Rapidly invoke an editor to write a long, complex, or tricky command

ctrl-x e
Next time you are using your shell, try typing ctrl-x e (that is holding control key press x and then e). The shell will take what you've written on the command line thus far and paste it into the editor specified by $EDITOR. Then you can edit at leisure using all the powerful macros and commands of vi, emacs, nano, or whatever.
Sample Output
GNU nano 2.0.7         File: /tmp/bash-fc-30782221326                         

# begin writing some exceedingly long and complex command in the editor...

By: fool
2009-03-11 09:26:05

4 Alternatives + Submit Alt

What Others Think

use 9term/plan9, pressing escape puts the term in hold mode and nothing is sent until youpress escape again to release it.
maht · 624 weeks and 1 day ago
Nice. You have my vote on this one. This really is gonna be useful. I would write it 'ctrl-x ctrl-e' tho. First reflex to me was to hit 'ctrl-x' release it and then press 'e' (i'm used to screen like shortcuts)
skinp · 624 weeks and 1 day ago
Also forgot to say, this is REALLY going to be useful when entering a long command, test it and then want to make a script out of it. no need to 'echo !! > script'. Just command history up, ctrl-x ctrl-e, and save :D
skinp · 624 weeks and 1 day ago
or just type fc and hit the enter key
linuxrawkstar · 624 weeks ago
Didn't work for me. This is presumably as I use vi mode.
krayon · 624 weeks ago
In vi mode, it's esc (for command mode) and then v.
jstrater · 622 weeks and 4 days ago
You have to configure the VISUAL enviromnet variable prior to use C-x, C-e export VISUAL=vi
vutcovici · 621 weeks ago
It's C-x C-e.
kylexlau · 615 weeks ago
Doesn't work in zsh.
eolo999 · 607 weeks and 5 days ago
note: When you save this with its given filename (just :wq), it is executed and then discarded by the shell. If you want to keep it, save it explicitly to a new file first (:w )
cj_ · 587 weeks and 4 days ago
Oops, that should read :w <newfile>
cj_ · 587 weeks and 4 days ago
To enable this on zsh, add autoload edit-command-line zle -N edit-command-line bindkey '^Xe' edit-command-line to your .zshrc
Erus · 572 weeks ago
I agree with linuxrawkstar. fc is simpler, and it's much more flexible.
chrispix · 569 weeks and 3 days ago
Thanks Erus.
dserodio · 490 weeks ago
How do you set the editor to say sublime? I assume it would go in the .bash_profile file.
cmbowyer13 · 85 weeks and 4 days ago
Love this website for guiding people. download pokemon emerald rom
JackHenry8899 · 7 weeks and 3 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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