our fingers will start typing the commands needed. I assume it's some sort of parallel processing going on with the linguistic part of the brain. Unfortunately, that parallelism doesn't seem to work (at least for me) with searching the history. I realize I can save myself typing using the history shortly after my fingers have already started "speaking". But, when I hit ^R in Bash, everything I've already typed gets ignored and I have to stop and think again about what I was doing. It's a small bump in the road but it can be annoying, especially for long-time command line users. Usually M-p is exactly what I need to save myself time and trouble.

  If you use the command line a lot, please give Meta-p a try. You may be surprised how it frees your brain to process more smoothly in parallel. (Or maybe it won't. Post here and let me know either way. ☺)

tac ~/.bash_history | grep -w
2013-09-07 15:53:30
User: hamsolo474
Functions: grep tac

greps your bash history for whatever you type in at the end returning it in reverse chronological order (most recent invocations first), should work on all distros.

works well as an alias

Know a better way?

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What others think

This is a huge productivity booster! Makes finding and re-running commands a breeze, no matter how long or complicated they are.

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Comment by shoesus30 115 weeks and 1 day ago

I've +1'd this since it's a huge help for people who may not know it, but there's a couple alternatives that (for whatever reason) I find flow more easily off of my fingers. I guess I'll submit them as alternatives instead of putting them in the comments so people kind find them more easily, but they're really more "in addition to" rather than "better than" this solution.

Comment by hackerb9 115 weeks and 1 day ago

Your point of view

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