Read a keypress without echoing it

stty cbreak -echo; KEY=$(dd bs=1 count=1 2>/dev/null); stty -cbreak echo
This shell snippet reads a single keypress from stdin and stores it in the $KEY variable. You do NOT have to press the enter key! The key is NOT echoed to stdout! This is useful for implementing simple text menus in scripts and similar things.

5
By: inof
2009-06-09 13:15:49

What Others Think

This is very interesting, and could be helpful for some of my scripts :)
leviself · 524 weeks and 1 day ago
The read command actually does this for you. -s for silent (i.e. no echo), and -n1 to tell it that you only want the one character read. read -s -n1 KEY
Hobbletoe · 524 weeks ago
wow i came to favourite inof's, but hobbletoe's seems even awesomer! definitely have some scripts that will be improved by this!
cephi · 523 weeks and 4 days ago
Hobbletoe: "read -s" is non-standard and not portable. I guess it works only with bash (I don't have a bash here, so I can't test, but none of my other bourne shell implementations support it).
inof · 523 weeks and 1 day 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?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this?

commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Share Your Commands



Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.

» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu3
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu10

Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for: