Keyboard shortcuts for Bash

Linux, Tutorial

The default shell on most Linux operating systems is Bash. And as with every other application (which I use extensively) the first thing I do is to search/use Keyboard shortcuts.

First I checked the Bash Reference Manual, however there was no mention of any keyboard shortcut in that manual.

A search in Google lead me to this post (via Digg). For those who are lazy to click on that link, here is the list 🙂

Ctrl + A 	Go to the beginning of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + E 	Go to the end of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + L               	Clears the Screen, similar to the clear command
Ctrl + U 	Clears the line before the cursor position. If you are at the end of the line, clears the entire line.
Ctrl + H 	Same as backspace
Ctrl + R 	Let’s you search through previously used commands
Ctrl + C 	Kill whatever you are running
Ctrl + D 	Exit the current shell
Ctrl + Z 	Puts whatever you are running into a suspended background process. fg restores it.
Ctrl + W 	Delete the word before the cursor
Ctrl + K 	Clear the line after the cursor
Ctrl + T 	Swap the last two characters before the cursor
Esc + T 	Swap the last two words before the cursor
Alt + F 	Move cursor forward one word on the current line
Alt + B 	Move cursor backward one word on the current line
Tab 	Auto-complete files and folder names

To be honest I didn’t know half of these shortcuts.
I am definitely going to use Ctrl + L extensively and will try to avoid Ctrl +C (Many a times rather than copying a line of text, I terminate a program by using Ctrl + C !! )

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  • Rowan May 14, 2007 Link

    In case you’re interested, I’ve published a more extensive cheatsheet with Bash keyboard shortcuts at

    I’d also like to mention that they’re actually Readline shortcuts and therefore available in many more command-line applications than just Bash.

  • venukb May 15, 2007 Link

    Rowan , thanks for the heads up.